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Outside Lands With Kids

Rock out with your kids! What better way is there to share your love of music than to take your children to a concert? And there’s no concert quite like San Francisco’s annual Outside Lands held in beautiful Golden Gate Park! Hopefully you were one of the early birds who managed to snag a few tickets early, because the concert billed as Coachella West has already sold out on several days. Once you’ve got your tickets in hand, you’re ready to spend an awesome day of music, food, and (hopefully) great weather. Here are some insider tips on how to get there and what to bring so you and your family can have the most fun!

photo courtesy of Ryan Resella via flickr

Outside Lands 411:

Cost: $95-$495. Children 2 and under Free.

Where: Golden Gate Park, Polo Field.

When: August 9-11, 2013.

Time: Gates open at 11:00 am, Music starts at 12:00 pm.

Friday: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 9:45 pm.

Getting There:
The first thing you have to plan for is the crowds. There is public transportation to and from the event but it tends to get overwhelmed. Parking is so limited so we suggest dropping off your passengers before you look for a spot so your little ones don’t have to walk too far. If you are driving, expect delays. 19th Avenue will get more congested as you get closer to the park. Nearby neighborhood parking will be a challenge. Good Luck!

Bike parking however is free and if you start from the South side of the park, downhill. There will be valet bike parking on site.

The 5 Fulton bus and the N Judah train will get you closest to the venue, but they will also be the most crowded. The 71 Haight/Noriega bus will also be crowded but the 31 Balboa, 38 Geary and 1 California should better. Check out the Muni’s trip planner to map out your exact route.

There will also be a shuttle from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, adjacent to Civic Center Plaza. The Bart station stop is Civic Center.

3-Day Shuttle Pass: $29.50 ($4.90 per trip)

Shuttle Hours: 11:00 am – 12:00 am.
Each day there is limited coverage from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

Whether you drive, bike or take public transportation, plan on arriving early!

What to Wear:
The weather can still be cold in August so dress in layers. Expect fog in the morning and then some sunshine in the afternoon. Since this is San Francisco, we all know that temperatures can change 20 degrees on some days. Wear a hat and sunscreen in case of sunshine. Also make sure to outfit your kiddos in comfortable shoes as everyone will be on their feet for most of the day. If you plan on attending all three days your feet will thank you.

What to Expect at the Gate:
No Framed backpacks, something to keep in mind if you plan on carrying your child.

No Umbrellas so wear a hat for some shade and check the weather for rain.

No Picnic Baskets. Snacks should be ok, but be prepared for some long food lines later in the day.

There will be the standard bag check at the entrance and you are limited to two 1-liter bottles of water each. The full list of what is allowed can be found here.

Setting Up Base Camp:
If you arrive early and claim a spot, laying down a blanket and taking turns to get food and watch the bands is the best way to enjoy the concert, but sometimes the crowds can be a bit overwhelming. Think about having a quiet spot to retreat to. While you might be able to rock and roll all night, your little one might need to ease into the full experience of a concert.

Hearing protection for the kids is important. Over the ear muffs seem to be the most popular but use whatever you child will wear. Your kid m

ight be comfortable with swimming ear plugs or the foam plugs that come in lots of different colors.

Be prepared to talk about ‘Adults’ acting strangely. There will be people smoking and drinking all around you, which won’t go unignored by your little ones.

Insider Tip: Put a wrist band on your kiddo with your phone number in case they get lost or separated from you. Due to the crowds, expect bad cell service so consider writing ‘please text me’ on the band as well.

photo courtesy of belTRON via Flickr

Food & Wine:
Rolling Stone called Outside Lands a ‘foodie fest’, separate from all other concerts venues.  Where else but here will you find a grilled cheese sandwich with a tomato soup shooter and rosé wine food pairing at a rock concert?

Here are a few kid-friendly eats to keep an eye out for:

Escape from New York Pizza – tomato, fresh mozzarella, and you pick the rest!
Full Belly Farms – serves organic, seasonal fruits in addition to dried fruits and apple juice
Charles Chocolates – s’mores and more
Let’s Be Frank- 100% grass-fed beef hot dogs
Farmerbrown’s Little Skillet – fried chicken & mac n’ cheese
Leslie’s Dessert Werks – scoops, smoothies, and ice cream sandwiches
Nombe – Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken Nuggest)
Q Restaurant and Wine Bar– tater tots with Smilin’ Andy’s Mojo Mix
Straw – Grab some of their Sweet Potato Tots…yum!

Since you got there early, take advantage of the short lines. If you are new to eating out of a truck, give it a try. You will be amazed at what they can serve up out of a van these days. Bring your appetite and expect long lines but don’t be afraid of trying new foods. If you run out of cash, there will be ATM’s onsite.

Expect it to get more crowded the later it gets with the big bands headlining in the evening. The crowds have to be mentioned again as it can be equally congested on the way out, as it was on the way in.

If it seems like too much effort to coordinate rest times and snacks you can always set your little one up for an event of their own, or call a babysitter.

Long live Rock!

— Timothy Wang

San Francisco Events

Visit Strawberry Anemones at the Cal Academy

Golden Gate Park ( map )Jul 22 at 9:30 a.m.

Your Babies Will Drool Over this Drop-In Playtime

Marin County ( map )Jul 22 at 9:30 a.m.

Live Out a Story at Cheeky Monkey Toys

Peninsula ( map )Jul 22 at 10:30 a.m.

Enjoy an Afternoon Storytime with Jamaroo at Sprout

Marin County ( map )Jul 22 at 4:30 p.m.


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