Don’t get spooked out…having Friday the 13th and Halloween in one month isn’t that scary at all. That’s because Golden Gate Park events in October 2017 are ready to provide welcomed distractions that include band music, sharks, sports, the exploration of fascinating plants, and one of the largest festivals to set up shop in the Bay Area. This month, you can solve a mystery, dress in costume to win a prize, or enjoy a cold one with friends. From German fare and music to the celebration of Palestinian culture, October also brings a handful of opportunities that allow you to explore the traditions and history of various communities that help make up the unique diversity of San Francisco. Below is just a glimpse at some of the things that the park has to offer this month:

World Veg Festival – SF County Fair Building – October 1

The annual World Veg Festival (hosted by the San Francisco Veg Society) is holding its 18th year of cooking demos, exhibitions, entertainment, speakers and food vendors at Golden Gate Park. In the Main Auditorium, you will find subjects being discussed such as “Happy Vegan Children,” “The New Food Revolution,” and “How to Improve Memory.” The Garden Club Room will host guests such as Sonya Looney (Plant-Based Path of a World Champion Mountain Biker), Chef AJ (Eat Up, Slim Down: Healthy Vegan Weight Loss), and Catherine Blake (The Maui Light Diet). This event will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The cost for this festival is $10 (regular admission) and $5 for seniors and students.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – Hellman Hollow, Lindley & Marx Meadows – October 6, 7, & 8

Prepare yourself for another year of enjoying one of the largest music festivals in the nation. More than 750,000 attendees make their way to the three-day stretch of festivities that is 100% free for all to attend. Performances will take place across seven stages positioned on a range of grassy spaces at Golden Gate Park. Over 90 artists are scheduled to provide entertainment. This year, “La Victrola” will replace “The Arrow Stage,” which will feature spoken word and solo acoustic. Be on the lookout for extra happenings on Saturday and Sunday, which features the Hardly Strictly Silent Disco – kicking off at 12 p.m., and presenting a two-channel silent disco party in Arrow Meadow (close to Bandwagon Stage and La Victrola Platform).

To get an idea of other things to expect during the three-day festival, see below:

  • Friday, October 6 – 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Look for performances by First Aid Kit, Brandi Carlile, T Bone Burnett, Conor Oberst, and Billy Bragg.
  • Saturday, October 7 – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Musicians such as Bela Fleck, Henry Rollins, Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch, Robyn Hitchcock, Ozomatli, and Steve Earle will take the stage.
  • Sunday, October 8 – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Prepare to listen to the music of Emmylou Harris, Shelby Lynne & Alison Moorer, Randy Newman, Jello Biafra, Bob Mould, Cheap Trick, Lucinda Williams, and Big Freeda

Sharktoberfest NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – October 5

If you are a fan of sharks, then you won’t want to miss this event, which pays homage to these fascinating, toothy predators. The Academy has a lot planned for you. For starters, the East Garden will turn into a pop-up beer garden for the duration of the evening, representing a handful of local breweries, such as Harmonic Brewing Co., Laughing Monk Brewing, and Pacific Brewing Laboratory. Vicky Vásquez will talk new shark species, while great white shark expert Dr. John McCosker makes an appearance at African Hall. A virtual shark tank will provide a 3D tour of a shark. Test your knowledge of sharks with trivia at the Coral Reef. The Piazza also sets the scene for DJs “Right Shark” (DJ Cosmic Amanda) and “Left Shark” (DJ Small Crimes) as they spin tunes for the night.

Thursday NightLife events at the Academy are held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. If you’re part of the general public, the cost for entry is $15, but if you’re an Academy member, the charge is $12. All you have to do is show up with a valid I.D. in order to prove you are eligible to gain entry with the rest of the 21 and over crowd.

Additional NightLife events to look forward to enjoying in October 1, 2017 include:

  • October 12 – NightLife LIVE (October): Stop by to take in the sounds of DIIV and Black Marble, as they provide live performances for the evening.
  • October 19 – Extraterrestrial NightLife: Come explore the grand mysteries of the Solar System with an outing dedicated to extraterrestrials that includes intergalactic pinball machines, live performance by HiScoresDJs, and experiential art shows of Dream Logic VR.
  • October 26 – Creatures of the NightLife: Paying homage to ’80s horror, get into the Halloween spirit early with scientific curiosities, a drag show and costume contest.

Oktoberfest Celebration – Park Chalet – October 7

If you don’t come to listen to the traditional 30-piece band Deutscher Musikverein, then come to munch on house-made German soft pretzel sticks and bring home a limited edition souvenir stein. The stein comes filled with a liter of house-brewed Chalet beer with options that include Ocean Beach Oktoberfest, Riptide Red Ale, VFW Lite and other tasty selections. The festivities kick off at 1 p.m., followed by live musical entertainment that will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Interactive games, from stein-holding to yodeling contests, are sure to entertain; and let’s not forget the festivities for those who come to participate in the costume contest (outside of the servers dressed as Bavarian barmaids). Tickets for this event are priced at $17, and have a reputation for selling out quickly. For additional details, visit here:, purchase tickets, or call (415) 386-8439.

Palestine Cultural Day FestivalSF County Fair Building – October 8

Come explore the music, art, food and culture of the Palestinian community during the 39th year of this event, which includes a large bazaar with traditional vendors, henna tattoos, authentic sweets, live music from local singers, and tons of fun for the kiddies, such as arts, crafts, popcorn, cotton candy, and balloons. This free event will take place at the Hall of Flowers. The cost of admission for this festival is $5. For more information, visit, email [email protected], or call (510) 409-5062/ (415) 519-4460.

GGP Band’s Final Concert of the Year – Spreckels Temple of Music – October 8

It’s the final concert of the 2017 season for the Golden Gate Park Band, and they’ll be taking your requests. So, if you have a patriotic tune or uplifting Disney favorite that you’d like to hear, this is your chance to hear it. There is no cost for enjoying these family-friendly musical programs, which typically take place from 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. If you like, bring along a blanket and/or picnic lunch and make a day of it. If you miss this performance, you always have next year when the band returns with a new season that kicks off in April.

Fleet Week High School Band Challenge – Spreckels Temple of Music – October 9

The 36th Annual San Francisco Fleet Week will take place from October 2 to 9 this year, and Golden Gate Park is participating by hosting a high school band challenge that kicks off with an assortment of patriotic songs and music performed by the United States Marine Corps Band. Select Bay Area high school bands will then follow – all competing for prize money to support the music programs at their institutions. There is no charge to enjoy the Band Challenge, which is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

SF Deltas vs Indy Eleven Soccer Game – Kezar Stadium – October 11

Come cheer on the first professional soccer team in San Francisco by showing support for the SF Deltas as they go against the Indy Eleven at Kezar Stadium. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. with tickets being sold for $19 to $104. Visit to purchase your ticket. The Kezar Pavilion is located at 755 Stanyon Street. If you like, pre-game festivities will take place at Kezar Triangle, kicking off at 5:30 p.m.
Another SF Delta game to look forward to in October 2017 is scheduled for:

  • October 14: SF Deltas vs Puerto Rico FC (5 p.m.)

Friday the 13th in the Garden – SF Botanical Garden – October 13

What better way to celebrate one of the spookiest days of the year (Friday the 13th) than by enjoying a Toxic Plant tour, where you will learn how plants adapt and develop some of their ‘darker’ characteristics? San Francisco-based singer/pianist/storyteller Jill Tracy will lead a musical séance in the Garden of Fragrance, as well as share historical tales centered on poisons. Light snacks and Fort Point Beer Co. beer will be served. Bringing along a flashlight and blanket for the musical séance is suggested. Keep in mind that heavy rain cancels this gathering, and space is limited for the Toxic Plant tour, which costs an additional $5. This event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Ticket costs are $35 for members and $40 for non-members.

Friday Nights at de Young – de Young Museum – October 13

You’re going to have to find another place to chill every Friday night because the de Young Museum is now transitioning into a once-a-month gathering that takes place all year round.

Free and open to the public, prepare yourself for more artistic content, cultural explorations, music, dance, talks and other entertaining activities. This evening, enjoy “Outernational” music in Wilsey Court (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) and a lecture and listening in the Piazzoni Murals Room centered on Charles Duvelle – Disques OCORA (7:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.). Multimedia performance work presented by Nate Boyce (“Kaoss Etudes”) will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Koret Auditorium. Other activities to look forward to during this event include art-making at the “Creativity Station” and a discussion centered on Teotihuacan. For more information, you can call (415) 750-7694.

Plant Sale – SF Botanical Garden – October 14

If you’ve ever wanted to add rhododendrons to your personal space, or are looking for trees and ferns to add to your collection of greenery, consider stopping by the Garden’s plant sale this month. Starting at 10 a.m., you have until 1 p.m. to browse specimens. You will find the Entry Garden (and plant sale) near the Main Gate and Bookstore.

AIDS/LifeCycle: Kickoff Ride to the Golden Gate Park – October 14

Hundreds of cyclists will join forces to participate in a 20-mile, one-day bike ride that kicks off the larger AIDS/LifeCycle event taking place in June 2018. This ride is slated to take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To those participating, snacks, beverages, and a rest stop will be situated at Peets Coffee. There is no cost to take part in this ride. For more details, click here.

After Hours with Drake’s Brewing Co – Conservatory of Flowers – October 20

Gather in the Botanicals and Brews Beer Garden to explore the hops and grain creations of Drake’s Brewing Company from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in an after-hours setting especially for the 21 and over crowd. Keep in mind that the last drink sale takes place at 11 p.m. You will find entrance to the Beer Garden on the Palm Terrace. The cost to participate ranges from $22.50 to $25, which includes one complimentary craft brew. To register for this event, click here.

Salon de Bats: Halloween Fundraiser – Sharon Arts Studio – October 21

A portion of the proceeds for this fundraiser will go towards benefitting the Friends of Sharon Art Studio, as guests gather to enjoy art demos, tarot card readings, listen to live music, have their face painted, and take advantage of the “spooky” photo booth. Come dressed in a creative costume, and try your luck with door prizes and drawings to win art supplies and other treats. Complimentary drinks and treats will be on hand. This event will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with tickets costing $15 to $25.

Golden Gate Park 5K – Kennedy Drive & Transverse – October 22

Looking for a nice run and taking in the fresh air of Golden Gate Park all at the same time? DSE Runners has you covered. The start and finish for this race event will take place at Kennedy Drive & Transverse, which takes participants through places throughout the park such as Bernice Rogers Way, MLK Drive, Middle Drive and Overlook path. For more details and fee information about this race (which is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.), click here or call the DSE HOTLINE at (415) 978-0837.

Victorian Murder Mystery – Conservatory of Flowers – October 26

A Murder at the Conservatory will take place, and it’s up to you to crack the mystery. A general admission ticket includes entry to the festivities; a glass of wine accompanied by an artisan grilled cheese plate/side; and an evening filled with murder-solving fun. This event will take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. To register for this event, click here. Ticket costs range from $70 to $105. Only those who are 21 and over are allowed to participate.

Teacher Open House (The Garden and Your Class) – SF Botanical Garden – October 26

Calling all K-5 teachers, the Garden would like to introduce you and your students to all that the Library has to offer. Come join other local teachers for a brief informational presentation from staff and free library card sign-in. The Director of Youth Education will be on hand to lead a walk through the Mesoamerican Cloud Forest. For additional details and to register, send an email to [email protected]. The first 15 registrants that attend will also receive priority in the Garden’s spring lottery for a free guided school walk. This event is free and is scheduled to run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

SuperNatural Halloween – California Academy of Sciences – October 28

The Academy knows how to hold a spooky party and if you’re looking for an exciting pre-trick or trick celebration, this is definitely the place to go. From a Silent Disco in the Steinhart Aquarium to magic shows and live animal presentations, your head will spin with all of the activities and fun available. Not enough for you? Other things to do include enjoy face painting, dancing, crafts, taking a pic in the photo booth, and carving a giant pumpkin.

General admission prices for this event are $50 for adults ($45 Academy members) and $35 for children ($30 Academy members). You can also purchase special packages that include unforgettable extras, such as VIP Lounge access, complimentary one-year Family Plus membership, catered gourmet dinner, and early admission fun. This exclusive Werewolf, Vampire, and Mummy Party will take place between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., followed by the entry of general admission guests from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

To purchase tickets for this event, click here.

Halloween Story Time – SF Botanical Garden – October 29

If you’re looking for a family-friendly way to pre-celebrate Halloween, the Garden has something planned for the kiddies. Settle in as spooky stories come to life during a special story time, which encourages visitors to come dressed to impress in their scariest and most creative costumes. This free event will take place at the Helen Crocker Russell Library, and begin at 10:30 a.m. For more details, you can call (415) 661-1316, extension 400.