Winter Lights in Golden Gate Park
Winter Lights: December 2021 to February 2022
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.
Beginning 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.
Nightly: Uncle John's Tree
Get into the holiday spirit by visiting the iconic Monterey cypress tree in front of McLaren Lodge (501 Stanyan Street). Adorned with hundreds of lights and accompanied by a charming holiday train display, the site is the perfect spot for holiday photos and good cheer. The annual lighting of the tree, known as Uncle John’s Tree in honor of Golden Gate Park’s designer and first park superintendent John McLaren, is a San Francisco holiday tradition that began in 1929, when the giant cypress was first illuminated with 800 bulbs on McLaren’s 84th birthday.
Nightly: Entwined by Charles Gadeken
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
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.
Accessible parking is available in the following locations. The location name/cross streets are followed by the number of spaces at that location. Be sure to look at how far you may have to travel from a parking space to your destination. We also recommend arriving early to avoid traffic and find parking.
- McLaren Lodge Annex lower parking lot (Fell and Stanyan Streets): 1 space Monday-Friday, 6 on weekends
- Page and Stanyan Streets: 1
- Stanyan and Haight Street: 2
- Kezar public parking lot (Stanyan and Waller): 6
- Lincoln near Stanyan (near Kezar Stadium entrance): 1
- Golden Gate Park Tennis Center (Nancy Pelosi Drive and JFK Drive): 4
- Bowling Green Drive and Nancy Pelosi Drive: 1
- Aids Memorial Grove (Bowling Green Drive near Nancy Pelosi Drive): 2
- Nancy Pelosi Drive near 9th Avenue: 6
- Robin Williams Meadow/Koret Playground Parking lot (MLK Drive and Bowling Green Drive): 3
- MLK Drive near 9th Avenue: 1
- MLK near the Botanical Gardens (MLK Drive between Nancy Pelosi Drive and Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive): 5
- Bandshell tour bus Parking lot (enter from Music Concourse Drive off of MLK Drive): 4
- Academy of Sciences paid garage (enter at Music Concourse Drive off MLK Drive): 16
- DeYoung Museum paid garage (enter at Fulton and 10th Avenue): 17
- MLK Drive between Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive and Stow Lake Drive: 6
- Stow Lake Parking Lot: 3
- 9th Avenue near the County Fair Building: 2
- Fulton and 8th Avenue: 2
- Fulton and 9th Avenue: 2
- Fulton and 10th Avenue: 2
- Park Presidio and Fulton: 2
Passenger Loading Zones
There are accessible passenger loading zones in front of the DeYoung Museum and in Front of the Academy of Sciences. Enter Music Concourse Drive from MLK Drive to access the Academy of Sciences passenger loading zone. Continue around to Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive to access the DeYoung passenger loading zone.
Golden Gate Park Shuttle
The Golden Gate Park Shuttle passes all of the Winter Lights sites, and now has extended evening service until 8pm. During the current closure of JFK Drive, from Kezar Drive to Transverse Drive, the free Golden Gate Park shuttle will operate Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The shuttle runs along JFK Drive from McLaren Lodge to Transverse Drive and through the Music Concourse. The GGP shuttle will run approximately every 15-20 minutes, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through February 2022 when the Winter Lights event will end for the season. People with disabilities who drive to the park can catch the shuttle by parking at disabled parking spaces at McLaren Lodge, Nancy Pelosi Drive near the Tennis Center, on JFK Drive at Transverse, as well as the Music Concourse Garage.