What is The Bay Lights?
The Bay Lights is the largest contemporary art LED light sculpture the world has ever seen. Designed and orchestrated by internationally renowned artist Leo Villareal, this monumental dance of light transforms the San Francisco Bay Bridge every evening into an illuminated canvas eight times the scale of the Eiffel Tower’s 100th Anniversary lighting. Spanning 1.8 miles and consisting of 25,000 energy-efficient white LEDs sparkling in an infinite array of never-repeating designs, the Bay Lights bridges earth and sky—art and science–infrastructure and wonder like nothing else. The Bay Lights interactive map can help you discover restaurants, hotels, businesses and public places with amazing views
Who is the Artist?
Leo Villareal is one of the world’s most prominent LED artists with prestigious international commissions and solo exhibitions around the globe. A pioneer in the use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and computer-driven imagery, his art is part of the permanent collections of prestigious museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Kagawa, Japan. Recent exhibitions include a survey show organized by the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, which continues to tour several museums in the United States.
Why You Should See It
Rated Number One of “25 New Things to See and Do in 2013,” by United Airlines Hemispheres magazine, The Bay Lights is a very rare and special San Francisco art installation surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the San Francisco skyline and the glimmering Bay. This dazzling, elegant project combines technology, engineering and art in celebration of the Bay Area’s force of culture, ingenuity and human connection on a grand scale—it is a bridge after all!
First Anniversary Festivities - All March Long
DINE & SHINE FOR THE BAY LIGHTS, MARCH 1ST – 31ST
Enjoy artisan cocktails and tantalizing dishes inspired by the Bay Lights at Americano Restaurant & Bar, Chaya Brasserie, Coqueta, Epic Roasthouse, MarketBar, Perry’s, Waterbar, Waterfront Restaurant, and Hotel Vitale, who’ll donate a percentage of Dine & Shine purchases to help keep the Bay Lights lit through 2026. See an interactive map listing restaurant and hotel offers here.
RELIGHTING THE BAY LIGHTS, MARCH 6TH
In honor of the Bay Lights First Anniversary, The Ferry Building, MarketBar, KFOG and Illuminate the Arts will host a first anniversary celebration with artist Leo Villareal. We invite you to don lighted gear or wearable art and make your festive way to any place on the waterfront with a clear view of the Bay Lights—you can also watch it streamed live at thebaylights.org/view. Tune into KFOG-FM 104.5 and 97.7 before the Bay Lights goes dark at 7:00PM (or click LISTEN LIVE on kfog.com to catch the music on your phone or iPad), and ten minutes later you’ll hear a celebratory countdown to the Bay Lights relighting as KFOG broadcasts a brilliant 20-minute soundtrack. Check out our Dine & Shine map of waterfront restaurants with amazing views of the Bay Lights and make reservations now for a really special evening.
THE BAY LIGHTS FIRST ANNIVERSARY RIDE, MARCH 7TH
The San Francisco Bike Party, The SF Bicycle Coalition, Black Rock Arts Foundation and Illuminate the Arts team up to bring together an extraordinary evening bike ride, kicked off at 7:30PM by Illuminate the Arts Founder/CEO Ben Davis near the Embarcadero’s Cupid Span sculpture. At 8PM, SF Bike Party volunteers will lead a fun and safe ride through the city with stops to dance and socialize along the way. If ever there was a time to light up your bike, this is it! Click here for more details.
WORLD PREMIERE OF IMPOSSIBLE LIGHT, MARCH 8TH
We are thrilled to announce the World Premiere of the Feature Length Motion Picture, Impossible Light as part of the SXSW 2014 Film Festival Documentary Feature Competition Lineup! Jeremy Ambers’ exhilarating new film reveals all of the drama and the joy involved in creating a work of art on the grandest of scales, and demonstrates that the Bay Lights truly is a project whose “impossibility made it possible.” See the trailer.
The Bay Lights by the Numbers
- World's largest contemporary art LED light sculpture
- 8 times the scale of Eiffel Tower's 100
- 1.8 miles long by 500 feet high
- 25,000 hand-wired LEDs
- 1 LED spaced every 12 inches
- 60,000 zip ties lash the LEDs
- 100,000 linear feet of armored cabling
- 8 to 10 electricians worked all night for 5 months
San Francisco Icons
|Alcatraz||Bay Bridge||Cable Cars|
|Coit Tower||Ferry Building||Golden Gate Bridge|
|Haight-Ashbury||The Painted Ladies||Palace of Fine Arts|