With Outside Lands soon upon us, time is ticking to get all your ducks in a row and plan your festival experience. Here’s how to save a few headaches (and some hard-earned cash) before descending on Golden Gate Park for OSL this Halloween weekend.

An in-person Outside Lands is back starting tomorrow. Though last year’s Inside Lands was surprisingly sufficient — especially given the state of the pandemic at that time — it just didn’t compare to getting lost in a sea of warm bodies, coddling your small cup of $11 wine like a newborn while inching ever closer to the stage front.

Well, such a familiar reality could be in your future this Halloween weekend inside the Golden Gate Park. But it’s not like you can just fasten your OSL wristband and hope for the best; that's a sure-fire way to rack up a $100 Uber trip trying to leave the festival grounds in a crush of traffic.

In an effort to save you from transportation woes and vaccination check fumbles (and all the other inconveniences in between) for OSL, we’ve compiled a practical list of how-tos and whatnots for your pragmatic pleasure.

Before You Go: Gather Proof of Vaccination and Know What Bags Are Allowed

In order to get inside Golden Gate Park for OSL, you’ll need to either show proof of having completed a full COVID-19 vaccination series — your last dose must’ve been received at least 14 days prior to attending the festival — or tested negative for the disease within the past 72 hours, using either a PCR or antiviral test. Festival-goers can expect to present either their COVID-19 test results or proof of vaccination at any of the three main entrances, as well as the VIP entrance.

Making things easier — and TBH, to help ease congestion in lines — OSL officials are recommending all festival-goers download the CLEAR app to show proof of their vaccination statute. The mobile program allows users to create profiles and take a picture of their vaccination card to use in advance; profiles also require certain verifications to validate the account and ensure pictures of vaccine cards were given to the right individual.

Once it’s set up, remember to open your “Health Pass” to complete the “Day Of Health Survey” before you leave your house and head to the park. If your pass is “green” that means you’re all good to go.

If you don’t opt for the CLEAR app verification process, you’ll need to show a government-issued photo ID along with either a digital CA vaccine card; a physical CDC vaccination card that shows you’ve completed the vaccine series; a photo on a phone which shows your CDC vaccination card; or a physical or digital document showing your negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the festival. Unlike the festival itself, the SOMA Tent — where house music will be played nonstop — will require everyone to be vaccinated before entering.

Regardless of vaccination or COVID-19 test results, mask-wearing amid large, dense outdoor crowds is still recommended by both the San Francisco Department of Public Health and OSL organizers.

Much like 2019’s IRL OSL, only clear backpacks, fanny packs/small over-the-shoulder bags/ purses (which don’t have to be clear), and empty dehydration packs will be allowed inside the festival. However, if you do plan on bringing a specific kind of bag for a job that doesn’t fit those criteria — i.e. a camera bag — those must be pre-checked ahead by the press agency handling the festival.

Click here for more information on COVID-19 vaccination and COVID-19 test policies; visit this link to find additional details on bag policies, including the specific dimensions of both permitted and not-permitted bags.

Getting to Outside Lands(and Back Home): Festival Shuttles, Public Transport Services, and Reserving Rideshares

Arriving at Golden Gate Park for OSL can be a logistical pain, and getting out of the park and back toward the center of town can be worse. $100-plus Lyft or Uber rides aren’t unheard of. But! With some frugal foresight and planning, you can absolutely prevent spending a Benjamin on a ride back to your apartment/hotel.

For 2021, Outside Lands will offer a pre-paid shuttle service from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, taking riders to the south entrance of Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park. The shuttles — which will operate Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting at 11 a.m. and run continuously all day, with limited coverage from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. — are described a “coach-style buses” that offer a “comfortable ride to and from the festival each day.”

SFist reached out to Outside Lands about how the shuttles will be cleaned and operated to provide COVID-19-safe transport for guests, but have yet to hear a comment back from a spokesperson. We can only infer that those practices must at least fall in line with the City’s COVID-19 safety rules, and masks will of course be required.

Nevertheless: Make sure to snag your pass soon, as most tiers have already sold out ahead of this weekend’s festival.

As for public transit, SFMTA is providing extra service for the 5R Fulton bus and the N-Judah line, which will put OSL attendees within walking distance of either the north or south gate entrances, respectively. BART will also run past midnight Friday and Saturday from the Civic Center Bart Station. “Special Hourly Service” from the same station has also been approved for Sunday, extending service time past midnight (but the last train that will serve SFO airport will still run at 10:18 p.m.).

If you plan on taking Uber and Lyft, opt to reserve your ride to the festival well in advance. Not only will you be able to lock in a much cheaper fare, but you won’t find yourself high-key waiting for a half-hour to get picked up. And remember: Push comes to shove… you can always just walk to and from the park, but it might be a long walk.

When You’re Actually at OSL: Have Fun Doing and Eating All the Things

Once you get over the initial shock of finding yourself amongst thousands of warm bodies — having spent much of the past two years either alone or with your pod — you’ll need to find your bearings. But the very act of locating yourself amid the festival grounds isn’t exactly easy.

For one, try to avoid going through the main entrance. If previous years of attending the festival have proven anything, it is that the south entrance and VIP entrances are usually much less congested; we’d expect that problem to only be compounded by this year’s vaccination checks.  But even before you leave your home, don’t forget to download the OSL App for 2021. Aside from being just a handy tool itself — you can plan your viewing schedule; users can see specific foods and drink offerings from on-site vendors; OSL-specific merchandise is also for sale on the app, if that’s your thinking — the app’s included festival layout map is incredibly helpful.

As SFist wrote earlier this week: The rest of the festival layout is the same as in 2019, with the GastroMagic tent now over in Lindley Meadow on the opposite end from the Sutro stage. And the Bubble Tea Party is back in the wooded area along McLaren Pass, on the way between Cocktail Magic and the stairs down to the Panhandle Stage.

For 2021, GrassLands will feature a stage; cannabis lovers can expect live music, demonstrations from on-site vendors, and the occasional comedy act facing that stage. Speaking of comedy: OSL’s seated comedy tent, the Barbary Stage, will go away this year — marking its first absence since it was introduced in 2014. Feel free to fill that void with all the must-eat morsels at this year’s fest.

No matter how you choose to get to OSL or show your vaccination status or stumble through Hellman Hollow, enjoy yourself. Be safe; have a good time. Just watch out for the occasional patch of slick mud from this past weekend’s weather event.

Related: Outside Lands Will Have a Full-Time House Music Tent, No Comedy This Year

Will Golden Gate Park Be a Mud Pit for Outside Lands? We Scoped It Out

Hot Chicken, Quesabirria Tacos, and More Things You Should Eat and Drink at Outside Lands

Photo: Picture of OSL circa 2019 via OSL Press/JN Silvia