Merriment is in-fashion in Jacksonville! From November to the first of the New Year, Jacksonville puts on its festive lights and hosts many whimsical events that welcome winter travelers from the frozen northern states to spend their holidays in The Flip Side of Florida.
Immerse in the happenings, lighting displays and shows of festive Jacksonville.
Jax Holiday Events
Celebrating its 11th year in Jacksonville Beach, Deck the Chairs will start November 22. During this unique event, visitors will see American Red Cross Lifeguard chairs decked in coastal holiday decorations and lights. New for the event this year is an additional display at James Weldon Johnson Park in Downtown Jacksonville that debuts on December 6. Each year, thousands come out to see the decorations and support local arts education.
Holiday shoppers traveling to town will want to check out the St. Johns Town Center Holiday Spectacular on November 11. The outdoor mall’s annual event includes giveaways from the Town Center’s stores, ornament decorating, oversized games, a 360 photo studio and live entertainment. The Spectacular ends with Santa Claus lighting a 32-foot holiday tree and kicking off a fireworks display.
Jacksonville caps off each year with a massive fireworks show over the St. Johns River. New Year’s Eve celebrators can find the perfect viewing spot at Downtown-area rooftop restaurants and bars and along the river on December 31 to see the waters of the St. Johns colorfully illuminated to ring in 2024!
Shows & Theatre
The theaters of Jacksonville get into the holiday spirit through the end of the year with performances of heart-warming classics and cheery seasonal programming. The Jacksonville Symphony will perform the First Coast Nutcracker in December with prized dancers and magical set pieces at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts. Alhambra Theatre & Dining puts on Miracle on 34th Street from mid-November until Christmas Eve. In early December, the Ritz Theater & Museum will host the Jacksonville Christmas Spectacular, three humorous and fun stories in one show featuring the Jacksonville Jaguars DrumLine as a musical guest.
Residents of Jacksonville love putting together light displays throughout their businesses and neighborhoods during the holidays. Thanksgiving weekend brings the Jacksonville Light Boat Parade, a 30-year tradition, where boats float down the North and South Banks of the St. Johns River with fantastic holiday light arrangements. The parade finishes with a fireworks show featuring one-of-a-kind waterfall fireworks on the Main Street and Acosta Bridges.
From November 24 to December 29, the Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens will host the Dazzling Nights exhibition. Immersive lighting displays dazzle the property and can be enjoyed on evenings throughout the holiday season. With their nightly snowfall during the event and snowball fights inside a gigantic snow globe, guests can have a wintery experience not common to Floridians.
Several areas of Jacksonville will have light shows and demonstrations throughout the last two months of the year. The Riverside Avondale neighborhood will have their Luminaria on December 10, which brings out the community every year to walk down candle-lit streets. Blackhawk Bluff puts on a neighborhood-wide light display, perfect for a drive through and free for anyone to enter. Even the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens gets in on the celebration by putting on ZOOLights each year, decorating their campus with all manner of lighting displays.