I recently visited Sensorio Field of lights in Paso Robles in Fall 2022, California with my family. Sensorio Field of lights is a unique experience in Paso Robles that is gaining popularity and is becoming a must visit attraction in any trip to Central California.
I had seen the beautiful pictures of the brightly colored lights of Sensorio on social media and wanted to check it out myself. We had a family vacation planned to Paso Robles which gave the perfect opportunity to plan a visit to Sensorio Field of Lights.
Seeing the Field of Lights is an amazing experience that combines art, technology and nature, its surreal, almost magical. Seeing the vast expanse of the brightly illuminated colored lights takes your breath away.
I was very impressed by the grandeur of the Fields of Lights. Sensorio Field of lights is worth visiting one hundred percent on your trip to central California!
Where is Sensorio Field of lights located in California?
Sensorio Field of Lights is located in Central California in the town of Paso Robles. Paso Robles is known for its vineyards and wineries and is a popular central California wine country destination.
The Sensorio Field of lights is just a 10-15 minute drive from downtown Paso Robles making it very convenient to visit Sensorio if you are visiting Paso Robles.
Sensorio Field of lights in Paso Robles is a unique experience that can demand a trip of its own. Its around 3 hours drive from San Francisco Bay area and similar 3 hours drive from Los Angeles making it perfect for a weekend getaway from either LA or San Francisco Bay area.
Planning to visit Paso Robles and Sensorio? Check out my 3 day epic weekend in Paso Robles itinerary.
What is Sensorio Field of Lights?
The Field of Light artwork is created over the undulating landscape of Paso Robles with 58,800 stemmed spheres that are lit by fiber optics in morphing color. The result is an illuminating and colorful field of lights that is a very stunning and unique experience. The Field of Lights is powered through solar energy and thus environment friendly.
In 2021 the Light Towers installation by Bruce Munro was added to the Sensorio experience. The Light Towers installation features 69 towers made of more than 17,000 wine bottles, lit by optic fibers in morphing color. This exhibit has a music element added to it. The Light towers celebrates Paso Robles as a wine country destination.
Days and hours of operation for Sensorio
I visited Sensorio Field of Lights in Fall 2022 with my family. The experience was open at that time from Thursday to Sunday 7 PM to 10:30 PM.
The hours of operation are dependent on sunset times, so for the most accurate dates and time it is best to visit the official website of Sensorio.
Sensorio Field of Lights Tickets
You can buy tickets online in advance on the official website of Sensorio. There is some discount when buying online tickets versus the at gate price. Sensorio is worth visiting even though the ticket price is on the higher side.
Sensorio General admission tickets
The day we were planning to visit the general admission was sold out online, but tickets were available at the gate. Just make sure to reach around opening time to avoid long lines and to be sure that you are able to get at door tickets. We reached around 7:30 and were able to buy tickets for our family of 10 people.
The online tickets were $41 each and about $6 cheaper than the gate price of $47 each, but there was a close to $6 service fee online, bringing the total cost of online versus the gate price to be around the same! I was so glad that I didn’t have to pay more than a few dollars extra for gate price for 10 tickets for my family.
It is best to check the official website of Sensorio for the current ticket price.
Sensorio is also offering a season pass that has unlimited general admission visits till December 2022.
Sensorio VIP experience tickets
Sensorio has VIP experience tickets for a higher price which includes access to a VIP terrace for a panoramic view of the Field of lights, tables with firepits, and 1 drink ticket. You can also upgrade to add a VIP Charcuterie platter.
As we were a large group we just went with the general admission tickets. The view of the Field of Lights is amazing from pretty much anywhere so we did not feel like we missed out on anything buy not taking the VIP experience.
Sensorio Field of lights in Paso Robles experience
To get the entire experience at Sensorio, of the lights slowly coming to life at dusk, make sure you arrive at least 45 minutes before sunset time. The day we visited sunset was at 8:15 PM and we arrived at 7:30 PM. You can click some great sunset pictures!
Entry checkpoints for baggage and tickets
The parking at Sensorio is ample and we were able to easily find parking. At the entrance there is a baggage checkpoint where you will have to get your purses/backpacks checked. We did not have any food or water in our bags so we were good to go.
Tip for mobility impaired guests – The Sensorio experience is wheelchair friendly. The path from the baggage checkpoint to the ticket checkpoint is a few minutes walk on gravel path. As we had some mobility impaired seniors in our group and one wheelchair, we asked for assistance at the baggage checkpoint and they took the seniors to the ticket checkpoint in a golf cart.
Sensorio entrance area before the lights
As soon as you enter the ticketed area you see a great lawn with people hanging out waiting for sunset. There are lawn games here like corn hole toss, connect fours. There was a Mexican food truck and an Airstream bar. There was live music playing and several fire pit tables to enjoy food and music. The restrooms building was in this area as well.
The VIP terrace entrance was from the general lawn, which also had food and drinks service and fire pit tables. The VIP terrace overlooked the Field of lights.
Sensorio Field of Lights before sunset
We entered the field of lights area just few minutes before sunset. There was the soft glow of twilight and the brown landscape blended well with the golden sky. The light spheres were white and not illuminated yet. It was a very different view then what we had seen on social media, but still very beautiful.
Coming before sunset lets you see the complete space as once it gets dark nothing other than the lights is visible.
The viewing pathway is a half mile loop with many paths to cross in between if you want to shorten the walk. The total loop is half mile and easily walkable. The path around the field of lights is a gravel path but it is wheel chair and stroller friendly. There are benches and seats all along the pathway.
There is no bad spot to view the Field of lights. The lights look amazing pretty much anywhere on the entire path.
Sensorio Field of Lights at dusk
At dusk the lights started coming to life and we could see faint colors coming to life. The colors grew in intensity as the sky started to get darker.
I think the lights looked the best at dusk as compared to when it was the full night sky. The pictures I took at dusk were some of the best ones as the surrounding landscape added to the beauty of the glimmering lights.
Sensorio Light Towers
If you start at the pathway entrance and walk clockwise, Light Towers exhibit is at the leftmost end of the path. This installation was newly added in 2021.
The Light Towers installation features 69 towers made of more than 17,000 wine bottles, lit by optic fibers in morphing color. The towers are around 7 feet tall. This exhibit has a music element added to it. The Light towers celebrates Paso Robles’ as a wine country destination.
By the time we reached this exhibit it was dark as seen in the photos. The towers were made of individual wine bottles stacked up. Each bottle had an optic fiber in it that changes color. There is a viewing platform that allows you to see the entire display in a panoramic view.
The Light Towers made of wine bottles is a cool addition to the Field of Lights in Paso Robles, considering Paso Robles is a wine country destination.
Sensorio Field of Lights at night
Once the night is completely dark, the landscape and the pathways fade in the darkness and all you can see is the lights. This is a very different and phenomenal view of the Field of Lights from the sunset and dusk views.
Personally I like the Field of Lights best at dusk when you could still see the landscape background with the lights. When its very dark be careful with the pathways as its sometimes hard to find your group.
Frequently asked questions about Sensorio Field of Lights in Paso Robles
How long does it take to walk through Sensorio?
Once at the main entrance, it will take anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours to walk through the entire loop. If you plan to walk through all the inner paths or just sit and admire the lights it can take longer!
Is Sensorio wheelchair friendly?
Even though the pathways are made of loose gravel, it was very easy to push my mom’s wheelchair on the pathways. I saw families with strollers as well enjoying the exhibit.
Is Sensorio kid friendly?
There were all ages of kids there! The lights are a sight to behold and enjoyed by adults and kids alike. We had a 3 year old in the group and he loved the lights. The pathways are stroller friendly as well. There are restrooms near the main entrance and portables on the field.
Can you bring food into Sensorio?
If you have younger kids or people with dietary restrictions, you can mention that at the baggage checkpoint area and they can be accommodating. Otherwise there are food trucks inside to purchase food!
Is Sensorio permanent?
Sensorio started out in 2019 as a temporary exhibit, but in 2021 Sensorio announced that it will become a permanent attraction to enjoy in Paso Robles. There are plans to add new features like a hotel, restaurant etc. to enhance guest experience.
Tips for visiting Sensorio Field of Lights in Paso Robles
Knowing these tips will help you be prepared and make the most of your Sensorio experience!
Buy tickets in advance or arrive early
Buy your tickets online in advance if possible. If you are unsure of your travel plans, then you can buy tickets at the gate for a very similar price. Just make sure to arrive early at opening time, if you are buying tickets at the gate.
Arrive before sunset
I highly recommend arriving at least 45 minutes to an hour before sunset. That will give you enough time to experience everything that Sensorio has to offer and make an evening out of it. Also it is remarkable to see the lights slowly coming to life as the night sets in.
The landscape of Paso Robles looks really great at sunset and you can click some amazing pictures with the golden yellow skies and the brown fields.
Wear comfortable shoes
The pathway around the Sensorio Field of Lights is made of loose gravel and the loop is around half a mile. It might be a good idea to wear comfortable shoes and not very expensive ones as they will get dusty. Also it gets chilly in the night so closed toe shoes or sneakers might be best.
Carry a jacket even in summer
Even though Paso Robles can go up to 100 degrees in the summer days, evenings and night are almost always windy and chilly and it feels more cold in the open spaces like Sensorio. Carrying a jacket with you for the night will be a great idea so that you can enjoy it till closing time.
Stay longer for the complete Sensorio experience
When we arrived at Sensorio we did not know that there will be food trucks here. We were pleasantly surprised. There was a Mexican food truck, Airstream bar, live music, fire pits and tables to relax and hang out. You can hang out till closing time and have a great time with family and friends.
Where to stay for Sensorio Field of Lights in Paso Robles
Staying in the town of Paso Robles would be the best place to stay after your Sensorio Field of Lights experience. Paso Robles has plenty of vacation rentals all over the surrounding hills with amazing views of vineyards and the undulating landscape. Another great option is to stay within walking distance of downtown Paso Robles and walk to restaurants, bars, art galleries and events.
We rented a vacation rental from VRBO and it was a huge ranch style house on a hilltop with a swimming pool and 360 degree views of vineyards around us. We went in fall season so the hills were tan brown which looked spectacular with the sunset hues. In the spring these hills would be all green and have a very different view altogether, lush greenery would make the hills look alive.
Paso Robles Inn is a very popular hotel due to its great location right across from the Downtown city park, and within walking distance to all the downtown restaurants, bars and events. Hotel Cheval and The Piccolo are also within a block from the Paso Robles downtown scene.
Adelaide Inn and Best Western Plus Black Oak are at a great location close to the freeway to access the wineries on the east and west side of the town. It is also just a 5 minute drive to the downtown city park.
La Bellasera Hotel and Suites is a little further from Paso Robles downtown but near Tin City. It is still just a 7 minute drive to downtown Paso Robles.
Things to do nearby Sensorio Field of lights in Paso Robles
The Central coast of California is full of amazing things to explore. You will find charm and history in coastal towns, recreation and relaxation in great beaches, promising food and wine scene, and even castles!
The central coast is less crowded than the famous northern and southern California cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, making it a great destination for a getaway. There are plenty of things to do within an hour’s drive of Sensorio Field of Lights at Paso Robles.
Go on wine tasting tours at Paso Robles Wineries
Paso Robles town is brimming with world class vineyards and wineries, there are more than 200 wineries here! You can book wine tours so that you can enjoy the wine tasting and not worry about driving or have a designated driver.
Some popular wineries in Paso Robles are Daou Vineyards and Winery, Adelaida Vineyard and Winery, Eberle Winery, Sculpterra Winery and Sculpture garden, Niner West Estates and many many more. Tin City in Paso Robles is a great evolving industrial makers market to explore and try beverages from many local producers.
Visit Downtown Paso Robles
Paso Robles downtown has history and charm and is a great place to spend an afternoon. The Downtown City park is in the center of the downtown scene with the historic Carnegie Public library which is now a museum.
There are some great art galleries here to explore like Studios in the Park which showcases work of many local artists.
There are a lot of restaurants in the area ranging from local eateries to chain restaurants. Some popular ones are La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant, Alchemist’s Garden, Basil Thai Restaurant and many more.
Check out my post about many awesome things to do in Paso Robles besides wineries!
Take a tour of Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle is a historic museum and California State Park less than an hour’s drive from Paso Robles and Sensorio. Hearst Castle history began in 1865 by newspaper magnate George Hearst.
The magnificent castle has a main building and three guesthouses totaling around 165 rooms, and 127 acres of terraced gardens, fountains and pools. The museum offers several tours of the grand rooms and the grounds.
Day trip to Morro Rock beach
Morro Bay is around 45 minutes drive from Paso Robles and a great place to spend a day. Visit the iconic Morro Rock which is the crown jewel of Morro Bay. The Morro Rock beach is famous for surfing events and surfing lessons. The Embarcadero has a great view of the Morro Bay Marina is filled with great restaurants to enjoy.
Visit coastal town of San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo is another coastal town which is just around 30 minutes drive from Paso Robles. San Luis Obispo has a downtown area spend a day browsing shops and restaurants, and the local farmer’s market.
Make sure to check out the Bubblegum Alley on Higuera Street in downtown San Luis Obispo, which is a very unique alley that has chewed up bubble gum stuck to the walls, some of which are many years old! I had to see this one to believe it. Gross or not, the Bubblegum alley has become a landmark of downtown San Luis Obispo.
Madonna Inn is a great place to stay which has whimsical themed rooms. I stayed there once with my family in a Paris themed room! It was such a cool experience.
Visit Pismo Beach
Pismo beach is probably the most popular beach on the Central coast of California and is around 45 minutes from Paso Robles and Sensorio. It attracts much more crowds then the nearby Morro Rock beach and Avila beach. Pismo beach can easily be a weekend getaway destination. There are plenty of hotels and Inns at Pismo beach to stay for a night or the weekend.
The iconic pier at Pismo beach is a great place to stroll and get some ocean views. There is a boardwalk along the beach and great restaurants to try. The Monarch Butterfly Grove and Dinosaur Cave Park are some cool attractions to check out.
Pismo beach is a popular beach for surfing. Pismo beach Sand Dunes preserve is also popular for four wheel ATV rides and there are several companies offering ATV rentals in the area.
Visit Avila Beach
Avila beach is another great coastal town and family friendly beach just 45 minutes from Paso Robles. Crowds at Avila beach are a little less compared to Pismo beach, and it has a very laid back vibe. We stopped here on an afternoon and enjoyed the ocean views and the pier.
The Front street at Avila beach is a great place to stroll and enjoy some local food and shopping, while looking at fantastic ocean views. The Bob Jones City to Sea trail is popular for biking and running. Visit Avila hot springs for a soak in the natural mineral water from the earth’s surface.
Conclusion: Is Sensorio Field of Lights worth visiting?
This was my first visit to Sensorio Field of Lights in Paso Robles and I really loved it. Seeing the lights slowly come to life at dusk and transforming the beautiful undulating landscape into a field of color was an extraordinary experience. It is an art masterpiece and a feast to the eyes and senses.
Sensorio Field of Lights is worth visiting and you should definitely plan a trip to Paso Robles, Sensorio and Central California!
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