Weekend Guide: 17 Activities to Add Some Sparkle to the City

Things are starting to get more than a little merry around the metro. Let’s get into it.


Thursday, Nov. 16

GloWILD Opening Night at the Little Rock Zoo // Shine bright like a lion. The immersive “larger than life light show” that won over visitors the past two years is once again taking over the zoo for the next two months. Thousands of lights will be on display with handcrafted, silk-covered, animal-shaped lanterns around every corner, plus special events throughout the exhibit’s stay. The light fest opens at 5 p.m. and runs through Jan. 7. Learn more here.

Barrel Tree Lighting Party at Rock Town Distillery // Starting strong with the holly jolly, this SoMa distillery is throwing an all-out bash starting with the lighting of its stacked barrel “tree” and followed by an outdoor screening of “Home Alone.” The night also includes movie-themed fun like slices of Little Nero’s Pizza, Wet Bandit photo opps, a costume contest and a donation bin for Toys for Tots. It starts at 5 p.m. Learn more here.

More yuletide shine: Downtown Gets Spruced with Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony


Friday, Nov. 17

Third Friday Art Walk in Argenta // Let’s go on a walk, everybody. Lace up your comfy shoes because this monthly walk invites you to stroll through the Argenta Arts District’s lineup of special exhibits and events. Highlights include a Y. Hope Osborn exhibit opening at Argenta Public Library, gratitude-themed DIYs at The Hub and a Chelsea Allen pop-up at Bang-Up Betty. The Art Walk starts at 5 p.m. Learn more here.

World Cheese Dip Championship + Foam Fest at Dickey-Stephens Park // Dreams do come true. In its 12th year, the World Cheese Dip Championship will once again throw down the gouda gauntlet to pit amateur and professional recipes against one another while attendees get to taste it all. And to help wash it all down, this year’s contest is joining forces with (and bringing back) Foam Fest, one of the state’s first craft beer festivals. The evening also includes vendors and live music, all while raising funds for Harmony Health Clinic. The deliciousness starts at 6 p.m. Learn more here. Pro tip: Bring a muffin tin to hold all your dips!


Saturday, Nov. 18

Arkansas Talent Auditions at the River Market Pavilions // This isn’t your average Saturday night karaoke. Hosted by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, this new competition brings singers to the stage to show their stuff. The final round will be held next spring with guest judges Bonnie Montgomery, Rodney Block and “American Idol” winner Kris Allen, and the winner will headline ASO’s Home for the Holidays concert next Christmas. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. and auditions start at 10 a.m. Learn more here.

Movers and Makers Market at Bloom Salon // Wallets at the ready. This first-ever market showcases local artisans — think home decor, jewelry, baked goods, art, etc. — alongside food trucks and Santa himself while raising funds for local nonprofits. For the inaugural fest, proceeds will go to Youth Home. Come shop 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Learn more here.

Youth Maker’s Market at Argenta Bead Co. // One of our favorite things about this city? All the artists and creatives who call it home. What we love even more? When they build up the next generation to do the same. This SoMa market does just that, featuring booths from young local makers plus DIY bracelets, eats from Utopia Deli and swag bags for the early birds. Stop by noon – 4 p.m. Learn more here.

Holiday Open House at the Pleasant Ridge Town Center // Can’t stop, won’t stop this holiday train. Luckily the WLR shopping center is totally on board and celebrating with a day full of Santa visits, special shopping promotions and holiday window displays. The fun lasts from noon – 3 p.m. Learn more here.

Need shopping inspiration? Soirée Holiday Gift Guide: Part I

Northern Lights Holiday Festival at Argenta Plaza // Oh, what fun, y’all. The 2023 return of this can’t-miss bash brings with it a holiday market, food trucks, a trip to Santa’s workshop, beer from Flyway and Diamond Bear and more. The festivities are free and run from 3-7 p.m. Learn more here.


Thursday – Saturday, Nov. 16-18

CARTI’s Festival of Trees at the Statehouse Convention Center // Pass that cup of cheer this way. The three-day event benefitting CARTI returns for its 47th year, kicking off with the sold-out Sugar Plum Ball on Thursday. On Friday, the Festival of Fashion brings the spectacle of a New York runway show to downtown Little Rock with looks from local boutiques and an out-of-this-world theme. On Saturday comes Tux ‘n’ Trees, CARTI’s signature black tie gala with fine dining, dancing and live entertainment, as well as live and silent auctions. Events begin at 6 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, and doors open at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Learn more here.

Read our cover story: Comfort and Joy for CARTI


Friday & Saturday, Nov. 17 & 18

Wes Fest at Ron Robinson Theater // Wes Anderson lovers, you’ve found your people. The downtown CALS theater is teaming up with the Arkansas Cinema Society to screen five of the iconic director’s movies over two days: “Rushmore,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Darjeeling Limited,” “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” BYO beret. Learn more here.

Even more grand and fantastic: The Magic of ‘The Nutcracker’ Returns to the Robinson Stage


Sunday, Nov. 19

Sunday Funday at Rusty Tractor Vineyards // Sunday scaries? Don’t know her. Patio hangs and food trucks (hi, Grilled Sandwich Co.) await at the vineyard’s Sunset Lodge, plus beer, wine, cocktails and live music by Cory Fontenot. Stop by noon – 4 p.m. Learn more here. 


Thursday – Sunday, Nov. 16-19

The Alley Opening Weekend at Sterling Market // If you’re like us, you’ve been eyeing the progress of Sterling’s outdoor space for weeks now. But even if you haven’t, it’ll still no doubt be part of your regular rotation soon enough. Not only does The Alley include drinks, games, lounge space, TVs and a retractable roof, but they’re celebrating its grand opening all weekend long with concerts, menu specials and a Razorback watch party. Learn more here.


‘Tis the season for holiday open houses! Check out these around town:

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