I went to a Stern Grove Festival show last weekend, and I was blown away by how lucky I am to live in a place with this kind of free show put on in a beautiful city park. Even more amazing is how many people living in San Francisco and Daly City are biking distance from the park!
The Stern Grove Festival has a free bike valet and crowds of people going to the same place, which is a perfect recipe for riding your bicycle there. If you were thinking “How would I ride my bicycle to Stern Grove in 2023?” you’ve come to the right place!
The wind in your hair, maybe the foggy mist of Karl in your face too depending on the day, and likely a few hills. I didn’t say it would be an easy ride, but it’ll be fun! Here are all the things to watch out for on your Stern Grove bike ride.
Free Parking: Bike Valet to Keep Your Bike Safe
Even though you hopefully have all the locking equipment to keep your bike safe, Stern Grove has a bike valet so you don’t have to worry about any of that! They’ve set up the bike valet in the Stern Grove Playground right as you enter via the 19th & Sloat entrance (which is actually more like 21st & Sloat next to the playground since the corner entrance is primarily for the accessibility shuttle).
The Bike Valet is open from 12 noon until 1 hour after the concert ends, so if you intend to hang out in the park after the show, maybe just lock your bike up on the sidewalk outside one of the three Stern Grove Festival entrances.
The Route to Stern Grove
Stern Grove is in the southwest corner of SF, and depending on what map you look at it’s part of Parkside, Lakeshore, or even the Sunset.
The neighborhood around Stern Grove is relatively far from where I spend most of my San Francisco time, and therefore I don’t bike there often. But check out my post about finding bike routes with Google Maps and it will give you the tools to find some good bike routes over to Stern Grove.
There are also likely hills coming from most directions, so be prepared for some hill climbing!
If you’re coming from the central part of San Francisco, an idea for a longer, pleasant, and potentially less hilly ride is to ride out to the Ocean through Golden Gate Park, then down the car-free Great Highway, and ride back up along Sloat until you reach Stern Grove. At the very least this is guaranteed to be a fun bike ride for the day!
Carrying All That Picnic Paraphernalia on your Bicycle
Since this is a picnic venue, you may want to bring things like a blanket, food & drink, and maybe some low-profile lawn chairs (you’d have to get there early to set those up). If you don’t already have a rear bike rack to carry things, or you think those lawn chairs are too big to carry on your bicycle, you can borrow a bike trailer from the SF Bike Coalition!
The SF Bike Coalition offers free lending of bike trailers for carrying a lot of stuff on your bicycle. You have to be a member to take advantage of that perk, but if you’re riding a bicycle in San Francisco that’s an important part of supporting safe infrastructure!
Fill out the request form at least a few days before you go so you can schedule the pickup. The SFBC office is at Market & Valencia so you’d probably pick it up around there.
Extend Your Range with Bikeshare or Scootershare
If you don’t have a bicycle to ride, you can easily get to the venue with the other 2 wheeled devices on the streets. If you live out of town and want to avoid parking or crowds nearby, you can also park near a different bikeshare station and ride to the venue!
Bay Wheels bikeshare has a station 5 minutes walk from the 21st & Sloat entrance, so that’s an easy way to get to the park. The e-bikes would make any nearby hills a breeze!
The area around Stern Grove is more sparse with bikeshare stations, which means Bay Wheels waives the $2 fee they would usually charge if you don’t park an e-bike at a station. This means you can ride an e-bike directly to one of the entrances and safely park it there (to some object) without paying the extra $2 fee. It’s a bummer we have to think about that, but that’s how it is with the lack of bikeshare competition in the city.
Bring Your Bike Lights
Since it’s summertime and the show ends by 5pm, you probably won’t need your bike lights. But if you are planning to stay a little later or meander a bit, this is an important accessory you’ll want to get home safely after dark!
I prefer to use locking bike lights so I never have to take them off, but if you don’t have any yet and you’re just looking for an easy option, here are my backup easy to carry lights (or extra cheap ones).
A front light hack is to just use a headlamp that’s useful for other uses too! You may already have one! Here’s a very functional and cheap one or the popular brand name one. But make sure you have a rear bike light too.
Most of all, it should be fun to bike to Stern Grove. Enhance your fun with a show AND a bike ride! I hope all the bicycle research I’ve done helps you. If you find anything different than written here, send me a message or comment below and I’ll update it. And if you bike to other festivals and events, I’m looking for people to help write more articles like this in the future!
Have fun at the Stern Grove Festival & happy biking!