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Plan Your Illumination Experience

Time to Arrive

The time on your ticket is the start of your half-hour entry window. Last admission is at 8:30 p.m. Once admitted, you can stay as long as you like until the exhibition closes at 9:30 p.m.

Allow 10 to 15 minutes prior to your ticket time to park your car and make your way to the Illumination entrance outside the Visitor Center. 

The Morton Arboretum welcomes visitors with service animals to Illumination. (However, pets are not permitted at the Arboretum except on special dog admission days.) 


Parking is included in the price of admission. Accessible parking is available. Learn more about accessibility at Illumination.

If on-site parking reaches capacity, the gatehouse attendant may redirect you to off-site parking. A complimentary shuttle will be provided.

How Much Time Does Illumination Require?

Ninety minutes, depending on your pace.

Prepare for the Outdoors
Dress appropriately for the weather and walking. Warm shoes or boots with good traction and low heels are recommended. 

For Your Enjoyment

Warming areas

Enjoy a cozy fire, a snack, or a rest at one of the warming areas along the Illumination path.

Food and beverage

Snacks and hot beverages (with optional cordials) are available in concession tents along the Illumination trail. Savor a PDF iconfull dinner menu, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in the Ginkgo Restaurant in the Visitor Center. For a quick bite, the cafe features salads, sandwiches, and pastries. 

Try our NEW  Spiced Nocino White Chocolate in the Ginkgo Restaurant. This tantalizing drink features Whiskey Acres Nocino liqueur distilled from black walnuts grown at the Arboretum and infused with warm, flavorful holiday spices. This mouthwatering mixture is added to velvety white chocolate, topped with rich whipped cream, and finished with a pirouette.

App tour

Download the free Morton Arboretum app for iPhone or Android. Launch the Illumination tour in English or Spanish.

Complimentary Entertainment

During the week, enjoy various live entertainment in the Ginkgo room and around the trail. LEARN MORE

Weeknight Themes

Tuesdays: Festive Sweater Night
Wednesdays: Champion Gear Night
Thursdays: Glow Wear Night

Show your themed apparel at the Member Services Desk to receive a coupon for one free general daytime admission to the Arboretum (excludes special events) and to be entered into a prize drawing. There will be one winner from each night. Share your apparel selfie on our Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram with #IlluminationTMA .


If Illumination Is Cancelled Due to Weather

On very rare occasions we may cancel an evening. We consider many factors, including predictions from the National Weather Service, before making a decision that impacts many people. If we cancel an evening of Illumination, we will honor your tickets on other nights, schedule permitting. For more information, call our ticket line at 630-725-2066 between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on any day (except holidays and days we are closed due to weather).

Illumination Photos

Ropes of light traversing across Meadow Lake - Meadow Lake Magic
Ropes of light on Meadow Lake

A couple standing near the chandeliers of Crystal Promenade
A couple standing near the chandeliers of Crystal Promenade

A grove of hemlocks becomes a dramatic screen for abstract video.
A grove of hemlocks becomes a dramatic screen for abstract video.

Colored orbs on Ornament Hill
Colored orbs on Ornament Hill

Tall tree-like structures spreads intricate designs of light across the landscape
Crown of Light

Families standing around a firepit
Fire pits in Arbor Court