Lightscape Frequently Asked Questions

This event is rain or shine.

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Dates & Times

November 18-20, 23, 25-27
December 1-4, 8-11, 14-23, 26-31
January 1-2, 6-8

Holidays: Lightscape will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Tickets are required for admittance with entry times available every 15 minutes from 5:00 to 8:30 pm. The average tour time from start to finish is 1.5 hours, although there is no time limit. Lightscape closes at 10 pm.

Each day, the Garden will close at 4 pm and re-open for Lightscape guests only at 5 pm.

Ticket Information

Tickets for this event are timed in 15-minute increments to stagger visitors for a better experience. However, each night you may stay until the 10pm closing time to enjoy the event. Prices vary, based on the day of the week and date you select. One ticket is required per person, tickets are free for ages 2 and under. Tickets are non-transferable and have no cash value.

Buy your parking in advance and save 50 percent. Advance parking is $10 per vehicle; if purchased upon arrival the night of your visit, the parking fee is $20. Parking fee applies for all entering the Garden for Lightscape after 4pm each night of the event, parking passes should be visible upon entry to parking areas. We strongly advise you to buy parking online in advance. Parking fee does not apply to those dropped off by a ride-share vehicle.


Tips for Your Visit

Purchase tickets ahead of time!

Please follow your designated arrival window to avoid waiting or missing your confirmed entry time. Entry will not be granted after 9 PM.

✓ Have your tickets and paid parking ready to show at the gate to expedite entry. 

✓  There are multiple parking lots and entrances for this event (with parking entrances at 230 Quail Gardens Drive and 300 Quail Gardens Drive). Remember to make note of which parking lot you are parked in. 

• If you’d like to avoid parking, consider ride sharing as an option.

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. 

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

✓  Wear comfortable shoes – the walking trail is 1-mile long outside and occasionally hilly. If you have questions about accessibility, please contact our Visitors Services team at or (760) 436-3036 and dial 5.

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


If I book the wrong date, can I transfer my ticket to another date?

Yes, but exchanges are subject to a transaction fee per exchange and may only be made through November 14. This fee applies to members and nonmembers. Exchanges require a $10 fee through  November 1 and increase to $20 from November 2 to November 14. If San Diego Botanic Garden cancels the event, you will be rescheduled–please see below. If needed, please contact Visitor Services at or (760) 436-3036 and dial 5 to request an exchange. Tickets are subject to availability.

If I am delayed and miss my slot, can I join a later slot?

We ask that you arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled entry and will accommodate late arrivals in the next time slots based on availability, but please be aware that there is no entry 15 minutes after the last entry time of 8:30pm.

What happens if the weather turns bad after we buy tickets? 

This event is rain or shine. Of course, if the weather presents a hazard and a risk to safety, the Garden’s decision to cancel the event will be made at 2pm on the day of the event. You will be notified via the email you used to book your tickets of any cancellation and the re-booking process. Also, please check our website and social media pages for updates. Rebookings will only be allowed if the Garden cancels the event; otherwise, the event will take place.

What if I can’t use my ticket? Can I get a refund?

There are no refunds once Lightscape tickets have been purchased. Choose your date carefully. 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 ticket, please consider your purchase a donation to the San Diego Botanic Garden.

I am visiting San Diego Botanic Garden during the day. Will I have to leave the Garden before entering Lightscape in the evening?

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 4pm and will reopen at 5pm for ticketed guests only. Designated Lightscape parking areas will open by 4:30pm once daytime vehicles have departed.

How should I dress for this event?

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.

How long is the trail?

The trail is a 1 mile path around the Garden.

How much time should we allow for this event?

The time visitors spend on the trail will vary based on pace and time at specific pieces. However, you should allow at least 90 minutes.

Should I arrive in advance of my visit time?

Please allow extra time for entry and parking, but do not arrive more than 15 minutes before the entrance time printed on your ticket. Your entry time is a 15 minute window from the time printed on your tickets (i.e., 5:30 – 5:45 pm). After you are admitted, you may stay as long as you would like, or until 10pm, when Lightscape closes. Flex Tickets are available for those who are interested in having the flexibility to arrive anytime between 5pm and 8:30 pm on their scheduled visit date.

What are you doing differently this year due to the COVID-19 health crisis?

The health and safety of our staff and our visitors is our top priority. San Diego Botanic Garden is an outdoor recreation facility and operates according to current County and State guidelines. In accordance with guidance from the County of San Diego and the California Department of Public Health, SDBG encourages visitors to wear masks indoors. We will follow all state and county guidelines that are in place at the time of the event, including guidance on wearing masks. We ask anyone who is sick, or who has been in contact with someone who is sick, to please stay home. You may contact Visitor Services regarding your tickets: or (760) 436-3036 and dial 5.

Can I come to the Garden after it closes if I do not have a Lightscape ticket?

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

Will there be places to get a snack?

Lightscape features multiple concession stands along the trail to purchase food, snacks and seasonal alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Credit or debit cards only will be accepted.

Will there be places to shop?

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

Can I take pictures?

Yes!  However, no tripods or monopods will be allowed.

Are the pathways wheelchair accessible?

San Diego Botanic Garden is situated in the rolling hills of Encinitas, California. The one mile Lightscape path includes trails with various downward and upward slopes including a steep incline through the center of the Garden. The path also includes dirt pathways and short staircases that are not considered ADA accessible. The Garden will not be able to accommodate wheelchair requests and our 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. Please contact Visitor Services for further inquiries: or (760) 436-3036 and dial 5.

 Are strollers and wheelchairs allowed?

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.

Are pets allowed?

No pets are allowed, except for service animals, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 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.

Is there white strobe lighting?

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


Lightscape Terms & Conditions

Please see above for Ticket Information, exchanges and refunds.

COVID-19 Terms and Conditions

The health and safety of our staff and visitors is our priority:

  • The Garden will follow all County of San Diego and State of California guidelines to mitigate COVID that are in place at the time of the event, including guidance on wearing masks.
  • We reserve the right to request that visitors who do not follow the guidelines leave the premises.
  • An inherent risk of exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19) exists in any public space where people are present. Persons visiting the San Diego Botanic Garden do so at their own risk.

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.

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