Lightscape FAQs

Dates and Hours:

November 13 – 15, 4:30 – 10 p.m.
November 20 – 21, 4:30 – 11 p.m.
November 22, 4:30 – 10 p.m.
November 25, 4:30 – 9 p.m.
November 27 – 28, 4:30 – 11 p.m.
November 29, 4:30 – 10 p.m.
December 2 – 6, 9 – 13, 16 – 23         
December 26 – January 3
4:30 – 10 p.m.
4:30 – 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays until December 21
Closed November 26, December 24 and 25

Event hours:
4:30 – 10 p.m.; last entry at 8 p.m.;  Garden closes each night at 10 p.m.
4:30 – 11 p.m.; last entry at 9 p.m.;  Garden closes each night at 11 p.m.
4:30 – 9 p.m.; last entry at 7 p.m; Garden closes each night at 9 p.m.

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

Ticket Information

Tickets for this event are timed in 15-minute increments to stagger visitors for a better experience. However, each night so you may stay until the event closes (note times above) and enjoy the event.  Prices vary, based on the day of the week and date selected. Tickets purchased the day of the event are an additional $2 per ticket.


Buy your parking in advance and save 50 percent. Advance parking for nonmembers is $10 per vehicle; if purchased upon arrival the night of your visit, the nonmember parking fee is $20. 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.

Note: Complimentary parking for corporate partners and teachers does not apply to nighttime ticketed events.

What are you doing differently this year due to the COVID-19 health crisis?
The health and safety of our staff and our visitors is our top priority. This year, we've made modifications, and we continue to monitor state and local guidelines in response to the COVID-19 health crisis.

New procedures include:
Face coverings are required for those over the age of 2 who are medically able
Limited capacity
Separate entrance and exit
Keeping the event outdoors (except entering via the Visitor Center)
No interactive elements

We ask anyone who is sick, or who has been in contact with someone who is sick, to please stay home. You may contact our Customer Call Center at (847) 835-6801 regarding your tickets.

Do I have to book in advance?
We recommend booking in advance online. Each timed entry has a limited capacity, and we expect this event to sell out. You can also purchase parking (parking fee applies to nonmembers) online before your visit to save time. If you wish to buy more than 15 tickets for a group, please contact the Garden’s Group Tours department at (847) 835-6949.

If I book the wrong date, can I transfer my ticket to another date?
Yes, but exchanges are subject to a $7 transaction fee per exchange. This fee applies to members and nonmembers.

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 30 minutes after the last entry time (i.e., if the last slot for the night is 8 p.m., then 8:30 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 re-booking process. Also, please check our website and social media pages for updates.

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, but we ask that you are courteous of other patrons when using.

How long is the trail?
The trail makes a one-mile loop around the Garden’s main island.

How much time should we allow for this event?
That depends on your pace and how often you stop. However, as a general rule, you should allow about one hour to an hour and 45 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 you would like. 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 ticket holders only. Tickets will be sold on-site, if available.

Will there be places to get a snack?
Yes, there also will be hot drink and light snack stations at the beginning and middle of the route.

Will there be places to shop?
The Garden Shop will be open in the Visitor Center.

Are there restrooms along the trail?
Yes. Portable toilets, including those that are ADA accessible, and hand-sanitizer stations will be available for visitors to use midway through the trail as well as in front of the Visitor Center for use before and after your visit. The Visitor Center restrooms will also be available for use as you enter the event.

Can I take pictures?
Absolutely. However, no tripods or monopods 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 needing 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.