Neon Works Shop Tour - Atlas Obscura

Oakland, California

Neon Works Shop Tour

Witness the art and craft of neon sign-making amidst a historic collection.

See how neon, glass, and fire combine to make glowing art in this extraordinary visit to the Neon Works sign workshop!

Jim Rizzo is a master sign-maker and he's letting us into his 17,000 square foot facility to explore the art and craft of neon signs. You've seen Jim's work - from the restoration of the beloved Castro Theatre, to the giant Yahoo! billboard that loomed over I-80 for a decade, to the hooter that watches over the door at the Owl Tree bar - his signs light up the Bay Area.

We'll watch demonstrations of tube-bending and see how short lengths of glass are carefully heated and shaped into elaborate letters and designs. You'll get to look into the guts of neon signs, and learn how they are built and how they've changed, and admire the historic collection of Bay Area signs that Jim has accumulated.

Finally, Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan will talk about the history of neon signs in the Bay Area. They are the authors and photographers of the San Francisco Neon book, a gorgeous and informative tome with 220+ color photographs of SF's neon legacy that you can get as part of this event. 


  • This is an active industrial shop and safety is of paramount importance:
  • A signed liability waiver is required for admission.
  • Wear close-toed shoes, and avoid loose, flowing clothes.
  • Ages 18+ only.
  • Meet in front of the Neon Works shop.
  • Al and Randall have generously discounted their wonderful book with tickets to this special event.

Questions? Email Bart Bernhardt at

Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.

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