Enjoy Festive Fun: 13 Free Jacksonville Holiday Events for Families in 2023

You don’t have to break into your piggy bank to enjoy the holiday season. With additional expenses and limited disposable income, finding free holiday events in the Jacksonville area can be a relief.

While the temptation to spend money may arise, there are opportunities to have a great time without opening your wallet.

Nights of Lights

St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights, recognized by National Geographic as one of the world’s best holiday displays, features over a million twinkling white lights in the historic district and on the Bridge of Lions.

Free shuttles are available from the St. Johns County Health Department and the Broudy’s liquor store parking lot.

Deck the Chairs

Running from Nov. 22 to Jan. 1 at Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach, Deck the Chairs showcases elaborately decorated lifeguard chairs. Enjoy nightly appearances by local music and dance groups, as well as performances by the Navy Band Southeast and the Civic Orchestra of Jacksonville.

This year, 10 chairs will also be displayed at James Weldon Johnson Park in downtown Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Light Boat Parade

On Nov. 25, the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville hosts the traditional Jacksonville Light Boat Parade, featuring brightly lit vessels parading in a circle between the USS Orleck dock and the Fuller Warren Bridge. Stick around for a “waterfall” fireworks show afterward.

Walk Through Bethlehem

On Dec. 1, 2, 8, and 9 at East Pointe Church, experience the grounds transformed into Bethlehem with live animals, Roman soldiers, a marketplace, and a manger.

Small-town Parades

For a true holiday spirit, explore small-town celebrations like the St. Augustine Christmas Parade, Callahan Christmas Parade and Craft Fair, and Green Cove Springs‘ Christmas Parade.

Parade of Trees

From Dec. 2-31 at Spring Park, Green Cove Springs, enjoy over 200 trees decorated by families, churches, and community groups lighting up the riverfront park every night until 10 p.m.

Jacksonville Tree Lighting

On Dec. 6 at James Weldon Johnson Park, join thousands for Art Walk and witness the official holiday tree lighting, accompanied by entertainment from CAP Kids, Scott Jones School of Dance, and Ronan School of Music.

Dickens on Centre

From Dec. 7-10 in downtown Fernandina Beach, experience a Victorian village transformation with a parade, costume ball, drone show, live music, and costumed characters.

Living Nativity

From Dec. 7-10 at Westside Baptist Church, experience the annual event featuring live animals, actors, Christmas lights, and angelic heralds.

Gingerbread Extravaganza

From Dec. 8-27 at the Jacksonville Historical Society, admire elaborate gingerbread constructions and explore the gift shop. Kids’ Day on Dec. 10 includes face painting, games, and a visit from Santa.

Totally Lit!

On Dec. 11 at James Weldon Johnson Park, the Jacksonville Jewish Center celebrates Hanukkah with music, storytellers, dreidel games, and a Menorah lighting ceremony.

Tuba Christmas

On Dec. 9 at Seawalk Pavilion, enjoy dozens of tuba and euphonium players performing holiday classics as part of the Deck the Chairs event.

Riverside Avondale Luminaria

On Dec. 10 in Riverside and Avondale, witness tens of thousands of lighted candles lining the streets in a longstanding tradition. Explore on foot, bicycle, or by car.

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