Not only do we have a brand-new year ahead, but a new decade is also upon us!

Whether you’re conquering a list of resolutions or vowing to spend more time outdoors, you’re sure to find plenty to do with Golden Gate Park events in January. Rev up your rose-growing skills. Get up, close, and personal with a lion dance costume. Embrace a more heart-healthy lifestyle for the New Year.

From learning a new skill to taking time to just laugh it up in 2020, the park has plenty of opportunities below to make the most of your “me”-time, family time, and party time this month:

Annual Rose Pruning Demo – Rose Garden – January 4

Pruning plays an essential role in maintaining the beauty and health of roses. Every year, the San Francisco Rose Society joins forces with the Department of Recreation and Parks for a demonstration on how to care for an assortment of rose types. This free demo is at 10 a.m. It will touch upon growing starts from cuttings taken from the Rose Garden.

Bring along a few bucks to pay for flowers.

Free Guided Trail & Nature Walk – Stow Lake – January 4

Get out and enjoy fresh air, the beauty of nature, and good company with a free guided wooded walk throughout Golden Gate Park. Come learn about the native plants and wildlife in your neck of the woods. Before the stroll, enjoy an energizing stretch. Explore the benefits of getting out and about—it’s the perfect way to stick to those New Year’s resolutions.

This opportunity is held on every first Saturday at Stow Lake from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Meet at the Boathouse at 10 a.m. It’s free to participate and requires no pre-registration.

Vintage Paper Fair – SF County Fair Building – January 4 & 5

Every year, collectors from near and far come to Golden Gate Park to experience one of the largest displays of vintage paper goods (from trade cards to Victorian labels) on the West Coast. You’ll have two days to browse an excellent selection of antique postcards, local historical gems, old ads, pin-up art, and other intriguing pieces of memorabilia.

And, as always, it’s free to enjoy.

Doors open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Don’t forget to bring your own oldies but goodies to get appraised.

The County Fair Building is located on 1199 9th Ave. (Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way).

Polo Field 5K – Polo Fields – January 5

Meet up at the south side of Polo Fields (Middle Drive West & Metson Road) for a run being held from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. The course takes runners to Middle Drive, Bernice Rogers Way, Kennedy Drive, Transverse Drive, and the dirt trail onto Overlook. The cost to participate is $5 for non-members and $3 for members. For more information, click here.

Free Zumba in the Park: 2020 Kick-Off – 1690 John F Kennedy Dr. – January 6

Set your alarm clock, so you’re not late to the dance party that burns tons of calories. Zumba is an energetic, Latin-inspired opportunity to get in your cardio for the day. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department holds free Zumba classes at 6:30 a.m. at Golden Gate Park. No need to register; all you have to do is show up and start movin’.

Artist’s Reception: Impressed Botanicals – SF Botanical Garden – January 8

Come celebrate the artworks of Latifat Titilayo Apatira by attending a reception that highlights “Nature Prints of the Bay Area.” You will have a chance to purchase framed, original nature prints and unframed giclee prints (with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Library). This event will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture.

It is free to participate in this reception, but you should RSVP here.

DSE Track Workout – Kezar Stadium Track – January 9, 16, 23 & 30

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get fit, hit the track for heart-pumping action with a workout surrounded by the great outdoors. Meet on the north side of Kezar Stadium Track from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. DSE members pay $3, while non-members are charged $5.

Full Moon Walk – SF Botanical Garden – January 10

Everything looks different when the light of a full moon is involved, which is why taking a walk throughout the Garden when the sun has set is quite a special outing to experience. Take the after-dark, docent-led tour of the Garden to see flowers and greenery in a whole new light…literally.

It’s suggested to bring along a flashlight for the walk. Heavy rain cancels this event.

The cost to participate in this event is $30.

Sounds like something you’d like to do?

Buy your ticket for the Full Moon Walk here.

In Conversation with Angola 3 – de Young Museum – January 11

Robert King and Albert Woodfox of Angola 3 explore how art can bring awareness to social injustice as they hold a discussion with artist and activist, Rigo 23. Become educated on human rights fights of the past, which touches upon topics such as prison reform and racism. This event takes place at Koret Auditorium, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and is part of the museum’s Free Saturdays program. This is also an excellent time to check out the exhibition, Soul of a Nation.

Musical Performance by Avotcja & Modupue – de Young Museum – January 11

Come listen to the sounds of Bay Area music legend and radio personality, Avotcja, who entertains from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the museum’s Free Saturdays program. Set times for this experience are 12:30 p.m.–1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Natural Perfume Workshop – SF County Fair Building – January 11

If sniffing out signature scents and taking in fragrances that please your senses is your thing, then you probably don’t want to miss this hands-on workshop with Jessica Hannah, as she leads an exploration of natural perfumes that involves only the finest materials from Mother Nature.

This workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

All the materials needed for this event are included in the $110 admission fee.

If you don’t want to miss out on this event, get your ticket now.

Deep Listening® – SF Botanical Garden – January 11

Come explore the benefits of experiencing “subtle interaction within one’s environment.”

A few items you might want to bring along: a mat, blanket, notebook, writing utensil, and water. Since it’s pretty chilly in the morning at the Garden, don’t forget to dress accordingly.

Below is the schedule for this event:

  • 8:00 a.m.: Meet at the North Entrance (that’s the Main Gate, not the Friend Gate)
  • 8:10 a.m.:  Enjoy a walk to the Moon Viewing Garden
  • 8:10 a.m. – 8:20 a.m.:  Introductions
  • 8:20 a.m. – 8:40 a.m.: Movement Exercises
  • 8:40 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Extreme Slow Walk
  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: Sonic Meditations in Redwood Grove

To get your ticket ($15), click here.

Annual Dahlia Dell Digout – Dahlia Garden – January 11 & 12

Give back to the park by making sure the official flower of San Francisco blooms beautifully in the park—it’s time to tame the fenced-in areas dedicated to the dahlia flower.

Situated in the northeastern corner of the park (close to the Conservatory of Flowers), meet up with others who will receive free training in dahlia growing, as well as hands-on experience in digging tuber clumps, raking, weeding, and labeling tubers.

Make sure to come prepared in sturdy closed-toe shoes and warm clothes (pants and long sleeves). Bring gloves and pruning shears to make life easier. Rain or shine—this event continues on. Light refreshments will be on hand to keep you going throughout the day.

This event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

To register, email [email protected] or call (415) 831-6884.

For more details, you can visit www.sfdahlias.org.

Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k – Music Concourse – January 12

Calling all chocolate lovers!

This running event is a pretty sweet way to treat your taste buds and stretch your legs…all at the same time. Golden Gate Park serves as the starting point and finish line for the event, which offers both a 5K (ideal for someone’s first running event) and a 15K (for the more ambitious).

To purchase your ticket ($54 for the 5K and $74 for the 15K), click here.

Indigo Dyeing – SF Botanical Garden – January 13

The Bookmobile is making a stop at the Garden to introduce locals to a day of indigo dyeing, which touches upon the science behind plant dyes and the chemical reaction that takes place. Those who participate will explore how to add attractive patterns to silk scarves using “arashi” and “hajime shibori” techniques. This free event is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

SF Sketchfest NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – January 16 

In between sipping on creative cocktails and mingling with new friends, the Academy supplies a healthy dose of laughter with their contribution to the 19th Annual SF Sketchfest Comedy Festival. This year, expect a set of songs and comedy from Paul F. Tompkins Hogs The Covers; fake docent tours in the aquarium with The Norwegians of Comedy; stand-up sets by Vince Caldera, John Hastings, Janine Hogan, Armando Torres, and Aviva Siegel; and much more.  

Thursday NightLife events run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Make sure to have valid identification on hand (to prove you are 21 years old) because they’ll be checked at the door.

Buy your ticket here before they’re all sold out.

Mini Nature Retreats – SF Botanical Garden – January 18

If you’re looking to revamp yourself and enjoy a fresh start for the New Year, there’s a unique “mini” nature retreat being held at the Garden. Here, you will learn how to embrace practices that will enhance your wellbeing. Discover how to achieve a meditative state with a heightened intensity that helps eliminate stress from your life, as well as improve your slumber.

Highlights of the retreat include an exploration of journaling, meditation, poetry, and learning how to have meaningful conversations with others.

The retreat is from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

A few things to bring along: towel or blanket, folding chair, sun hat, and sunscreen.

This event costs $60.

To secure your place, buy a ticket here.

Make Your Own Drum Workshop – de Young Museum – January 18

If you’re looking for a family-friendly event to take the kids to, head for the Piazzoni Murals Room at the de Young Museum to participate in a master lesson in drum-making with Jahi.

Geared towards kids ages 7 and up, you’ll learn about the history of the drum, explore a couple of drum rhythms, and take home a drum that you’ve made during this free workshop.

This program is available from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. is part of the museum’s Free Saturdays program, which also celebrates the exhibition, Soul of a Nation.

Black Arts and Black Power – de Young Museum – January 18

You won’t want to miss this trio of events planned to celebrate black art and the exhibition, Soul of a Nation. Koret Auditorium presents a conversation with the first ladies to join the Black Panthers (Tarika Lewis and award-winning poet and educator, Tureeda Mikell), a spoken word performance by Lewis and Mikell, and a film screening of All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50. The event runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is part of Free Saturdays at de Young.

Lunar New Year NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – January 23

If you didn’t bring in the New Year in style the first time around, the Academy gives you a do-over with a night dedicated to celebrating the Lunar New Year—which centers on acknowledging the first new moon of the lunar calendar. This time around, we’re exploring traditions and giving a shoutout to the Year of the Rat.

Just some of the activities and fun planned for the night include:

  • Lion dance performance and ceremony by the Chinatown-based martial arts performance troupe, Jing Mo Athletic Association.
  • Rattie Ratz Rescue introduces you to the quirks and personality of domestic rats—the lunar animal “ambassador” of this year’s celebration.
  • Explore the significance behind tea and Chinese tea ceremonies with Fabula; hand-crafted loose leaf tea blends from TeaLeaves will be on hand for the tasting.

Music for the night comes courtesy of DJ Jay Midnight.

This NightLife party runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. You must belong to the 21-and-over crowd to participate in this event. Please have valid identification on hand. To buy tickets, click here.

Speak Out with Amnesty International – de Young Museum – January 25

The local San Francisco chapter of Amnesty International is holding a “Write for Rights” campaign, and you are invited to explore and participate. This letter-writing effort aims to take action to protect human rights defenders from around the world.

The goal is to pen one letter to someone in a position of authority, and another letter to an individual to let them know you stand in solidarity with them. Pen and paper are provided.

This program is part of Free Saturdays at de Young and is in conjunction with the exhibition, Soul of a Nation. The event takes place at Wilsey Court from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Grow Your Own Cocktail Garden – SF Botanical Garden – January 26

If you crave outside-the-box culinary delights, the Garden has planned an event just for you!

Come learn how to use homegrown plants to create your own herbal concoctions. This experience begins with a tour of the Garden of Fragrance. You’ll explore which plants are perfect for expanding your home bar skills. A demonstration will show how to make infusions using alcohol and simple syrup. Discover ways to cultivate your own plants. You’ll also start a few from seeds or take plant cuttings home so that you can build your own fragrant garden.

This workshop costs $35 and runs from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

To purchase a ticket, click here.

How-To NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – January 30

It’s time to expand your repertoire of skills!

The Academy has a host of how-tos, interactive workshops, and hands-on demos planned for those who come to party at this week’s NightLife get-together.

A few ways to step into the New Year with new talents:

  • Learning how to repair your clothes using a Japanese embroidery technique called sashiko mending, which strengthens and lengthens the life of fabrics.
  • Stepping up your plant care game with the help of WorkshopSF’s resident plant expert.
  • Exploring simple ways to incorporate zero waste tweaks into your lifestyle, including learning how to make beeswax wraps to keep your food fresh.

All of the festivities of Thursday NightLife events kick off at 6 p.m. with the party ending by 10 p.m. You must be 21 or over to gain entry, and valid IDs are checked at the door.

Click here to buy a ticket and secure your place.

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