Lightscape FAQs

Dates and Hours:

Lightscape is sold out. Sign up for Garden updates on ticket information for the next Lightscape.

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.

Tips for Your Visit

✓ Face coverings are required for all visitors over age 2 who are medically able.
✓ Dress for the weather.
✓ The 1.25-mile trail is all outside—no indoor dining or indoor break spots.
✓ The reimagined trail includes some favorites from last year, but all installations are touchless this time.
✓ Portable toilets only will be available along the trail.

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.

Buy Parking

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.

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

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.

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 1.25-mile loop around the Garden’s main island.

View Map

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 45 – 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 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.

Will there be places to get a snack?
Yes, there will be hot drink and light snack stations at the beginning and middle of the route. Food and beverages are not allowed on the Lightscape trail. Credit or debit cards only will be accepted.

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

Will there be indoor restrooms along the trail?
No. 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. 

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.

Is there a playlist of the music?

What installations and artists are featured at Lightscape?

We’re especially excited to showcase five new installations at this year’s event from Chicago-based artists:

 o   Joy—A large-scale internally lit installation that reflects the expression of love, comfort, and happiness when with family and friends from artist Matthew Hoffman. Hoffman’s public works have been exhibited internationally, and he has created large-scale public installations for the city of Chicago, Apple, and other entities.

 o   Night Birds—A number of glowing birds fly overhead, adding glimmers of light to the dark and quiet sky from artist Michael Young. For more than 30 years, Young’s work has appeared in public and private collections across the United States and abroad. Highlights include a permanent exhibition design for the National Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

 o   Pride & Promise —A contemporary tree composed of hundreds of stars inspired by Chicago’s flag and lit internally and externally from artist Tanner Woodford, the founder and executive director of the Design Museum of Chicago. His work has appeared in places including  the WNDR Museum and Soho House Chicago. 

 o   Constellations—A glowing crescent moon creates a reflection in the water below, while a smattering of stars lie on the grass, as if fallen from the sky from artist Brandin Hurley. Hurley is an installation artist with a background in scenic design. She received an MFA from Northern Illinois University in 2013. Although her medium varies, her favorite element is light.

 o   Disko Tannsi—An energizing space of mirrored figures and spheres paired with lights that bring life to the winter air from artist Brian S. Bembridge. Bembridge is considered one of North America’s most prolific scenic and lighting designers. He designs sets, lighting, and costumes for theaters internationally and for Chicago’s distinguished theater community.