October marks the end of some of the most pleasant days (weather-wise) for the city, which is often ideal for attending a large music festival, ‘veging out,’ or taking an autumn run in the park. This month, the park will greet a number of walks and runs for good causes, as well as several unlisted cross country events breezing through the meadows. It’s a perfect time to stay active in the park. To learn more about the exciting Golden Gate Park events for October 2015 (including an Oktoberfest party you don’t want to miss), consider the following:

fall leaves

Friday Nights at the deYoung (E wehe ana i ka maoli) – deYoung Museum – October 2

Translation for the first event of the month’s event is “uncovering what is real” – an evening that pays homage to the artistry of Pacific Island tattoo. A tattoo design showcase in Piazzoni Murals Room allows visitors to check out traditional and contemporary tattoo designs and motifs associated with Bay Area Pacific Islander tattoo artists. The mixed-media art-making station takes a page of inspiration from tattoo art of the Pacific Islands. Live music by Finn Gruva kicks off at Wilsey Court (6:30 p.m.). A guest lecturer will discuss on Hawaiian culture, customs, and kākau (tattooing). Artist-in-Residence Taro Hattori will also be on hand for the night.

From 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., Friday Nights at the de Young events are a blend of art, live music, culture, dance, film screenings, hands-on activities, and exhibition tours that are fun for the entire family. The cafe is open during this time, serving a prix-fixe menu and pouring specialty cocktails. You can also head for the Hamon Tower observation level, which is open until 8 p.m.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival – Hellman Hollow/Lindley/Marx Meadows – October 2, 3 & 4

Music lovers from all over come to enjoy one of the largest (and free) music festivals in the country, which stretches across three days and includes performances on seven stages. The park is expecting more than 750,000 attendees to flock to the park to enjoy a schedule featuring 100+ musicians and bands. This year, the event adds the first ever HUSHcast Silent Disco, which is completely free and awaiting your exploration in the shady grove situated between the Roster and Banjo Stages. Here, you will find an assortment of Motown, New Orleans funk, classic hip hop, hick hop, and Southern Crunk tunes – amongst other musical styles.

Highlights for this year’s schedule includes Conor Oberst; the orchestral ensemble Kronos Quartet; Big Star’s Third (with guest singers Steve Early and Robyn Hitchcock);Michael Franti & Spearhead; Lee Ann Womack; seven-piece Celtic punk band from LA Flogging Molly; UK funk & soul band The New Mastersounds; Boz Scaggs; The Brothers Gibb; and Peter Weller. The final day sends the event off in style with the sounds of Emmylou Harris’ yearly appearance, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Indigo Girls and Los Lobos.

Each day, expect the meadows to open at 10 a.m. with the last shows of the day kicking off between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.

Annual World Veg Festival – SF County Fair Building – October 3 & 4

Marking the 16th year that this two-day festival has been in existence, you don’t have to lead a plant-based lifestyle to appreciate the food vendors, exhibitors, expert speakers, and entertainment that come for this extravaganza.

The hours for this event are as follows:

  • Saturday, Oct 3rd – 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct 4th – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tickets also sold at door, and the cost to enjoy this event is $10 (students and seniors); $20 (family), and $30 (if you spring for the SFVS membership which includes discounts to many Bay Area restaurants). San Francisco Veg Society (SFVS) members enjoy free admission.

To review the schedule and program for the event, check out http://worldvegfestival.com.

Garden Volunteer Workparty – Kezar Triangle – October 3 

If you’d like to give back to the park, volunteerism is a welcomed approach. Assistance at the recently opened community garden at Kezar Triangle is needed, and if you’d like to share a bit of your time, a workparty planned for the areas has a handful of light gardening tasks that need to get done. The event starts at 9 a.m. with light refreshments being on hand for participants. You’ll also have the opportunity to take in the sights of the “Plot to Grow Art,” which is encircled by a woven fence comprised of willow boughs. If interested, RSVP at [email protected].

Free Guided Trail & Nature Walk – Stow Lake – October 3

If a Saturday walk with nature by your side sounds like something you’d like to do, then the free guided trail and nature excursion at Stow Lake might be just the thing for you. No pre-registration needed to participate in the walk, which starts at 10 a.m. Keep in mind that trail walks are cancelled due to rain or unsafe conditions. Interested? Meet up is at the Boathouse in Golden Gate Park.

Oktoberfest: Steins, Pretzels & 30-Piece “Oompah” Band – Park Chalet – October 3

Come celebrate the newly renamed Park Chalet Coastal Beer Garden with an Oktoberfest bash unfolding at Golden Gate Park. From 2 pm. to 5 p.m., Deutscher Musikverein, a 30-piece traditional German ‘oom-pah’ band will entertain guests, who may purchase a one liter souvenir Coastal Beer Garden decorative beer stein filled with ale. The drink of the day will be handcrafted Ocean Bach Oktoberfest lager, courtesy of the Chalet’s Master Brewer Aron Deorsey. Other specialty brews will be on hand for the event, as well as Park Chalet’s handmade German pretzels and servers costumed as Bavarian barmaids. Although the event itself is free to attend, you’ll have to pay for food and drinks.

GGP Band Farewell to the Season Concert Spreckels Temple of Music October 4

It’s time to say farewell to the weekly concerts in the park that the Golden Gate Park Band treated us to throughout the year, but the good news is – you have one last hurrah to sit a spell while listening to one of many historic gems of Golden Gate Park. This time around, the band is hosting an All-Request Program; therefore, if you have a favorite tune you’d like heard – now is the time to attend. The program will begin at 1 p.m. and most likely carry on until 2:45 p.m.

American History Walking Tour – Conservatory of Flowers – October 4

If you’d like to explore the historic beauty of Golden Gate Park, meet in front of the Conservatory of Flowers at the top of the stairs to enjoy a free two-hour walk which will touch upon some of the familiar and lesser-known attractions of the park. In addition to commemorating events in American history, you’ll also learn about the statues, plaques, monuments and trees which give the area some of its character. The tour begins at 1 p.m.

Free Japanese Garden Days – Japanese Tee Garden – October 5, 7 & 9

When was the last time you visited the Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park? If you enter by 10 a.m., you’ll pay no admission fee on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.

In-Motion Thursday Nightlife – Academy of Sciences – October 8

The human body is not only a work of art, but also the way it moves is science itself. Allow the Alonzo King LINES Ballet to bring to life this week’s Thursday Nightlife theme. Head for the Piazza to sneak a peek at the company’s newest ballet Biophony. You’ll also find dance workshops hosted by LINES Dance Center in African Hall. Tickets cost $10-$12, and are only available for the 21 and over crowd, which runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Other Thursday Nightlife events for October 2015 include:

  • October 15 – NightLife LIVE: October – live performances by Hundred Waters and TOPS, presented by Treasure Island Music Festival.
  • October 22 – Cosmic NightLife – In addition to ‘cosmo talks’ presented by Wonderfest, the evening will also include cosmic disco sets, space trivia, and out-of-this-world planetarium showings.
  • October 29 – Creatures of the NightLife – Get in the Halloween spirit as a costumed attendee at this annual spook fest, which includes a drag show hosted by Peaches Christ and haunted house fun.

Plant Sale – SF Botanical Garden – October 10

As the Garden’s monthly plant sales dwindle down to two last engagements for the year, the stars of this gathering will appeal to those looking to add Trees, Ferns & Rhododendrons to their outdoor and indoor spaces. You’ll find the specimens on display from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. at the Nursery, which can be accessed from the Main Gate.

Step Out: Walk to End Diabetes – GGP Bandshell – October 10

Whether you have diabetes or know a close friend or relative who does, you can participate in a fund-raising event centered on the cause that has raised millions of dollars so far. In addition to the walk, the event will also have music, food, activities for the kids, and local entertainment. Participants will check-in at 8 a.m. for a 9 a.m. start. For more information, contact the event coordinator, Sherga Kong at [email protected] or (510) 654-4499 x7409.

SF Miles for Midwives 5K Fun Run/Walk – Peacock Meadow – October 11

This 3rd annual run/walk event celebrates midwifery and the women and families served by Bay Area midwives. Registration for this stroller-friendly event starts at 8:30 a.m. with the race beginning promptly at 9:00 a.m. Music and a midwifery fair featuring local practices and organizations will be held after the run/walk with proceeds going towards increasing access to midwifery care for families in California. Prizes will be awarded, including a special prize going to the first stroller to cross the finish line.

A limited number of race bibs will be available on race day, so it is strongly advised to register via Eventbrite in advance for the $30 general fee. The cost to participate on race day is $40.

Edgewood’s A Day of Play – Sharon Meadow – October 17

From 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., a free day of play for the kiddies is scheduled to take place at Sharon Meadow, where they can indulge in an afternoon filled with bounce houses, face painting, mini-soccer, kickball, yoga, Giant Jenga, and many other fun activities. To cast your vote for your favorite activity, and to RSVP for the event (which is requested), click here.

SuperNautral Halloween – California Academy of Sciences – October 23

Come in costume, where kids will enjoy a spooky-good time trick-or-treating their way through the Academy at night, where you never know what kind of specimens lurk in the shadows. General entry for this event will be at 6:30 p.m., which will also include access to giant pumpkin carving, dancing, face painting, magic shows, scientists, live animal shows, crafts, photo booths, food, and drink. The cost to enjoy this event is $50 for adults ($45 for Academy adult member), and $35 for children ($30 for Academy child member). For more information on the event, as well as details on how to enjoy early entry, click here.

Making Strides: Against Breast Cancer – Hellman Hollow – October 24

Making Strides is part of the largest network of breast cancer awareness events held in the U.S., and Golden Gate Park will be hosting an event aimed at furthering the cause. This non-competitive, 3-to-5 mile event not only raises funds and awareness, but also shows support for breast cancer fighters, survivors and their families. This event begins at 8 a.m. For more information and to sign up for the event, you can click here.

Pet Pride Day – Sharon Meadow – October 24

You don’t have to be a pet owner to enjoy yourself at an event centered on celebrating furry, finned, feathered members of the family. Hosted by San Francisco Animal Care & Control, you won’t want to miss the pet costume contest and parade, or get a chance to interact with SFPD’s K9 and mounted units. Other highlights of the event (which is entering its 22nd year) include the ‘Dog Mayor,’ the Greyhound Games, working animal demos, and the chance to bring home an adoptable pet of your own. This event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is truly fun for the entire family.

Full Moon Walk – SF Botanical Garden – October 24

What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than with a Garden tour by the light of a full moon? Docents will guide visitors on an evening excursion from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 pm. for an exploration of all the things that go bump in the night at the Garden. Afterwards, sip on hot tea and enjoy other refreshments at a quiet spot in the Garden. Those interested must arrive on time at the Main Gate. Once the tour departs, you cannot enter the Garden. It’s suggested to bring a flashlight. Heavy rain will cancel this event, which costs $20 for members and $25 for non-members.

Walk to End Lupus Now – Bandshell/Music Concourse – October 25

Residents of San Francisco will gather to participate in the Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk to End Lupus Now event, which represents one of the largest lupus walk programs in the U.S. In an effort to raise money for lupus research and education programs, increase awareness, and gather public support, walkers and supporters are helping to soften the blow that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans.

The events for the day are as follows:

  • 7:30 a.m. – Registration Opens
  • 8:45 a.m. – Opening Remarks
  • 9:00 a.m. – Walk begins
  • 10:30 a.m. – Closing Remarks

To register for this event, click here.

SF Mad Dash Costume Run and After-Party – Polo Fields Stables – October 31

If you’re an adult looking to celebrate Halloween in costume, and get your candy too (without feeling embarrassed), Golden Gate Park has an event for you…which also lets the kids tag along too. The 4th annual SF Mad Dash 5K Costume Run is back, where all registered runners receive a goody bag at the end of the finish line. Live music, food, drink, costume contest, kids’ corner, raffle and prizes for the runners are all part of this event. Additionally, proceeds from this benefit go towards a good case – the Sunset Cooperative Nursery School. This event is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Early Bird registration prices are $30 per runner. For more information, you can visit sfmaddash.com.