Multiple Dates


Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time



Oakland Cemetery

248 Oakland Avenue Southeast

Atlanta, GA 30312

View Map

Event description


Oakland Cemetery comes alive again this spring with Illumine, its annual after-dark arts spring event. Wander through all-new displays set against the inspiring backdrop of Atlanta’s skyline.

This year’s expanded event will focus on the cemetery’s newly restored historic African American Burial Grounds and Women’s Comfort Station, highlighting the lives of the men and women who created them, managed them, and whose stories they tell. You'll also be able to meander through the history and beauty of Oakland’s spring-time gardens near the main gate and on Bell Tower Ridge: the cemetery's most mature Victorian gardens.

About the event

A self-guided experience, Illumine 2020 will use light, shadow, sound, and texture to share the stories of Black Atlantans who built and shaped the city from its origins as a railroad crossing to its arrival as a global city while persisting against unequal treatment and legalized discrimination.

You’ll discover how an investigation of Oakland’s now-unmarked graves shines a light on 19th century African American burial practices, how Oakland’s physical landscape was wrought by the class and racial issues of the day, and how the photography of Victorian-era luminary Thomas Askew unveils a rich tableau of middle and upper-class African American life in Atlanta. You’ll see dozens of artistic displays throughout the cemetery including lanterns, light-boxes, illuminated headstones, mausolea, and botanicals as well as archival images and projected film.

Illumine will also feature live music, craft cocktails, and an Oakland pop-up shop.

Illumine 2020 takes place on the following evenings. Each evening has a limited number of tickets to ensure the best experience for each visitor. Buy your tickets in advance to guarantee that you can experience Illumine 2020.

  • Friday, April 24
  • Saturday, April 25
  • Thursday, April 30
  • Friday, May 1
  • Saturday, May 2
  • Sunday, May 3 (Regular admission or Illumine + Behind-the-Scenes Tour)

Note: Historic Oakland Foundation is monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and as of now, we are planning to hold the event as planned. If we are forced to cancel the event, we will issue refunds to all ticket holders.

Illumine + Behind-the-Scenes Tour, Sunday, May 3

Gain behind-the-scenes access to Illumine with a special tour of the history that inspired the event! Tours led by some of the creative minds behind Illumine 2020 will walk guests through two centuries of Atlanta history, detailing the lives of the men and women that built and grew the city. Guests will also learn about the process of creating the installations that light up Oakland Cemetery once a year and find out more about the artists that bring the event to life.

Guests attending the behind-the-scenes tour will arrive at Oakland at 6:30 p.m., one hour before the general public. Following the tour, they will be invited to view Illumine in its full splendor, which is only visible after sunset (around 8:15).

Cost: $30.

Dinner Deals at Local Restaurants

Ticket holders will receive a significant discount at nearby restaurants:

  • Tin Lizzy’s: 10% off at Tin Lizzys Grant Park (dine-in only.)
  • Firepit Pizza: 20% off (dine-in only)

Know Before You Go

  • Advanced tickets are a better value and are strongly encouraged for faster entry to the Cemetery as well as to ensure that you can attend on your preferred day.
  • First entry is at 7:30 but this is an evening event, and you’ll be able to enter until 10:00 p.m. If you do come in before sunset we strongly encourage you to stick around until after the sun sets (around 8:15).
  • General Admission tickets purchased at the gate are subject to a $5 walk-up fee.
  • Illumine is a rain-or-shine event.
  • Ticket price does not include tax or fees.
  • Weapons of any kind are prohibited.
  • With the exception of service animals, pets are prohibited at Illumine.
  • Illumine's route covers approximately one mile of roads and historic pathways. Although there are no steps on the route, historic gutters, slopes, and brick walkways might make experiencing Illumine 2020 difficult for those with limited mobility. If you are unsure if Illumine 2020 is suitable for you, contact Mary Fernandez at to discuss your particular circumstances.

Illumine is presented by:

We are grateful to the following Illumine sponsors:


Oakland Cemetery

248 Oakland Avenue Southeast

Atlanta, GA 30312

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved