Arkansas Christmas Lights 2023 | Updated

Arkansas Christmas lights 2023. 11 Arkansas Christmas lights and family activities in the central Arkansas area. Take your family exploring this winter season.

We love searching for Christmas lights with our kids! To get in the car for no reason at all except to sip on hot chocolate, listen to classic Christmas music and search the neighborhoods for the best light displays.

The music can range from Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, to Straight No Chaser and the 12 days of Christmas. Either way 3 out of the 4 of us are jamming along and the other one will just have to wait till December 26th when we stop the Christmas music madness.

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Since we’ve been stationed here for several years now, we’ve finally figured out where we like to start our Arkansas Christmas lights, tour. So get in the car and buckle up. Because you have some exploring to do.


Harding University – Searcy, Arkansas

The Christmas lights display at Harding University, starts the end of November and lasts until the New Year. These lights are magical! Walking around you are in awe at the beauty of the trees draped in white twinkling lights. It was something we had stumbled upon after visiting the Living Nativity in Searcy and I’m so glad we did!

Christmas lights at Harding University in Searcy Arkansas

Be sure to check the 2023 Holiday calendar of Searcy, AR, as well, where you’ll see Santa in town square and other happenings throughout the month of December.

Christmas lights and wreath at Harding University.

The Living Nativity – Searcy, Arkansas

The Living Nativity is one popular spot to visit during the holiday season. Just driving by and seeing the lit torches in front of a grand stone wall entrance, gives you a clue as to why.

But don’t let the traffic scare you off. They know how to handle a drive-thru crowd. Once you enter their parking lot, you are in queue and get to put your car in park and watch a movie they have on display on the side of the church wall. Bring hot chocolate, books, games or enjoy the movie in front of you. It can take some time to get in but if you come early, it’s not that bad.

The Living Nativity entrance with lit torches.

Driving through the stone gates you are transported back into Biblical times. The homes made of clay, donkeys, palm trees, camels and live actors going about their business as they shop for goods at the market. This drive-thru isn’t very long, so take your time. Roll down the windows and listen to the world around you.

The Living Nativity in Searcy, Arkansas.

This live nativity is only open the first two weeks in December. For 2023 they are open as follows:

  • December 1st- 6:30pm- 9:30pm
  • December 2nd- 5:30- 9:30pm
  • December 3rd- 5:30- 8:30pm
  • December 6th- 6:00pm- 8:30pm
  • December 8th- 6:30pm- 9:30pm
  • December 9th- 5:30pm- 9:30pm
  • December 10th- 5:30- 8:30

For more information visit their website at The Living Nativity.

Make two rights as you exit and you’ll only be a couple of minutes away from the lights at Harding University. So be sure to stop by and enjoy them both.

Carriage Rides in Downtown – Searcy, Arkansas

Starting November 25th you’ll be able to take your family on a free carriage ride in downtown Searcy on select days. Enjoy the festive lights as you ride the streets through town. Be sure to make a reservations by calling 501-593-6920.

For more information visit Carriage Rides in Downtown.

Enchanted Forest Trail of Lights – Sherwood, Arkansas

The Enchanted Forest Trail of Lights is a drive-thru light display over a mile long. This year they are doing things a bit different. They ask that you head over to their website to reserve a free place in line, or you can purchase a fast pass for $25.

Runs from December 1st, 2023- December 30, 2023 from 6:30- 9:30pm.

Sherwood Enchanted Forest Trail of Lights.

Little Rock Zoo – GloWild

With over 30 silk covered lanterns placed throughout the Little Rock Zoo, GloWild is a fun family experience for all ages. Walk along a 1.4 mile path past lions, peacocks and a swimming whale just to name a few. Take a ride on the Diamond Express Train or hop over to the Over the Jumps Carousel ride. This event is an after hours event that begins at 5:00pm and goes till 9:00pm.

You can purchases tickets online at Little Rock Zoo GloWild. Be sure to visit their FAQ for more information.

Garvan Woodland Gardens Wonderland – Hot Springs, Arkansas

The Holiday Lights at Garvan Woodland Gardens is one of our favorite family traditions. The past few years they had to deviate from their normal evening lights to more daytime creative displays, but this year they are back to the traditional evening lights.

Christmas lights at Garvan Gardens.

This magical journey starts in the parking lot and has you excited to enter the gardens. The path twists and bends over bridges and around waterfalls with lights surrounding you at every turn.

Light up dragon display at Garvan Gardens Holiday lights.

This holiday display runs from November 18, 2023 through December 31, 2023 from 4:00pm-9:00pm nightly. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This year tickets must be purchased in advance through the Garvan Woodland Gardens website. No tickets will be sold on site. Members are always free and do not need to reserve a date. Just make sure to bring your membership cards and ID.

Mid-America Science Museum Dino Lites – Hot Springs, Arkansas

If you’ve ever been to the Mid-America Science Museum, than you know about the awesome DinoTrek Trail. But during this holiday season the trail gets a bit more festive with holiday lights.

Note- This event is not scheduled for 2023– Be sure to check back next year to see if this display is coming back.

Dinosaur at the Mid-America Science Museum.

Hot Springs Historic Lights Display

Hot Springs is always a fun place to take the family for a nice day on the town. And the Hot Springs Historic Lights display this time of year does not disappoint. Visit historic Bathhouse Row with its gorgeous light display spanning from the Arlington Lawn to Hill Wheatley Plaza.

Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs Arkansas, holiday gingerbread house.

Before you go, head over to the Arlington Hotel lobby to see their giant Gingerbread House! This tradition has be ongoing for almost 40 years, and this year it hits 11 feet tall at the reindeers on Santa’s sleigh.

Light Up Conway – Arkansas

If you’re the kind of family that enjoys searching the neighborhoods for the best Christmas lights, then the homes participating in Light up Conway is a great place to start. Explore the town for houses displaying the best Christmas decorations. You can find a map of participating homes here.

Roger Plaza – Conway Arkansas

On December 2, 2023 you can visit downtown Conway for their annual Christmas parade. Then be sure to head over to Roger plaza, located at 757 Oak St. where you’ll find a ferris wheel and other activities.

Christmas tree and ferris wheel at Roger Plaza in Conway, Arkansas

Also located at Rogers Plaza is Santa’s mail box. All letters complete with return address will receive a letter from Santa! (must be in the designated mailbox before mid December)

Download Letter To Santa-Here

Letters for Santa drop box in Conway Arkansas.

Arkansas State Capitol – Downtown Little Rock

On Saturday December 2nd, Arkansas’ State Capitol will hold their Christmas Lighting Ceremony and firework display. Following the ceremony guests are welcome to head inside to view the beautiful holiday decorations and visit Santa Claus in his workshop!

Christmas tree in the Arkansas State Capital building.
Arkansas State Capital Christmas lights.

Can’t make it to the ceremony? No problem because you can tour the State Capitol till 9:00pm daily, with their holiday extended hours all through the month of December.

Tip- When we first visited one weekday afternoon, we were a little nervous because from the outside of the building they looked closed. We waited a few minutes to see if anyone would go in but the parking lot in front of the building was almost empty! Finally a brave soul ventured up to the building and disappeared behind the tall steps.

There was a sign at the bottom of the steps telling everyone to use the bottom entrance to enter. Once inside we were able to take a self guided tour of this beautiful building and I’m so happy we did.

Searching for holiday lights is one of the many fun things to do with young kids and family of all ages. Although I’m sure there are other great holiday displays happening in the central Arkansas area, this is the perfect place to get started.

So make yourself some hot chocolate for the car and explore the Arkansas Christmas lights, 2023.

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