Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens: Holiday Must-Do (and Giveaway!)

Nothing will fill you with more holiday happiness than walking through Garden of Lights with your family!

Pick an evening between now and New Year’s Day to visit Brookside Gardens and experience the dazzling Garden of Lights. It’s magical and marvelous for literally every age, baby to grandparent. My family and I have attended every year since 2004 and it keeps getting better and better. Strolling through this winter wonderland is one of our favorite holiday traditions.

This year we attended opening weekend with our three kids and made plans to meet another family there to see the more than one million colorful lights and creative displays. 2017’s Garden of Lights — its 19th season — was simply spectacular, and this opinion was shared by both sets of parents, the teen, the tween, the third grader and the first graders.

The elementary schoolers’ were delighted by the lights shaped into animals. The lighted land animals we discovered in the gardens, while some twinkling aquatic animals we found hopping, skipping, croaking and peering from the fountains and pools.

The older kids had fun with the interactive and creative light elements, such as the weather system rainbow that “rains” lights, flashes with lightning and crashes with thunder.

I loved the gazebos covered in icicle lights and the twinkling trees that changed color. Watching my girls dancing beneath a tree changing from pink to blue to green on an early winter night made all my worries melt away.

The Children’s Garden is also festooned with lights, making for a fairy garden of sparkles for the little ones to play in.

The Visitors Center features nightly live music!  Check out the musical lineup. The on-site caterer at the Visitors Center has a delicious selection of hot drinks, treats, soups and sandwiches for sale. There was also a bonfire with marshmallow roasting on the night we attended.

We knew from previous years to arrive extra early, 15 minutes before the official opening time of 5:30 p.m. and to enter Glenallen Avenue via Kemp Mill Road and park in the Conservatory parking lot, if possible. These two steps saved us waiting in any car lines at all. Friends of ours waited in a slightly longer line by coming in Glenallen Avenue from Randolph Road and parking near the Visitor Center, but the lines move very quickly. Weekdays have less wait times than weekends.

The cost is $25 per car/van Sunday-Thursday and $30 per car/van Friday-Saturday. Fill all your seats and carpool with friends for a great value on a night out. There is currently a Groupon deal on Garden of Lights for $20 tickets valid any night through December 15, so if you attend on or before 12/15 definitely get your ticket there to save $5-$10. After that promo is over, you can also pick up $25 advance sale tickets at the Brookside Gardens gift shop, which are good for use any night (saving you $5 if you utilize on a Friday or Saturday).

Please note that you must drive into Garden of Lights — no pedestrian traffic is allowed. Pets need to stay at home, although service animals are welcome.

Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens

Nightly through January 1, 2018 (closed December 24 & 25) 

Sunday-Thursday 5:30 – 9 p.m., $25 per car/van 

Friday-Saturday 5:30 – 10 p.m., $30 per car/van

Save using Groupon deal on Garden of Lights for $20 tickets valid any night through December 15

Advance sale tickets at Brookside Gardens gift shop $25 good for use any night (saves you $5 if you use on a Friday or Saturday)

Want to win a free pass for a car load of loved ones to share Garden of Lights with you on a night of your choosing? Enter via the form below!

Garden of Lights Car Pass!


  1. We have never been but would love to.

  2. We go every year!

  3. Devorah Walder says

    We love this exhibit!

  4. Lauren Peterson says

    I’ve always wanted to go, but never have 🙁

  5. Tulasi Hardwick says

    We haven’t been but we would love too!

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