Put away the confetti and party hats, crack open a new calendar, and get ready to bring in another year with more visits to Golden Gate Park in January. Events in the park for the first month of 2014 are packed with plenty of ways to kickstart a New Year’s resolution, enjoy seasonal music, and get your hands on creative vintage items. From a chocolate-themed scavenger hunt to a Hot Chocolate Run, don’t miss out on Golden Gate Park activities for January 2014 that also include disc golf, dahlias, the Lunar New Year, and archery.


Commitment Day 5K – Transverse & Kennedy Drives – January 1

Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions of all time are to lose weight, diet, or lead an overall healthier lifestyle. With the Commitment Day 5K, you can participate in a nationwide running event that includes thousands of people planning on doing the very same thing as you.

This particular event centers on lending a helping hand to the American Heart Association and its “My Heart. My Life.” Initiative, which aims to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent by 2020. This is just one of the programs that highlight the importance of healthy eating, physical activity and children’s health. If you’d like more details or information on how to register for Commitment Day (which starts at 10 a.m.), check out: http://www.commitmentday.com/san-francisco/event-info/

Festive Holiday Performances – California Academy of Sciences – January 1, 3 & 5

When you purchase admission to the Academy, head for the Piazza stage to enjoy seasonal performances by musicians, cultural groups, and other live shows that include the sounds of the Golden Gate Carolers (Jan 1), Golden Gate Park Band Saxophone Quartet (Jan 3), and Bell Appeal (Jan 5). Performances are held at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Vintage Paper Fair – SF County Fair Building – January 4

Once again, an assortment of vintage delights will take over the San Francisco County Fair Building for a free event centered on the beauty and wonder of old paper goods. Starting at 10 a.m., you can browse one of the largest selections in the West Coast for postcards, trade cards, photography, labels, brochures, Victorian-style designs, and sports memorabilia. With more than one million items on sale, you are sure to find something interesting and new to add to your collection. There are even prices as low as 25 cents for an authentic, vintage postcard – a treasure trove of goodies for the enthusiast, casual browser, art lover, and crafter.

Free Zumba Workout – GGP Carousel Area – January 4, 11, 18 & 25

The fun, energetic, heart-pounding approach to getting and staying fit could be as easy as paying a visit to the Golden Gate Park Carousel, where free Zumba classes await. The Latin-inspired calorie-burning fitness craze that involves salsa, rumba, and other international dances is offered as a free event planned by the Movement in the Parks Program and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. You must RSVP to Olive in order to take advantage of the opportunity to shake, twist, and sway the pounds away with Chito, your instructor. Zumba fanatics will meet in front of the Carousel (198 John F. Kennedy Drive). The workout sessions are held from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Golden Gate Park 10K – Transverse & Kennedy Drives – January 5

If you’re looking for another event in Golden Gate Park that allows you to stretch your legs and feel the burn of a good workout, consider registering for the 10K taking place on the first Sunday of the New Year. The start time for this run is 9 a.m., and registration closes on January 3, 2014 at 9 a.m. For more details, check out http://www.dserunners.com.

How-To NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – January 9

If reading a ‘how-to’ book isn’t making it any easier to master a new skill, perhaps you’d like to see first-hand how to do something of interest by taking part in one of the interactive ‘how-to’ workshops offered at the weekly Thursday Nightlife event held at the Academy. Experts from Ragazza will show you how to make fresh mozzarella from scratch, while mixologists from Punk Domestic give you a demonstration on the art of making tea liqueur. The topics of urban beekeeping and bee activism come alive with the help of Terry Oxford of UrbanBeeSF. Enthusiasts of technology and textiles may want to see what the latest in Google Glass and 3D printing is all about. Other subjects worth exploring include letter pressing, taxidermy, plant identification, juggling lessons, plate spinning, line dancing, and bow-tie tying demos.

During the first Nightlife event of the year, the East Pavilion will provide DJ sets by Andy Cabic of local indie-rock band Vetiver, and Britt Govea of (((folkYEAH!))).

As always, only a 21 and over crowd is allowed to enjoy the festivities at the Nightlife events of the Academy. You will need a valid ID to gain entry, where the party rocks from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Ticket costs are $10 to $12.

Other Nightlife events at the California Academy of Sciences for the month of January 2014 include:

• Mind & Body NightLife – January 16: It’s all about the brain and body, where guided meditation led by neuroscience expert Dr. Philippe Goldin of Stanford University takes place in the planetarium. Hip hop by DJ Qbert provides the sounds for the night. The Integral Yoga Institute will host a yoga workshop in African Hall. Medicinal plant expert Tellur Fenner will be on hand to discuss edible and medicinal plants. Look out for mind-controlled music, light and sculpture installation with NeuroDisco.

• Gallery Crawl NightLife – January 23: Pop-up art museum extravaganza with micro-galleries and maker stations curated by the Gallery Daily team. SFMOMA hosts interactive activities in African Hall. Art showcases by Mission-based Roll Up Gallery and Modern Eden Gallery of North Beach. Live music and DJ tunes by LA’s 100% Silk DJs, Bobby Browser, Magic Touch, Roche, and Cherushii. A rare collection of animal-inspired Andy Warhol prints will be on display. Speak with representatives of the design departments from both the Academy and California College of the Arts.

Cooking Class: Pot Stickers for the Chinese New Year – SF Botanical Garden – January 11

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., celebrate the Chinese New Year by learning how to create the perfect dumpling. Choose between a traditional pork creation and playing around with different flavors and vegetables to achieve an appetizing morsel to suite your own tastes. A fee ensures the availability of all materials for this cooking class. In the end, you will return home with a dozen dumplings. Keep in mind that advance registration is required for participation in this class. The cost is $20 for members and $25 for non-members.

Achievement Shoot – Golden Gate Park Archery Range – January 11

Head for Fulton Street to gain access to the archery range at Golden Gate Park, where you can participate in an indoor distance achievement shoot for adults and youths. Held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the check-in and warm-up period for this event is 8:45 a.m. with scoring promptly taking place at 9:15 a.m. Late arrivals will not be able to participate. If you want to practice, it’s suggested to come to the range early. Participants are only allowed to shoot in one class (adult or youth) with one type of bow (barebow, traditional or compound bow).

This event is free for paid-up students of Golden Gate JOAD, while the cost for all others is $20. Although the event takes place in the great outdoors, indoor distance targets are being used, which are typically 18 meters, or 9 meters for some youth participants. For more information, you can check out the details regarding the pursuit of archery achievements.

Chocolate Bank Robbery Scavenger Hunt – Stow Lake – January 11

Chocolate lovers may want to visit Stow Lake (Stow Lake Drive East) to participate in a family-friendly scavenger hunt that involves walking, running, thinking, and decoding the text messages that should lead participants to a stash of chocolate. The hunt begins at 10 a.m., and you will have 90 minutes to return to the vault at the starting point (at the top of Strawberry Hill) to have a chance to get your hands on the chocolate loot.

To get an idea of what to expect, you may want a YouTube video of the April 27th event.

Tickets for this event cost:

• Until December 31 –Adults: $15 , Kids under 18: $5, or Families: $35
• Until January 10 – Adults: $20, Kids under18: $10, or Families: $50

Dahlia Dell Digout – Dahlia Dell – January 11 & 12

If you have a soft spot for dahlias, then perhaps you’d find volunteering a bit at the Dahlia Dell at Golden Gate Park is a nice way to give back to the community. The 22nd annual Dahlia Dell Digout is put on by the Dahlia Society of California and SFRPD, where you can work on the plot that has been delighting locals and tourists since the min-1920s.

Rain or shine, you will meet at the northeastern corner of the park (near the Conservatory of Flowers) to receive free training in dahlia growing, such as hands-on activities that include digging tuber clumps, raking, weeding and labeling tubers. It is highly suggested to wear sturdy closed-toe footwear and appropriate clothing, such as long-sleeve shirts and pants. Bringing your own gloves and pruning shears is a plus. Lunch and light refreshments will be on hand for participants.

Parking for this event (held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) will be located along Conservatory Drive East. To RSVP for this opportunity, contact [email protected] or direct any calls to (415) 831-6330.

2014 Bag Tag Challenge – Marx Meadow – January 11

For current members of the San Francisco Disc Golf Club (SFDGC) or those thinking about joining, the annual fundraiser tournament called the Bag Tag Challenge is certainly an entertaining event to consider for the New Year. It is here where you will enjoy discounted fun, as well as compete for the lowest Bag Tag. In addition to the disc golf activities, there is also a BBQ and beer party scheduled. Registration for the event will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. with the entry fee being announced at a later date – (Membership + BP Donation). The barbeque and party will follow after the round, and the event ends with a Bag Tag Ceremony.

An early round will take place on Friday, January 10 with registration from noon to 1:30 p.m. – the last group must Tee-Off at 1:30 p.m. with no exceptions. At least three people must be in your group in order to participate.

Hot Chocolate Run 15/5K – 14th Ave East Meadow – January 12

Dubbed America’s Sweetest Race, the Hot Chocolate Run features a 15k (9.3miles) and 5k (3.1miles) event where runners of all levels are encouraged to participate. Everyone involved will take home a spiffy goodie bag, which is collected at the expo along with their race packet. Keep in mind that this event begins at 7:30 a.m.

A Post Race Party extends the fun where music fills the air and a family-friendly kids-zone entertains with bounce houses and games. A finisher’s mug filled with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue, and tasty dippable treats is also one of the reasons why this race is quite popular. 

Magnolias by Moonlight – SF Botanical Garden – January 16

The Botanical Garden at Golden Gate Park is home to a collection of magnolias that represents 51 species and 33 cultivars, including prize specimens from Asia. The Garden is known for hosting moonlit walks that highlight the beauty of their collection. This time around, they present the fascinating setting of fragrant magnolia blossoms with the guidance of a San Francisco Botanical Garden naturalist. During your walk, sip on a cup of aromatic tea and nibble on a batch of homemade cookies. Bring a flashlight along to capture the fun, and monitor the weather, as heavy rain cancels this event.

This event is held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and costs $10 for members and $20 for non-members. Advance registration for this event is a must. Payments are received at the door in the form of cash, checks and credit cards.

Courage to Run “Visualize: Inspire Creatively” – Music Concourse – January 18

In an effort to keep people happy, healthy and inspired, there is an event kicking off at the Music Concourse (off of Nancy Pelosi Drive) in Golden Gate Park. The schedule of events will include morning coffee, nutritious edibles, three walk and run options based on your personal needs, practitioner-guided yoga, and full brunch at the de Young Museum Café. This event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. For more details, you can visit us at couragetorun.org, or send an email to [email protected]

Magnificent Magnolia Tour – SF Botanical Garden – January 18

Taking a tour of the magnolia collection alongside an expert is a great way to learn the history of the Garden, as well as get tips on how to grow your own colorful blooms in the Bay Area. Don’t forget to bring along a camera to capture the splendor of the Garden’s atmosphere. Members pay $10 to enjoy this event, while non-members are charged $20. The tour is held from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Lunar New Year – SF Botanical Garden – January 25

Just when you thought the festivities of the New Year were over, there is the Chinese New Year to consider. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., join in the fun at the Botanical Garden where special performances unfold, such as tai chi demonstrations, the swirl of swords, entertaining folk dances, and the delight of dragon dancers. Children’s crafts, special story times, and other hands-on activities will help to expand the mind of younger guests.

A calendar of events for this free celebration includes:

• 9:00-10:00: Performance by Rosa Parks Elementary School Children
• 10:00-11:00: Dramatic Swordplay by Jing Cai Tai Chi Team
• 11:00-12:00: Traditional dances by costumed performers from the San Francisco Sunset Recreation Center Dance Troupe
• 12:00-12:30: Dancing and drumming of the West Coast Lion Dancers
• 1-3:00: Children’s garden crafts with San Francisco Botanical Garden Society

Rainbow Falls 5K – Kennedy & Transverse Drives – January 26

January is a month filled with Golden Gate Park running events, and one of the last is the Rainbow Falls 5K, which also offers a free ½-mile kids run that starts at 9:45 a.m. Starting at 9 a.m., runners will travel along a loop course that starts and finishes at Kennedy and Transverse Drives, All participants will receive a ribbon with place ribbons awarded to the top five overall male/female runners. Race day registration begins at 8 a.m. where participants will pick up their race tags/bibs on race day. Fees for this event are $3 for participants aged 11-17 years of age, $5 for runners 18 years and over, and 10 and under for free. For more details or to direct any questions, you can contact [email protected], check out www.dserunners.com, or call (415) 978-0837.