Morton Arboretum - Illumination Lights - Chicago Metro Area

The Morton Arboretum is a 1,700 acre outdoor nature museum and science center. From mid-November to January 1st, they display an amazing collection of holiday lights.

This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy. ~Susan Polis Schutz.

The Morton Arboretum is a breathtaking place to visit any season of the year.  They are open every day and have areas you can walk, run, ride your bike, drive, or even cross-country ski and snowshoe.  Check their site for more information on seasonal exhibits, functions, and classes.

I heard about the Illumination light display, but it's something you have to experience yourself.  It's amazing.  Seriously.  Chandeliers hanging from trees and phenomenal light shows set to music.  There's even an area that I like to refer to as a light graveyard - you'll know it when you see it.  This is a show unlike any other I've seen and one I'll likely go back to year after year.  It's really that good.  The only complaint?  When it's over, you'll wish there was so much more.

The Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum requires a ticket purchase even if you have a membership at the Arboretum.  You can risk showing up and buying a ticket, but it is recommended that you buy your tickets in advance online to guarantee your spot.  It's a popular event and does sell out at times.  The Morton Arboretum has started selling timed entry tickets to spread out the times of the visitors. 

When selecting your time, consider parking.  There is parking onsite at the Arboretum, but on nights when this lot fills, you will be directed to off-site parking where a shuttle will transport you back and forth.  In the Chicagoland area, it often starts to get dark as early as 4:30 - 5 p.m.  We opted for the earliest ticket at 4:30 p.m. to guarantee us a parking spot and were hopeful that we'd be in the park and partially through the exhibit before it got really busy.

You will need to allow a few minutes to enter, scan / purchase your tickets, and start your light journey.  The Arboretum recommends 90 minutes to explore the 1-mile pathway filled with festive light displays.  Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, this light display will leave you in awe.  There are hot chocolate and snack stops, even fire pits set up to make packaged s'mores that they sell in the snack areas.

Take into consideration the weather.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I have finally figured out layering.  Lots of layers including two pairs of fleece-lined leggings under a pair of jeans and I'm good.  Take along hand and foot warmers and don't forget the scarves, gloves, hats, and stroller if your little one(s) will stay content under some blankets.  I do have to say, there were a lot of little ones not too happy along the route.  Take this into consideration and maybe even leave the kiddos at home with a sitter and enjoy a date night out.  After you finish the light exhibit, you'll find a restaurant that offers adult beverages and custom food offerings.  You won't regret it...

The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL.  Located about 25 miles outside of Chicago in DuPage County.


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