Northwest Arkansas Holiday Events Guide 2023: Christmas lights, activities and events
Happy holidays, mamas! It’s time to ramp up the fun in Northwest Arkansas. We’re ready for it!
Click on the name of any event for more information. See a list of where to see Christmas lights at the bottom of the post. Bookmark this one because we’ll be updating often with new holiday events!
Fayetteville/Springdale (Washington County):
Nov. 16-19, 2023. Elf Jr. The Musical, Presented by Arts Live Theatre at The Medium in Springdale. Buuddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh reality that his father is on the naughty list and that his half-brother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Nov. 17-Jan. 1, 2024: Lights of the Ozarks, downtown Fayetteville Square. “Lighting Night” happens Nov. 17th with a parade followed by lights coming on at 6 p.m. The Lights of the Ozarks will light the square each evening from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. through New Year’s Day. There will be “Open Street” nights this year, meaning no cars will be driving on the square. Dec. 1, 8, 15, and 22 from 5-10 p.m.
Nov. 18, 2023: 4th Annual Elkins Holiday Expo, Elkins. More than 30 vendors, a health fair, charity drives, and, of course, a visit from Santa. The event is 9am to 3pm, Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Elkins Community Center. The vendors, which will be both inside and outside, include everything from handmade candles to woodworking, to various wearables. Food options this year will include Crockpot Concessions from the Elkins Lions Club, as well as local food trucks offering Mexican and BBQ. The health fair will include free dental screenings, flu shots, chair massages, health insurance options, and more. Want to do some good in the community? Elkins Community Network will host a food and toy drive for Christmas Treasures, which benefits the Elkins School District. The Elkins Farmers Market will be accepting donations for its Senior Secret Santa program. ECN will also be offering digital sign-ups for the upcoming blood drive (part of the health fair).
Kicks off on Nov. 25, 2023: Christmas on the Creek. Downtown Springdale Alliance is hosting two big holiday events this season. Christmas on the Creek takes place on Saturday, November 25 from 12-9PM followed by the Hot Cocoa Crawl on Friday, December 1 from 5-8PM. Christmas on the Creek is a beloved holiday tradition in downtown Springdale and a daylong event that features the Emma Exchange, a local artisan and maker’s market, pictures with Santa on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, live music & the lighting of the Christmas tree in Shiloh Square. The festivities culminate with the Christmas Parade of the Ozarks hosted by the Rodeo of the Ozarks.
The Hot Cocoa Crawl is a crowd favorite with hundreds of people crawling through downtown Springdale and making stops for a variety of hot chocolate beverages. This year the Hot Cocoa Crawl features more than 15 stops with many of them offering an international twist on the festive drink. The Hot Cocoa Crawl coincides with the Springdale School District’s annual Caroling on the Creek celebration which takes place from 5-7PM in Turnbow Park. The community is invited to stop by to enjoy the caroling and see Santa! Hot Cocoa Crawl tickets are on sale here.
These events take place within the Downtown Outdoor Dining District where people can enjoy the festive mood and lights while grabbing a bite to eat and drink.
Kickoff Nov. 25, 2023 through Jan. 1: Magical Lights Adventure, Fayetteville. A new holiday drive through light show with over 900,000 lights at the Washington County Fairgrounds. The grand opening is on Nov. 25 at 5 p.m. Tickets required for the drive through experience.
Nov. 30-Dec. 22, 2023: Winter Nights,Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. The popular snow globes will return to the Bradberry Rose Garden and Amphitheater, available for groups of up to eight (8) to reserve. Snow globe reservations will have exclusive access to a dedicated cocktail server, a cozy fire pit and tasty food add-ons including pizza, charcuterie and s’mores. Inside Joy Pratt Markham Gallery, local florist design studio The Flowerslinger has created stunning installations for all to enjoy. This space will feature a festive photo booth presented by Cox Communications, live musicians nightly and a chic, modern holiday aesthetic perfect for a date night. Grab a drink before or after your show at Walton Arts Center, or come and enjoy the smooth sounds, delicious drinks and warm environment of Winter Nights on an evening of your choosing. No reservations needed. As part of the Fayetteville Outdoor Refreshment Area, Winter Nights will offer to-go alcoholic beverages until 10pm nightly.
Kicks off Dec. 1, 2023: Wondrous Winter Performances, Walton Arts Center. Why just watch a holiday movie at home when you could enjoy the most festive, live performances at Walton Arts Center this holiday season? Walton Arts Center has shows that are guaranteed to bring the holly-jolly spirit to anyone.
Dec. 2, 2023: The Little Craft Show, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fayetteville Town Center. 100+ makers, artists, and creatives for a unique holiday shopping event.
Dec. 2, 2023: Wampus Wonderland, Mt. Sequoyah, Fayetteville. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Wampus tradition returns. Have a funky Fayetteville holiday with the excellent local makers and creators. There will be some delicious treats and surprises. Free and open to the public.
Dec. 16, 2023: Holly Jolly FamJam, the Jones Center in Springdale. Once a month, September through May 2024, bring the family for a day of themed activities & entertainment at FamJam. December’s theme is Holly Jolly. FamJam starts with a morning movement class to get your heart pumping. Then, cool down with public-session swimming at the aquatic center (12-6pm) or ice skating at the ice arena (12:30-2:30pm and 7-9pm). At 2 p.m., families can gather at the stage for a live performance that combines learning, entertainment and fun. One ticket price per person includes access to all of the day’s events.
Rogers/Bentonville (Benton County):
Nov. 17-18, 2023: NWA Boutique Show, Rogers Convention Center. Experience Northwest Arkansas’ most popular boutique shopping event, with thousands of unique gifts from over 175 carefully selected merchants. The best in boutique clothing, gifts, home decor, gourmet treats, beauty, and more…all under one roof! Tickets and info available at www.nwaboutiqueshow.com. nwaMotherlode is a proud sponsor of this event (for many years)!
There are two special events outside of general admission hours:
- VIP Earlybird Shopping, Friday, 11/17/23, 9-11 a.m. Get first dibs on all the fabulous shopping during our VIP Event! You’ll receive free return admission ALL WEEKEND during general admission shopping hours and the chance to win our best door prizes. We’ll also have live jazz from The Rachel B Band and freebies throughout the venue while they last! A portion of proceeds benefit the projects of the Junior Civic League. Concessions will be available. This portion of the show is stroller-free.* ($20 online or at the door)
- Girls Night Out, Friday, 11/17/23, 5-9 p.m. Enjoy fun tunes, photo booth and cash bar while you shop. Enter to win dozens of amazing door prizes! All GNO guests will receive free return admission Saturday, 9:00 a.m. — 6:00 p.m. A portion of proceeds benefit The Junior League of NWA. Concessions will be available. This portion of the show is stroller-free.* ($15 online or at the door)
General admission times on Friday are 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Nov. 18, 2023: City of Bentonville’s Lighting of the Square. Downtown Bentonville Square. The annual celebration hosted by Downtown Bentonville Incorporated will be held on Saturday, November 18. The fun and festivities start at 4pm with crafts, food, and entertainment. At 6pm, Mayor Stephanie Orman will flip the switch to illuminate the Bentonville Square. The evening concludes with an ice skating exhibition at the Rink at Lawrence Plaza.🎄
Nov. 24 – Dec. 23: Riverside Festival of Lights, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Riverside Entertainment is hosting the Riverside Festival of Lights located at 17023 Chamber Springs Rd in Siloam Springs. Festival of Lights begins on November 24th and includes acres of lights, a manger scene, a 30-foot lighted snowman, horse-drawn carriage rides, a kids’ train, photo opportunities with Santa, hot chocolate, Santa’s workshop, and a dedication to all Servicemen and women and first responders.
Nov. 25, 2023: Winter Market of NWA. In partnership with the City of Rogers, the 5th Annual Winter Market of NWA will be held in downtown Rogers, Arkansas, in celebration of #smallbusinesssaturday.
Nov. 25, 2023: Holiday Market at the Railyard, Rogers. A holiday market for the whole family. Food, music, holiday shopping and kids activities. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dec. 1, 2023: Rogers Christmas Village and Christmas Parade, Rogers, 5-8 p.m. This is a new Rogers Christmas Village taking place at Railyard Park before and during the Rogers Christmas Parade, Friday, December 1. This is an exciting new addition to a longstanding holiday tradition in Downtown Rogers. The parade theme is “All Things Christmas,” so we wanted to provide you an opportunity to shop local and give artists and makers an opportunity to sell their Christmas themed items. The new Christmas Village, a vendor market, has more than 30 pop up shops plus food trucks. Patrons will have the opportunity to take photos with Santa and the Grinch from 5 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., see a dance performance by Ballet Westside from 6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Where to See Christmas Lights:
New! Magical Lights Adventure, Fayetteville. Kickoff Nov. 25, 2023, runs through Jan. 1. A holiday drive through light show with over 900,000 lights at the Washington County Fairgrounds. The grand opening is on Nov. 25 at 5 p.m. Tickets are required for the drive through experience.
Riverside Festival of Lights, 17023 Chamber Springs Rd in Siloam Springs. Festival of Lights begins on November 24th and includes acres of lights, a manger scene, horse-drawn carriage rides, a 30-foot lighted snowman, a kids’ train, photo opportunities with Santa, hot chocolate, and Santa’s workshop.
Lights of the Ozarks, downtown Fayetteville Square. “Lighting Night” happens Nov. 17th with a parade followed by lights coming on at 6 p.m. The Lights of the Ozarks will light the square each evening from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. through New Year’s Day.
Downtown Bentonville Square. The annual celebration hosted by Downtown Bentonville Incorporated will be held on Saturday, November 18. The fun and festivities start at 4pm with crafts, food, and entertainment. At 6pm, Mayor Stephanie Orman will flip the switch to illuminate the Bentonville Square. The evening concludes with an ice skating exhibition at the Rink at Lawrence Plaza.
Stewart Family Christmas Light Display. 4279 E. Wyman Road, Fayetteville. Opening night, Nov 18th. Runs through Jan. 3, 2023. Five million lights hundreds of tons of inflatables. Train Rides, Camel Rides, Pony Rides, and Food Trucks. Nov. 17 is “Light the Night for All Abilities.” Free admission, 5-10 p.m. This is the preseason night set aside for families with individuals who have a disability. Typically, admission is $8 per person. Nov. 18 regular season starts; 5-10pm weekdays; 5-11pm weekends.
Great Passion Play Lights Drive-Through, Eureka Springs. Starts Thanksgiving night, Nov. 23rd. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through New Year’s Day. Enjoy a forest of hundreds of Christmas trees on the way to see the Christ of the Ozarks statue. Dark until 8 p.m.
Dye Family Christmas-Cloverdale Lights. Starts Thanksgiving night, 5:30 p.m. to midnight, 10537 Oak Tree Circle, Rogers. Family light show is sequenced to music and uses new technology lighting.
McKim Family Lights. Starts the night after Thanksgiving. 3506 Hamm Lane, Springdale. Lights are on Sunday-Thursday 5:30 pm-9 pm, Friday-Saturday 5:30-10 Tune to FM 91.1 to hear the music.