Illumination, Lightscape: Holiday Light Shows to Open Across Chicago Area This Month

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After creating reimagined holiday light shows last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Morton Arboretum and Chicago Botanic Gardens will bring back bright, new walk-through experiences.

From Nov. 20 through Jan. 2, more than 50 acres of Lisle's arboretum will transform trees into a display of color, light and sound, according to organizers.

Along the one-mile path, guests can enjoy seasonal music, sit by a fire, roast marshmallows and take a snack or beverage to-go. This year, the light show will also illuminate the unique Human+Nature exhibit taking place at the arboretum.

Some new highlights from this upcoming winter's show include an enchanted gateway, the festival of 150 lanterns, a meadow of lights and a winter radiance path.

Other favorite features are returning, organizers noted, such as Treemagination, Symphony Woods, Woodland Wonder, Ornament hill, The Champion Tree, Enchanted Forest and Crown of Light.

A new pre-opening evet on Nov. 18 and 19 called IllumiBrew will give guests ages 21 and older the chance to be the first to see the exhibit with beer tastings along the trail.

Tickets for Illumination are on sale here, ranging in price from $16 to $24 with children under age 2 welcome free of charge.

The light show will be open each evening from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., with the last entry at 8:30 p.m. Due to the holidays, the exhibit will be closed Nov. 22, 25 and 29, as well as Dec. 6, 13, 24 and 25.

Over in Glencoe, the Chicago Botanic Garden will host Lightscape this holiday season, opening Nov. 12, 2021 and running through Jan. 2, 2022.

The 1.25-mile trail leads guests through pine trees draped with strings of lights, candles lining pathways and a variety of other holiday light formations, creating a warm glow through which to walk.

Tickets for Lightscape are available here, ranging in price from $12 to $28. Children under age 3 can walk through the show free of charge.

Lightscape will generally run 4:30 to 11 p.m., with the last entry at 9 p.m. The light show will be closed Nov. 25, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25.

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