San Francisco is known to have one of America’s most incredible music scenes, with several top-notch festivals every year. Few can compare to Outside Lands, though; it’s known for having one of the most diverse lineups in the festival circuit — everything from alternative to hip-hop to electronic, and with bands just breaking into the industry playing alongside genre elder statesmen that have sold out stadiums for decades.
The 2024 festival headliners have yet to be announced, but 2023 acts included Foo Fighters, Lana del Ray, Odezsa, Interpol, and Megan thee Stallion. In addition to its spectacular lineups, Outside Lands features interactive art exhibits and creative experiences that are well worth visiting if you have some downtime during the festival. The festival also showcases the very best of San Francisco’s street food scene, with dozens of food truck vendors descending on Golden Gate Park to feed its hungry concertgoers.
Such a massive concert requires some logistical planning, though — buying the tickets, getting to and from the shows each day, and finding a place to sleep in a city that suddenly has over 200,000 festival-goers vying for the same hotels. Arriving in an RV can solve a few of these organizational problems. Now, let’s see how we can make Outside Lands 2024 the best possible experience.
Where and When is Outside Lands 2024?
The 2024 festival takes place in San Francisco’s beautiful Golden Gate Park from August 9th until August 11th. Shows are held at the Polo Grounds on the park's western end. If you arrive early or aren’t feeling a particular set, the park is also home to the charming Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco Botanical Garden, and De Young Museum of Fine Arts.
Golden Gate Park is also next to the famed Haight-Ashbury district, where the most famous figures in 1960s counterculture, like Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead got their start.
Getting Outside Lands 2024 Tickets
Festival passes are available for every budget and can be found on the Outside Lands 2024 website. 2024 passes are not yet available for purchase, but in the past, could be purchased for each day of the festival ($199), or you could buy one that covers all three ($450), for a 25% discount. However, last year, there were also GA+ passes that cost 50% more and allow for expedited entry into the festival and access to a lounge with complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and flush toilets. Fees for these passes vary, but for general admission, in 2023, they were $25 for a single day or $58 for a three-day pass — much more reasonable than the outrageous fees charged by Ticketmaster recently.
For a more luxurious Outside Lands 2024 experience, there’s the VIP experience, which grants pass holders access to exclusive lounges with flush toilets and premium bars; similar to the GA+ pass, this also comes with separate entrance gates but also a VIP viewing area closer to the stage, and access to a locker. The VIP pass went for $499 for a single day or $929 for all three days in 2023.
Those wanting the most exclusive Outside Lands experience can opt for the Golden Gate Club, which has the same amenities as the VIP pass, but with complimentary food and beverages and an even more desirable concert viewing area at each stage, shuttling between stages via golf cart, and air-conditioning, flush toilets, and Wi-Fi in the lounge area. In 2023, this pass went for $2199 for a single day or $4,899 for the whole festival.
How to Get to the Festival
The Bay Area has two major airports, San Francisco International and Oakland International, which are, respectively, around half an hour and forty-five minutes away from Golden Gate Park by car and roughly double that if taking public transportation. Amtrak’s California Zephyr, Capitol Corridor, and San Joaquins line also have stops in Oakland if you’d prefer to arrive by train.
Driving will give the most flexibility, though, and the Bay Area is well connected to the rest of California via the Pacific Coast Highway and Interstate 5, running north/south, and Interstate 80 going towards Sacramento. Driving can also eliminate the need for expensive Uber rides within the city.
However, finding a place to park your RV on the streets of San Francisco can feel like a Sisyphean task, thanks to a dizzying array of regulations regarding when and where it's allowed. Private parking lots are quite pricey, and although it’s free to park at the light rail (BART) stations, there’s a 19’ length limit that’ll exclude all but the smallest Class B RVs. Your best bet is to park outside the city center and use public transportation or a bicycle to get to and from the festival.
The North Judah tram runs parallel to the southern edge of Golden Gate Park, passing through the Haight-Ashbury, Tenderloin, and Embarcadero neighborhoods while also connecting with most of the BART lines.
What to Do Nearby
San Francisco sits at the top of many a traveler’s bucket list, and with good reason — it’s home to one of America’s most established Chinatowns, quaint cable-car trolleys running up the jaw-dropping steep streets, the world’s most famous prison on Alcatraz Island, every cuisine imaginable, and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge. Most attractions are only a short bus ride from Golden Gate Park, allowing for plenty of exploration in the morning before any of the festival’s acts start or bookending your Outside Lands 2024 trip.
Arriving in an RV means you are free to add a few extra stops at the beginning or end of your San Francisco adventure, though, and there are dozens of amazing little towns and some of the most spectacular natural wonders just outside San Fran.
Carmel by the Sea
This charming coastal town on the Monterey Peninsula is known for its historic Spanish mission, abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, thriving art scene, and world-class golf course at Pebble Beach. After three days of singing and dancing alongside your favorite bands, a quiet getaway at Carmel might be just what you need to unwind.
Just a short drive north of San Francisco is Muir Woods National Monument, a hiker’s paradise and a must for nature lovers attending Outside Lands. As you cross the Golden Gate Bridge and venture into the Marin Headlands, the dense urban landscapes quickly become a forest that’s remained unchanged for thousands of years. Home to some of the tallest trees on Earth, you’ll feel like you’re a thousand miles from the city rather than just fifteen.
Considered to be one of the crown jewels of America’s national parks system, Yosemite National Park has something for everyone: ancient Sequoia trees, imposing granite cliffs, hundreds of miles of backpacking trails, and fascinating indigenous history. Be sure to book your campsites early, as Yosemite is incredibly popular in August.
Where to Stay During the Festival
Unlike many of the other big-name music festivals like Coachella or Bonnaroo, there is no camping permitted at Outside Lands — its location in the heart of San Francisco just doesn’t allow for it. Such a central location also means you’ll be spending a pretty penny if you choose to book one of the hotels near Outside Lands. The average nightly rate for a hotel in the city center is at minimum, $150/night if not $200-$250. To make this a more budget-friendly trip, consider arriving in an RV and camping outside the city during the festival.
One thing to keep in mind is that every bridge entering San Francisco has tolls ranging from $7-$9, which are charged on the inbound trip only. When weighed against the total cost of the trip, this won’t add up to much, but it should make you consider the economics of public transportation when traveling into the city.
Outside Lands 2024 Campgrounds
The Bay Area is one of the most densely populated regions of the U.S., and there are no RV parks or campgrounds within the city limits. While there are a few campgrounds on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, these are rustic sites reserved for tent camping. Campgrounds suitable for RVs are at least half an hour from the city, so you’ll want to factor in that drive time when thinking about which shows to attend.
San Francisco RV Resort is one of the closest campgrounds to Golden Gate Park, just nine miles away. The campground sits on the western edge of the San Francisco Peninsula and has over 150 sites overlooking the Pacific Ocean. On the other side of the bay, in the hills to the southeast of Oakland is Anthony Chabot Regional Park, which offers full hookup sites for half of what you’d pay for a hotel room in San Francisco. On the other side of Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands is Marin RV Park, an 87-space campground with full hookups and Wi-Fi. Buses can shuttle you into the city in about an hour, or you can cycle the 13 miles and catch some spectacular views on the Golden Gate Bridge.
An Outside Lands 2024 to Remember
Attending a music festival as large as Outside Lands can be intimidating, and extensive planning is required regardless of how you travel to the Bay Area. However, arriving in an RV can help to lower accommodation costs and allow you the freedom to travel before and after the festival. Consider picking up an RV Rental in Carson, CA or San Francisco for a memorable experience. To find the best deal on an RV rental, contact Cruise America today!