Lightscape FAQs

This event is held rain or shine.

Dates and Hours

November 10, 2023 – January 7, 2024  
Ticket entry times are 4:30 – 9:15 p.m., every 15 minutes

Event hours: 4:30 – 11 p.m., last entry at 9:15 p.m.; except November 22, when hours are 4:30 – 9 p.m. with last entry at 7 p.m.; Garden closes each night at 11 p.m.

November 10 – 12; 4:30 – 11 p.m.  
November 15 – 19; 4:30 – 11 p.m.  
November 21; 4:30 – 11 p.m.  
November 22; 4:30 – 9 p.m.  
November 24 – 26; 4:30 – 11 p.m.  
November 29 – December 3; 4:30 – 11 p.m.   
December 6 – 10; 4:30 – 11 p.m.   
December 13 – 17; 4:30 – 11 p.m.  
December 19 – 23; 4:30 – 11 p.m.  
December 26, 2023 – January 1, 2024; 4:30 – 11 p.m.  
January 5 – 7; 4:30 – 11 p.m.

Each day, the Garden will close at 3 p.m. and re-open for ticketed guests only at 4 p.m.  

Tips for Your Visit

✓ Dress for the weather as this is an outdoor event. 
✓ The reimagined trail, which is 1.3 miles long, includes Evening Island and over 80% new light installations.  

Ticket Information

Tickets for this event are timed in 15-minute increments to stagger visitors for a better experience. 

Buy your parking in advance and save $10. Advance parking for nonmembers is $15 per vehicle; if purchased upon arrival the night of your visit, the nonmember parking fee is $25. Parking fee applies for all nonmembers entering the Garden for Lightscape after 4 p.m. each night of the event. Garden members always park for free. We strongly advise you to buy parking online in advance or to become a Garden member. Nonmembers who purchase advance parking can enter via the member lane. Parking fee does not apply to those arriving via a ride-share vehicle.

Limited complimentary parking for the following: Active-duty U.S. military personnel and/or their families, reservists, and former POWs. Please show valid ID at the gatehouse upon entry.

Please note: Complimentary parking for corporate partners, reciprocal members (i.e., Morton Arboretum, Cantigny Park), and teachers does not apply to Lightscape.



Do nonmembers have to pay a separate admission fee on top of the Lightscape ticket price?  
No, Lightscape is an after-hours event with access to the Lightscape trail only and no other areas of the Garden.

If I am delayed and miss my slot, can I join a later slot?  
Yes. We will accommodate you in the next slots based on availability, but please be aware that there is no entry 15 minutes after the last entry time (i.e., if the last slot for the night is 9:15 p.m., then 9:30 p.m. is the cutoff for entry). See dates and hours above for closing time by date.

What happens if the weather turns bad after we buy tickets?   
We think a little snow adds to the beauty of the event, but, of course, if the weather presents a hazard and a risk to safety, the Garden’s decision to cancel the event will be made at 2 p.m. on the day of the event. You will be notified via email of any cancellation and the rebooking process. Also, please check our website and social media pages for updates. Rebookings will only be allowed if the Garden cancels the event; otherwise, the event will take place rain or shine. 

I am visiting the Chicago Botanic Garden during the day. Will I have to leave the Garden before entering Lightscape in the evening?  
Yes, to ensure that only ticket holders for Lightscape have entry to the evening event, daytime visitors must vacate the Garden. During the days when Lightscape is offered, the Garden will close at 3 p.m. and will reopen at 4 p.m. for ticketed guests only.

How should I dress for this event?  
This is an outdoor event, so please come prepared for the elements by wearing appropriate footwear and dressing warmly. Umbrellas are allowed on the trail in/near most installations, and we ask that you are courteous of other patrons when using them.

How long is the trail?  
The trail is approximately a 1.3-mile path around the Garden’s main island and Evening Island.

Will there be restrooms available?  
Yes, restrooms will be available along the Lightscape trail.

How much time should we allow for this event?  
That depends on your pace and how often you stop. However, as a rule, you should allow about 45 to 75 minutes.

Should I arrive in advance of my visit time?  
Please do allow extra time for entry and parking, but do not arrive more than 15 minutes before the entrance time printed on your ticket. Your entry time is a 15-minute window from the time printed on your tickets (i.e., 4:30 – 4:45 p.m.). After you are admitted, you may stay as long as it takes you to walk the route. See dates and hours above for closing time by date. Our goal is to reduce wait times by staggering ticket sales, although there may still be some waiting time.

Can I come to the Garden after it closes if I do not have a Lightscape ticket?  
No, the Garden will be open to Lightscape ticket holders only.

Will there be places to get beverages or food?  
Yes, there will be four locations along the trail to purchase cold and hot beverages, savory and sweet snacks, and adult and kid-friendly food. Credit or debit cards only will be accepted.

Will there be places to shop?  
The Garden Shop will be open at the entrance of the route and in the Visitor Center.

Can I take pictures?  
Absolutely. However, no tripods, monopods, or UAVs/drones will be allowed.

Are the pathways wheelchair accessible?  
The route is designed so that it can be navigated on paved and crushed gravel paths. The Chicago Botanic Garden has manual wheelchairs that can be loaned, free of charge, on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of use; no advance reservations accepted. 

The Garden’s ECVs (scooters) will not be available for rent during this event. If the weather conditions prohibit the trail from being fully accessible, for those who need mobility devices (wheelchairs, ECVs, walkers, etc.), consideration will be made on a case-by-case basis to allow for tickets to be transferred to alternate dates. If you have particular access requirements, please call the Garden at (847) 835-6801 for further inquiries.

Are strollers allowed?  
Yes, strollers are allowed. 

Are pets allowed?  
No pets allowed, except for service animals.

Is there white strobe lighting?  
There will be some lighting sequences that have some flashing lights contained within them; however, there is no strobe lighting.  

Lightscape Terms and Conditions 

Ticket Information: There are no refunds for Lightscape tickets. One ticket per person. Non-transferable. No cash value. Rebookings will only be allowed if the Garden cancels the event; otherwise, the event will take place rain or shine. 

Code of Conduct: The Chicago Botanic Garden is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and respectful environment. Garden staff, volunteers, and all visitors have the right to an environment free from abusive and/or threatening behavior, including use of derogatory or offensive language about another person’s race, ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, or national origin. In the event of any such behavior or other conduct that is disrespectful to our staff, volunteers, visitors, and property at any Garden site, we reserve any and all rights permitted by applicable law, including removal, revocation of membership privileges, and prosecution. The Chicago Botanic Garden also reserves the right to determine what constitutes unacceptable behavior.