Internationally renown artist Leo Villareal is known for creating unique, abstract light installations around the globe. On March 5th, 2013, Villareal teamed with the group ILLUMINATE to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the San Francisco Bay Bridge with a brilliant LED light show installed on the north side suspender cables — The Bay Lights.
The nightly light show features 25,000 LED lights which are controlled by a computer program to produce abstract patterns across the span which aren’t meant to repeat. The installation was initially meant to be temporary, and ran from March 5th, 2013, to March 5th, 2015, but its popularity lead ILLUMINATE to recruit lasting donors to fund the project indefinitely. On January 30th, 2016, the Bay Lights shined once again, and will continue to do so well into the future.
Villareal says the show is inspired by the Burning Man festival, which lends to it’s fun nature as fish-like shapes can be seen traversing the span, as well as other various upbeat patterns. Since the show never repeats, one can be mesmerized by it’s brilliance for minutes upon hours, night after night.
The best places to watch the Bay Lights are at Rincon Park near Cupid’s Span, while enjoying a drink at nearby Waterbar, Epic Roasthouse, or Palomino, from scenic Pier 14, or, if you’re looking for a unique and romantic experience, San Francisco Pedicab offers the Bay Lights Tour — a stroll in a pedicab along the waterfront with a great view of the show. We’ll even provide a corkscrew and disposable wine glasses so you can bring and enjoy your own bottle if you choose. The Bay Lights run nightly from sunset to 2 AM. The Bay Lights tour is currently offered at 6 & 7 PM — these times will change with the seasons.