From learning what makes an orchid tick to walking in the name of good causes to enjoying one of the most highly anticipated music festivals in the U.S., Golden Gate Park events for August 2016 involve a wide range of activities and events that are sure to please. Whether you decide to take an enlightening tour of the grounds or celebrate a milestone for a long-running park activity, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the following events in August:

NightLife Summer Music Series – California Academy of Sciences –August 4

As an Outside Lands pre-party treat, UK songstress Låpsley will entertain you with “soulful vocals and edgy ballads.” You’ll also have time to enjoy the featured art gallery of the week, ArtSpan, in addition to other artists. These NightLife gatherings occur nearly every Thursday, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets cost $15 (or $12 for Academy members). Only those belonging to the 21 and over crowd with valid identification are allowed to enjoy the party.

Other Thursday NightLife events planned for August 2016 include:

  • August 11 – Superhero NightLife: The event centers on a celebration of iconic comic book and cinema characters.
  • August 18 – Foodie NightLife: A culinary delight-filled evening offering cooking, cocktail demos and tastings from some of the leading masters of food in the San Francisco area.
  • August 25National Park NightLife: Join locals in paying homage to the National Park Service, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Free Spirit Tour – Haight-Ashbury District – August 5

If you’re looking for a tour of the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, which is famously known for its role in the hippie movement, Second City Tours provides you with an opportunity you don’t want to miss. The cost for this event is $10 to $15, which includes a 90-minute walk departing from Golden Gate Park with sightseeing through the historic neighborhood that includes pit stops at landmarks and former residences of significant personalities such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. At the end of the tour, everyone in the group is treated to a complimentary card reading. If you’d like to explore the area that fully embraced the Summer of Love and other moments of American counterculture, contact

Cocktail Time for Friday Nights at the deYoung – deYoung Museum – August 5

The first Friday Night cultural, art and live music extravaganza of the month is an ideal time to enjoy a cocktail amongst “friends.” Osher Sculpture Garden plays host to James Turrell’s Three Gems exhibition, which really shines at sunset. To get your creative juices flowing, check the Mixed Media Art-Making Station with Sedey Gebreyes at Buchanan Court. Wilsey Court offers live music by Village Road Trio, where you might hear the sounds of American bluegrass, Romanian and gypsy tunes, swing and ragtime. This event takes place from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

The programs, activities and general admission to the permanent collection galleries during Friday Nights at the de Young events are free.

Other scheduled Friday Nights events for August 2016 include:

  • August 12: Auricular Arrangements in collaboration with the Soundwave ((7)) Biennial – Guests are invited to explore an artistic soundwalk and sonic architecture, as the Amaranth string trio delivers a live performance in Wilsey Court.
  • August 19: California Brazil Camp Part 1 – Guitarist Chico Pinheiro plays Brazilian tunes at Wilsey Court with his trio (including Celso Alberti on drums and Scott Thompson on bass).
  • August 26: California Brazil Camp Part 2 – In the Piazzoni Murals Room, Paulsson Bott Press offers a live printmaking demonstration with live music played by Brazil Beat and special guests.

Outside Lands Festival – Golden Gate Park – August 5, 6 & 7

The annual music festival that incorporates art, food, drink, and other revelry is sold out to the general public, and if you don’t have a ticket, you’ll probably still feel the energy of this event. With headliners such as Lionel Ritchie and Radiohead, other performers slated to entertain across a multitude of stages at Outside Lands include Lana del Ray, Chance the Rapper, Third Eye Blind, and J Cole. This year, Outside Lands also offers a few new features that you might be interested in, such as the three-hole mini golf course added to The Back Wine, where you can putt-putt across the Golden Gate Bridge. Sierra Nevada will host pop-up shows and rare beers at their Beer Camp hub. Paypal will also entertain with The Arcade, where you can charge your phone, as well as win prizes while playing your favorite game.

Free Guided Trail & Nature Walk – Stow Lake – August 6

If you’re looking for an engaging outdoor activity, head for Stow Lake, where you can enjoy a complimentary guided nature walk surrounded by the native plants and wildlife of Golden Gate Park. The walk begins at 10 a.m. and requires no pre-registration for participants. This opportunity is offered on the first Saturday of each month, with interested parties meeting up at the Boathouse.

Ask the Orchid Doctor – Conservatory of Flowers – August 12 & 13

The Conservatory’s Orchid Doctor will be in, and ready to answer your questions about your beautiful blooms during a two-day event that includes repotting demonstrations, plant identification, and orchid care tips. Conservatory volunteer Paul Bourbin, who has been growing and rescuing orchids for 40 years, will be on hand from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Don’t forget to bring in your plant or a photo of it. This free event will be held at the Conservatory’s Palm Terrace.

Gem & Mineral ShowSan Francisco County Fair Building – August 13 & 14

For two days, you’ll be able to browse and bring home a host of impressive sparklers and gemstones – thanks to the San Francisco Gem & Mineral Society. Dozens of rock gem and jewelry vendors aim to entice with fine specimens, unique jewelry pieces, and jewelry-making materials. This year, the show’s theme is “Fiesta of Gems & Minerals,” which means that the rocks, minerals, gems and jewelry that are the stars hail from south of the border. On Saturday, the doors are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For Sunday, the event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Browse through books and tools to find different ways to perfect your craft or pursue an interest.

Check out live demonstrations in lapidary arts and jewelry fabricating techniques, as well as listen to complimentary lectures given by renowned experts. You can even bring in your own rocks, gems and minerals to have an expert identify it. Other highlights of the event include door prizes, silent auctions, fun for the kiddies, independent sellers with collectibles, finished jewelry, and fossils. The price to attend the show is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. Children under 12 gain free entry with a paid adult.

For more details, you can check out:

Festival of the Chariots – Sharon Meadow – August 14

It’s an all-day affair at Sharon Meadow, as the park plays host to India’s “Ratha Yatra” festival, which has been performed for thousands of years in Puri, India. Nowadays, you’ll see the observance celebrating in major cities throughout the world with more than 3,000 people in San Francisco showing up alone. This annual sight-to-see involves an interactive parade (beginning at 11 a.m. at JFK & Transverse), where people pull three large chariots by ropes throughout the park, stopping at the corner of JFK Dr. and Stanyan Street – also known as Sharon Meadow. Then, at 1 p.m., additional festivities kick off, which are fun for the whole family.

GGP Band Performance – Spreckles Temple of Music (Music Concourse) – August 14

In honor of the San Francisco Fire Department, as well as NERT and CERT volunteers, Golden Gate Park’s resident band will put on a performance. Every Sunday, the Golden Gate Park Band holds a free concert (starting at 1 p.m.) that attracts locals who come to hear themed music, enjoy a picnic lunch, and celebrate international holidays and national observances. For the month of August, you can also expect to enjoy the following concerts:

  • August 21: a celebration of St. Steven’s Day with Hungarian music, singing and dancing.
  • August 28: Ukrainian music, singing and dancing for Ukrainian-American Day

Bark for Life – Hellman Meadow (formally Speedway Meadow) – August 20

Our four-legged friends enjoy walking for a good cause too. With the American Cancer Society Bark For LifeTM event, individuals and man’s best friend can participate in a noncompetitive walk in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against cancer. The opening ceremony kicks off at 10 a.m., followed by dog activities at 11 a.m. Additional entertainment and other activities are scheduled to take place throughout the course of the event. For more details, you can contact Amanda McGee at (406) 381-2349, or [email protected].

Cure SMA Walk–n-Roll – Peacock Meadow – August 20

Join fellow supports for a scenic paved walk through Golden Gate Park, in an attempt to raise awareness and funds for finding a treatment and cure for spinal muscular atrophy. Throughout the day, there will be raffle items, refreshments, lunch, face painting and other activities. Registration for this event opens at 9:30 a.m. with the opening ceremony following at 10:15 a.m. The Walk-n-Roll begins at 10:30 a.m., while the entire event ends at 1 p.m. For more information, don’t forget to visit

Lindy in the Park Anniversary Party – GGP Bandshell/Music Concourse – August 20 & 21

Even if you haven’t taken a swing class at the park, it’s never too late to join in the festivities now. Celebrating twenty years of providing energetic fun in San Francisco, Lindy in the Park is recognized as the longest-running swing dance venue in the area. The schedule of events for this celebration includes:

  • Saturday: free outdoor swing dance at the Golden Gate Park Band Shell (which was the original LitP location) featuring Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy free outdoor DJ’ed swing dance/potluck party at the south sidewalk of John F. Kennedy Drive (their current dance location) with extended hours, beginner lessons at 12 p.m. and shared food and beverages.

In addition to being open every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., this is a free event. For more details about this organization, check out

Sustainably Sourcing the Perfect Bean – Conservatory of Flowers – August 26 & 27

Join Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters for an event that centers on sustainably sourced, roasted specialty coffee. Here, you’ll learn how coffee beans are selected and undergo the process of ‘going green.’ After a demonstration, you’ll be able to bring home a coffee plant. This event is scheduled to take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are not required to attend this free event, which will be held on the Conservatory’s Palm Terrace.

WALK on the Wild Side [Summer Sensations] – SF Botanical Garden – August 27

From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., stop by the Botanical Garden to enjoy some of the best blooms of the season with a guided tour led by Garden curatorial staff. Keep in mind that heavy rain cancels the event. It will cost members $15 to attend, while nonmembers pay $20.

Polo Field 5K – Polo Field – August 28

Kicking off at 9 a.m. is a Cross Country off-road 5K, followed by a Kids Run. The primary race starts at the upper dirt track on the North side of Polo Field, and finishes on the lower paved track on the South side. You’ll encounter Chain of Lakes Drive, Kennedy Drive, and Upper Speedway Meadow along the way. The cost to participate in this race is $3 (13-17 years, and 18 and over members); $5 for 18 and over non-members, and free for ages up to 12 years old. For more information, you can check the DSE HOTLINE at (415) 978-0837.