The tenth month on the calendar is especially known for the creepy-crawliness that Halloween brings. Not everyone is into celebrating this event, which is why you’ll be pleased to know that Golden Gate Park events in October not only offer plenty of spooky activities for all ages, but also opportunities to celebrate Oktoberfest; harvest food and drinks; bluegrass music; band jams; beer gardens; block printing; and even a love of sharks.
Harvest Festival – Beach Chalet – October 1 to October 14
You only have two weeks left in October to sample the drop-in menu items featured on Beach Chalet’s Harvest Festival menu, which highlight the foods, ingredients and drinks that shine bright in late summer and early autumn. Just some of the things to look forward include panzanella bread salad, Brentwood corn soup, Little Gem & Pork Belly Salad, slow cooked duck ragu, and seared day boat scallops.
Sharktoberfest NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – October 4
Here’s an event that will speak to shark lovers!
Stop on by and rock out at the Fin Party in the Piazza (from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.), where DJ Cosmic Amanda and DJ Small Crimes plan to spin the tunes that’ll get you in the mood to attack the dancefloor in style. Want to talk shark? A variety of discussions will unfold in African Hall, including topics of lanternsharks, shark behavior, and shark populations. The East Garden will become a pop-up beer garden, featuring thirst-quenching beverages from many local breweries, such as Ale Industries, Calicraft, Golden State Cider, and Harmonic Brewing Co. To sample brews, you’ll have to purchase beer tickets.
NightLife fun on Thursdays run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and cost $12 for members and $15 for non-members. Members pay $12 for tickets to this event, while non-members pay $15. You must produce valid identification in order to gain entry – only 21 and up are allowed in.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – Hellman Hollow/Lindley & Marx Meadows – October 5, 6, 7
One of the largest music festivals in the U.S. just happens to be free and taking place at your favorite park. Over 750,000 music lovers attend this event, which takes place over the course of three days. Eighty musicians will perform across six different stages stretching across Hellman Hollow, Lindley and Marx meadows.
When planning your visits, keep in mind the following schedule of music highlights
- Friday (noon to 7 p.m.): Patty Griffen (2:55 p.m.), Mavis Staples (4:15 p.m.), Alison Kraus (5:45 m.), Trampled by Turtles (5:45 p.m.)
- Saturday (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.): Gomez (2:10 p.m.), Don Was (3 p.m.), Los Lobos (4 p.m.), Graham Nash (5 p.m.), Steve Earle (5:45 p.m.), Jeff Tweedy (5:45 p.m.), Ani DiFranco (6 p.m.)
- Sunday (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.): Vetiver (11 a.m.), Peter Rowan (12:30 p.m.), Tim O’Brien (2:05 p.m.), Robyn Hitchcock (3:40 p.m.), Booker T. Stax Revue (3:50 p.m.), Deer Tick (4:45 p.m.), Emmylou Harris (5:45 p.m.), Ween (5:50 p.m.)
For more information, check out the festival’s website.
Friday Nights at the de Young – de Young Museum – October 5, 12, 19, 26
The activities and cultural flair for this month’s Friday Night event at the de Young will incorporate the museum’s special exhibition, Contemporary Muslim Fashions. A talk with Stephan Rabimov at Koret Auditorium will touch upon the ‘unspoken rule of international relations,’ which highlights the kind of cultural messages sent in fashion. Tickets for this event operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
This month, the Museum Café will also serve a host of unique non-alcoholic ‘mocktails’ and halal options. Come to the Piazzoni Murals Room and engage in an art-making session. In October, guests may take advantage of reduced admission to the above-mentioned special exhibition and free access to the main-level galleries.
Friday Nights at de Young runs from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Other special happenings to take place this month during Friday Nights include:
- October 12: A real treat for fashionistas! Muslim entrepreneur Lisa Vogl, who is the co-founder of Verona, is best known for having the first modest fashion line to grace the racks of Macy’s. She will share her story with a Q & A session to follow. Space is limited, but is open to the public.
- October 19: Activist fashion journalist Hoda Katebi will explore illegal fashion in Iran, and present a series of three 10-minute talks in the Piazzoni Murals Room. She’ll share her personal story, as well as dive into the topic of politics in fashion. The Aswat Women’s Ensemble is a multi-ethnic, multi-racial Bay Area group that performs “folkloric, classical, contemporary, and sacred Arab music.”
- October 26: A live recording of the podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim will take place at the de Young with comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh and writer activist Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed. If you’re interested, arrive at the Piazzoni Murals Room before 7 p.m. This opportunity will last for 45-60 minutes, and has limited seats. Musical guest Keenan Webster will entertain with the sounds of the West African Kora string instrument.
Free Guided Walk & Nature Trail – Stow Lake – October 6
Feed your Fitbit, and enjoy a guided walk and trip along the natural trails of Stow Lake on a relaxing Saturday morning. It doesn’t cost a thing to participate in this outdoor adventure, which occurs every first Saturday of the month. The walk begins at 10 a.m. and ends around 12 p.m…and you don’t even have to pre-register to join in on the fun. Simply meet at the Boathouse, and you’re good to go.
MTA’s Day Across the Bay – GGP Tennis Complex – October 6
Golden Gate Park is gearing up to host a tennis tournament from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Participation in this event is for MTA members, and you must be a part of the group by the time you purchase a ticket. Non-participants can still watch the action, and it’s free to view. A potluck lunch held adjacent to the courts (at Robin Williams Meadow) and hike at Lands’ End will follow the tournament. Think of which dish you’d like to bring and share. The entire event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Live Music Performances – Beach & Park Chalet – October 6 & every Sunday in October
In between sampling the seasonal menu at Park Chalet or sipping on a limited edition brew, Sundays at the Beach Chalet get you ready for the upcoming workweek with live music that includes the following performers:
- October 6: Groove Objective (2 p.m.- 4 p.m.) – rock, blues and funk
- October 7: Pel and the Pelicans (2 p.m.-5 p.m.) – seasoned five member band
- October 14: Luv Bombs (2 p.m.-5 p.m.) – soul and funk
- October 21: Soul’s Discretion (2 p.m.-5 p.m.) – 70s, 80s, 90s-era and current hits
- October 28: Charity and the Jam Band (3 p.m.-5 p.m.) – mindful family-friendly tunes
Golden Gate Park Band Finale – Music Concourse/Bandshell – October 7
If you haven’t gotten around to spending an afternoon with Golden Gate Park’s resident band, this is your last chance to do so for 2018. Come on out for a season-ending concert that definitely makes a fun outing for families. The performances kick off at 1 p.m., and usually continue on until around 2:30 to 2:45 p.m. As always, it is free to enjoy this event.
American History Walking Tour – Conservatory of Flowers – October 7
Walking tours to explore the historic gems of San Francisco take place throughout the city, and in Golden Gate Park, it’s a look back at American history through its monuments, plaques and statues that you can enjoy this month. Join the two-hour walk that involves sites you may or may not have heard of yet. If you’re interested, meet in front of the Conservatory of Flowers at 1 p.m. (at the top of the stairs). This is a free event, but arrive early – its first come first served.
Columbus Day Walking Tour – Japanese Tea Garden – October 8
There’s a lot of history found throughout Golden Gate Park, and the Japanese Tea Garden is just one of the spots where you can travel back into time. There will be three opportunities to tour the Garden on this day: 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. When arriving at the Garden before 10 a.m., free admission is granted, which is probably the best time to enjoy this tour.
Fleet Week High School Band Challenge – Speckels Temple of Music – October 8
Musical performances play an important role in the celebration of San Francisco’s annual Fleet Week. Golden Gate Park is participating by hosting a band challenge amongst local high schools. The United States Marine Corps Band will jumpstart the event (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) with a lineup of patriotic songs, followed by performances from select Bay Area high school bands. Which band will win the prize money for their respective school music programs? The challenge is on. There is no cost to attend this event.
NightLife LIVE: Kevin Morby – California Academy of Sciences – October 11
In conjunction with Treasure Island Music Festival, folk-rock singer-songwriter Kevin Morby will pay a visit to the Academy and provide a live music performance this month. Marking the final LIVE performance for 2018, a DJ set by Chulita Vinyl Club is also slated to energize the crowd. This week’s NightLife event features premier pricing ($18 for members and $22 for non-members). Since this is a 21 and over only event, be prepared to show valid ID at the door, which open at 6 p.m. and parties on until 10 p.m.
Monthly Plant Sale – SF Botanical Garden – October 13
As the Garden winds down another year of plant sales, you can stock up on an abundance of trees, ferns and rhododendrons. The sale will be held in the Entry Garden (situated close to the Main Gate and Bookstore). You can shop for new plants and trees from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
NorCal Horsehoes Tournament – GGP Horseshoe Courts – October 13
The Horseshoe Courts at the intersection of Stanyan and Fulton will come alive this month with a competition that involves the best pitchers in NorCal. The Golden Gate Classic Horseshoe Tournament begins at 9:30 a.m. Participants pay a fee to enter, but it’s free to stand by as a spectator. This is surely a family-friendly event that’ll keep the kids busy and entertained.
‘War in the Woods’: David Harris in Conversation – SF Botanical Garden – October 13
Join author, journalist and activist David Harris, as he has a conversation with Kristin Kaye, author of the book Tree Dreams. The discussion will take place in the Redwood Grove at the Garden, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. It is free to enjoy this event (with regular admission), but you must RSVP to ensure a seat in the limited space.
Oktoberfest – Park Chalet – October 13
Every year, the Park Chalet opens their doors to a celebration centered on delicious German eats (like bratwurst and pretzels) and drinks served in limited-edition steins. This Oktoberfest, stop by the park to listen to live music from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., grab a bite, and take in the sights of costumed patrons looking to take home first prize in a contest. The overall event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here to purchase your ticket ($25 + online fee), which comes with a limited edition Oktoberfest stein filled with a liter of the Chalet’s specially brewed Oktoberfest Beer.
‘Zombies in Nature’: Conversation with Matt Simon – SF Botanical Garden – October 14
Who would think that zombie behavior can emerge in nature, from wasps to moose to ‘zombified’ fungi? There are a lot of pretty intriguing examples that science journalist Matt Simon will touch upon, as he speaks with science journalist Susan Freinkel, author of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story. With the price of regular admission, this conversation taking place at the Redwood Grove is free, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. There will be limited seating, which means you should RSVP to ensure a space.
Dracula Ball (Gala Under Glass) – Conservatory of Flowers – October 18
The Dracula Ball consists of a welcoming reception, live auction, and seated dinner. The night ends with a delicious taste of Chocolate Cassis ice cream. The Guest of Honor for the gala event is Ron Gagliardo, who is the Senior Manager of Horticultural Services at Amazon. Spaces for this event are extremely limited, so it is important to purchase your ticket well in advance. The cost is $250, and can be purchased here. Keep in mind that an RSVP is expected by October 10.
Extraterrestrial NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – October 18
This event will provide a space-themed night out on the town. Catch a live planetarium show with a special screening of “Waiting for Contact.” Underground Engine offers out-of-this-world VR experiences that collaborates the efforts of scientists, artists and technologists. Learn how coronagraph telescopes play a role in image capture of exoplanets. Music for the night comes courtesy of DJ Andy Cabic (of Vetiver).
To enjoy the Thursday night fun of NightLife at the Academy, keep in mind that you must produce a valid I.D. in order to gain entry – this is a 21 and up party. The fun starts at 6 p.m. and continues on until 10 p.m. The price of admission is $12 for members and $15 for non-members.
Botanicals and Brews Beer Garden – Conservatory of Flowers – October 19
If you’re looking to add another fantastic brew to your repertoire of weekend relaxation, the Conservatory has two more local businesses to highlight in this month’s beer garden gathering. Social Kitchen and Brewery is known for their award-winning beers and creative cocktails, while North Oaklands’s Temescal Brewing offers an arsenal that includes Pilsners, Scotch ales and IPAs. General admission ($27) comes with a complimentary craft brew of choice and access to the Conservatory from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. A $55-Master Brewer ticket comes with extra perks, such as one flight of 4 beers, souvenir beer flight glass, and $10 food credit to beer garden fare. This overall event runs from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. with participants convening in the later hours at the Palm Terrace. To purchase your ticket for this October event, click here.
Halloween Fundraiser “Haunted Arthaus” – Sharon Art Studio – October 20
This year marks the third time that Sharon Art Studio has hosted this spooky opportunity for locals to donate towards a creative cause. The building will transform into a ‘haunted house’-style walkthrough with plenty of dark, dreamlike, and just plain strange artworks along the way. Other highlights include a silent auction, live music (courtesy of Jim & Marilyn Letchworth and Friends), tarot card readings, spooky treats and eats, as well as instructor-led drawing demos. If you come dressed in a costume, you just might return home with an art-related prize.
Tickets cost $15 for members and $25 for non-members, which you can purchase here. You can find the Studio at 300 Bowling Green Drive. This event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
DIY Block Printing Workshop – SF Botanical Garden – October 20
This month, awaken your creativity spirits by attending a workshop that centers on the textile design process of making block prints. San Francisco-based illustrator and textile designer Danielle Broder will guide you on an exploration of designing, carving, paint-mixing, and printing your own custom patterns onto fabrics. This workshop is geared towards accommodating all levels of skill.
Your fee includes all provided materials: $70 for members and $75 for non-members. This event is scheduled to take place from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Click here to get your tickets.
Old Car Picnic – Hellman Hollow – October 20
Calling all classic car enthusiasts! It’s been 30 years since the first Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic hit the scene, where transportation options from 1987 or older take center stage. It’s known as the largest and longest-running show of its kind in San Francisco. This all-day event is the perfect excuse to pull out your picnic and BBQ essentials. There’s a fee to show off your vehicle ($40 for cars and trucks, $20 for motorcycles, and $10 for bikes), but it’s totally free to view the lineup. The car show and associated festivities will run from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. You’ll find Hellman Hollow (formally known as Speedway Meadow) located at John F. Kennedy Drive and Transverse Drive.
Walk to End Lupus Now – GGP Music Concourse – October 21
An estimated 1.5 million Americans are affected by a disease characterized by the immune system attacking their tissues and organs. Participating in the Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk to End Lupus Now® in San Francisco helps raise money for lupus research, increase awareness, and drum up public support. Check-in for the event starts at 8:30 a.m. with a 9:30 a.m. ceremony. The two-mile walk begins at 10 a.m. Throughout the event, Tony Sco from KBLX in San Francisco will serve as special guest and event emcee. To form or join a team, donate or volunteer for this event, click here for more information.
Full Moon Walk – SF Botanical Garden – October 24
It’s too soon for werewolves to lurk behind the shadows, so don’t be afraid to enjoy another full moon walk at the Garden. This experience places the flowers and fall foliage in a different light. Don’t forget to bring along a flashlight, and dress warmly. The cost to enjoy this event (which runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.) is $28 for members and $30 for non-members.
Creatures of the NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – October 25
Of course the Academy is getting in on the spookiness of Halloween with a themed NightLife event that centers on supernatural science and creepy creatures. Hosting the night are The Boulet Brothers, who will preside over the annual Halloween drag show and costume contest. On display, look for scientific curiosities. Academy scientists will talk spiders, scorpions and other creatures that’ll make you squirm. Don’t forget to sample the Halloween-themed spirits and cocktails. In addition to music provided by DJ Omar Perez, attendees will also enjoy the performances of from the drag show. Since this is an extra-special event at the Academy, expect to pay $18 as a member, and $22 as a non-member.
This NightLife event will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and you must show valid I.D. at the door.
Magical Marketplace a Modern Witches Confluence – SF County Fair Building – October 28
The main gallery of the San Francisco County Fair Building will host the Magical Marketplace, where more than 40 vendors sell their handcrafted goods, herbal medicines, local crafts, vintage gems, and other goods that’ll help you celebrate the weekend of Samhain. Just some of the highlights of tis event include a relaxing tea lounge; intuitive readings; guided plant walk; aura portrait and reading; and a chance to make your own witch broom. Vendors slated to make an appearance include Scarlet Sage Herb Co., Empress Vintage, Amanda Hunt Jewelry, and Ancestral Apothecary. It is free to attend this event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.