First Timers’ Guide to the Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens

Holiday Light Display

If a visit to Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens in Montgomery County, Maryland is high on your bucket list this holiday season, here are a few things to know before you arrive.

How to Get There

Situated within Wheaton Regional Park, Brookside Gardens is located at 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902.

Parking is available at both the main entrance at 1800 Glenallan Avenue and the Conservatory entrance at 1500 Glenallan Avenue. Visitors arriving by taxi or ride share must use the main entrance.

Visitors arriving by foot or bike can use either the main entrance or the entrance via the path at 2000 Shorefield Road near the Wheaton Regional Park playground. More information about the Shorefield Road entrance and path can be found here.

Visitors arriving via public transportation can take a bus from Glenmont Metro Station to Randolph and Heurich Roads, then walk about 0.3 miles to the main entrance.

Busses, vans, and limousines require advanced registration. Learn more here.

The experience begins with a walk through a worm.

What to Expect:

Expect to step into a magical winter wonderland illuminated with more than a million dazzling LED lights shaped into hand-crafted, original art forms of flowers, animals, and other natural elements. Garden of Lights is a walk-through outdoor exhibit, so make sure to dress for the weather. The entire experience will take an hour or two when walked at a leisurely pace.

Gazebo at Garden of Lights

Admission Fees and Information:

Tickets are $10 per person ages five and older. Each person ages five and older must have a ticket.

All tickets must be purchased online in advance of your visit. No passes will be sold on the same day. If you do not have access to a computer or smartphone, the staff at Brookside Gardens’ Visitor Center (1800 Glenallan Avenue) can assist you daily between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The tickets have specific time slots at 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00 or 8:30 pm. Ticket holders must arrive at the specific scheduled time to redeem their tickets.

(Montgomery Parks)

Best Time to Visit:

Garden of Lights is open between 5:00 pm – 9 pm daily from November 17 to December 31 (closed November 20-23 and December 24-25). Visits during the weekday before Christmas weekend are highly encouraged as the crowds are thinner, allowing you even more opportunities to discover and fully appreciate every detail.

Don’t forget to tag @visitmoco! (Montgomery Parks)

Photography Tips:

Personal photography is welcomed. If you are looking to have professional portraits taken, or you plan to sell the images, a photo permit is required. Questions about photo permits can be answered here.

For budding photographers looking for the ultimate shot, the best time to visit is at dusk. The deep blues of the winter sky in the background add a lot of depth and details, and the light displays tend to show up better in photos.

Guests can view miniature versions of iconic Montgomery County landmarks, including Glen Echo Park. (Montgomery Parks)

Don’t Forget to Visit:

The Conservatory: A trip to Brookside Gardens wouldn’t be complete without a visit inside the Conservatory to watch G-Scale model trains wind through a seasonal landscape of living plants in the Garden Railway exhibit. The exhibit also displays intricate custom-made original models of numerous Montgomery County landmarks from the past and present, including Brookside Gardens, Kensington Railroad Station, Red Door Store, Little Tavern Restaurant, Cabin John Hotel, and the Dentzel Carousel that still operates in Glen Echo Park. The Garden Railway exhibit is free to view during the Conservatory’s hours from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., November 25 through January 1 (closed December 24-25).

Outdoor food vendors: Hot chocolate and light refreshments will be available for purchase.

Gift Shop: If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for your special someone, the gift shop is stocked full of garden-themed gifts and books for all ages. The gift shop is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Looking for more holiday fun? Visit our Holiday Hub, read about Artisans Markets Not to Miss This Holiday Season, and Fun Things to Do with Your Family For the Holidays.