Get us in your inbox


Frolic through the massive light installations at Oakland's Autumn Lights Festival

Written by
Matt Charnock

Ready to frolic through a rainbow-colored garden? Oakland's Autumn Lights Festival returns for its seventh year with a weekend full of larger-than-life installations from more than 40 different local artists, thousands of colored lights, live music, food and drink vendors and even fire dancers! 

Now an East Bay tradition, the festival began in 2011 to showcase talented Bay Area artists while serving as a fundraiser for the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt, which helps to keep the gardens around the lake looking beautiful. This year, Autumn Lights is even partnering with Pokemon GO creators Niantic (the gardens were an early testing ground for the viral app) to bring virtual experiences and in-garden games to the festival.  

But for most attendees, it's the lights that draw us in like moths. You might even recognize many of the installation from Burning Man earlier this year. Among the featured artists are Luminescent Grand, who created the world's first fully interactive LED piano, and will host several live performances on the unique instrument. Also on display? Oakland artist Clody Cates' DreamPipes, which is built from iridescent PVC pipes that purify the air around the statue; Astro Botanicals' Celestial Gardens, a forest of light-up flora and fauna; and Karen Cusolito's gigantic Tumble Leaves, where you can snuggle in and rest for a while.

Throw in some craft beer, tasty local food and fire dancers and you have a weekend that will make all of your Instagram followers jealous. 
Autumn Lights Festival takes places October 18–20 at 6pm. Pre-sale tickets are $7–$20, tickets at the event are $10–$25. Kids under five get in for free. 

Latest news


    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!