Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

Explore 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees during this one-of-a-kind spectacle of color, light, and sound.

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See Trees in a Different Light

Celebrate the holidays at the eleventh annual Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, November 18, 2023 through January 6, 2024. Exciting new features and immersive installations will delight all ages along a new path that is fully ADA compliant and accessible to all.

Gather family and friends to explore 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees during this one-of-a-kind spectacle of color, light, and sound featuring dazzling new displays as well as returning favorites. You’ll journey along a one-mile paved walking path amid festive music and lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter. Warm up by a crackling fire and roast marshmallows for s’mores, or stop in one of the concession tents for a snack and beverage. Enjoy a delicious meal in the Ginkgo Restaurant in the Visitor Center overlooking the finale on Meadow Lake. The Arboretum Store will also be open for holiday shopping and seasonal decorating.


Craft beer lovers won’t want to miss IllumiBrew on Thursday, November 16 and Friday, November 17. This 21-and-over event provides a first look at the newest version of Illumination while sampling local brews along the trail.

Electric Illumination

Electric Illumination returns for the second year with more dates for this late-night experience. Adults 18 and older will enjoy a curated mix of trance and progressive house music, synchronized to the breathtaking light displays. The fun begins at 9:30 p.m., Fridays, December 8, 15, 22, and 29.


Tickets for Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum will be available for members starting on Monday, October 16. Become a member to get early access and best pricing for Illumination tickets.

Tickets for the general public will be available starting on Monday, October 23.

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The Illumination trail is a one-mile paved path that is ADA compliant and fully accessible to guests with limited mobility. The exhibition is not visible or accessible by car.

The Arboretum has a small number of non-motorized wheelchairs available on loan free of charge in the Visitor Center on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests must leave a driver’s license or other photo ID to check out a wheelchair. Because our supply is limited, we recommend bringing a wheelchair to the Arboretum, if needed. Personal mobility scooters may also be used on the trail.

Arboretum staff make best efforts to clear the path of ice and snow. Crowds are generally lighter on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday making it easier to navigate the trail.

Please be aware that Illumination features moving and flashing lights along the trail, in case a member of your party is sensitive to these effects. There are no strobe lights in the exhibition. Laser features are directed away from guests and follow International Laser Display Association safety standards.

The Morton Arboretum welcomes visitors with service animals to Illumination. Please note that pets are not permitted at the Arboretum except on special dog admission days.

Parking is available near the entrance for those with a disability placard on their vehicle—please notify the parking attendant as you drive in. Otherwise, parking is first come, first served, and is directed by parking attendants.

Guests directed to a secondary lot (P-21) at Thornhill can take advantage of a shuttle bus that will transport them to the main event area. Please note that this is the only shuttle bus during Illumination and it only runs between P-21 and the Visitor Center. The bus does not have a wheelchair lift.

If you do not have a disability placard and someone in your party has mobility concerns, you are also welcome to drop off passengers in our circle drive, adjacent to the Visitor Center, before you park. Please notify our parking attendants and they will direct you accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my AnyDay ticket include a date?

AnyDay tickets will have one date indicated, but they are valid for any Illumination date.

Are there any Illumination ticket discounts available?

Morton Arboretum members always receive a discount.

A limited number of weeknight tickets are available at a reduced rate to guests with a state-issued EBT card (also known as a LINK card) or a valid WIC card, through the Museums for All program. Tickets can be purchased online using this link or in person at the Arboretum, as long as the date is not sold out. When purchasing on-site, purchasers are required to show a valid LINK or WIC card to receive the discounted rate. When purchasing online, purchasers will receive an email confirmation and will be required to show a valid LINK or WIC card to pick up their tickets the night of the event.

This Illumination-specific discount is an extension of the popular Museums for All program, a partnership between the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), which has allowed more than 3,600 under-served individuals to visit the Arboretum since 2016.

I want to change my tickets. What is the refund and exchange policy?

Illumination ticket purchases are non-refundable. However, guests may be able to exchange tickets in advance for a fee of $1 per ticket, depending upon event capacity and at the discretion of the Arboretum. Tickets can be rebooked (prior to their original start time) using the Arboretum Rebooking Tool; guests who need additional assistance can also email the help desk or call 630-725-2066. If the Arboretum cancels a night of Illumination (in whole or part), we will accommodate ticket holders according to the cancellation policy.

Can I get passes or tickets for an Arboretum day visit and Illumination tickets in the same transaction?

Event tickets may always be added to general admission reservations, however, we encourage you to purchase Illumination tickets in a separate transaction, if possible, to ensure that the scan codes are kept separate.

Can I walk/snowshoe at the Arboretum during the day on Illumination dates?

On days with four or more inches of snow, we invite you to bring your own snowshoes or cross-country skis to the Arboretum during our usual daylight hours. During Illumination, the East side of the Arboretum will close at 3:00 p.m. to prepare for Illumination opening each evening at 4:30 p.m. Only the West Side is available for skiing or snowshoeing prior to mid-January (when Illumination equipment is removed on the East Side). Once Illumination is over (Saturday, January 6, 2024), rentals will be available based on snowfall.

If Illumination is canceled due to weather, can I get a refund?

Because Illumination is an outdoor event in winter, on very rare occasions the Arboretum may cancel an evening or temporarily close the event until weather passes. Many factors are considered, including predictions from the National Weather Service and other weather services, before making a decision that has an impact on guests. If Illumination is canceled or temporarily closed for part of an evening, ticket holders will be notified via email, and notice will be posted to the Arboretum’s website homepage. We will honor tickets on alternate nights, schedule permitting. For more information, email or call the ticket line at tickets@mortonarb.org or 630-725-2066 between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily (except holidays).

If I have tickets and decide not to go to Illumination due to weather conditions, can I get a refund or exchange my tickets for another date?

Ticket holders who make the choice not to attend Illumination based on their personal circumstances may request a ticket exchange, depending on schedule and ticket availability, for a $1 fee per ticket. Refunds are not available. For more information, use the Arboretum Rebooking Tool, email the help desk, or call the ticket line at 630-725-2066 between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily (except holidays).

Can I enter/use the Arboretum before the time on my Illumination ticket?

Illumination ticket holders may enter the Arboretum after 4:30 p.m., but will not be able to access the Illumination trail or Visitor Center until the time listed on their tickets. Due to often cold weather conditions, we encourage ticket holders to arrive as close as possible to the time on their tickets for the best experience.

Is the Illumination trail accessible for those with physical disabilities?

Yes. The new Illumination trail is a one-mile paved path that is ADA compliant and fully accessible to guests with limited mobility. Please see the Illumination Accessibility section for more information.

Ticket Rebooking

The Morton Arboretum offers a way for members and guests to make changes to their existing ticket reservations for Illumination and Electric Illumination ticket holders. You can use this rebooking tool if you are changing your tickets from one date to another, even if there is a cost difference between the two dates. Only dates and times that are still available will show during the rebooking process.

To look up an existing order, enter your order ID and last name in the field below. You can find your order ID listed on the “Order Summary” email that was sent to you from tickets@mortonarb.org.

Please note that there will be a $1 charge per ticket for any changes made to Illumination tickets, plus any changes in the price of the tickets.

If you have questions, you can contact the ticket line by email at tickets@mortonarb.org or by phone at 630-725-2066, Monday–Sunday (excluding holidays), 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Please note that this tool is currently only available for use when rebooking Illumination or Electric Illumination tickets.


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