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Winter Lights in Golden Gate Park Begins on December 1 and 2

Starting in December, visitors to Golden Gate Park will journey through an immersive wonderland of light, nature and art as illuminated paths, interactive exhibits, and live performances brighten nearly a mile of car-free JFK Drive and the park’s Music Concourse.

Winter Lights, an illuminated outdoor experience for all ages, is presented by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, the San Francisco Parks Alliance, Illuminate, Conservatory of Flowers, and the National AIDS Memorial Grove.

On Wednesday, December 1, the National AIDS Memorial Grove will be illuminated for the public on World AIDS Day beginning at 4:30 p.m. to stroll amid the redwoods and to experience a candlelight reflection for an evening of lights and artistic performances. A moving ceremonial reading of names lost to AIDS begins at 5 p.m.

Afterwards, Illuminate presents San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin, and Monumental Reckoning sculptor Dana King for a ceremony and performances starting at 5 p.m. at the Golden Gate Bandshell to kick off the Music Concourse’s transformation into The Alterverse, a celebration of poetry and light. The evening includes the debut of the words LIFT EVERY VOICE atop the newly revived Golden Gate Bandshell, and a giant wall of lighted scrolling poetry along the facade of the de Young Museum.

On Thursday, December 2 from 4 to 8 p.m., the annual lighting of Uncle John’s Tree in Golden Gate Park returns after a 2020 hiatus. This free family-friendly tradition will feature activities, food trucks, carnival rides, a tobogganing hill, the San Francisco Public Library’s Book Mobile, performances and more.

In addition, stroll down John F. Kennedy Drive to visit Entwined by Charles Gadeken at the Peacock Meadow, the lighted Conservatory of Flowers, the SkyStar Wheel in the Music Concourse, and more. The event will also feature a free Bike Valet from the San Francisco Bike Coalition, while the Golden Gate Park shuttle will be running between McLaren Lodge and the Music Concourse.

American Sign Language interpreters will be present at the McLaren Lodge event stage. For other accommodation requests, please contact Lucas Tobin at or (415) 831-6834. Please note that making your request at least 72 hours before the event will help ensure availability.

We look forward to seeing you all under the winter lights!

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