Though we know that winter is still far away, many of the city’s most beloved events are beginning to announce themselves. Of all the holiday fun, Chicago’s light shows are up there with the most anticipated events of the year and one of the very best can be found at the Morton Arboretum.
Voted among the best holiday lights displays in the United States, Illumination: Tree Lights will return to The Morton Arboretum with “three new displays, an immersive reversed route and the return of its popular late-night Electric Illumination event.”
Once again custom-designed and developed uniquely for the Arboretum in partnership with international media and exhibit designers Lightswitch LLC, the energy-efficient, eco-friendly lighting displays will this year run from November 18, 2023, through January 6, 2024, with 19 festive features situated across 50 acres.
According to the arboretum’s release today, there will also be a new one-mile paved path that is now ADA-compliant and accessible to all.
“This year’s Illumination path was partially reconstructed and the route reversed to be fully accessible to those using wheelchairs, and for families with young children in strollers,” said Preston Bautista, Ph.D., vice president of learning and engagement.
“Reversing the route will also allow the lighting exhibits to expand beyond their traditional footprints, to both sides of the path, resulting in a more immersive experience.”
The Morton Arboretum’s new major art exhibition, “Of the Earth” by Olga Ziemska, will also be incorporated into this year’s event.
Guests will begin their journey with a special opportunity to experience Ziemska’s signature sculpture lit up at night, before entering a gateway of light into The Grand Garden.
There they will find brand new exhibits “Starlit Trail” enveloping the walking path and “Winter Radiance” guiding them through LED “tall grasses” that pay homage to native Midwest plant species.
Many returning favorites will be part of the 2023 edition including Symphony Woods, Treemagination, Golden Glade, Ornament Hill, and Festival of Lanterns. The popular 18-and-older late-night experience will also be returning after debuting in 2022 and will take place from 9:30 to 11 pm on Fridays, December 8, 15, 22, and 29 with a new curated trance and house music soundtrack synchronized to light displays.
Concession tents will once again serve hot chocolate, snacks, and alcoholic beverages along the trail as well as s’mores kits to be enjoyed at bonfires.
Tickets go on sale Monday, October 16 both on the Arboretum’s website and in-person at the Arboretum Visitor Center.
More information can be found at mortonarb.org.