I went to college in Austin, Texas, so yes, I did spend basically one weekend per month at some sort of music festival. And you best believe I was that bitch who’d camp out at a stage through three random sets, just to ride the rail for a band I wanted to scream-sing along with.
This concept now sounds, to me, like hell. Crowds of beer-drunk youngins’ sweating through their tank tops??? No!! But when I was offered a guest spot with Chase Sapphire to go to San Francisco’s Outside Lands as a VIP, I was intrigued. I can remember sneering at the fancy viewing areas in college, back when I was just a regular, GA gal, thinking, who are these people? Now I know these people were just adults in their mid-20s and up, who know that everything good about a music fest happens behind VIP ropes. I’m a snob now, it’s true, but I can’t be bothered to care.
I used the trip to OSL (what they call Outside Lands, as I learned) to spend time eating and drinking and karaoke-ing my way around San Francisco, because I’m nothing if not opportunistic. If OSL is on your list (and it should be), here’s my VIP-endorsed guide to enjoying the hell out of the fest, SF, and beautifying your IG grid in the process.
Like I said, I lived in Austin during college. As such, I am a fan of tacos, and tacos only. Burritos are 1. too big, and 2. have too much rice in them. But when in Rome, do as the Romans do. As soon as you deplane in SF, head directly to the Mission District to get a burrito (try Taquería El Buen Sabor or El Farolito). No matter where you go, have a friend take a picture of the burrito next to your face (for size comparison purposes) and post it to make your friends extremely jealous.
You could take a nap after you finish your lunch, which would be totally fine. Or you can make the most of your weekend in the Bay Area by doing a truly Bay Area activity: going on a long hike in the middle of the city. There are plenty of big hills to tromp up, so choose literally any of them. The weather in SF is so mild (okay, fine, it can get drizzly and gray sometimes) that you’ll probably barely break a sweat, and then, great news! You’ll be hungry enough for burrito number two right after. Get a panoramic shot of the whole city from the top of whatever peak you hike, upload it to your story, and sigh at how truly beautiful this city is.
If you’re ready to switch things up and move from burritos to pasta, snag a reservation at Che Fico—a new SF spot that’ll definitely have a line out the door before it opens at 5:30. It’s good. Because you’re in SF, order several rounds of their house-made sourdough (it’s a thing here), more than one pasta, and take an overhead shot of your crumb-addled table so you can make your followers drool for the second time in day.
For some reason, I felt I must take a yoga class while in the Bay Area. This makes no sense, really, except I just figure it’s the sort of thing that fancy tech people do. If you feel the same, book a class at Yoga Garden—an expansive studio that’s built in an old, classic townhouse. If anything, it’ll probably be the only time you make it into a legit SF mansion. And if you’re in the Bay for OSL, it’ll be a good way to prep your back for the hours of standing around you’re about to do. Take a pic of one of the big windows casting light onto a yoga mat, say some mantras, and get your practice on.
Now that you’ve stretched and breathed and prepped for your day, it’s time to get into the fest. Get there early to stock up on snacks and drinks, and then if you have a Chase Sapphire card, post up in the special Chase Sapphire Lounge for coffee, phone chargers, and snacks. Then head out into the throng, pick a stage to camp out at, drink your plastic cup of wine, and feel blissed out. Get a picture of the whole thing to make your followers think you’re extremely chill.
I’m not normally one to deal with a wait for brunch, but hallowed bakery Tartine is worth it. There are several locations of the classic spot throughout the city, but the new spot—Tartine Manufactory—is my fave (I obviously went to several). It has big windows and table service, unlike the others, and a full menu with loads of egg dishes that you definitely want. Once again, y0u must order the sourdough (along with several other pastries, because hi, it’s a bakery). Post a sun-drenched, nearly pornographic picture of your bread alongside some salty butter, then no shade if you want to smush the warm squishy stuff against your face.
If you are like me, you’ll realize approximately 30 seconds after entering OSL, that all of the clothes you packed are Not Cool. To remedy this, hit up one of SF’s many vintage stores and stock up on some new duds that’ll—hopefully—help you blend in with the crowds of cool young folks. There’s nothing better than vintage shopping in another city, especially when that city is home to a bunch of cool people who stock their stores very well. My fave stop was No Shop, a bohemian-esque store in the Mission. But you can’t go wrong with any of the thrifting stores you stumble across. Trade whatever shirt you packed for your new ~lewk~, wear it to the festival, and get a picture of you posing in your new ‘fit, because nothing elicits more confidence than the first time you wear a new thing.