Gather your family from near and far for a season filled with holly jolly fun and festive holiday activities for everyone! With a variety of low or no cost activities in and around town, Jacksonville families are in for plenty of Christmas excitement all season long. These are some of our favorites!
Historic St. Augustine, Evenings of
November 23, 2019 – February 2, 2020
Venture to historic St. Augustine any evening throughout the holiday season and become mesmerized by three million gleaming holiday lights and decorations on display throughout the city! Named one of National Geographic’s ten best holiday lighting displays in the world, this picturesque city remains a holiday destination for visitors from around the globe. Stroll the quaint streets on foot or hop aboard one of the many trolley tours, snap family photos in front of the Christmas tree in the town plaza, and enjoy hot cocoa and plenty of sweet treats from local shops and restaurants. Sure to become one of your family’s favorite holiday traditions!
Seawalk Pavilion and Latham Plaza
November 23, 2019 - January 1, 2020
5 pm – 1 am
What better place to be for the holidays than on a sandy beach festively decorated to celebrate the Christmas season? See more than 40 American Red Cross life guard chairs festooned in holiday lights and décor, merry music, and plenty of sweet treats for all! Families will enjoy children’s dance and choral performances and specially planned weekend activities.
According to beaches resident Christine Kelleher, who attends every year, “Deck the Chairs is one of the most creative annual events our city has. Actual lifeguard chairs are transformed into stationary holiday floats, so the individuality of each design is so much fun to see!”
St. Johns River | Downtown Jacksonville
6.30 – 9 pm
Gather your family for an evening of twinkling lights, holiday music – and perhaps a sighting of the jolly old elf himself! Boats of all shapes and sizes, decked from bow to stern in their holiday finery, will sail along the St. Johns River, lighting up the night along the north and south riverbanks. Topping off the evening is a spectacular holiday fireworks extravaganza, including a ‘waterfall’ of fireworks from the Main Street and Acosta Bridges.
Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens
December 6 – 8, 12 – 15, 19 – 22, & 26 – 29
Sunday – Thursday 6 – 9.30 pm
Friday & Saturday 6 – 10 pm
Prepare for a holiday habitat transformed to delight families all season long! The Jacksonville ZOOLights Spectacular is designed for families and children of all ages. Guests can stroll through a luminous winter wonderland set aglow with twinkling trees, gleaming animal silhouettes, and animated moving sculptures! Hop aboard the zoo’s lighted train to view the holiday lights set along the train’s winding tracks! And the little ones are sue to enjoy visits from Santa, straight from the North Pole, every evening from 6 – 10 pm!
Admission prices range between $8 – $12 for members and $10 – $15 for non-members.
4 – 8 pm
Visit the charming streets and local merchants of Avondale for a magical holiday extravaganza! Filled with festive Christmas activities for families and children of all ages, presented free of charge by Avondale merchants to give back to their beloved community, Christmas in Avondale has been a favorite holiday tradition for more than 30 years. St. Johns Avenue, Dancy Street, Ingleside Avenue, and Talbot Avenue will be closed to traffic and filled with the smells and sounds of the season!
Beaches Town Center|Cities of Atlantic and Neptune Beaches
3 – 8 pm
Join the mayors of Atlantic and Neptune Beaches as they officially light the community Christmas tree this year! Ring in the holidays with hayrides, live entertainment, a bicycle parade, face painting, and crafts for children of all ages. Be sure to join the guests of honor – Santa & Mrs. Claus! – who will arrive straight from the North Pole at 6 pm!
Hemming Plaza | Downtown Jax
10 am – 3 pm
Gather your family for some holiday fun happening this month at Jacksonville’s Hemming Park! Little ones will delight in plenty of activities just for them, while the whole family enjoys Jacksonville’s best food trucks, seasonal beverages, live music, and more. Bring your furry family members to enjoy the fun! Leashed pets welcome!
6 – 9 pm
Prepare for an enchanting evening filled with the glimmering glow of hundreds of candlelit luminaries lining quaint tree lined streets of the Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods! Presented by Riverside Avondale Preservation, this year marks the 35th anniversary of this awe-inspiring stroll through softly lit neighborhoods decked out in their holiday best. You’ll find twinkling lights, evergreen wreaths, Christmas yard flags, poinsettias, and more!
Amber Bailey, a Holmes Content Team writer, says “If you’re looking for an old-time Christmas experience, be sure to visit Riverside and Avondale for the Luminaria. Small local shops and eateries participate, while the streets are lined with illuminated luminary bags. The beautiful historic homes are all dressed up and lit for the holidays!”
Off Girvin Road in East Arlington
Evenings through Christmas
Steam the hot cocoa, pack the Christmas cookies, and pile into the family car for a festive evening drive to enjoy the spectacular holiday lights on display throughout the Blackhawk Bluff subdivision. Prepare to be dazzled by some of Jacksonville’s most amazing light spectacles!
Amber Bailey, a Holmes Content Team contributor and lifelong Jacksonville resident, says “This isn’t your usual neighborhood at Christmastime. The Blackhawk subdivision is transformed into a full-on Christmas light extravaganza! Twinkling lights are draped from the highest tree limbs and each yard is decorated with festive Christmas characters and bright holiday displays. There are holiday themes and different colors everywhere. It’s a must-see in Jax!”
Author: Alanna Zelinski, Writer for Holmes Content Team