Trail of Holiday Lights

Central Itinerary B:

Celebrate the Season South of the Arkansas River


Day 1

Follow the Christmas lights from Little Rock, AR, to Saline County and back for a bright holiday tour.

  1. You can’t mention Christmas lights in Little Rock, AR without including the Lighting of the Arkansas State Capitol. Prior to the throwing of the switch, the annual Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade will be held December 3 at 3 p.m.. It begins at Second and Broadway, ending at the State Capitol. Bands, marching groups, glowing floats, animals, beauty queens, cars and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus take part in the procession. After the march, at dusk, the State Capitol will be illuminated by thousands of lights as it has been for more than 75 years. Choral music and fireworks are also a part of the evening.
  2. Benton once again lights up the beautiful courthouse as the town hosts the Saline County Celebration of Lights. The annual parade is on December 5 at 6 p.m. followed by activities at the square, including a photo op with Santa Claus. The courthouse will remain lit through New Year’s Eve.
Day 2

Ready for more Christmas activities in Little Rock?

  1. Spend the day exploring Little Rock’s many attractions or do some shopping. If you’re in town the weekend of December 2 - 4, don’t miss the Arkansas Craft Guild 38th Annual Christmas Showcase, where you can pick up one-of-a-kind gifts. More than 100 artists offer a unique array of fine hand-crafted work including pottery, fiber art, woodworking, glass, photography, jewelry, gourmet foods and more. It will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock.
  2. On Sunday December 4, three downtown museums will host their yearly holiday events. Historic Arkansas Museum holds its 49th annual Christmas Frolic and Open House from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Here Christmas is presented as it was in the 1800s with living history, re-enactments, music, dancing, caroling and the museum’s famous hot mulled cider and ginger cake. Nearby, the Old State House Museum has its Holiday Open House 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Traditions of Christmas past are celebrated with hands-on children’s activities, caroling by local groups, and cookies and punch served in the beautifully decorated facility. On the south side of town, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is hosting its Holiday Open House from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., featuring its 5th annual “Say it Ain’t Say’s” Sweet Potato Pie Contest are highlights. The pie contest is in honor of Little Rock’s Black Santa, Robert “Say” McIntosh, famous for his sweet potato confection. A trolley will be available to transport guests among these Department of Arkansas Heritage museums, as well as the Governor’s Mansion Open House, taking place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  3. Why not celebrate Christmas from the plush seat of a local performing arts venue? This year, the capital city offers four holiday-themed performances to enjoy, starting with A Christmas Story, which opens at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and runs through December 25. At the newly renovated Robinson Center, Celebrity Attractions’ first show will be Elf the Musical, playing December 3-4. Over at the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre, catch The Elves and the Shoemaker December 3 through 18. And of course, Ballet Arkansas brings the beloved Nutcracker back to Robinson Center December 9 through 11.
Day 1.2: Saline County Celebration of Lights
Day 2.2 Historic Arkansas Museum 49th annual Christmas Frolic and Open House
Day 1.1: Big Jingle Jubilee Christmas Parade
Day 2.1: 38th annual Arkansas Craft Guild Christmas Showcase
Day 2.2: Old State House Museum Holiday Open House
Day 1.1: Choral music and fireworks
Day 2.2: Mosaic Templars Cultural Center