DO Figure Out How You’re Getting Home
You can take Muni to Outside Lands and get there quickly, but good luck getting home. As thousands of haggard zombies make their way out of the park, mayhem ensues. Muni lines leaving the park will be packed, but here’s an idea: Take a less crowded bus toward the ocean instead. Eventually it will turn around and you’ll actually have a seat. Another option: Take the South exit out of the festival, even if you’re trying to go north. Lincoln always seems less crowded than Fulton, so try walking up to Judah to take the N, or if you’re lucky, score an Uber or Lyft (but watch out for ridiculous surge pricing).
DON'T Expect Perfection
Like most things in San Francisco, Outside Lands is far from perfect. But that’s okay, as long as you go in with the right expectations. In 2008, a train of fog nearly derailed Radiohead’s headlining set. And it’s pretty much a given that a few bands will arrive late, play truncated sets, or in some cases, not show up at all. The sound isn’t always great either, especially when you watch from the sides. But, if you plant yourself near a speaker, things should be alright.
DO Bring Water
You’re allowed to bring two factory-sealed water bottles (up to 1 liter each) through the gates. Save your money and spend it on better things, like…
Charging $10 for a Bud Light at a baseball game is larceny. Downing a nice craft beer while listening to great music is far more enjoyable. Over two dozen local breweries are represented at this year’s Beer Lands. You’ll pay as much for one beer as you would a six-pack from the store, but at least it’ll taste good.
DON’T Go With A Big Group
You will get lost. Hell, if you go with more than four people, you’ll likely get split up at some point during the day, only to realize your cellphones don’t really work, it’s suddenly 55 degrees out, and you left your jacket in Sarah’s backpack. It’s way more practical to go with a small group of close friends and meet up with people once you’re there, that way you can have a blast and not feel obligated to keep up with the pack.
DO Stumble Through McLaren Pass
Sort of in the middle of everything but also incredibly easy to miss, McLaren Pass is home to carnies, chocolate, and GastroMagic. The latter is an underrated stage where chefs and audience members interact in a bizarre medley of sights, smells, and food demos. Last year, Brenda’s French Soul Food offered free beignets to anyone who twerked. You can check out this year’s lineup here.
DON’T Bring A Selfie Stick
Just don’t. Technically they’re allowed, but that doesn’t mean you should have one.
DO Find The Shortest Porta Potty Lines
There are a lot of Porta Pottys at Outside Lands. There are also a lot of Porta Potty lines. Less trafficked bathroom spots include: The tree-covered Porta Pottys on your right, if you’re walking toward Twin Peaks Stage from Lands End Stage, and the ones tucked behind McLaren Pass if you’re headed toward Sutro Stage. Memorize all the tiny blue squares on this map. Your bladder will thank you later.
DON’T Endlessly Hop Between Stages
The dilemma: Two bands you’re dying to see are playing at the same time. Do you watch one for 20 minutes then walk over to the other stage to see the second artist finish? No, because walking between stages takes a while, and if Cara suddenly has to pee, or your best friend from middle school appears out of nowhere and starts petting you, it could take even longer. Outside Lands isn’t a contest. You’re not on Supermarket Sweep. So resist the urge to fill your proverbial shopping cart with as many bands as possible, and just relax and enjoy the show.