Thanks to our community for the tremedous support for Autumn Lights 2016, nearly 10,000 people attended! Especially, thanks to the Bay Area artists, mostly Oakland-based, for their untiring contributions of art, hours of time and magical light. We could not even think about doing it without you!

Watch this space for info about Autumn Lights October 2017


This is 2016 information: Frequently Asked Questions – 5th Anniversary Autumn Lights Festival
October 12 – 15, 2016
Rain or shine

What is Autumn Lights?
Autumn Lights is a magical four-night festival of illuminated art by talented Bay Area artists in support of the nonprofit Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt. Join the fun with people from all over Oakland and the greater Bay Area and immerse yourself in mesmerizing, larger-than-life art installations, fire dancers, live music and interactive arts that are the hallmark of the Autumn Lights experience. This year, we invite everyone to join the fun as we celebrate our 5th Anniversary!

What’s New & Exciting This Year?
New for 2016: Four full nights of lights – double the nights of last year. We have a vastly improved ticketing operation with a second entry gate, improved ingress/egress and more ticket-takers/scanners. Watch for our expanded food court area, with a broader range of culinary options. This year we have drink tickets available for purchase directly at each of our three bars. AND: there is new “Meet the Artists Night” on opening night, Wednesday, October 12.

Meet the Artists Night – Wednesday, October 12
Open to the public, this exciting new event is our first-ever gathering of participating artists, civic, community and business leaders in the spirit of celebrating Oakland and the arts. It offers festival-goers an opportunity to converse with the artists and see their work up-close in a more intimate setting than the busier three nights that follow. The special $75 per person pricing includes festival admission, a light buffet and two drink tickets. Hope to see you there!

Will there be Food & Drink?
Autumn Lights 2016 will feature a delectable array of locally-made food, beer and wine available for purchase. Details coming soon – be sure check back for updates.

Who is the Audience for Autumn Lights?
This festive four-night event is for all ages. It entails a leisurely stroll along paved pathways through seven-acres of lush gardens. The pathways are minimally lit so as not to impede the art, so if you feel you may need a little extra light, feel free to bring a small flashlight. The festival is wheelchair accessible, ADA compliant. Persons will special needs may contact festival organizers in advance for assistance during the festival. Call Heart of the Town Events at 510-550-4804, ext. 1 or send an email to

What’s the Best Way to Get to/from Autumn Lights?
Autumn Lights is nestled in the gardens of Lakeside Park which surrounds Lake Merritt. The park entrance is on Bellevue Avenue, off Grand Avenue, just below Harrison Street. Here is a summary of the best options for getting to and from the festival:

Public Transportation
– Festival-goers are urged to take AC Transit or BART to the 19th Street Station. Transit info:

Festival Shuttle
– The City of Oakland will operate a free shuttle between the 19th Street BART station and the festival Thursday, 10/13, Friday, 10/14 and Saturday, 10/15. The shuttle will NOT operate on Wednesday, 10/12. Riders will be transported to and from the event in a 22-passenger van. The shuttle will make its first pick up at the 19th Street BART station at 5:30 p.m. and run in a continuous loop, arriving approximately every 20 minutes, traffic permitting. The shuttle will make its last stop at the 19th Street BART at 11:30 p.m. If interested in taking the shuttle, be sure to check this site the week of October 10 for the exact shuttle pick-up location.

– There is limited parking along Bellevue Avenue inside Lakeside Park. The parking fee is $2.00 per vehicle Wednesday, October 12 through Friday, October 14 and $5.00 per vehicle on Saturday, October 15.
Uber/Lyft – Autumn Lights is tailor made for taking Uber, Lyft or a taxi cab, especially given the limited parking in and around Lakeside Park/Lake Merritt.

We will be providing a special drop off zone near the festival entrance for Uber, Lyft and taxi cabs.

Disabled Parking – there are designated blue handicapped parking spaces marked near the main event entrance, in front of the Garden Center. Also, the drop off zone may also be used for disabled guest pick/up drop off.

What Items are NOT Allowed Inside the Festival Grounds?
For your safety the following items are NOT allowed:
NO Cans or Glass Bottles
NO Coolers or Ice Chests
NO Alcoholic Beverages
NO Animals with the Exception of Service Animals

What are the 2016 Ticket Prices?
Meet the Artists Night – $75 ticket includes entry to the event, meet & greet with the artists, light buffet and two drink tickets: Wednesday, 10/12; 7-10 pm. For 10/12 tickets, click here.

General Admission – $20 adults/$7 youth (advance); $25/$10 event day: Thursday, October 13; Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15; 6-11pm. For 10/13 – 10/15 tickets, click here.

Tickets are available online at . All proceeds benefit the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt for improvements at the gardens including construction of a new entrance on Bellevue Avenue.

Please note:  Autumn Lights 2016 is a rain-or-shine event.