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 2 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. At the corner of Capitol and Main will be one of the largest Christmas trees Arkansas has ever seen, standing 65 feet tall and featuring a glass topper by Arkansas artist James Hayes.
  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 4 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 1-3, don’t miss the Arkansas Craft Guild 39th 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 3, three downtown museums will host their yearly holiday events. Historic Arkansas Museum holds its 50th annual Christmas Frolic and Open House. 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 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 6th annual “Say it Ain’t Say’s” Sweet Potato Pie Contest. The pie contest is in honor of Little Rock’s Black Santa, Robert “Say” McIntosh, famous for his sweet potato confection.
  3. Why not celebrate Christmas from the plush seat of a local performing arts venue? This year, the capital city offers several holiday-themed performances to enjoy. The Arkansas Repertory Theatre doubles up on holiday spirit with The Gift of the Magi and The Santaland Diaries, both running through December 24. At the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre, catch Mother Goose Christmas December 1-17. Both Ballet Arkansas and the Moscow Ballet will bring versions of The Nutcracker to Robinson Center during December.
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