VISIT & explore

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

Colors splashed across the hemlock trees - Treemagination

Friday, November 17, 2017 through Monday, January 1, 2018​.  

NOTE:  Illumination is closed on Mondays, except for January 1. It is also closed on the following holidays: Christmas Eve (Sunday, December 24) and Christmas Day (Monday, December 25).

Not a member? Before you buy...learn more about Illumination member savings. (They really add up!)

New this year: Tickets are for both a specific date and time, starting at 4:30 p.m. each evening. The time on your ticket is the start of your half-hour entry window. Admission ends 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. 

On December 15, The Ginkgo Room will be closed for a private event. The Ginkgo Restaurant will remain open.

See Illumination's musical entertainment LEARN MORE

Buy Tickets Now

What Is Illumination?

See trees in a different light as we celebrate the power of coming together to lift our spirits during the crisp, long nights of winter! Illumination is an award-winning, one-mile outdoor walking tour on a paved path winding through 50 acres of The Morton Arboretum’s celebrated tree collections. Seating, warming/concession tents, and fire pits are available along the route. So are countless photo opportunities. It’s an ideal way to experience the winter woods brought to life with innovative lights, projections, and music.

This year, we’re introducing the Illu-medallion. Groundbreaking technology lets you be part of the interactive light display when you purchase a glowing, wearable Illu-medallion that reacts to the spectacular sights and sounds along your journey.

Most of the Illumination path is accessible to people who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids; see the accessibility section for details. The exhibition is not accessible by car and cannot be experienced from the road.



Tickets on sale now. Advance purchase recommended.

Choose your dates carefully, as all Illumination tickets are for a specific date and time and cannot be refunded. 


New for 2017, be part of the interactive light display! Purchase a glowing Illu-medallion that reacts to the spectacular sights and sounds along your journey. learn more

Member: $9 per medallion
Nonmember: $10 per medallion

Anytime Tickets

Anytime tickets are no longer available for purchase. If you currently have an anytime ticket, it must be used by January 1, 2018. Learn more



Member Tickets 

Discounted member tickets are one of the rewards of membership. Not a member? Join now

Weekend (Friday/Saturday/Sunday)
Adult: $17
Child (2 to 17 years old): $9
Weekday (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday)
Adult: $13
Child (2 to 17 years old): $7


Weekend (Friday/Saturday/Sunday)
Adult: $22
Child (2 to 17 years old): $14

Weekday (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday)
Adult: $18
Child (2 to 17 years old): $12

Children under the age of two are admitted to Illumination for free. No ticket is necessary.


Ticket purchases are non-refundable. If the Arboretum cancels a night of Illumination (in whole or part), we will accommodate ticket holders according to the cancellation policy below.

However, you may be able to exchange your tickets in advance, depending upon event capacity and at the discretion of the Arboretum. Same-day exchanges cannot be accommodated. 

There will be an exchange fee of $5 per transaction and, if necessary, an upgrade in ticket price to match the cost of a new ticket purchased for your new day and time.


 Tickets on sale now.

PHONE: 630-725-2066, Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. There will be a $5 fee for orders placed by phone.

VISIT: In person at the Visitor Center during open hours




For the first time, the Arboretum is making a limited number of tickets on Monday through Thursday nights available at a reduced rate to visitors with a state-issued EBT card (also known as a LINK card) or a valid WIC card. Tickets can be purchased online or in person as long as the date is not sold out. When purchasing on site, purchasers are required to show a valid LINK or WIC card to receive the discounted rate. When purchasing online, purchasers will receive an email confirmation and will be required to show a valid LINK or WIC card to pick up their tickets the night of the event. This Illumination-specific discount is an outgrowth of the popular Museums for All program, a cooperative initiative between the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), which has allowed over 2,600 low-income and under-served individuals to visit the Arboretum since 2016.  

Buy Museums For All Tickets Now


If Illumination is Cancelled Due to Weather

Because Illumination is an outdoor event in winter, 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 has an impact on so 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 sponsor logo, Powershares QQQ by Invesco and ComEd

Hug a Tree sponsor, KIND Bar