Dazzling Lightscape illuminated trail returns to Brooklyn Botanic Garden after sold-out first year

lit up tree at lightscape at brooklyn botanic garden
“Lightscape” a dazzling, immersive holiday light show, is back at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden through January.
Paul Frangipane

The sprawling acres of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden were filled with twinkling lights, colorful lasers, and music on Nov. 16 as Lightscape, a dazzling illuminated trail, returned to the garden for the second time. Featuring over one million lights stretched across the Garden’s 52 acres, Lightscape is on display on select evenings through Jan. 8, 2023. 

The sparkling display sold out during its first season in Brooklyn last year, and this year’s show will bigger and better than its initial iteration, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden announced last summer. Dozens of art installations by artists from Brooklyn and all over the world will be accompanied by music and sounds “celebrating Brooklyn’s cultural diversity,” and snacks and hot drinks will be available at pop-up stands all along the trail. Hungry attendees will have their choice of empanadas, samosas and sweets and hot chocolate, hot chocolate, and mulled wine.

big light up flower at brooklyn botanic garden
“Bloom” mirrors the plants and flowers that fill the 52-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Paul Frangipane
birds at lightscape
Brooklyn Botanic Garden kicked off Lightscape, an after-dark illuminated trail that celebrates winter in the garden, Nov. 16. Some of the exhibits, like “Nightbirds,” celebrate the garden’s 2022 exhibition “For the Birds.” Paul Frangipane

“This is the kickoff to the holiday season, this is really what Brooklyn is all about, we always do it first and we always do it better and we always trail a whole new pathway for all the other boroughs to follow,” said Laurie Cumbo, commissioner of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, at the Nov. 16 launch event.

Lightscape’s most popular exhibits — the Winter Cathedral, a high, arching tunnel of lights and the aptly-named Fire Garden — are back this year, and joined by works by New York City-based artists Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves, Norman Mooney, and Masha Tsimring. Artist Christopher Wren created two new works for the display — “A Magical Season,” chock-full of kinetic mirrors that cast dancing patterns of light across the ground, and “Neon Waves,” an illuminated field of brightly-colored cords stretched between the garden’s Kanzan trees. 

windseeds at lightscape
“Windseeds” by local artist Norman Mooney features enormous dandelion-seed like sculptures. Paul Frangipane
neon waves
A new exhibit, “Neon Waves” creates a rippling sea of neon cords tied between the garden’s famous Kanzan Trees. Paul Frangipane

“I would say that Lightscape is the perfect way for family and friends to get together this time of year,” said BBG President and CEO Adrian Benepe. “But more than any particular holiday, Lightscape celebrates the beauty of winter in the garden. As you walk the trail you’ll see our trees and plants, literally in a whole new light. There is no other light show in town like Lightscape, which I would say is the best, most beautiful, most complex, most artistic outdoor light exhibition in New York City history.”

fire garden at lightscape
“Fire Garden” has been enlarged for this year’s Lightscape. Paul Frangipane
winter cathedral light tunnel
The ever-popular “Winter Cathedral” is a centerpiece of Lightscape. Paul Frangipane

In addition to its regular evening showings, this year Lightscape will have two special limited-capacity “Quiet Hours” for children and adults with sensory sensitivity and disabilities. Quiet Hours take place in the early evening, before the sun has set fully, and will be calmer and less crowded than the nighttime slots. 

On Friday, Dec. 7, BBG will host its Family Benefit Evening, a family-friendly fundraising event that supports for the organization’s youth education programs.

Lightscape runs at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens on select evenings through Jan. 8, 2023. Member tickets cost $18 for children and $36 for adults, non-member tickets are $20 for children and $40 for adults. Visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website to purchase tickets or for more information. 

Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane