With the excitement of spring break and spring fever upon us, finding something to do throughout San Francisco becomes more important than ever. When you want to get out and explore the city, what better place to stop by than the ever-popular Golden Gate Park, where you’ll find outdoor pursuits, running events, music, art, food, animals, culture, as well as the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States. To plan ahead for Golden Gate Park events in April 2015, consider the following activities and events for this month:


Aquascapes: Art of Underwater Gardening – Conservatory of Flowers – April 1 to April 12

Lovers of aquatic plants and curious underwater enthusiasts…this is your last chance to catch the Aquascapes exhibit at the Conservatory. This exhibition focuses on the appeal and beauty of tropical underwater gardens, and allows you to take a look at the diversity found in the freshwater tropical waterways of worldwide destinations including Africa, Asia and South America. With a combination of stone, wood and plants, these intricate aquariums are essentially living works of art. Those who visit several times throughout the exhibit’s run have enjoyed an ever-changing show of color and underwater life. The Conservatory of Flowers is open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with the last entry 4 p.m.

Live Concerts in the Park – Park Chalet – April 3 – April 26

While sipping on a local beer or sampling one of their latest appetizers, Park Chalet aims to enhance your dining and chill-out experience with a new lineup of Summer Concerts at Golden Gate Park. Local artists from the San Francisco area will play for free, and includes performances from the likes of Danilo (April 10), Justin Ancheta (April 11), Tommy Bean Blues Band (April 12), Sonny Fairly (April 17), Kenya B Trio 8 (April 18), Cruise-tones (April 19), Honey Heart (April 24), Swoop Unit 5 (April 25), and Jazzy Jan 6 (April 26).

2015 Easter In the Park: Hunky Jesus & Foxy Mary Contests – Hellman Hollow – April 5

This year marks the 36th time that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence host their adult-friendly burlesque, trashcan marching band, Easter Bonnet Contest (1 p.m.), and the festivities of crowning the newest Hunky Jesus (3 p.m.) and Foxy Mary (2 p.m.). This free event will take place at Hellman Hollow (formally Speedway Meadow), which is located at John F. Kennedy Drive and Transverse Drive. Performers for this year’s event will include the likes of Red Hots Burlesque, Empress Khmera Rouge, Kippy Marks, Sundance Saloon, Momma’s Boyz, and the Trashkan Marchink Band.

Yuri’s Nightlife – California Academy of Sciences – April 9

You don’t have to be an astronomy enthusiast to appreciate a celebration paying homage to the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin. Scientists and educators will be on hand to chat and answer questions. The Green Art Workshop also has something special planned for the evening. You can also be one of the only people to sip on a limited-edition beer brewed with yeast that has actually made its way to space. Music for the event also comes courtesy of Space Cowboys and a handful of SunsetSF DJs.

Thursday Nightlife events occur on a weekly basis (from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.), and are only for the 21 and over crowd to enjoy. The price of admission is $10 for members and $12 for non-members.

Additional Nightlife events at CAS for April 2015 include:

  • April 16 – Giant Nightlife: Come celebrate the latest exhibit at the Academy, Whales: Giants of the Deep, which includes colossal whale skeletons.
  • April 30 – Nature Nightlife: The evening will center on all things nature, where you’ll learn how to keep a beehive and make honey; view rare art; check out the Living Roof; and listen to house music in the Piazza.

Heron Watch – Stow Lake – April 11, 18, 25

Bring your camera to enjoy one of many Saturday events, where you can catch a glimpse of the beauty and majestic nature of the Great Blue Heron. With spotting scopes in hand, you will be able to view their baby chicks, as well as learn more about the behavior of these magnificently winged creatures which have 6-foot wingspans. Interns and volunteers from the San Francisco Nature Education will be on hand to answer your questions about the nesting season of the birds, as well as guide your exploration. This free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Jim Tracy ALS 5K – 2 Stow Lake – April 12

The first annual 5K run to commemorate inspirational track coach Jim Tracy will be held at Golden Gate Park. Tracy coached two decades and 40 seasons at San Francisco University High School (UHS), which led to accomplishments that include 10 state cross country titles in 19 seasons and four straight California Division V titles from 2009-2012. The race also supports the ALS Association with its $31 race fee and $3 sign-up fee. The run starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 10 a.m. with the top three female and male finishers receiving prizes from A Runner’s Mind. Runners are asked to arrive at 8:30 a.m. or earlier to register. For more information and additional registration details, click here.

Golden Gate Park 10K – Kennedy Drive – April 12

Another chance to stretch your legs throughout Golden Gate Park is with the 10K hosted by Dolphin South End Runners, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Participants will start off eastbound towards Kennedy Drive before touching upon East Conservatory Drive, McLaren Lodge, Bowling Green, Nancy Pelosi Drive, MLK Drive, and a few other points around the park before finishing at Overlook path. The race starts at 9 a.m. and costs $3 for 18 and over members ($5 for non-members), $3 for 13-17 year olds, and free for ages up to 12 years of age.

deYoung: Bouquets to Art – deYoung Museum – April 14 to April 19

Organized by the San Francisco Auxiliary of the Fine Arts Museums, the proceeds from this colorful event will go towards supporting exhibitions, education, and conservation programs at the de Young and Legion of Honor. The annual Bay Area extravaganza lasts for an entire week, and not only showcases the artwork of talented floral designers, but also includes special programs, such as demonstrations, hands on art activities for kids, and catered luncheons.

For more information, click here.

Strybing Walk & Talk (Natives/Redwood Grove Walk) – SF Botanical Garden – April 18

As Dr. Don Mahoney guides visitors through the majestic redwoods and wild native blooms, you can take in the sights of a display that features over 500 species and cultivars throughout the four acres of Arthur L. Menzies Garden of California Native Plants. The wildflower meadow offers an intriguing collection of plants to take in, and is at its peak in April and May. The century-old redwood grove is situated next to the garden, where more than 100 species of plants are found which includes huckleberry, sword ferns and flowering current. This event is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Golden Gate Park Band Season Kickoff – Spreckels Temple of Music /Music Concourse – April 19

It’s that time of the year again…when Golden Gate Park starts offering entertaining concerts on Sundays featuring the talented Golden Gate Park Band. Under the direction of Michael L. Wirgler, the 2015 season kicks off at the Music Concourse (found at Ninth Ave. and Lincoln Way, in case you didn’t know), where the festivities begin at 1 p.m. Expect the Boy Scout Troop 22 to entertain with a flag ceremony before the sounds of Von Suppe, L’Arlessiene Suite of Bizet, and music from ‘Evita’ hit the air. As always, this program is free and open to the public.

Another GGP Band concert for April 2015 with be held April 26 (theme to be announced) with the next one taking place on May 3 for Polish Constitution Day – a celebration filled with Polish music, singing and dancing.

Windmill 10K – Dutch Windmill – April 19

Take in the beautiful day with a 10K run throughout the park that begins at one of the city’s most unique attractions – the Dutch Windmill. Runners will head eastbound towards Kennedy Drive to the intersection prior to McLaren Lodge (Kezar Drive/Second Barricade), before turning around and returning back the same way to reach the finish line.

The race starts at 9 a.m., and is expected to last until 10:30 a.m. In order to participate, expect to pay the following fees: 18 and over ($3 for members and $5 for non-members); 13-17 years ($3); and free for ages up to 12 years old.

Four Twenty (420) – Hippie Hill/ Sharon Meadow – April 20

Expect lots of traffic, people-watching, and plenty of merriment around Hippie Hill, as locals and visitors gather to celebrate an ‘unofficial holiday’ that typically starts around10:30 a.m.  and peaks at 4:20 p.m. Please note that this is not a family-friendly event for bringing along the kids.

Orange Bike Ride for King’s Day – Murphy Windmill – April 25

In honor of the Dutch King’s birthday, wear orange and join in on a free group bike ride (supported by SF Bicycle Coalition) throughout the park. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., the ride begins at the Queen Wilhelmina Windmill (Dutch Windmill), and will end at the Murphy Windmill. Afterwards, a day-long celebration will follow to commemorate the first Dutch King’s Day at Murphy Windmill of this century (sponsored by the Consulate General of the Netherlands). You are encouraged to bring your own bike if you plan on riding, which is an event best suited for those ages 12 and up.

Ancient Eight Open Horseshoe Tournament & BBQ – Horseshoe Courts – April 25

Referred to as the Northeast Classic, this horseshoe event and barbeque feast is scheduled to take place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and is the perfect chance to enjoy a day filled with pitching horseshoes (or for those who simply want to learn more). Located on the hillside of San Francisco’s only native Old Growth Oak Woodlands, you will find a horseshoe court playing host to the tournament – courtesy of Dartmouth Club of Greater San Francisco and the San Francisco Horseshoe Pitching Club. Sign up for a round robin tournament as an individual or a team, or just come to grub on tasty BBQ. If you’d like to learn from the best, expert horseshoe pitchers from the National Horseshoe Pitching Association will also be present. For more information about the price of admission or registration, click here.