Golden Gate Park’s “Winter Lights” Glowing Forest is Here
Join us for a new tradition this holiday season! Explore Golden Gate Park from sundown to 10 p.m. each night to experience an illuminated journey to delight the whole family.
Make your way from “Uncle John’s Tree” at McLaren Lodge to Entwined in Peacock Meadow, then from the glowing Conservatory of Flowers to more illuminations at the 8th Avenue gateway to the Music Concourse. As you move toward the SkyStar Wheel, you will enter the Alterverse, a celebration of poetry and light where you can catch free performances at the Golden Gate Bandshell on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays throughout the holiday season.
December 1, 2021 to February 1, 2022
Nightly from sundown to 10pm
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
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December 1: A Magical Evening of Lights at the National AIDS Memorial Grove
For the first time ever, the National AIDS Memorial Grove will be magically illuminated like never before on the evening of World AIDS Day, opening for a free public display of lights, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Stroll through the grove, completely outdoors, and enjoy its beauty and power on World AIDS Day as we offer hope and light with a candlelight reflection in the Circle of Friends, artistic performances, and a 5 p.m. reading of newly added names in the Grove and onto the panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Afterward, stroll over to the Music Concourse for more public programming, poetry reading, and light displays. For more information and to support the programs of the National AIDS Memorial, please visit aidsmemorial.org.
Opening December 1: The Alterverse, at the Music Concourse
For the entire month of December, Golden Gate Park will be alive with poetry, live music, and light. The Alterverse, created by Illuminate, will feature San Francisco’s dynamic Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin, a curatorial crew of poets, live Music events every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday accompanied by mesmerizing light exhibitions – including a 450 feet of scrolling poetry lasered on the facade of the de Young Museum. All events are free and open to the public.
December 2: Holiday Tree Lighting
Celebrate the lighting of Uncle John’s Tree in Golden Gate Park from 4-8 p.m. (lighting of the tree at 6 p.m.)! This free family-friendly event will feature activities, food trucks, carnival rides, a tobogganing hill, the San Francisco Public Library’s Book Mobile, a craft table from the de Young Museum, performances and more. After the event, stroll down car-free JFK to visit Entwined by Charles Gadeken at Peacock Meadow, see the light show at the Conservatory of Flowers, view more dazzling illuminations at 6th and JFK by designer Joshua Hubert, grab tickets to ride the SkyStar Wheel in the Music Concourse, and listen to the George Washington High School Choir. The event will feature a free bike valet courtesy of the SF Bike Coalition, and the Golden Gate Park shuttle will run a loop between McLaren Lodge and the Music Concourse.
Nightly: Entwined by Charles Gadeken Beginning December 2
The popular lighted exhibit will again transform Peacock Meadow into an enchanted forest of otherworldly shapes and ever-changing light that allows visitors to explore twisting paths, sit under colorful trees, and admire nature-inspired sculptures that flower with light. This year, Entwined returns bigger and more interactive, allowing viewers to manipulate the sequences of changing lights and peer through portals. Event Website
Nightly: Conservatory of Flowers, Psychedelic Photosynthesis, light installation
Developed in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, this colorful illuminated moving projection harkens back to the Summer of Love in San Francisco. A joyous, psychedelic installation complimenting the endless parade of rare and unusual flowers on display inside the Conservatory of Flowers. Enjoy the lights, and return (or arrive early) for a visit to this historic San Francisco institution. Hours are 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. conservatoryofflowers.org.
Nightly: Winter Lights – Beginning December 2
The woodlands of Golden Gate Park are transformed into illuminated sculptures that glow with the movement of colorful ambient light to become the Phosforest. Hundreds of individually controlled LED flood lights create dynamic patterns that are programmed to flow across a full acre of the park. Located by the 6th Avenue SkatePark, designer Joshua Hubert invites you to skate and dance long after the sun goes down among the trees at Winter Lights. JoshuaHubert.com
Daily: The SkyStar Wheel
Standing 150 feet tall in Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse, the illuminated SkyStar Wheel boasts unparalleled views from downtown San Francisco to the Pacific Ocean. Installed in 2020 as part of Golden Gate Park’s 150th-anniversary celebration. This is the first time an observation wheel of this scale has operated in San Francisco since Golden Gate Park hosted the Midwinter International Exposition of 1894, where the first Wheel stood at 120 feet tall. Tickets are available at skystarwheel.com. Discounted tickets will be offered on December 2nd, 2021.