Fayetteville, Arkansas is a special place year-round, but when the winter holidays roll around, the city takes on an extra-wonderful glow. We’ve compiled a list of recommendations for how to make your time in the Ozarks especially memorable, whether you’re entertaining family and friends, planning the perfect cozy couple night out or simply looking for some solo fun.
To help you plan, we’ve grouped our suggestions by topic:
Little Craft Show Fayetteville – This fantastic compilation of many of the region’s best artists and makers, along with tons of holiday treats, live music and fun is the perfect way to find one-of-a-kind gifts. Conveniently located at the Fayetteville Town Center, this annual event is a shopper’s paradise.
- Friday, November 29 | 5 – 8 p.m. – Preview Night and ticketed VIP Experience
- Saturday, November 30 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Small Business Saturday – Always the Saturday after Thanksgiving, locally owned small businesses roll out the red carpet to holiday shoppers who are committed to supporting the many boutiques and shops that help make retail in Fayetteville something special. For information about many of the wonderful unique stores, visit our shopping webpage for suggested locations to find plenty of special options to delight anyone on your list.
- Saturday, November 30 | Check with individual stores for specific hours
19th Annual Holiday Art Sale – This long-running annual event is a must for anyone seeking handmade creations that can’t be found just anywhere. Described as a “feast of gifts,” this sale includes framed art, jewelry, clothing and accessory items, hand-carved kitchen wares, sculpture and more. Located at 545 W Center Street at Studio 545.
- Friday, December 6 | 5:30 – 9 p.m.
- Saturday, December 7 | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Sunday, December 8 | 12 – 4 p.m.
Family Fun or the Perfect Date Night
Lights of the Ozarks – See the historic Fayetteville Square’s transformation into a festive winter wonderland with more than 400,000 lights. This beautiful celebration of the season is an annual destination for thousands of families and friends and offers a spectacular backdrop for the perfect holiday photo op. In addition to the dazzling lights, visitors will find an array of food trucks, festive music, pony and carriage rides, as well as several appearances by Santa at the Town Center.
- Lights and activities through December 31
- Santa on hand:
- December 1 | 6 – 9 p.m.
- December 5 – 8 | 6 – 9 p.m.
- December 12 – 15 | 6 – 9 p.m.
- December 19 – 23 | 6 – 9 p.m.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry
Holidaze – When only a veritable avalanche of holiday spirit will do, this spectacular pop-up bar is open for business only through the yuletide season. It is literally impossible to be Scroogy in this over-the-top fun venue, where the craft cocktails (both iced and hot) are seasonally themed. Located just off the square at 18 E Center Street, this is a perfect way for the grownups to cap off the evening after taking in the lights on the square. If you’re hungry for something amazing, just outside the door is the Persephone on Wheels food truck. And what’s more, a portion of sales goes to support KUAF 91.3 National Public Radio, NWA Equality and Magdalene Serenity House.
- Open now through December 31 | 5 – 12 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 5 p.m. - 2 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday (if the bar stays busy)
Ugly Sweater Party & Coffee IPA Release at Fossil Cove – Everyone loves a gathering of supremely ugly Christmas sweaters, but when there’s a new microbrew release happening at the same time, things get decidedly more festive. Fayetteville’s own Fossil Cove Brewing Company will be kicking off the holidays right with the return of their Coffee IPA, along with tunes from Foggy Bobcat and superb creations by Wicked Wood Fired Pizza.
- Friday, December 6 | 6:30 – 11 p.m.
5th Annual Pancakes with Santa at Powerhouse – Getting through the marathon of the holiday season obviously requires some carbing up, and the Fayetteville Metro Kiwanis Club has devised the perfect opportunity. Bring the kids to get photos with Santa and take on a mighty stack of pancakes at Powerhouse Seafood & Grill for just $5 per person. So sweet!
- Saturday, December 7 | 8 – 10 a.m.
The Art Experience Inc. Sweet and Savory Pie Supper – Pile your plate with pie and get crafty at an evening of food and creativity. The folks at The Art Experience are ready to show off their new building and hosting the community in celebration of the holidays. Located at 2227 N College Avenue; tickets are $15 per person or $40 for the entire family.
- Saturday, December 7 | 6 p.m.
A Christmas Story, The Musical - This stage adaptation of the 1983 classic film and hilarious cautionary tale about young Ralphie Parker and his do-or-die quest to obtain an official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle BB gun on Christmas morning will entertain all ages. Set in the 1940s, this nostalgic childhood romp with comedic obstacles at every turn was nominated for three Tony Awards and is part of the Walton Arts Center’s popular Broadway Series. Purchase performance tickets here.
- Tuesday, December 10 | 7:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, December 11 | 7 p.m.
- Thursday, December 12 | 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Friday, December 13 | 8 p.m.
- Saturday, December 14 | 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Sunday, December 15 | 2 p.m.
Solstice Spectacular – Mount Sequoyah will be the site for a celebration of the winter solstice, featuring choral madrigals and festive food and drink. The evening will offer shared song with Trillium Salon Series in Sequoyah Hall. Tickets are $20 for a single, $35 for a pair, and $60 for a family, available here.
- Saturday, December 21 | 5 – 7 p.m.
The Snowman: A Family Concert and A Very SoNA Christmas – The holidays in Northwest Arkansas wouldn’t be complete without the 65-year old Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) and its powerful annual performances of seasonally-inspired music.
Under the baton of conductor and music director Paul Haas the orchestra takes the stage with the SoNA Singers and special guest soloists, along with area high school and collegiate choruses to perform A Very SoNA Christmas. The symphony returns the following day to present the 5th annual The Snowman: A Family Concert. This screening of 1982 Academy Award-nominated film The Snowman, based on the classic children’s book by Raymond Briggs, provides a wonderful animated big-screen backdrop as the orchestra performs the film’s beautiful score—as well as some additional holiday musical favorites.
- A Very SoNA Christmas – Saturday, December 21 | 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Purchase performance tickets here.
- The Snowman: A Family Concert – Sunday, December 22 | 2 p.m.
Purchase performance tickets here.
A Smoothman Christmas – If you’re looking for a great combo of live Christmas carols alongside funk, soul and rock ‘n roll, a perfect mashup happens at this annual event featuring the very popular party band Funk Factory at the Fayetteville Town Center. Yankabilly Smokehouse will be there with lip-smacking BBQ, and proceeds will benefit Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Shop with a Cop. Tickets are available here and are expected to sell out.
- Saturday, December 21 | 6 – 10 p.m.
Make Something Great
Holiday Sweets Decorating Classes at Rick’s Bakery – If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at decorating a gingerbread house—or a holiday-themed cake or cookies—the master decorators at Rick’s Bakery are teaching a whole series of classes in December. Take a look at their upcoming events list on Facebook and sign up for tickets for the class you want to take. Problem solved for how to wow everyone at the upcoming holiday potluck!
- Various dates and times from December 7 – 21
Wreath Making Class – Learn how to handcraft a beautiful natural evergreen wreath in this guided workshop. All of the greenery and materials will be provided, and all you need is a pair of gardening gloves and a set of clippers to create a take-home treasure. Registration at (479) 442-2061 is required and the cost is $50 per person. Located at White River Nursery, 5635 E Huntsville Drive.
- Sunday, December 8 | 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Fenix Holiday Spirit Art Making – One of the best ways to survive the seasonal frenzy is to take a little creative break among friends. The art studio and galleries will be open at Fenix Gallery for artist-led art and craft projects perfect for all ages. The vibe is relaxed and fun, and no advance registration is required. If you’re in the market for acquiring original art, all pieces sold will be available to take home from the gallery that same day. Located at 16 W Center Street.
- Saturday, December 14 | 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.