It’s the start of a New Year in San Francisco, and as you make your resolutions, what are some of the things you’ve always wanted to do in Golden Gate Park? You now have a brand new year to plan cultural outings, view art exhibits, attend music festivals, explore space and science, and try something new…like a Segway ride through the park. Below you will find a handful of Golden Gate Park events for January to help jumpstart 2017:

How-To NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – January 5

It was so popular the last time around, the Academy decided to host another round of how-to workshops, demos, and other scientific fun. African Hall will open up to an assortment of DIY workshops featuring activities manned by GoGoCraft, OCSC Sailing School, TOOL, and Circus of Smiles. The East Pavillion allows you to test out your bread-making skills. In the Project Lab, veggies, silk-screening, and insects are the stars of the show. If you’re in the mood for music, the DJ Luiza Sa-Davis will be set up in the Piazza.

Thursday NightLife events at the Academy are held for the 21-and-over crowd; valid identification is required at the door in order to gain entry. Academy members pay $12, while non-members are charged $15 per ticket. The party starts at 6 p.m., and typically ends around 10 p.m. Additional Thursday NightLife events scheduled for January 2017 include the following:

  • January 12th: Fungus Among Us NightLife – Mushroom lovers, unite! The evening will include an author, an inventor, ‘shroomy specimens, and a chance to learn how to assemble your own DIY mushroom growing kit.
  • January 19th: Sketchfest NightLife – If you’re in need of a good laugh, you may want to buy your tickets early to experience SF Sketchfest taking over the Academy. New Wave City’s DJ Shindog provides music for the night in the Coral Reef.
  • January 26th: NightLife – There will be plenty of science and fun to explore. The Academy offers access to one of their newest food and drink experience (Adult Chemistry), which pairs special menu items with beverages, such as sparkling wine, whiskey, and champagne. The price for an Adult Chemistry tasting ticket is $18. In the Piazza, DJ King Most spins for the night.

San Francisco Vintage Paper Fair – County Fair Building – January 7 & 8

The SF County Fair Building will play host to a two-day affair that concentrates on a vast range of paper goods – from trade cards to sports memorabilia for the diehard fan. The Vintage Paper Fair in GGP boasts one of the largest selections of postcards, stereoviews, pin up art, local history, photography, labels, brochures, and all sorts of other interesting pieces of paper and paper goods on the West Coast. This is also your chance to find out more about those antique postcards from Grandma you always wondered about; there will be free appraisals on site.

The hours for this event are:

  • Saturday: 10a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hot Chocolate 15K / 5K San Francisco – Golden Gate Park Music Concourse – January 8

You don’t have to be a chocolate lover in order to enjoy this event, but the post-race party is certainly something for someone with a sweet tooth to drool over. On the day of the race, pick up your packet, race day bib and goodie bag. Following the race, delicious fondue awaits and plenty of other activities will be available, including games, music, and a bounce house for the kiddies. The start time for the 5K is 7:30 a.m., while the 15K kicks off at 8:20 a.m. Those who finish their event will receive an official Hot Chocolate medal. For more information, click here.

Rachel Diaz–Bastin Artist Reception – SF Botanical Garden – January 12

The latest exhibition held at Helen Crocker Russell Library at the San Francisco Botanical Garden will center on the nature illustrations by Rachel Diaz–Bastin. The artist reception celebrating the exhibit titled Beautiful Relationships: Flora and Fauna from Around the World will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can also purchase original artwork and giclee prints with a portion of the proceeds going towards benefiting the Library.

Magnolias by Moonlight – SF Botanical Garden – January 12

Walking the moonlit paths of the San Francisco Botanical Garden not only makes for a romantic outing, but is also a relaxing way to appreciate Golden Gate Park’s beauty after dark. From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., a Garden naturalist will serve as your guide, as you take in the sights of magnolia blossoms underneath the light of the moon. At the Moon Viewing Pond, you’ll get to sip on hot tea while eating cookies. It is suggested that you bring along a flashlight for the event. Heavy rain cancels all. The cost to participate is $23 for members and $28 for the general public.

10th Annual SFDGC Bag Tag Challenge – GGP Disc Golf Course – January 14

The SFDGC (San Francisco Disc Golf Course) is holding an all-day event that includes fun competition, games (such as frisbeer and skeeball), street tacos by Viento, Bag Tag Ceremony, and a BBQ lunch. Registration will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The entry fee is $45. For more information and to locate the registration form, click here.

2017 Sniper King’s Showcase – Beach Chalet Fields & Polo Fields – January 20-22

If you play or watch lacrosse, you might want to head to Golden Gate Park this month to catch sight of one of the largest and most competitive tournaments in Northern California. The action will unfold across the park’s Polo Fields and Beach Chalet Fields for two days. Every game is overseen by certified referees and certified trainers. Additionally, this event attracts NCAA and MCLA college coaches, who attend for recruitment and meet/greet purposes. For more details, click here.

Ocean Beach Clean Up – Ocean Beach – January 16

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., local parks in San Francisco hold a ‘Day of Service’ with an opportunity to give back and participate at Golden Gate Park. You can volunteer for a clean-up of Ocean Beach, which will concentrate on the northern section of the beach. This family-friendly, free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. – open to volunteers of all ages. Keep in mind that youths less than 15 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Singles Beach Potluck, BBQ & Bonfire – Ocean Beach – January 16

Following the clean-up at Ocean Beach, a picnic, BBQ, and bonfire for singles is also planned for the same day, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. The bonfire is set for 5 p.m., when the sun sets. Participants are encouraged to bring food and drinks, as well as join in on games. Those interested will gather at Stairwell 17 across from Beach Chalet. Tickets are being sold for this event; to purchase a ticket, click here.

Wendell the Narwhal Children’s Event – SF Botanical Garden – January 22

Join local author, illustrator and naturalist Emily Dove for an interactive presentation that promises fun, as she presents her children’s book Wendell the Narwhal. It will be an event centered on music and song, and is best suited for families with children aged 2-6. The festivities are scheduled to take place from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Rainbow Falls 5K & Kids Race – Kennedy Drive – January 29

Are you ready for the first DSE Runners event in GGP for the 2017 season? In January, there will be a 5K event along with a kids race to follow at Golden Gate Park. With a 9 a.m. start, prepare yourself to run up Kennedy Drive to McLaren Lodge before turning around at Kennedy Drive to McLaren Lodge (hitting East Conservatory Drive along the way) before heading back towards Kennedy Drive for the finish.

In order to participate in the Rainbow Falls run, you must pay the following fees: $3 for members (18 and over) and 13-17 year olds; and $5 for non-members (18 and over). Runners aged up to 12 years old gain entry for free. To ask questions and register online, visit or call (415) 978-0837.