Let it Glow: Holiday Lights in Arkansas
Unconventional years call for unconventional light displays, and people and organizations across the state have prepared unforgettable holiday installations. Some traditional events, like Garvan Gardens’ Holiday Lights and Jacksonville’s Christmas Parade, have transformed into more socially distant functions while still offering holiday cheer. Other options, like drive-thru residential lights, have stayed the same but offer new benefits to crowd-wary visitors. From outdoor art exhibitions to cruising through local neighborhoods, here’s a list of the brightest holiday light displays in the state.
Celebrate the beauty of the season at Garvan Woodland Gardens’ all-new Winter Garden Festival. Presented in lieu of the annual holiday lights display, the daytime festival will transform the Garvan Pavilion into a life-size snow globe. Attendees can experience new garden displays and enjoy free hot chocolate from the Chipmunk Cafe.
550 Arkridge Road, Hot Springs
Nov. 21 to Dec. 31
(Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily; Last admission at 5 p.m.
$15/adults, $5/ages 4-12,
Free/ages 3 and younger
Crystal Bridges’ light-and-sound experience returns to bring the forest to life for the second year. North Forest Lights will be open through April, but the exhibition is the perfect holiday outing to safely enjoy with loved ones. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended, and wearing a mask is required.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way, Bentonville
Sept. 4 to April 4 (Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
Dusk – 10 p.m.; Wednesday through
$22/adults, $15/adult members,
$10/ages 7-18, $7/youth members,
Free/ages 6 and younger
Arkansas State Capitol
Although the Little Rock Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade was canceled, Arkansas State Capitol’s lights will still turn on, along with a fireworks show on Dec. 5. Each of the 77,000 lights on the Capitol is glued on one at a time for months, and the lights will decorate the Little Rock skyline through the beginning of January. Visitors can take the perfect holiday photos in front of the Capitol, peek inside at the 25-foot-tall Christmas tree and afterward take a drive through downtown Little Rock.
Dec. 5 to early Jan. 2021
500 Woodlane St., Little Rock
Trail of Lights
This year, the City of Sherwood Parks and Recreation decided its community needed some extra holiday cheer and opened its annual Enchanted Forest Trail of Lights early. The drive-thru experience is more than a mile of lights, including brand new displays. Donations to support future displays are encouraged.
Sherwood Sports Complex
511 Bear Paw Road, Sherwood
Nov. 20 to Dec. 30
6 – 9:30 p.m.
Holiday Lights Display
More than 1 million lights will decorate downtown Hot Springs this holiday season. Visitors can take a drive through the winter wonderland or take a socially distant stroll and purchase Christmas gifts from the shops on Bathhouse Row.
Downtown Hot Springs
Nov. 23 to Jan. 5
Lights of the Delta
As the largest Christmas light display in the mid-South, Lights of the Delta decorates Blytheville with 6 million lights and 48 major motion displays. Pictures with Santa will continue this year but require attendees to take precautions, including wearing masks and remaining socially distant while waiting in line and when taking pictures.
1405 Airbase Highway, Blytheville
Nov. 23 to Dec. 27
5:30 – 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 5:30 – 10 p.m.,
Automobiles (max 12 passengers)/$10, small buses/$25, full-size buses/$50
Hayride: $40/trailer, Sunday through Thursday; $60/trailer, Friday, Saturday
24th Annual Enchanted Lands of Lights & Legends
Head to Pine Bluff to experience the state’s largest drive-thru holiday lights exhibit. Enchanted Lands of Lights & Legends transforms the city’s Regional Park into 1.3 miles of 240 displays. The nonprofit Pine Bluff Festival Association has organized the exhibit since 1996. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
Highway 65B & Convention Center Drive, Pine Bluff
Nov. 17 to Dec. 31
Lights of the Ozarks
The annual Lights of the Ozarks transforms downtown Fayetteville into a Christmas dream with more than 400,000 twinkling lights. Although the annual lighting ceremony was canceled, the lights will still be on view for visitors throughout the season. Letters to Santa can also be dropped off at the Santa Mailbox in front of the Experience Fayetteville Visitors Center.
Nov. 20 to Dec 31
5 p.m.-1 a.m.
63rd Annual Jacksonville Reverse Christmas Parade 2020
Despite the canceling of its annual parade, Jacksonville is keeping the Christmas spirit alive by holding a Reverse Christmas Parade. Participants will drive down Main Street Jacksonville to see stationary floats that will include marching bands, dance groups, the fire department and Santa Claus. Admission is free, and Arkansas Department of Health guidelines will be enforced.
Main St., Jacksonville
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Christmas at the Park
Holiday goers drive through a lighted tunnel the length of a football field when they arrive at Jonesboro’s Christmas at the Park. The winter wonderland has more than 400,000 lights, plus concessions and pictures with Santa. The 73rd Annual Jonesboro Christmas Parade will also be held at the Park from Dec. 3-7 as a reverse parade with stationary floats.
600 Harry Drive, Jonesboro
Nov. 25 to Dec. 31
Check its website, christmasatthepa rknea.com, for detailed dates, times and admission prices.
Residential & Neighborhood Displays
Featured in the show The Great Christmas Light Fight in 2015, Finney’s Christmas Wonderland is a must-see drive-thru light show in Arkansas. Sam Finney brings more than 1 million lights, fog machines and countless memories to his Christmas Wonderland display in Crossett. Donations are encouraged to help fund the displays.
123 Goshen Road, Crossett
Nov. 26 to Dec. 31
6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
North Hills, North Little Rock
Cross some items off your Christmas list at McCain Mall, and then head down North Hills Boulevard to see the holiday lights in North Little Rock. The houses in the neighborhood offer lights and inflatables, plus the area around Lakewood and the Old Mill always offer a scenic drive.
Pleasant Valley, Little Rock
If you are up for an outing in west Little Rock, swing through Pleasant Valley to see what lights the neighborhood has on display. The houses down Pleasant Valley Drive are generally decorated with some of the brightest lights and inflatables in town.
Edgewater in Maumelle
The Edgewater neighborhood in Maumelle keeps the community in the Christmas spirit every year with beautifully decorated homes for the holidays. Plus, Lake Willastein Park is a scenic stop any time of year.
Operating since 2003, the Stewart Family Christmas Lights generally draws thousands of visitors every season to view more than 1 million lights and 500 inflatables. The display also includes a snow machine, a hot chocolate stand and a train called the Wyatt Simpson Express.
4279 E. Wyman Road, Fayetteville
Nov. 20 to Jan. 3
Inspired by the Osborne Light displays, the Bentonville Heart Lites is a family-run light show that uses specialized computer chips that are programmed to change color with music. The giant display is completely free to the public, but the man behind the lights, Mark Valentine, organizes fundraisers every year to donate to multiple sclerosis research.
3505 NW Edgewood Ave., Bentonville
Nov. 26 to Dec. 31
5:30 – 9:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 5:30 – 9:30 p.m., Friday, Saturday
The Heights & Hillcrest
in Little Rock
Cruising through the neighborhoods off Kavanaugh Street in Little Rock is always a treat, and the houses of the Heights and Hillcrest are some of the best-decorated in the city during the holiday season. Make sure to stop by the shops in either neighborhood to purchase some gifts and support local businesses.