Happy Holidays, dear readers! It’s my favorite time of year in NYC, and I love getting out and about and seeing the city in all its holiday splendor. I also enjoy finding new holiday activities, and there is a great new event happening this season at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden called Lightscape. Read on to learn about this wonderful new addition to your NYC holiday checklist!
With more than one million sparkling lights, Lightscape allows Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) visitors to wander along a delightful trail of lighted displays, accompanied by a curated soundtrack and poetry illuminated on the sidewalks. Running through January 9th, 2022, Lightscape will welcome guests daily from around 4:30 pm until the event closes each night at 9:30 pm.
Lightscape requires advance tickets, which are sold for timed entry at 15-minute intervals. Tickets are $34 for adults and $18 for children. If you’re a BBG member, tickets are discounted at $30 – just be sure to login with your garden credentials before purchasing your tickets. If you’re thinking of attending this season, I recommend looking for tickets soon, as many timeslots are already sold out!
BBG asks that you arrive no more than 15 minutes prior to your ticket time, and you can enter any time up to 15 minutes after your scheduled ticket time. We were about 10 minutes early and were able to walk right in, but I wouldn’t count on being guaranteed early entry, especially as we get further into the holiday season when it will likely be more crowded.
The event entrance is at 990 Washington Avenue, and you will exit nearby at 150 Eastern Parkway. Though limited parking is available, you may need to park on the street and should give yourself a little extra time to do so in order to make it on time for your scheduled entry.
Also, this is a fully outdoor experience, so you will want to be sure to dress accordingly. Lightscape will run rain, snow, or shine, and it will only be cancelled in the event of severe weather (you’ll be notified by 2:00 pm via email if the event will be canceled for weather.) It was pretty cold the night we visited, and we were glad to have brought hats, scarves, gloves!
And since this is an outdoor event, masks are not required, but they are required if you wish to use the restrooms or visit the gift shop, so bring a mask just case. It was definitely pretty crowded when we visited, but we still felt it was pretty easy to keep distanced.
What to Do and See
If you’ve been to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden before, you may have some favorite areas that you enjoy visiting each time you’re there. However, when you visit for Lightscape, you’ll be limited to visiting only the displays and concessions along the one-mile long guided trail, which will take you around 70-90 minutes to complete. Note that the trail is one-way to keep traffic flowing smoothly throughout the event.
Along the trail, you’ll see 18 different light displays, as well as multiple poems by Jacqueline Woodson illuminated on the sidewalk. Some of my favorite displays were the giant White Peonies, the 98-foot-long Winter Cathedral, the Fire Garden (yes, with real fire!), and the massive finale display called Sea of Light.
You’ll also be able to stop for a warm drink and snacks at three different concession stands along the route. We were pretty psyched with our hot chocolate spiked with Kahlua, and we even stopped at the last concession area where you can make your own s’mores over hot coals!
All of the concession stands have hot chocolate and a couple light snacks, and the main concession area near the conservatory has more food options if you need something more filling. You can check out the menu for each location in advance so you can plan your drinking and snacking accordingly.
Lightscape is a wonderful addition to the NYC holiday scene, and I highly recommend checking out this fantastic new event. The incredible Sea of Light display at the end was well worth the price of the ticket on its own – it was really quite impressive! I hope you’ll make it to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this winter, and please stop back to let me know how you enjoyed your own visit!
Plan Your Own Visit
Where to Go
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden: 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225
- The trail begins at 990 Washington Avenue and exits at 150 Eastern Parkway.
When to Go
- Lightscape runs from November 19, 2021–January 9, 2022.
- Entry begins at 4:30-5:00 pm most days.
- The last entry time for Lightscape is 8:30 p.m., and the show closes nightly at 9:30 p.m.
Tips for Visiting
- Advance tickets are required, and there is timed entry at 15-minute intervals. BBG requests that you arrive no more than 15 minutes before or after your ticket time.
- Discounted tickets are available for members – just log in with your BBG credentials before purchasing your tickets.
- Lightscape is open rain, snow, or shine so dress accordingly for your visit! If really serious inclement weather will cancel the show, you’ll be notifed via email by 2:00 pm on the day of your visit.
- Only the areas of the garden that are incuded on the guided trail are accessible. You will not be able to visit the entire garden while attending Lightscape.
- Don’t forget to stop for hot chocolate and s’mores along the trail! And bring your ID if you want to add a little extra warmth to your hot chocolate in the form of Kahlua or Bailey’s.
- Walking the whole trail, with stops for photos and snacks, will take you around 70-90 minutes.