Lightscape Frequently Asked Questions

This is a rain or shine event.

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2023 Ticket & Parking Information

Tickets for this event are required and timed in 15-minute increments to stagger visitors for a better experience. However, each night you may stay until the 10 p.m. closing time to enjoy the event. Prices vary, based on the day of the week and date you select. All paid tickets have a $3 service fee which helps ensure the efficient online ticketing process. The service fee is not refundable under any circumstances. One ticket is required per person, tickets are free for ages 2 and under. Tickets have no cash value. Price increases $5 for adults and $2 for children the day of the event (online and in-person).

Guest passes and reciprocal benefits are not accepted for Lightscape.

Buy your parking in advance and save 50%! Advance parking is $10 per vehicle on regular and Off peak nights and $15 on Peak nights; if purchased on the day of or upon arrival the night of your visit, the parking fee is $20 on Regular/Off peak nights and $25 on Peak nights.

The parking fee applies for all vehicles entering the Garden for Lightscape. We strongly advise you to buy parking online in advance. The parking fee does not apply to those dropped off by a ride-share vehicle. All guests will be asked to show their Lightscape tickets and parking pass or ride-share receipt for entry.

Tips for Your Visit

Purchase admission tickets and parking ahead of time, advanced purchase is required for Lightscape!
✓ Please arrive at your designated arrival window to avoid waiting or missing your confirmed entry time. Guests will not be admitted after 9 p.m.

✓ Have your tickets and paid parking ready to show at the ticket booth to expedite entry. If you are a member, please bring your San Diego Botanic Garden membership cards.

✓ There are multiple parking lots and entrances for this special event. Parking entrances are at 230 Quail Gardens Drive and 300 Quail Gardens Drive. Remember to make note of which lot you are parked in (Yellow, Red, Orange or Blue).

    • All those with Handicap parking and mobility issues please let our parking attendants know so they can direct you to designated parking with easier access to the Blue Entrance path.
    • If you’d like to avoid parking, consider ride sharing as an option. Ride-share drop off and pick up is located at the Yellow Lot, which is the regular main entrance address of San Diego Botanic Garden: 300 Quail Gardens Drive.

✓ If your group is arriving in separate cars, drive in together (caravan style) and let the parking attendants know that you are doing so in order to park in the same lot and begin at the same trail entrance.

    • The trail is a one-way directional path, which will make meeting up with groups difficult once in the Garden.

✓ Wear comfortable shoes – the outdoor walking trail is 1-mile long on paved and dirt paths and occasionally hilly.

✓ Dress for the weather as this is an outdoor event and will be held rain or shine.


Tickets / Reservations

All tickets are sold as final sale: tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable for dates/times. If San Diego Botanic Garden cancels the event,  you will be rescheduled – please see “Weather/Cancellations” section below. Tickets are subject to availability.

We ask that you arrive no more than 15 minutes before your scheduled entry, allowing time to park and check in. Your entry time is a 15 minute window from the time printed on your tickets (i.e., 5:30 – 5:45 p.m.). After you are admitted, you may stay as long as you would like, or until 10 p.m., when Lightscape closes.

Late arrivals cannot be guaranteed and will be granted based on availability. Please be aware that there is no entry 15 minutes after the last entry time of 8:30 p.m.

Flex tickets are available for those who are interested in having the flexibility to arrive anytime between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on their scheduled visit date. These tickets are sold at a higher price point, include parking, and do not have a timed entry slot. However, if you have Flex tickets you will need to arrive and check in by 8:30 p.m.

Yes, to ensure that only ticket holders for Lightscape have entry to the evening event and parking, daytime visitors must vacate the Garden and parking areas. During the days when Lightscape is offered, the Garden will close at 4 p.m. and reopen at 5 p.m. for ticketed guests only. Designated Lightscape parking areas will open by 4:30 p.m. once daytime vehicles have departed.

No, the Garden will be open to Lightscape ticket holders only.

Lightscape is a special ticketed event so we are unable to accept guest passes, reciprocal admission passes or Museums for All discounts. San Diego Botanic Garden members do receive a discount.

Member tickets can only be transferred to other Members, Member card and I.D. required at entrance. General Admission tickets and Flex Tickets can be transferred to anyone.


Weather / Cancellations

This event is rain or shine. If the weather conditions are hazardous, the Garden’s decision to cancel the event will be made by 2 p.m. on the day of the event. You will be notified via email of any cancellation and provided with next steps for the rebooking process. Rebookings will only be allowed if the Garden cancels the event; otherwise, the event will take place. In the event you are unable to use your non-refundable Lightscape ticket.

Lightscape tickets are non-refundable. Please make sure that you have chosen the correct date and time slot at the time of your booking.  In the event you are unable to use your non-refundable Lightscape ticket.


Lightscape Trail Experience

The trail is a 1-mile path around the Garden, with various downward and upward slopes including a steep incline through the center of the Garden.

The time visitors spend on the trail will vary based on pace and time spent at specific installations However, you should allow at least 1 hour to walk the entire trail.

In some areas, the lighting will be at a low level as part of the experience. You may use a flashlight in the event of an emergency. The path is not covered as this is an open air outdoor event. Please wear appropriate outdoor footwear and clothing. 

San Diego Botanic Garden is situated along the rolling hills of Encinitas, California. The 1-mile Lightscape path includes trails with various downward and upward slopes, including a steep incline through the center of the Garden. While some portions of the path are paved, it also includes dirt pathways and short staircases that are not considered ADA accessible. Alternate routes without staircases are available and can be taken as needed. 

Wheelchairs are not provided and cannot be rented onsite. Regular shuttle service will not be running during Lightscape. If experiencing difficulty with the path, Lightscape staff can direct visitors to alternate paved pathways to avoid stairs and steep dirt trails.

All those with Handicap parking and mobility issues please let our parking attendants know when arriving so they can direct you to designated parking with easier access to the Blue Entrance path.

Yes, strollers and wheelchairs are allowed. Mobility aids such as scooters, walkers, and canes are welcome. Please carefully read the section “Are the pathways wheelchair accessible?” above.


Visitor Services

Lightscape features multiple concession stands along the trail to purchase food, snacks, and seasonal alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Only credit or debit cards will be accepted, no cash. View our concessions menu HERE.

Only food and drinks purchased on-site are permitted at Lightscape. Tailgating is not allowed.

If your group is arriving in separate cars, drive in together (caravan style) to park in the same lot and begin at the same trail entrance. Tailgating is not allowed in the parking lots, please do not bring outside food or any kind of beverages. Glassware is not allowed. 

Restrooms are located along the trail by Hamilton Children’s Garden, the entry of the Subtropical Fruit Garden and the Cork Oak Cafe.  Temporary restrooms are also located at the Blue and Orange parking lots.

The Gift & Plant Shop will not be open during Lightscape. Please visit the Shop during regular daytime hours.

Yes!  While waiting for that perfect shot, please do not block pathways or views of others. We do not allow tripods, monopods or drones or props. Professional or commercial photoshoots are not permitted during the event. Photographs and videos may not be used for commercial  purposes.

This is an outdoor event, so please come prepared for the elements by wearing sturdy and comfortable footwear and by dressing warmly. Umbrellas are allowed on the trail, but we ask that you are courteous of other patrons when using them.

No pets are allowed at San Diego Botanic Garden. Only service animals, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are allowed. California state law prohibits leaving animals in any unattended motor vehicle that endangers their health or well-being. SDBG will expel all violators and report them to the authorities.

There will be some light installations with flashing lights; however, there is no strobe lighting. There will be various special effects, including lasers and fog.

Lightscape Terms & Conditions

Please see above for Ticket Information, exchanges and refunds.

Code of Conduct

The San Diego Botanic Garden is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and respectful environment. Garden staff, volunteers, and all visitors have the right to an environment free from abusive and/or threatening behavior, including use of derogatory or offensive language about another person’s race, ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or national origin. In the event of any such behavior or other conduct that is disrespectful to our staff, volunteers, visitors, and property at any Garden site, we reserve any and all rights permitted by applicable law, including removal, revocation of membership privileges, and prosecution. The San Diego Botanic Garden also reserves the right to determine what constitutes unacceptable behavior.

In addition, we ask all visitors to follow our standard guidelines: 

  • Remain on trails, pathways, and designated areas at all times.
  • Any damage, handling, or removal of plants or plant material is prohibited.
  • Do not disturb wildlife by touching, moving or feeding.
  • Outside plants or plant material, such as unapproved plant donations, flower arrangements, or bouquets are not permitted at the Garden.
  • Bikes, scooters, skateboards, roller skates, motorized vehicles and similar recreational items are not permitted in the Garden.
  • Confetti, balloons, drones, remote-control toys and any open flames are not permitted.
  • Smoking, vaping, e-cigarettes, alcohol, or any other drug use is prohibited in the Garden and Garden parking lots.
  • Professional Photoshoots or Videography permits are not available during Lightscape.

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