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5 Holiday Events to Attend in Jacksonville, Florida

by Aoife O'Riordan

Nov 23, 2022

© Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com


Experience dazzling lights, boat parades and more this season in Jacksonville, Florida. This northern Florida city invites family travelers to enjoy warmer weather while still taking advantage of all the things we love most about the holiday season. Here are five holiday events in Jacksonville to add to your travel plans:


Dazzling Nights

Head to Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens to experience Dazzling Nights, a family-friendly adventure open through Jan. 1, 2023. The event includes 1 million lights, shining forests, magical displays and sculptures. Purchase tickets to the experience here.


Boat Parade

On Nov. 26, the north and south banks of the St. Johns River see countless people await many boats decked out with festive decorations. Starting at 6 p.m., the event concludes with a fireworks show featuring the one-of-a-kind waterfall fireworks on Main Street and Acosta Bridge.



Walk through an interactive space at Jacksonville Zoo this season and enjoy the lights and sounds in 11 themed areas. Running Dec. 9–11, 15–18 and 22–24, ZooLights includes features like musical performers, themed characters like the Grinch and Santa Claus, hot chocolate and s’mores, more than 2 million lights and the Wildlife Carousel. Tickets can be purchased here.


Beaches North Pole Express

You can’t celebrate the holidays in Florida without visiting the beach, and Beaches Museum welcomes visitors to the Beaches North Pole Express to meet Santa and the conductor. The two-day event, Dec. 9 and 10, invites visitors to write letters to Santa, take photos with Santa, make crafts and enjoy other festivities.


Christmas in the Cathedral District

On Dec. 3, this exciting event includes tours of five historic churches with live music, a holiday market with more than 20 vendors, a food truck village and children’s activities. Held on Newnan and Church streets, the event also features a petting zoo and bounce houses.


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