Art, flowers, brews, outdoor recreation, and Thanksgiving celebrations rule the Golden Gate Park events in November 2018, with plenty of activities to add to your calendar. If you’re not in the mood to cook or can’t get home for the holidays, the park has a handful of opportunities for eating hearty and/or making new friends on “Turkey Day.” Other highlights for the month include the highly-anticipated Turkey Trot and themed fun at the Academy.

Migration NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – November 8

Calling all animal lovers! Enjoy the exploration of migratory habits of birds, butterflies, whales, and even humans with this NightLife event that focuses on the patterned movement of living creatures. You’ll learn about the seasonal routes that marine mammals and seabirds often take along California’s coast. Point Blue Conservation Science will share their findings on coastal populations. Other highlights/guests include artist Jane Kim, Professor Irene Bloemraad, and Afro-Latin beats with La Pelanga DJs. All of the festivities for the night last from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Ticket prices for NightLife fun is $12 for members and $15 for non-members. At the door, IDs will be checked, so make sure you have yours on hand – this event is for the 21+ crowd.

Friday Nights at de Young – de Young Museum – November 9

The Friday Nights events for the month of November primarily center on the Contemporary Muslim Fashions exhibit at the museum. Contemporary American artist Carrie Mae Weems will talk about her work, including her video installation Lincoln, Lonnie, and Me, which can be seen in the de Young exhibition Specters of Disruption. Wilsey Court opens up to invite the sounds of Balinese music and beauty of traditional Balienese dance ensemble Gamelan Sekar Jaya. Come listen to the giant bamboo West Balinese gamelan jegog. Head for the Piazzoni Murals Room to enjoy a session of art-making fun. Halal options of food, as well as non-alcoholic beverages will be served.

You do not have to pay an admission fee to enter the main-level galleries and performances in Piazzoni Murals Room and Wilsey Court for Friday Nights. However, tickets to Contemporary Muslim Fashions have been reduced to $14 for adults and $6 for youths during Friday Nights, which run from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. You should get your tickets in advance for this exhibition.

Other Friday Nights events planned for November include:

  • November 16: Tonight’s event is especially centered on welcoming San Francisco’s younger generation. In keeping in line with the Contemporary Muslim Fashions exhibit, mother-daughter team, Fahima Altaf Khan and Saahar Khan, will demonstrate a variety of hijab style tips. A special appearance by the Teen Advisory Board follows. Detroit-based social media influencer and plus-size hijabi model, Leah Vernon, speaks on body-positivity in the Piazzoni Murals Room with a Q & A to follow. Other highlights for the night include art-making in Wilsey Court; halal eats and non-alcoholic drinks; and a Fareeha Safir and Shoaib Meenai-approved musical playlist.
  • November 23: It’s now time for the series of Friday Nights events in 2018 to come to an end, and throughout the evening, it’s all about celebrating the Contemporary Muslim Fashions. The exhibit’s extended hours will come to an end, which you can view for a reduced price. It’s recommended to purchase these tickets in advance. Admission to the main-level galleries is free, as is the overall Friday Nights event, as always.

Don’t forget to stop by Wilsey Court for art-making fun. Served for the night will be food and drink in the Museum Café that includes halal options and creative ‘mocktails’ (non-alcoholic). MIPSTERZ is in charge of the curated musical playlist for the night. Shop the Museum Store for exclusive books and designer art that’s featured in the accompanying show.

Fantastic Flora of the California Islands – SF Botanical Garden – November 10

The biodiversity of the California Islands gives way to a wave of conservation science efforts that will be discussed during this three-part presentation and talk regarding the flora of the area. A lot of work is done to gain a better understanding of this critical habitat that needs protection and restoration. The Director of the California Islands Program, The Nature Conservancy, will be on hand, as well as the Director of Conservation & Research at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and a Senior Scientist at The Nature Conservancy. Free and open to the public from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., an RSVP is requested for this event; a sliding scale donation of $10-$25 is also suggested.

End of Season Sale – SF Botanical Garden – November 10

Another year of plant sales are coming to an end, making it your last chance to snag new greenery for your home from the Botanical Garden. The sale runs from 10 a.m. -1 p.m., and can be accessed in the Entry Garden, near the Main Gate and Bookstore.

Spreckels Lake 5K & San Franciscan Mile & Kids Run – Kennedy Dr/36th Ave – November 11

What a treat! You get not one, but TWO races held on the same day. Head to the Spreckels Lake area early on a lovely Sunday morning to register for a 1-mile and 5K competition. A Kids Run is also being held on this day. The one-mile race begins at 9 a.m., followed by the 5K around 9:30 a.m. The 1-mile starts at Kennedy Drive near Spreckels Lake with an uphill trek towards a finish line at Kennedy Drive near Transverse. The 5K touches upon the Chain of Lakes dirt path, the MLK Drive pedestrian path, and Transverse Drive – all towards a downhill finish. Admission fees range from free for ages up to 12 years old to $5 for non-members 18 and over. For more information, you can call the DSE HOTLINE at (415) 978-0837.

Drawing Cloud Forest Beauties in Colored Pencil– SF Botanical Garden – November 15

Join botanical artist and quilt maker Nina Antze in another round of art exploration with cloud forest flowers serving as your inspiration. The workshop focuses on learning how to master botanical drawing and coloring techniques, as well as diving into color theory, layering, blending and burnishing. Live blooms from the Garden are provided for this workshop, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can also bring along your own blooms. All drawing levels are welcome. The cost to participate in this experience is $80 for members and $90 for non-members.

Friendsgiving NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – November 15

You won’t want to miss the first-held Nightlife Friendsgiving at the Academy, which blends arts, crafts, food and science for a fun-filled weekday event. The living room photo booth is sure to entertain. Green Arts Workshop has an activity planned for the evening. Two Chicks in the Mix Bakery will give you pointers on how to make the “perfect” pie. The night’s music will come courtesy of My Boo! DJ Collective (featuring Fela Kutchii). The cost to attend this Thursday night party (which runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) is $12 for members and $15 for non-members. Bring along a valid I.D.; they will be checked at the door for this 21-and-over event.

Botanicals and Brews Beer Garden – Conservatory of Flowers – November 16

Another lineup of local brews takes center stage for the monthly craft beer tasting event you can enjoy at Golden Gate Park – all while exploring the tropical plant collection at the Conservatory. Samples representing the Mission District’s Standard Deviant Brewing and the European-style lagers and ales of New Bohemia Brewing Co. will be on hand for you to try. General admission tickets cost $27, and come with a complimentary craft brew of choice and access to the Conservatory from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. For $55, the Master Brewer package offers an added exclusive tasting flight, guided tasting, $10 food credit, and souvenir beer flight glass. You can purchase a ticket for this event here.

San Francisco Turkey Trot – Polo Field – November 22

The annual run/walk that sees locals come dressed to impress in their finest gobbler outfit has entered its 16th year. For some, this tradition creates unforgettable memories for the Thanksgiving holiday. An early start ensures you have enough time for backyard football, baking pies, NFL rivalries, and putting the finishing touches on your feast. Sign up for the 5-mile Turkey Trail Trot (8:40 a.m. start) or participate in the non-competitive 3-mile Pilgrim Promenade (8:40 a.m. start). A 100-meter Kids Gobbler Chase kicks off the event at 8 a.m.

To register for this event, you can click here. Keep in mind that there will be no race day entries!

Orphan Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner – Stow Lake – November 22

Every year, a potluck Thanksgiving dinner is held at Stow Lake for those who are unable to make it home for the holidays. Those who attend, bring a dish, drink or supplies to contribute. Everyone is welcomed. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends and share the warmth of the holidays with others. Expect turkey and traditional Thanksgiving side dishes to be served, such as baked yams, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread, green bean casserole, and pumpkin. However, you can also bring along different sides to share, such as salad, cheese plates, fruit, hummus and veggie spreads.

The picnic tables to the right of Stow Lake Boathouse are the intended location for this feast, with an alternative site planned for the picnic area situated behind the parking lot of the boathouse. Just follow the balloons! Boat rentals do run on Thanksgiving Day, but also close early around 4 p.m. The cost for attending this gathering is free (if you are a MeetMoreYou member). Registration is free and only takes 1 minute. You can sign up here, and then RSVP for the event. Non-members may participate for $15 – tickets can be purchased here.

Thanksgiving Feast – Park Chalet – November 22

If you can’t make it home for the holidays, or simply want a delicious meal without all the fuss, Park Chalet is hosting an appetizing buffet offering all of the Thanksgiving eats you know and love. Come to fill up on roasted turkey and pumpkin, as well as herb crusted prime rib at the carving station; charred Brussels sprouts and buttermilk mashed potatoes; truffle mac and cheese; seafood bar with snow shoe crabs; fresh seasonal fruit; and other homemade pies. The cost for this spread is $79 per person. To make a reservation for this feast, click here.

NightLife Spotlight – California Academy of Sciences – November 29

As the chill of winter nears, it’s time to get ready for a spin about the outdoor ice rink, and this NightLife event will present something a little extra special – a fun disco vibe for your visit. Tickets for the holiday ice rink (with skate rental) cost an added $10 per person that isn’t included in the general admission cost for NightLife. Throwback screenings in the Morrison Planetarium will be held. The underwater biology team will host an after-hours dive show, and you’ll get to learn a little more about the deepest coral reef tank in the world. Music for the night will be provided by DJ Nina Tarr. As for ticket prices for this NightLife event, members pay $12, while non-members are charged $15. The fun lasts from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. And remember, you must show a valid I.D. in order to gain entry.

Night Bloom Preview Night – Conservatory of Flowers – November 30

An advanced look at the light art and sound installations scattered about the Conservatory is available for those who purchase a ticket to attend a special preview. Prepare yourself for a walkthrough of the exhibit (about one mile’s worth). You can repeat the walk as many times as you like. A $50 ticket provides access (from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) to a live DJ performance, illuminated activities, selfie stations, food and drink. You are also treated to a complimentary beer or wine. This is a 21 and over only event. Tickets may be purchased by clicking here. Unable to attend Preview Night? The regular run of Night Bloom is from December 2, 2018 to January 6, 2019.