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Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, New York—San Francisco. That's right, with no shortage of world-class light installations, SF holds more than a candle to the globe's most important art cities in the digital age.

And when light, natural or not, is used as an artistic medium, all kinds of uploadable, no-filter-needed joy ensues.


Even when Karl the Fog comes rolling in, our city by the sea can't help but be aglow with dozens of delightful light art installations. Some play off the natural light that cuts through the overcast skies come high noon; others take advantage of an absence of light, utilizing LEDs and fluorescent tubings to transform otherwise dark spaces.

Here are 18 luminous artwork that will brighten up your night.

'Photosynthesis,' by Illuminate and Obscura Digital (2017)

The ornate Victorian facade of the Conservatory of Flowers (Golden Gate Park) is iconic—it's also perfectly white. Or at least it is until sundown, when projectors give new life to the landmark as it bursts into light, blanketed with digital scenes of tropical flowers. Photosynthesis is the work of Illuminate (the team who worked with artist Leo Villareal on The Bay Lights) and Obscura Digital, in partnership with the Conservatory and San Francisco Recreation and Parks. The installation originally launched for 2017's anniversary of the Summer of Love. Since then, it has served not just as a stellar Instagram op but as the backdrop for various nighttime events at the Conservatory, including this summer's Flower Piano (July 5-16).

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