Where to Listen:Spreckels Lake (36th Ave. and JFK Drive), just north of the Polo Fields, is a great place to have a picnic and chill during the concert. Typically, hundreds of people line the shores with picnic blankets, smuggled booze (or other illicit items) and listen to the main stage shows. You can’t see any of the stages, but the view of the lake is gorgeous and makes for a relaxed setting. As long as the wind is right, the sound is great too.
This area has more a family-friendly vibe as long as you’re okay with the typical San Francisco smell of marijuana.
How to Get to the Park:In our experience, the best place to enter the park is at 25th Avenue at Fulton Street. If you’re riding your bike to the park, you can park your bike at the free bike valet (in past years, a festival ticket has not been required).
From Your Couch – Live Streaming Video – Once again in 2016, you’ll get to watch many of the concerts live on your computer or mobile device. Catch performances, a hosted live show featuring artist and celebrity cameos, and plenty of surprises. While not every concert is being broadcast, there will be plenty of awesome shows on the schedule with three channels of live music.
What to Bring:
- Picnic Food
- Picnic Blanket
- Lawn Chairs
Where to Watch in Person (Outside the Gates)> Unfortunately in 2016, the fence perimeter is much larger than in past years, so many of the great viewing areas outside of the fence are no longer accessible.
In past years, the Twin Peaks stage has been one of the easiest and best places to watch the festival for free. The stage is conveniently located near the bike valet, and if you perch up on the hill by Marx Meadow, not only can hear flawlessly, you used to be able to have a near perfect view of the stage. While this was true in past years, there may be limited sight lines due to the increased fence perimeter. We’ve heard if you arrive early, you may be able to snag one of the remaining spots where you might be able to see. Vague? Sorry we know. Please email us with the scoop if you try for yourself and find out more.
If you’re lucky enough to actually snag a spot where you can see from here, we recommend parking your butt here for the day, but if you want to stage hop or check out different locations, be warned it’s a bit more tricky.
Moving between sets is a lot more difficult from outside of the fences than inside. Instead of cutting through the fields, prepare for a long hike around the perimeter that may take around 45 minutes to move between stages. We’ve heard that in past years there were plenty of stumps to sit on with a view; however, in 2016, your line of sight may be limited by surrounding trees and their perimeter fencing. Also, security might hassle you if they feel you’re encroaching on their turf.
10 Reason Why Doing Outside Lands from the Outside Might Be BetterParty at Outside Lands the Funcheap way
- Bring a cooler and pack it full of food that won’t get smashed in your bag and won’t cost you a ton
- Pack a cooler with drinks and you’ll save plenty of money. Instead of nearly $10 drinks inside, you can bring a cooler with all the drinks you can carry and they’ll stay cold throughout the day. You’ll also save the hassle of trying to sneak drinks in or ponying up the cash for pricey drinks, only to then fight the crowd to get back to your spot with your drink still in hand.
- It’s easier to stick together with your friends. Easily arrive together or pick a spot and let your friends know where you are. They should be able to find you much more easily than inside the fest with 75,000 daily attendees.
- Bring a lawn chair and be more comfortable
- Avoid the long wait for port-a-potties. There’s usually some outside the entrance to the festival, and by the afternoon, there should be virtually no wait.
- Avoid the pushy crowds. Pick a chill spot, lay down a blanket or your lawn chairs and set up shop. No one will embark on your staked out spot, so you can enjoy the festival without being in a mess of sweaty people.
- Possibly have a better view of the stage. This may not be valid for 2016, but if you’re lucky enough to get an optimal spot, then it’s possible to be have a better view of the stage than even inside the festival where you might get stuck in the back behind a massive crowd of people or behind that one really tall guy.
- Have room to dance. Boogie down with plenty of room to spare and start a dance party on the hill.
- With no admission fees, come and go when you want and you won’t feel obligated to stay longer than you wish. Just want to catch that one up-and-coming band or the headliner? Sure, make your way to the park for an hour or two and spend your day/weekend doing whatever the heck else you want to do.
- Avoid the maddening traffic at the end of the night. Since you’re outside the gates, you’ll have a head start on beating the traffic to get home.