Hike The Trail of Light in San Francisco

in Culture

The Bay Area is filled with hiking trails. From Marin to the East Bay, you can find a beautiful iconic view from almost anywhere. In the heart of San Francisco is another, unseen hike that few know about: The San Francisco Light Art Trail!

There are eleven sights to see spanning from the Embarcadero to the Castro. Yerba Buena is host to two of the magnificently luminous installations. In glowing neon and individually lined, six-foot high letters is LOVE OVER RULES scrolled high above for all to see on the exterior wall of the Salma Family Building in an alleyway on Annie Street near the SFMOMA and Museum of the African Diaspora. Hank Willis Thomas, New York artist, curated LOVE OVER RULES after receiving this touching last message from his cousin, who was murdered in 2000.

The second Yerba Buena based installation is Leo Villareal’s “Point Cloud”, a kaleidoscope of over twenty-eight thousand pulsating colored LED bulbs that drape the Moscone Center’s pedestrian bridge over Howard Street. In a hundred-foot span of striking steel rods are rays of yellows, purples, orange, reds and blues, and are individually programmed to change thirty times a second. You can also catch more of Villarea’s work on the Trail by seeing “The Bay Lights”, the famous shimmering white LED lights on the Bay Bridge, and the spherical fun, “Bucky Ball” located outside of Exploratorium. The Light Trail is free for everyone, outdoors and open all year round!

More free and great outdoor fun is The Lawn Art Project currently ongoing at Yerba Buena Gardens. The Lawn Art Project allows the artist and visitors to interact with the lawn as a natural canvas! Aso, check out the life-changing experience of AFTER LIFE (we survive). This new experiential presentation is available both online and in person. The current presentation, ​Future Ancestors can be seen at YBCA in the windows facing the Gardens. The photographic series is an important message of coming together, celebration of intimacy and the shared cultural histories of Black and Indigenous ancestors.

While you are in Yerba Buena, there are also a plethora of open museums to visit: SFMOMA, The Contemporary Jewish Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Museum of the African Diaspora, California Historical Society, The American Bookbinders Museum, and the Children’s Creativity Museum. Please check their websites for upcoming exhibits and operational hours during the pandemic as they must adhere to changing health code regulations.