Is it better to avoid visiting San Francisco during Outside Lands?
February 12, 2013 5:29 PM   Subscribe

We are hoping to spend a long weekend in San Francisco in August and get married on a Monday at City Hall. We were looking at the weekend of August 10-11, but it looks like the Outside Lands festival is going on that weekend. Is the city going to be crazy that weekend? Will it be hard to find hotels & make restaurant reservations? Will the hotels be more full than usual with partying people? Should we do it the weekend before (August 3-4) instead, or is it likely that there's something else going on that weekend that will make things just as crowded? Any other logistical advice? We are doing a small family wedding - probably 11 people, including us and two small kids. Thanks very much!
posted by fussbudget to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (14 answers total)
There is a festival in SF every week, basically. The only ones I'd say might impact you are Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and Bay to Breakers because of the location/ size and magnitude/ roaming nature respectively. I wouldn't worry about Outside Lands at all.
posted by fshgrl at 5:46 PM on February 12, 2013

I never noticed the city to be worse than usual that weekend - obviously excluding Golden Gate park, which is not adjacent to downtown or city hall.
posted by MillMan at 5:47 PM on February 12, 2013

It would be sad for me to have Golden Gate Park off limits for a vacation to SF, but if that's not a concern for you, it shouldn't impact the rest of the city very much.
posted by brainmouse at 5:48 PM on February 12, 2013

GG park is pretty big and can handle festival crowds without the rest of the city bucking. Also, as a long term bay area resident, I've never heard of Outside Lands so it can't be all that big.
posted by chairface at 5:53 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

The city won't be noticeably more crowded, but the festival really does take up most of the park and it'd be a bummer to not be able to take them to play there.
posted by kelseyq at 6:24 PM on February 12, 2013

The city itself is not particularly crazy during the festival, but transportation around Golden Gate Park can be extremely delayed/challenging. Hotels and restaurants should be fine, as should transportation and tourism downtown. Congratulations!
posted by judith at 7:07 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Transit lines that go to the park get packed, but otherwise it's no big deal. I agree that it would be too bad to not be able to visit the park during your stay.
posted by imalaowai at 7:07 PM on February 12, 2013

Also, as a long term bay area resident, I've never heard of Outside Lands so it can't be all that big.

Attendance was 195,000 people last year, so, yeah, kinda big.
posted by judith at 7:10 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I did notice that GG park was insane that weekend, in terms of Sunday use (we go often).

Muni lines going to that area were also very full, but the rest of the city was fine. In fact, maybe getting restaurant reservations might be easier? Concert goers are at the concert, after all.

As for finding hotels, I'm sure it's always a challenge at that time of year to get the choice you might want. I'd book pretty early.

Congratulations! Got married at City Hall myself. Excellent location!
posted by mamabear at 7:50 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Outside Lands is big but I hadn't noticed it affecting much of anything except Golden Gate Park itself and the Muni lines right around it. If you weren't planning on spending time at the park, it shouldn't change your plans at all. If you were planning on park time, I agree that it's a shame you'd have to miss it, but there certainly are a zillion other things to fill a weekend with in San Francisco.
posted by naoko at 9:14 PM on February 12, 2013

I only realize it's going on when I see Facebook updates from friends who are there. Otherwise I'm generally blissfully unaware when it's happening and my weekend is not affected.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:40 PM on February 12, 2013

Last year was the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, Fleet Week(end), a 49'ers game, and a Giants playoff game all on the same day. A lot of traffic, but everyone had a good time... you'll be fine.
posted by TDIpod at 9:58 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

San Francisco can absorb Outside Lands and never even burp. It's contained to Golden Gate Park and it doesn't even make that big of a dent there. Feel free to come out.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:45 PM on February 12, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you, San Francisco people! This will reassure my mom, but we'll take the park availability into account when we're finalizing dates.
posted by fussbudget at 3:46 PM on February 13, 2013

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