Every evening at sunset, over 220 state-of-the-art LED lighting fixtures illuminate City Hall's exterior. Normally a soft white glow showcases the play of light and shadow on the façade and dome. Frequently special lighting schemes celebrate events, seasons or holidays.
Until 2016, the lights were standard incandescent bulbs. Changing their colors was expensive and time-consuming, requiring seven people to crawl through office windows and onto the roof to install colored theatrical gels on each of the fixtures, come rain or shine. To restore the building to its standard white lighting, the whole process had to happen again in reverse.
With the LED lighting system, power use is now much lower, and with just an occasional cleaning maintaining the fixtures is much easier: LED bulbs can last as long as 20 years.
For a schedule of City Hall exterior lighting, please visit the San Francisco City Hall website.