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View The Bay Lights in San Francisco and Marin County

From now until March 2015, the west span of the Bay Bridge will serve as a unique venue for a light sculpture installation – known as The Bay Lights – which was designed by world-renowned artist Leo Villareal.

The sculpture’s 25,000-LED lights, attached to the bridge’s cables, are programmed to come alive and twinkle in random patterns each day from dusk until 2:00am. The mesmerizing display is the largest LED light sculpture in the world.

The costs of this massive piece of public art – expected to hover near $10 million over its two-year run – have been funded entirely through private donations. Presented by the San Francisco non-profit Illuminate the Arts organization, The Bay Lights has quickly won the hearts of San Francisco residents and tourists alike. In fact, when some technical glitches caused by unforeseen weather and vibrational effects threatened the installation’s viability, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg contributed $1.5 million to keep the project operational.

The Best Places to View The Bay Lights in San Francisco and Marin County

Given its required northerly orientation (so as not to distract Bay Bridge drivers), the best places to view the light display are along San Francisco’s waterfront – from the east side of Pier 39, but especially from various restaurants and vantage points along The Embarcadero Promenade.

Also, depending on weather conditions and/or your transport access, Twin Peaks, Telegraph Hill or the Marriott Marquis’ View Bar (on the 39th floor at 55 4th Street) are other possible options in The City, and the north-side vista of the Golden Gate Bridge also affords a spectacular view if you’re up to braving the after-sunset elements there.

In Marin County, we’ve heard your best bet is from downtown Sausalito, between Richardson and Princess Streets.

Then again, should you want to kick your viewing experience up a notch or two, you might want to consider camping overnight on Angel Island. Since no cars are allowed there, however, a ferry ride and a bike would likely be required for your adventure.

You can also view The Bay Lights by checking out the two-minute video below. When you’re done, you may want to read more San Francisco Travel blog posts or explore our San Francisco vacation guide.

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