'Hardly Strictly' And More Bay Area Weekend Things To Do

Bob Pryor
October 04, 2019 - 3:51 am
Singer/songwriter EmmyLou Harris is one of many big-name acts who will be taking the stage at this weekend’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park.

Jamie McCarthy/ Getty Images

It's one of the biggest weekends of the year in San Francisco. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the crowds will descend on Golden Gate Park for the ever-popular (and somehow still free) Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

Watch out if you're driving through San Jose this weekend. There will be a plethora of street closures this Saturday and Sunday morning, as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon and comes to town.

On Saturday, Oakland’s famous Black Cowboy Parade and Heritage Festival takes place at De Fremery Park. A “charity challenge” vintage car racing event at the Raceway in Sonoma will let people scope out, and even ride in, some amazing autos. The Stanford Cardinal and the Washington Huskies go at it Saturday evening at Stanford Stadium. And the Castro Street Fair in San Francisco offers a variety of headline entertainment for your Sunday perambulation.

Here's the good news for BART riders. The system will offer normal, standard service this weekend, a pleasant change from all the work that's been going on between Orinda and Walnut Creek. 


Sat, Oct 5 (starting at 7:30am) and Sun, Oct 6 (starting at 8am):

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series returns to San Jose this weekend. The Half Marathon on Sunday brings approximately 16,000 runners and walkers to San Jose, in addition to tens of thousands of spectators. Runners will be treated to live local bands along with the way and be admitted to the Finish Line Festival and Post-Race Concert.

Most road closures and detours will be in effect on Saturday from 7am to 10am and Sunday from 7 am to 1pm. Many VTA bus lines will be re-routed on both mornings.

  • Pro tip: If you’re going to this event, you’ll want to look at the parking or public transit suggestions on this page. If you’re just trying to plan ahead for getting in or out of the area, check out the Road Closures page
  • Areas and roadways affected: Too many to list, so go to this page and click on the link entitled entitled “Road Closure Grid – Half Marathon, 10K, and Saturday 5K.”


Sat, Oct 5 starting at 10am: The Black Cowboy Parade and Heritage Festival takes place in Oakland with at De Fremery Park and some surrounding streets. 


Sat, Oct 5 at 7:30pm: There's college football at Stanford Stadium where the Cardinal host the University of Washington Huskies.

  • Pro tip: Go to CalTrain’s Stanford Football webpage and follow the links to the train service for the October 5th game in order to be sure you’re on the right train that’ll make the pre-game and post-game stop at Stanford. If you’re driving, keep in mind, El Camino Real will gear down well before kickoff time, and there will also be crowded conditions on University Avenue, Embarcadero Road, and Oregon Expressway before and after the game.
  • Areas and roadways affected: Extra traffic on Hwy-101 in Palo Alto; jammed traffic on El Camino Real, University Avenue, Embarcadero, Oregon Expressway, Galvez Street, Campus Drive. Extra patronage on CalTrain.


Fri, Oct 4 (noon-7pm); Sat, Oct 5 (11am-7pm); Sun, Oct 6 (11am-7pm): It's time again for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the free annual music festival, at Hellman Hollow and at Marx and Lindley Meadows in Golden Gate Park.An attendance of about 150,000 people each day is expected. The meadows open at 9am and unlike previous years, there are only four locations to enter the concert:

  • JFK Drive and Transverse Drive
  • Fulton Street and 30th Avenue
  • JFK Drive and 36th Avenue]
  • South Polo Field

There's a schedule of performances here.

  • Pro tip:  Muni will provide extra service on the 5R and 5R Fulton Rapid lines, including, each night of the festival, There will also be extra service on the N Judah; nonetheless, smart attendees will allow extra travel time on the N Judah and, in fact, on all bus lines serving Golden Gate Park.
  • Areas and roadways affected: Of course many streets in the Park will be closed for the Festival. For info on rideshare and taxi pickup and dropoff locations, and for a list of the few paid parking lots likely to be available, see the HSB Festival’s FAQ page.

Sun, Oct 6 from 11am-6pm: The 46th Annual Castro Street Fair takes place along Castro Street between Market and 19th Streets; on Market Street between Noe and Castro Streets; and on 18th Street between Noe and Diamond Streets. Full entertainment schedule is here.

  • Pro tip: Muni’s K, L, M, and T lines all stop at the Castro Station, which is located within the fairgrounds. Muni will re-route the F Market, 24 Divisadero, 33 Ashbury/18th Street, and 35 Eureka, which all can also be used to get to the fair area.
  • Areas and roadways affected: A complete list of area streets that will be closed from 4am to 10pm is here. Due to congestion, driving to the fair is not recommended, but for those who want to try, paid parking is available in the Everett Middle School Parking Lot, located on the north-side of 17th Street between Church and Sanchez. 


Fri, Oct 4 (Practice Day, 1pm-6pm); Sat, Oct 5 (8:30am-6pm) and Sun, Oct 6 (8:30am-5:35pm). The CSRG Charity Challenge will be held at the Sonoma Raceway. The raceway calls this “the perfect event for motorheads, foodies, and wine and craft beer lovers.” There will 250-300 vintage race cars, three-lap charity rides open to spectators who wish to make a contribution to Speedway Children’s Charities;  and the final round of several racing series. 

  • Areas and roadways affected: Drivers may see extra traffic coming and going on Hwy-37 and on Hwy-121; possibly also on Lakeville Highway.