Completing our three-part series on how to do Outside Lands like a pro, SFist brings you some tips for getting there, navigating the place, and getting out.
Unlike Coachella or a lot of other festivals around the country, Outside Lands has no onsite parking — except for bikes! — which means driving your personal vehicle there is a major headache and is not advised. Even taking an Uber/Lyft out to the vicinity, especially during the prime arrival time around 4 or 5 p.m. on Friday, is going to be painful, because priority is being given to buses — and the end of Fulton Street near the festival entrance at 36th Avenue will be an unmitigated shitshow, and you'll have to get out and walk anyway.
Best advice: Take the N-train or the 5-Fulton bus. Both will be popular choices and packed, but they are the quickest and simplest way to get your butt out to the western end of the park. Ride the N farther than you think you need to, to 25th or 30th Avenue. The only entrance to Outside Lands is about parallel with 33rd Avenue, but there are limited ways into the park, with 25th Avenue being a main road. On the north side of the park, via the 5 bus, you'll be entering at 30th Avenue, or 36th Avenue if you have VIP.
And the easiest way to get a Muni ticket is to download the MuniMobile app.
Be forewarned if you're coming from the South Bay or East Bay via BART: There are both Giants and Raiders games going on this weekend that will also impact the trains. You'll want to take BART to Civic Center and hop on the N-Judah from there.
There are also shuttle bus tickets available for those who can't deal with public transportation, and those are $48 ($19 for single-day). Shuttle buses leave from Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and go straight to the fest, and pick up up to an hour after each night's sets end.
How to get out. Getting out of this festival is not hard, but like getting in it is a bit of a schlep. WHATEVER YOU DO DON'T TRY FINDING A RIDESHARE VEHICLE. The traffic alone will drive your fare sky high, if you even find one, but the map above shows where the proper passenger loading zones are, if you insist on spending $50+ on this ride home. If you want to end up in the Castro or somewhere downtown, exiting out the south exit of the festival (toward the Sunset) is the way to go, walking up the two blocks to Judah after you exit the park — best advice is to go as far out toward the ocean as possible, say 36th Avenue or Sunset Boulevard, because when the festival lets out those first few trains heading inbound are packed, and if you're further down the line you won't get on. On the north/Fulton Street side of the park, there will be a line of Muni buses toward the end of each night. The front ones load and leave first, so walk to the front of the line. Many of these buses will be run express to Civic Center, with no stops in between, which means you're on your own from there. Some buses may let you out at McAllister and Divisadero.
You are allowed to bring in food and water. Even though there is a lot of great food to be found at Outside Lands, some of you have special needs and diets, and that's OK. You just have to know that it must be packed in a clear plastic or vinyl backpack, or a fanny pack. You can also bring up to two factory-sealed water bottles up to one liter each, or a refillable water container.
You're going to be doing a lot of walking. The footprint of this festival is enormous, the footpaths get quite dusty by Day Two, and you need to allow for travel time if you're trying to make the beginning of a particular set. From the Lands End stage at the west end of the polo field to the Twin Peaks stage at the far eastern part of the festival grounds, it's basically a ten-minute walk.
Bring extra layers. I can't stress this enough. Nights in Golden Gate Park get frigidly, fantastically cold.
Photo: Annie Lesser