[UPDATED August 2013]
Don’t be late – Lots of folks roll in around the 5 o’clock hour. If you join them, you will miss out on dozens of amazing artists. Gary Clark Jr., Soft White Sixties, Jessie Ware, Surfer Blood, Hall & Oates and many more all play before 5 p.m. Additionally, you will miss the long line that accrues at the Heineken dome.
Do pace yourself – You’re going to have to make some tough decisions – Nine Inch Nails or Phoenix? Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Grizzly Bear? Dawes or A-Trak?? ARGH! The good news - the final bands at the Land’s End stage play for nearly two hours (and Sir Paul has a nearly three-hour set), so it’s entirely possible to catch both headliners on opposite ends of the park. Just expect to be in the way back.
Do wear comfortable shoes – You will rack up many miles walking and running between stages to catch acts. Sandals are not advised this year, certain areas will be a slick, sopping wet mess (especially inside the Heineken dome).
Do bring layers – The forecast calls for highs in - brace for it - the 50's. It normally feels downright hot in the crowd if and when the summer sun is shining. But, don’t be fooled. Looks like Karl the Fog will be doting on us for most of the weekend. The 4 – 8 p.m. hours are the most windy and chilly time of day in the City. Bring leggings, scarves, hats, fingerless gloves, and definitely something long-sleeved.
Do bring a light blanket – You will definitely want to sit down at some point during the long day, so be the hero of your group. A sarong is too thin, a light blanket, ideal. The grass and straw won’t stay dry for long. Also used for staking a spot.
Do mix it up. Outside Lands is a veritable playground for adults. Check out the live art happening. Stop by The Barbary for some offbeat, comedic entertainment. Relax with a sauv blanc in the Wine Lands tent, sample microbrews at Beer Lands (our picks here!), and indulge in a sweet within the Chocolands forest.
Do ride a bike if you can. There will be free valet service, and you can also lock it to any rack provided (of which there will be plenty). After nine hours of running around Golden Gate Park, the last thing you want to do is walk three miles out of the park. Another option is a pedicab. If the Sidecar and Lyft drivers are smaht, they'll hang out on the edge of the park. Don’t even kid yourself, you will not find a cab and MUNI will be packed, but if you opt for MUNI…
Do walk a few extra blocks to find an alternate MUNI route. The N is supremely popular, as is the 5 Fulton. But the 31 Balboa is only a few extra blocks north as is the Geary 38 and 38L. Or, there’s always Uber. Or, well, really, you should try and ride a bike. And if you do end up riding or walking back through the park…
Don't be a loner. Make new friends on the long trek home. Guaranteed, you'll stumble upon a lone trumpet player by a park statue, a magic mystery bus with an impromptu dance party occurring across from the Conservatory of Flowers, or a posse taking a break in front of the de Young. The City is magical at night. Soak it in!