It's the most wonderful time of the year! Central Arkansas is ablaze with holiday light displays. Clear, multi-colored, twinkling, single strands or huge displays—we love them all! Visit these festivals and exhibits for a brighter holiday season, from the Holiday Lights at Garvan Woodland Gardens to the Arkansas State Capitol's display in downtown Little Rock.

1. Holiday Lights at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs

See more than 4.5 million bulbs transform approximately 18 acres into a memorable animated holiday display. As you amble through through the winter wonderland, your family can sip complimentary hot cocoa. 

Opening week festivities include the Schueck Rose Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5 p.m. on Nov. 23 and live reindeer and Santa’s sleigh from 4-9 p.m. Nov. 25-27.

On special Santa nights (6-8 p.m. Dec. 2-5, 9-12), families can have their photos taken with the big guy. Professional photographer Rebecca Peterman will be on hand to snap pictures, which will be available for purchase. Plus, check the schedule for free holiday concerts held in the Anthony Chapel throughout the season. Leave your pooches at home, except during the special Jingle Dogs Pup Parade on Dec. 2 from 4-9 p.m.

Holiday lights are on display 4-9 p.m. nightly Nov. 23-Dec. 31 (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas). Admission to Gardens is $15 for adults, $5 for ages 4-12 and ages 3 & under get in free. For more info, call 501-262-9300 or visit

2. Arkansas State Capitol in Downtown Little Rock

Following the Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade (Dec. 7 at 3 p.m.) in downtown Little Rock, the State Capitol will be illuminated in its annual holiday display at 5:30 p.m. Santa Claus will help lead the festivities, which include fireworks, music and children's activities. And don't forget to take in the magnificent tree and elegant decorations in the Capitol building's rotunda.

Holiday lights will shine each night Dec. 7-Jan. 1. For details, call 501-682-1010 or visit SOS.Arkansas.govFREE!

3. A Trail of Holiday Lights at Sherwood's Enchanted Forest

Drive through this mile-long trail of lights in Sherwood Forest to spot over 90 brightly-lit displays. Don't forget to pick up a complimentary candy cane at the end of the trail. The entrance is at the Sherwood Sports Complex, 511 Bear Paw Road. Admission is free, but donations to fund future displays are welcome.

Open from 6-9:30 p.m. Dec. 2-30. For info call 501-833-3790 or visit FREE!

4. Merry & Bright Holiday Celebration at The Promenade at Chenal

Holiday lights start shining on Nov. 16, and the animated tree show begins Nov. 30 and continues nightly through Dec. 29. The music and light show is approximately 20 minutes long and plays each hour on the hour from 5-10 p.m. Take free photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus from 1-5 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 14 and Dec. 21. 

With questions, call 501-821-5552 or head to!

5. Jacksonville Fantasy in Lights Decorating Contest

Jacksonville residents will channel their inner Clark Griswold to compete in the city-wide contest! Homes, churches and businesses in the Jacksonville city limits are eligible to compete. If you're driving through town to ogle the displays, be sure to call and nominate your favorite for a prize! Judging takes place after 6 p.m. on Dec. 17. 

For info call 501-982-4171 or visit FREE!

6. Hot Springs Holiday Lights on Bathhouse Row

Swing through downtown Hot Springs to see its annual light display along Bathhouse Row starting on Nov. 25. And come hungry to the Tom Daniel Holiday Chili Cook-off at 4:30 that afternoon. Admission to the cook-off is $5. 

For info: 501-321-2277. FREE!

For more holiday light displays throughout the state, visit the Arkansas Parks & Tourism Trail of Holiday Lights website.