The show must go on! That is the theme for this year’s October 2021 events in Golden Gate Park. One of the most anticipated events in San Francisco, the Outside Lands Festival, is on for October! Usually held in August, the festival was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s ready to rock and roll this month. There’s also plenty of music, dance, art, exercise, and Halloween fun to enjoy—so get your calendars out and let’s see what’s happening at the Park!

Fall Meditation – SF Botanical Garden – October 3, 10, 17, 24

Join musician and teaching artist Charity Kahn for an hour-long meditation program every week at the Garden. There will be sitting, walking, and moving meditation. Sign up for an individual class from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., with groups meeting at the Main Gate. It is recommended to bring along a blanket, cushion, mat, or small chair to sit on. Single class fees are $25 each for the general public and $18 for members. You can sign up here.

Singer/Songwriter Wednesdays – Golden Gate Park Bandshell – October 6, 13, 20, 27

As part of a monthly series of free concerts, Wednesdays are a time to celebrate original songwriters and singers. The following performers will entertain in October from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.:

  • Oct 6 – The Karney Band and Washington High School Choir with Ken Newman opening
  • Oct 13 – An Evening with Megan Slankard
  • Oct 20 – Jason Crawford, VanRu, and Sam Johnson
  • Oct 27 – Chris Peck, Alison Niedbalski, and Future Twin

Golden Gate Park Outdoor Movie Night – Big Rec Field – October 7

In coordination with Sundown Cinema, Golden Gate Park is hosting a free movie night open to the public. It’s the perfect time to enjoy food, drinks, and good company in the park with family and friends. The event begins around 5 p.m. with the film of the night, “A League of Their Own,” screening after sunset (7 p.m.-ish). In addition, there will be food trucks on-site, plus an opportunity to test your skills out in a free batting cage. For more details, click here.

Soul/Jazz Fridays – Golden Gate Park Bandshell – October 8, 15, 22

Continuing the free weekly concerts at the Bandshell are the following R&B, soul, and jazz performers scheduled to entertain you on Fridays from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.:

  • Oct 8 – The Dave Dieni Quartet (two Sets)
  • Oct 15 – Latin Jazz Night with Obryzon and Calmao
  • Oct 22 – R&B and Soul with Cornell “CC” Carter, opening with CJ Washington

Shrimp ‘n Lobster Story Time – SF Botanical Garden – October 9

Join Green Apple Books and author and illustrator Charlotte Rygh for an afternoon filled with a drawing lesson to celebrate “Shrimp ‘n Lobster: A San Francisco Adventure!” Kids will receive exclusive Shrimp ‘n Lobster bookmarks and botanical coloring sheets, plus learn how to draw Lobster. This event is from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Don’t forget to bring a blanket or chair for comfortable seating in a grassy area. You must RSVP for this event – sign up here.

Asian/African Dance and Music – Golden Gate Park Bandshell – October 9

This free event features Bhangra, Bollywood, and West African dance and music performances from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with Duniya Dance and Drum Company, plus special guest Feline Finesse.

Saturday Stroll – Murphy Windmill – October 9

A walk along the San Francisco coast sounds like a fabulous way to get the blood flowing, clear the mind, and enjoy a heart-healthy stroll. This walk starts at Murphy’s Windmill in Golden Gate Park and continues to the Great American Highway from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

You can claim your free ticket here.

In-Person Workshops – Sharon Arts Studio – October 9, 16, 23, 30, 31

Interested in learning a new art skill or want to introduce your child to the world of fine arts? Sharon Arts Studio has workshops for youth and adults in October that include Halloween themed crafts, fall projects, and ceramics, like the following:

  • Cups: Three Ways: two-day workshop to build and glaze your creations – Oct 9 at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Oct 16 at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Beaded Stretch Bracelets: Make & Take for ages 6-11 – Oct 23 at 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Beyond the Basics: Lidded Jars: more for an intermediate skill level, you’ll create at least one jar with a snug-fitting lid – Oct 23 & Oct 30 at 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Halloween Extravaganza for ages 6-10 years old – Oct 31 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

You are required to wear a mask for all in-person instruction.

Get more information and sign up for October art workshops here.

Plant Sale – SF Botanical Garden – October 9 & 10

If you’re looking for new greenery to join your California native plants, the Garden will have exotics from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa on sale this weekend. Just head to the Plant Arbor from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and find new Dry Gardening Plants for your garden.

Roller Skate Cleanup – 6th Ave Skate Park – October 10

Help keep Golden Gate Park clean for roller skaters, bladers, and other wheeled friends with a cleanup party to tidy up the 6th Avenue Skate Park. Interested? Meet at the 6th Ave entrance on the parkside (at Fulton St at 6th Ave) at 1 p.m. You can RSVP here with this Google Form or email [email protected] with the event name. All supplies provided—just bring yourself!

JAMboodas Music and Dance ClassSF Botanical Garden – October 10, 17, 24

Join Charity Kahn (of “Charity and the JAMband”) for a music class that’ll spark your child’s interest in singing, dancing, and surrendering to their imagination. They will stretch, breathe, and take in the Garden’s beauty while jamming out to Charity’s original music, melodies, rhyme, and other fun. This event is from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and is recommended for families with children who are up to 5 years old.

Individual class fees are $25 (for a family with one child) and $12.50 for additional tickets for children and siblings. For more information and to sign up, click here.

Reggae Sundays – Golden Gate Park Bandshell – October 10, 17, 24

Looking for something to do on a Sunday? How about you sit back, relax, and listen to live reggae music at the Bandshell from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.? Crucial featuring DJ Jah Yzer has a lot planned for October, including a ton of special guests. The schedule includes:

  • Oct 10 – A performance with a special guest TBD
  • Oct 17 – It’s Jah Yzer’s Birthday Show with a lot of special guests
  • Oct 24 – Latin Reggae with Estrella and more

NightLife: BigPicture – California Academy of Sciences – October 14

Calling all animal lovers! There’s a new exhibit featuring unique nature and conservation photography representing some of the best wildlife snapshots. Out of the over 8,000 submissions from worldwide photographers, 49 of the top images highlight global biodiversity and the importance of protecting the natural world around us. The photographer who took the 2021 BigPicture Grand Prize-winning photo will be in attendance and other special guests.

This event is from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Academy requires all visitors ages 12+ to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of a scheduled visit.

To get your reserve timed entry ticket online, click here.

Skulls & Skeletons – Sharon Art Studio – October 16

Ready yourself for Halloween and join conceptual artist and filmmaker Cassandra Sechler for a small event that includes a skull prop-making demonstration, facilitated Q&A, and special drinks and treats that you can enjoy inside the studio or outside on the veranda. Available for viewing and up for auction: Six of Cassandra’s skulls and a skeleton from her latest film.

For more information and to buy your ticket ($50), click here.

Judy Chicago Performance – de Young Museum – October 16

In celebration of the Judy Chicago: A Retrospective art exhibition, you’ll have a rare opportunity to enjoy her colorful, site-specific open-air “Atmospheres” performance titled “Forever de Young.” This performance will unfold in front of the main entrance of the Museum at 5 p.m. Keep in mind that the Museum will close at 4 p.m. on this day in preparation for the event.

Family Art Making – de Young Museum – October 16, 23 & 30

Professional teaching artists are on hand to guide artists of all ages for a drop-in art project activity on select Saturdays in the Piazzoni Murals Room at the Museum from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. There is free general admission every Saturday for all Bay Area residents. To reserve a time slot online for your preferred entry date, click here.

Other de Young family art-making activities in October include:

  • Oct 23 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) coinciding with opening day of Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love
  • Oct 30 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

GGP Folk Festival – Golden Gate Park Bandshell – October 17

We love our music at Golden Gate Park, and if you’re in the mood for the sounds of folk music, don’t miss out on this free event featuring Adrian West, V Maund, Megan Keely, Pete Kronowitt, Deborah Crooks, and Brother Spellbinder. This event is from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is presented by Illuminate and SF Recreation and Parks Department in association with Sunday Streets.

For more details, click here.

Trunk Show: Pam Wiston – de Young Museum – October 21 & 23

Head to the main level of the de Young Museum Store to meet Bay Area designer Pam Wiston of Cute As A Button and view her exclusive collection of Patrick Kelly-inspired button jewelry and accessories made from vintage and antique buttons.

This wearable art will be on sale during the following times:

  • Oct 21 (9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Oct 23 (3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.)

Trunk Show: Marcus Lew – de Young Museum – October 22

Arkansas-based textile artisan Marcus Lewis of M-Lew Clothing is making a rare appearance on the main level of the de Young Museum Store to present his exclusive collection of hand-painted tops and accessories inspired by Patrick Kelly from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fashion Panel: “Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love” – de Young Museum – October 23

De Young Museum is honoring the life and legacy of Black fashion designer Patrick Kelly with a panel discussion at Koret Auditorium from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. This event will be moderated by the associate curator of costume and textile arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Laura L. Camerlengo, and include the voices of Dilys E. Blum (the Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and Bjorn Guil Amelan, the former business and life partner of Patrick Kelly.

The panel is part of an opening day celebration of the Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love exhibition.

NightLife: FrightLife – California Academy of Sciences – October 28

The Academy knows how to scare up a good time for Halloween with various activities and fun planned for the occasion, including a costume contest, creepy science specimens, and a drag show hosted by drag queen Heklina and featuring the Rice Rockettes.

The event is from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Remember, you must be able to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of a scheduled visit. Purchase your reserve timed-entry ticket online here.

Outside Lands Festival – Golden Gate Park – October 29, 30 & 31

Outside Lands is the largest independently owned music festival in the United States held annually at Golden Gate Park. The three-day event includes food (enjoy a Taste of the Bay Area!), wine, beer, cheese, cocktails, art, demonstrations, and an impressive lineup of performers you won’t want to miss.

This year’s entertainment lineup includes Lizzo, The Strokes, Glass Animals, Tyler, The Creator, J Balvin, Sofia Valdes, Kehlani, Yung Thug, Nelly, Dr. Dog, Tame Impala, 070 Shake, Cam, Nancy Whang, Kyle Walker, Resistence Revival Chorus, ODIE, Noga Erez, and many more!

For more information and to get tickets, visit

Golden Gate Park Monthly Recurring Events

Other October 2021 recurring monthly events at Golden Gate Park include:

Oct 5 – Conservatory of Flowers Free First Tuesdays

Oct 6, 13, 20, 27 – Free admission hour at the Japanese Tea Garden (every Wednesday at 9 a.m.)

Oct 8 – Women and Non-Binary Bike S.F. – McLaren Lodge (more details)

Oct 8, 15, 22, 29 – Lakehouse Jazz at Stow Lake Boathouse (more details)

Oct 9, 16, 23, 30– Blankets & Wine Comedy at Polo Field Bleachers – free (more details)

Oct 9, 16, 23, 30 – Free de Young Museum Day for Bay Area Resident (every Saturday)

Oct 10, 17, 24, 31   Golden Gate Park Roller Disco Party at the Skatin’ Place – 6th Ave. and Kennedy Drive from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., free (every Sunday)

Oct 11, 18, 25 –Beach ChaletPrime Rib Special + live music, every Monday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Oct 12 – San Francisco Botanical Garden’s Free Day (2nd Tuesdays)

Oct 16 & 17 – SoundBath in Golden Gate Park (monthly at 1 – 3 p.m.) more details