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Outside Lands 2023: From Maps and Parking to Road Closures and Transit

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A pink neon-toned nighttime shot of a big crowd standing in front of a stage with a neon sign that says OUTSIDE LANDS.
Outside Lands 2023 is almost here, and it'll bring huge crowds and road closures around Golden Gate Park. Here's what to know. (Alive Coverage/Outside Lands)

San Francisco’s biggest music festival, Outside Lands, is coming to Golden Gate Park this weekend with a 2023 lineup that includes Kendrick Lamar, Megan Thee Stallion, and local San Francisco star La Doña.

But if you managed to get a ticket to this now-sold-out three-day festival that starts Friday, Aug. 11 and lasts through Sunday, Aug. 13, you might have questions about maps, parking, public transit, road closures, the bag policy and more. After all, Outside Lands is a huge, sprawling event that takes over a large part of Golden Gate Park and impacts a lot of the surrounding areas of the Richmond and Sunset districts in San Francisco.

So keep reading for our guide to this year’s Outside Lands festival with everything you need to know, with maps, links, resources and more. (And if you want the rundown from an Outside Lands veteran, read KQED Arts’ archive guide to the festival.)

Jump straight to:

Megan Thee Stallion, seen here performing at the 2023 Essence Festival of Culture at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, is one of the headliners for 2023 Outside Lands. (Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)

Getting to Outside Lands by car: Where are the road closures?

Outside Lands organizers (and KQED reporters) recommend ticket holders don’t drive to the festival — and when you read our information about road closures and the parking situation, you may understand why.

Road closures for Outside Lands

These are the entrances closed on the north side of Golden Gate Park, according to the park’s official website: Transverse Drive at Crossover Drive, JFK Drive at Transverse Drive, 30th Avenue, 36th Avenue, 43rd Avenue (Chain of Lakes), 47th Avenue, and The Great Highway at JFK Drive.

These are the entrances closed on the south side of the park: Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at Crossover Drive, 25th Avenue, Sunset Boulevard at Irving Street, 41st Avenue (Chain of Lakes), and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at Lincoln Avenue.

Below is a map of the road closures near the park. Roads will be closed from Thursday, Aug. 10 at 8 p.m. to Sunday, Aug. 13 at 11 p.m.:

A map of Golden Gate park illustrating road closures for Outside Lands. (sfoutsidelands.com)

Road closures for Outside Lands include:

Where can I get picked up or dropped off at Outside Lands?

If you’re looking for a good pickup or drop-off point — either for yourself, or because you’re someone else’s ride — Outside Lands recommends “several blocks north or south of the park” — particularly advising that you try Geary Boulevard or Balboa Street to the north, or Irving Street to the south.

You can also be picked up or dropped off for Outside Lands by vehicles or private buses in the Outer Sunset (south of the park) on the north side of Irving, between 25th and 27th avenues.

In the Outer Richmond (the north side of the park near the high school), you can get picked up or dropped off at:

  • The north side of Balboa, between 30th and 31st avenues, or
  • The west side of 30th Avenue, between Balboa and Anza.

Advice for using rideshares and taxis

If you are using rideshare apps like Lyft or Uber, the official Outside Lands pickup and drop-off locations are Balboa & 30th Avenue or Irving Street between 25th and 27th avenues. Be aware that these apps will impose dynamic pricing for an event like Outside Lands, which will make even a short ride much more expensive than usual.

If you are using a taxi to get to or from Outside Lands any time from Friday, Aug. 11 at 9 a.m. to Monday, Aug. 14 at 2 a.m., there are taxi stands on the south side of Fulton at 28th and 29th avenues and the south side of Fulton at 24th and 25th avenues.

More Guides from KQED

Are there no-go areas for pickup and drop-off for Outside Lands?

According to SFMTA, these areas are strictly forbidden to pick someone up or drop someone off:

Outer Sunset, south side of the park:

  • Lincoln Way, between 25th and 41st avenues.

Outer Richmond, n​​orth side of the park:

  • Fulton, between 26th and 37th avenues.
  • 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th and 37th avenues, between Fulton and Cabrillo.

Golden Gate Park from Friday at 11 a.m. to Sunday at 11:59 p.m.:

  • All streets in Golden Gate Park including Crossover.

Where can I find parking for Outside Lands?

Let’s get this out of the way: There is no “official” general parking for Outside Lands. (Jump straight to more information on accessible parking below.)

Remember, if you’re choosing to try to park near Outside Lands, break-ins are common in San Francisco — so leave nothing visible in your vehicle, and if at all possible leave your trunk exposed to show it’s empty. Don’t leave any electronics like laptops in your vehicle, even if you think they’re hidden.

A large crowd at a nighttime outdoor concert.
A packed crowd at the Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park in 2019, the last time the event was held before the COVID pandemic. (Josh Withers/Outside Lands)

Where you definitely can’t find parking for Outside Lands

There are parking restrictions in the following nearby neighborhoods: Fulton, Lincoln, La Playa, and Lower Great Highway.

Overnight parking of “vehicles taller than 7 (feet) or longer than 12 (feet) any day, street cleaning and 72-hour prohibition violations may result in tickets and towing,” warns Outside Lands’ website. They also note that the SF Department of Parking and Traffic will be “on high alert during this period of time.” In other words: don’t risk it.

Can I use a resident’s parking spot?

Some schools near Golden Gate Park sell their parking during Outside Lands to fundraise money, such as Argonne Elementary School (which does not take reservations.)

Residents around Golden Gate Park may also sell their parking spaces to festival visitors. You can find these on Reddit, Facebook, or even by trolling through the Sunset District in person, and seeing who has signs up. If you choose to go this route to find parking, stay extra vigilant for scams, and make sure you’re always sending money to the right person.

What about blocking a driveway, even if it’s mine?

According to the SFMTA, the San Francisco Transportation Code allows residents to park in the street and block their own driveway “provided the driveway does not serve more than two tenants.” Any multifamily units of three or more, says SFMTA, may not block their own driveway. Vehicles may also never be parked on the sidewalk.

During Outside Lands, the SFMTA will enforce blocked driveways “on a complaint basis only,” says SFMTA. Of course, that’s not giving you free rein to block a person’s driveway — they’ll almost certainly make that complaint and have you towed if they don’t recognize your car.

If you live near Golden Gate Park, you can check Outside Lands’ Neighborhood 311 advisory page for local residents, for any updates.

How to get to Outside Lands using public transit

Getting to Outside Lands using SF Muni

SF Muni has a useful map of your options for transportation routes to Outside Lands (PNG), and the agency has its own guide on getting to Golden Gate Park on Muni.

Muni will be providing extra service on the N Judah and 5R Fulton Rapid. However, remember: The extra service on 5R will not serve the entire route.

A map illustrating the various SF Muni routes to Golden Gate Park for Outside Lands (sfmta.com)

Each night of the festival, there will be a Muni 5X Fulton Express service from Golden Gate Park to Civic Center BART Station.

Bookmark the SFMTA website for a comprehensive list of extra stops provided by Muni for the weekend of Outside Lands.

Other public transit advisories, as noted on SFMTA’s website:

You can plan your Muni trip on 511.org and check Muni’s arrival information on Next Bus.

Using the official Outside Lands shuttle

You can hop a ride on Outside Lands’ shuttle, which departs from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium to the south entrance of Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park. Civic Center BART station is next to the Bill Graham Auditorium.

These “coach-style buses” are pre-paid, and cost $26 for a one-day pass (with a $3.50 to $5.50 fee.) As of Thursday, only the highest tier of 3-day ticket is available, for $69.

The service will begin running each day at 11 a.m. and run “continuously all day with limited coverage” from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m, with the last shuttle to the festival leaving Bill Graham Civic Auditorium at 8 p.m. As for getting back, return shuttles run until one hour after the music ends each night, say festival organizers.

Outside Lands officials strongly recommend taking BART to Civic Center to pick up the official shuttle, but if you do drive, paid parking is available in the Civic Center Parking Garage adjacent to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for a fee (entrance at McAllister Street between Polk Street and Larkin Street.)

Getting to Outside Lands on BART

The nearest BART station to Golden Gate Park is Civic Center. From there, you can travel onward to Outside Lands using SF Muni, or use the official paid Outside Lands shuttle which departs from the nearby Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

BART service will run until “around midnight” on all three days, says the Outside Lands official guidance. Parking at BART stations with BART-run parking lots is free after 3 p.m. on Friday, and free all day on Saturday and Sunday (except for the Milpitas and Berryessa/North San Jose stations, which still charge on weekends.)

You can use the BART Trip Planner to hash out the details.

Getting to Outside Lands by bike

You can park your bikes at the festival, available at the eastern and southern parts of the festival site.

Bay Wheels, run by rideshare app Lyft, is available at the festival on JFK Drive, just east of Transverse Drive, to park your bike or get a bike home. Use this website to find Bay Wheels near you.

Make a plan for getting home each night (and know your last transit option)

Music ends at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9:40 p.m. on Sunday.

Phil Ginsburg, general manager of San Francisco Parks and Recreation, told KQED that exit routes are “very well marked and the strategies for both entering and leaving the festival are pretty well stablished at this point and we’ll have tons of security and there’s a lot of lightning in the area to keep people safe as they exit the festival.”

Use BART’s Trip Planner and SF MTA’s Trip Planner to check what time the last service of the day is.

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Can I take off my wristband, or leave Outside Lands to re-enter?

No, keep your wristband on your wrist if you’re attending multiple days of Outside Lands. (It’s waterproof, so you can shower with it.)

Ticketholders all get a wristband — and festival organizers want you to “treat it like cash.” In other words, the festival won’t replace your wristband if it gets lost or stolen. Do not cut it or twist your wristband, because it can fray and the festival will not replace it in those cases either.

Same day re-entry is not allowed. But if you have to leave the festival, festival organizers ask that you speak with a supervising staff member at an exit before leaving, to work out the details.

What to know about accessibility at Outside Lands

There is a designated ADA Entrance at 36th Avenue & JFK. This is where the Access Center is and you can request a golf cart inside, or get a collar for your service animal. Accessible pickup and drop-off is at 36th and Fulton. If you are taking a rideshare, let your driver know to tell the parking staff that you need access to the ADA parking, which is also at the 36th and Fulton entrance.

There is limited ADA parking available and is first come, first served. You can access this parking by entering 36th Avenue and Fulton and talking to the gate agents. It is worth noting that some of the ADA parking is on roads with uneven terrain, with a walk to the ADA gate. Notify the parking staff so they can request a shuttle for you to the gate.

There is a lot of demand for shuttles, so Outside Lands is limiting “capacity to our disabled patrons plus one companion. Because of the “limited number” of shuttles, Outside Lands organizers advise disabled festival goers to “please expect a wait, and plan your requests accordingly.”

Outside Lands provides elevated platforms at the following stages: Sutro, Twin Peaks and Lands End stages. There are “banquet style” folding chairs available at all of the platforms.

ADA restrooms are next to all of the accessible viewing platforms. Restrooms at Outside Lands also have accessible options at the ends.

Festival organizers recommend that you email access@sfoutsidelands.com ahead of time with any accessibility questions or requests.

Do I need to bring a jacket to Outside Lands?

Yes, it’s August. Yes, it’s Golden Gate Park. Yes, you still need to bring a jacket.

You can keep an eye on the National Weather Service’s forecast for San Francisco as the festival draws closer. But the park is near the ocean and it gets cold. Forgetting layers is a classic mistake to make.

Also, another outfit suggestion from experienced KQED reporters: Comfortable shoes you don’t mind getting dirty.

You can also consider buying earplugs that allow for sounds to get through for around $30.

What can I bring to Outside Lands?

Some items you can bring to Outside Lands

  • Clear backpacks and bags.
  • Non-clear small bags, fanny packs, and purses up to 6” x 8” x 3”.
  • Empty dedicated hydration packs with a capacity under 2.5L/150 inches, and just one pocket (standard-size backpacks with hydration bladders will not be allowed into the festival.)
  • A reusable container for water.

You can reserve a locker on the festival grounds in advance, but be sure to do so as soon as possible, as these reservations can sell out quickly.

An illustration showing the bag policy at Outside Lands (sfoutsidelands.com)

Some items you can’t bring to Outside Lands

  • Glow-sticks, laser pointers (however glow bracelets and necklaces are allowed).
  • Weapons, fireworks (including pocket knives).
  • Alcohol.
  • Pets (apart from service dogs).
  • Glass or cans.
  • Video or audio recording equipment (including drones, GoPros and selfie sticks).
  • Professional still camera equipment with “a detachable lens longer than 2 inches, tripods, big zooms, or commercial use rigs.”
  • Skateboards, scooters or bikes.
  • Strollers, wagons, or carts.
  • Hammocks, umbrellas, picnic baskets, coolers, liquids (excluding personal-sized hand sanitizers).
  • Chairs with legs or tents.

See the full list of items allowed or prohibited at Outside Lands.

What about eating at Outside Lands?

You can see the Outside Lands food vendor list ahead of time (DOCX), with vegan options marked, as well as the drinks list (including alcoholic and non-alcoholic options)(DOCX).

Or, as KQED Arts reported back in 2014, another option apparently favored by some locals is to “bury bottles of liquor in Golden Gate Park a week before the festival and dig it up later after you’ve slid past security.”

Any other useful Outside Lands tips I should know?

If you are looking for shortcuts to other stages (like a tunnel between Polo Field and Sutro Stage) or emergency exits, save the festival’s official map to your Camera Roll (JPG):

An illustrated map of Golden Gate Park showing the various stages available for Outside Lands (sfoutsidelands.com)

Here some other insider tips from KQED reporters:

What should I do in a crowd?

SFMTA expects around 75,000 people each day of the festival — and crowds can be overwhelming for some. With past tragic incidents at other festivals and Outside Lands fans even asking for better exits to prevent crowd crushes, it does not hurt to be cautious and prepared. Read NPR’s full guide on what to do if you find yourself caught in a crowd crush.

According to Mehdi Moussaïd, a research scientist in Berlin who studies crowd behavior, rely on your instincts and senses if you feel like the crowd is getting too dense. If you get stuck in a crush, move with the crowd and put your arms out in front of your chest and hold them there.

“In this position, you would have some space, just a little bit, to push for half a centimeter or just 1 centimeter — enough for you to keep breathing,” Moussaïd told NPR in 2022. “It’s not going to be comfortable. You’re going to be feeling really bad, but at least you’ll survive.”

I wasn’t able to get tickets — are there other related performances I can enjoy?

Yes, Outside Lands has several after-parties around San Francisco for which you can get tickets, from Thursday through Sunday. These shows include:

KQED’s Gabe Meline and Nastia Voynovskaya contributed to this story

Tell us: What else do you need information about?

At KQED News, we know that it can sometimes be hard to track down the answers to navigate life in the Bay Area in 2023. We’ve published clear, practical explainers and guides about COVID, how to cope with intense winter weather and how to exercise your right to protest safely.

So tell us: What do you need to know more about? Tell us, and you could see your question answered online or on social media. What you submit will make our reporting stronger, and help us decide what to cover here on our site, and on KQED Public Radio, too.

A version of this story was published on August 4.

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