December 10, 2017

The Best Light Displays Around SoMa

Most people only have the closing weeks of the year to enjoy a dazzling display of holiday lights. But the City is home “one of the most extensive collections of permanent light art in the country,” says San Francisco Travel. These long nights at year’s end are a time to spotlight a luminous light art scene that only a top tech town like ours would have to innovative spirit and creative drive to host. Illuminate SF Festival of Light runs every year, Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, and our own SoMa neighborhood is close to some of the most interesting installations. Take a walk over and check them out!


The Bay Lights is the most iconic of the Illuminate series. It is comprised of 25,000 individually programmed white LED lights strung across the north side of the Bay Bridge west span. It is impressively large, at 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high. It also looms largely in the minds of Bay Area-dwellers, even inspiring a documentary, Impossible Light, that tells the story of the genesis of this amazing display. Ride your bike down to the Embarcadero for the best viewing near SoMA.


Lamp of the Covenant is another piece of superlative scale. The 90-foot long, 12,000 pound sculpture hangs from the rafters in the lobby of the Jewish Contemporary Museum right here in SoMa. A large, steel oval gives structure to the piece where lights, antique globes and other 19th century found objects have been attached. The “Lamp of the Covenant” is an allusion to the divine light that is symbolized by a lamp hanging over the altar of every synagogue. The light bulbs, apple peelers, antique blowtorches and other items dangling from the artwork similarly suggest “the unfolding marvels of the cosmos.”


Luminia is a light sculpture so far out you probably won’t believe it even after you’ve seen it! The “otherworldly light sculpture… reminiscent of bioluminescent jellyfish, cosmic star clouds, and the brain’s neural networks,” lives in three-story entrance hall to the W San Francisco Hotel in SoMa. Its 27 feet are a zig-zagging mass of more than 22 miles of hand-knotted fiber optic cable – enough to span the Golden Gate bridge thirteen times!

The Illuminate SF Festival of Light continues the San Francisco tradition of pushing the boundaries in everything we do. The holidays are a great time for a stroll through SoMA because the night is aglow all season long in the The City!


Comments are closed.