The main stage at the Outside Lands Music & Arts Fest
Ryan Devenish/Flickr

AUGUST

Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival

It makes sense that the 1960s' home of flower power, historic rock concerts and the summer of love is also home to Outside Lands, a multi-stage music and arts festival in Golden Gate Park. The 3-day August event—which started in 2007—fills the park’s meadows and glades with a platinum-level line up of diverse artists. Past headliners have run the musical gamut—from The Who and Metallica to Stevie Wonder, Kanye West and Radiohead.

Opt for general admission passes or upgrade to VIP status for special lounge access, exclusive viewing areas and entrance into exclusive areas for special food, beer, wine and spirits options.

Speaking of those options… you can ditch your preconceived idea that they will be limited to typical festival fare. Outside Lands is known for surprisingly swanky food and wine choices for all attendees, so come hungry—and ready for a tipple or two. The Wine Lands and Beer Lands big-top tents pour some of the finest in craft libations sourced locally as well as from further afield, while Cheese Lands—ingeniously located right by Wine Lands—and Outside Clams offer up delectable treats from the dairy and the sea, respectively.

Hungry for more than just nibbles? The Taste of the Bay 'local flavours' area has in the past featured such options as bacon-wrapped sausages from Mexican cantina Tres, gourmet pies from Little Star Pizza, lamb burgers from Black Cat and frozen treats by Smitten Ice Cream. There are even chef demonstrations, wine-tasting events and a pop-up bar, Cocktail Magic, which features a magician and bartenders from local bars such as Horsefeather and Pacific Cocktail Haven.

There will also be plenty of Bay Area artists on hand to add visual splendour to the experience in the form of live-painted murals and sculptures. Comedy will be performed in The Barbary section of the festival, and thought-provoking discussions with engaging guests about virtually everything will be had on the D.A.V.E. (Discussions About Virtually Everything) stage. Past speakers include such luminaries as now-Governor Gavin Newsome, Bill Nye (the Science Guy) and Grateful Dead co-founder Mickey Hart.

Insider tip: Buy Outside Lands shuttle passes and ditch the car—pick-up and drop-off spots are located across the city.