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HOLIDAY FUN | Illumination: Tree Lights Set to Return to Morton Arboretum for 11th Season, New Route

Illumination: Tree Lights Set to Return to Morton Arboretum in Lisle for 11th Season, New Route in 2023


LISLE—One of the nation’s most well-known holiday light displays, Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, enters its 11th year with three new displays, an immersive reversed route and the return of its popular late-night Electric Illumination event.

Named among the best holiday light displays in the U.S. last year by U.S. News and World Report, the 2023-24 season of Illumination will run from Nov. 18, 2023, through Jan. 6, 2024. Guests will explore 19 festive features across 50 acres while walking 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.”

Guests will begin their Illumination journey with a special opportunity to experience artist Olga Ziemska’s Of the Earth signature sculpture lit up at night, before entering a gateway of light into The Grand Garden. Brand new exhibits Starlit Trail – large twinkling “stars” that envelop the walking path – and Winter Radiance – LED “tall grasses” that pay homage to native Midwest plant species – join returning favorites such as Symphony Woods, Treemagination, Golden Glade, Ornament Hill, Festival of Lanterns and more.

Illumination: Tree Lights Set to Return to Morton Arboretum in Lisle for 11th Season, New Route in 2023

Along the trail, concession tents will serve hot chocolate, snacks, alcoholic beverages and s’mores kits to be enjoyed at the warming bonfires. Guests also can enjoy a hot meal in the Ginkgo Restaurant overlooking the Meadow Lake finale.

Electric Illumination, the popular 18-and-older late-night experience with a new curated trance and house music soundtrack synchronized to light displays, will return for the second year with an additional date. Electric Illumination will take place from 9:30 to 11 p.m. Fridays, Dec. 8, 15, 22 and 29.

Adults ages 21 and older can get a first look at the newest version of Illumination while sampling local brews along the trail during the IllumiBrew preview event, 5:30 to 10 p.m., Nov. 16 and 17.

Illumination, IllumiBrew and Electric Illumination tickets go on sale Oct. 16 at and in-person at the Arboretum Visitor Center during operating hours.

The exhibition was custom designed and developed uniquely for the Arboretum in partnership with international media and exhibit designers Lightswitch LLC and features energy-efficient, eco-friendly LED lighting.

Illumination is generously sponsored by Invesco QQQ, ComEd, and Duly Health and Care. Learn more.