24 Best Christmas Events and Activities in Tampa Bay

Nov 13, 2023 | Family Fun, Good News Tampa, Holiday Events, Holidays, Popular, Programs & Events

The holiday season is a magical time in Tampa Bay, filled with festive cheer and a wide array of Christmas events and activities. Whether you’re looking to admire dazzling light displays, meet Santa Claus, go ice skating, or enjoy holiday performances, Tampa Bay has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll take you through the top Christmas events and activities in the area, ensuring that you have a memorable and joyful holiday season.

1. Enchant Christmas – A Winter Wonderland Experience

Kick off the holiday season by immersing yourself in the enchanting world of Enchant Christmas. Taking place at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Enchant transforms the stadium into a winter wonderland experience that will captivate visitors of all ages. Marvel at millions of twinkling lights, explore The Village of tiny storefronts for unique holiday gifts, and enjoy ice skating along a lighted trail. Enchant Christmas is the perfect place to make magical memories with your loved ones.

2. Victorian Christmas Stroll at the Henry B. Plant Museum

Step back in time and experience the grandeur of a Victorian Christmas at the Henry B. Plant Museum in Downtown Tampa. From November 24th to December 23rd, the museum is beautifully decorated with a different theme in each room. Take a leisurely stroll through the museum and admire the elaborate decorations, which will leave you with plenty of inspiration for your own holiday decor. After your visit, indulge in a delicious meal at the nearby Oxford Exchange to complete your Victorian Christmas experience.

3. Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens is known for its thrilling rides and exotic animals, but during the holiday season, it transforms into Christmas Town, a magical winter wonderland. From November 11th to January 7th, you can enjoy park-wide festive fun, including millions of twinkling lights, visits from Santa Claus, live shows, and holiday-themed dining options. Don’t miss the dazzling fireworks and must-see shows such as Christmas On Ice and the Three King’s Journey. Christmas Town is the perfect place to create lasting holiday memories with your family.

4. Christmas in the Wild at ZooTampa

If you’re an animal lover, Christmas in the Wild at ZooTampa is a must-visit event. From November 24th to December 30th, the zoo transforms into a winter wonderland with holiday lights, festive displays, and immersive animal encounters. Explore the twinkly holiday lights displays, indulge in holiday treats, and enjoy attractions such as the Forest of Fantasy light show. Don’t forget to visit Santa Claus and take part in the various holiday-themed activities. Christmas in the Wild is a separately ticketed event, so be sure to plan ahead.

5. Pirate Water Taxi River of Lights

For a unique holiday experience, hop aboard the Pirate Water Taxi for their River of Lights tour. Cruise along the Hillsborough River and pass under low bridges to enter a beautiful world of lighted bridges and downtown Tampa’s holiday decorations. Sing along to Christmas carols, write a letter to Santa and send it through the mail buoy to the North Pole, and enjoy the stunning views of the city’s skyline. Kids will even receive a special gift when they send their letter to Santa. The Pirate Water Taxi River of Lights is a truly magical holiday adventure for the whole family.

6. Sarasota’s Lights in Bloom: An Open-Air Holiday Light Show

Take a trip to Sarasota and immerse yourself in the beauty of Lights in Bloom at the Selby Gardens. From December 8th to January 3rd, the gardens come alive with two million Christmas lights, creating a mesmerizing holiday spectacle. As you stroll through the gardens, admire the stunning light displays and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Food and drinks are available at various locations throughout the park, so you can make it a complete holiday outing.

7. Tampa Bay Festival Of Lights

For a magical drive-thru experience, head to the Tampa Bay Festival of Lights at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds. As you drive along the two-mile-long route, you’ll be surrounded by over one million lights, creating a mesmerizing display of seasonal and Florida-themed light installations. Be sure to drive through the light tunnel and visit Santa’s Village for a truly enchanting experience. The Tampa Bay Festival of Lights is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit with your family.

8. Holiday Lights at Fairgrounds St. Pete

Immerse yourself in a dazzling spectacle of whimsical lights at the Holiday Lights at Fairgrounds St. Pete. This family-friendly event features a stunning display of lights that will delight visitors of all ages. As you wander through the fairgrounds, marvel at the colorful light installations and take in the festive atmosphere. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Museum of Immersive Art & Technology, which is open during the event. The Holiday Lights at Fairgrounds St. Pete is the perfect place to experience the magic of the holiday season.

9. Winter Festival at Raprager Family Farm

Celebrate the holidays at the Winter Festival at Raprager Family Farm. This 30-acre farm offers a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including an animal experience, hayrides, a hay chute slide, a play fort, and a mini Christmas village. Explore the farm’s beautiful light displays, take a ride on the lighted gingerbread hayride, and visit the giant snow globe for a whimsical holiday experience. The Winter Festival at Raprager Family Farm is a fantastic way to create lasting memories with your loved ones.

10. Snowcat Ridge – Florida’s Winter Wonderland

Experience a winter wonderland in the heart of Florida at Snowcat Ridge. This unique attraction offers massive snow tubing hills, bunny slopes for the kids, a ten thousand square foot snow play dome, ice skating, and more. Whether you’re looking for thrilling snow tubing adventures or a romantic ice skating session, Snowcat Ridge has it all. Make it a date night to remember by renting a private igloo and enjoying the magic of Florida’s Winter Wonderland.

11. City of Tampa Santa Fest Parade

Join in the festive fun at the City of Tampa Santa Fest Parade. This annual parade kicks off at 1 p.m. on Morgan Street and Madison Street, winding its way through downtown Tampa. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the parade, which features festive floats, marching bands, and appearances by Santa Claus himself. After the parade, head to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for Santa Fest entertainment and holiday activities. The day culminates with the Tampa Tree Lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. It’s a day of holiday fun for the whole family.

12. Holiday Lights in Largo Central Park

Largo Central Park is a must-visit destination for holiday lights enthusiasts. From November 23rd to December 31st, the park is transformed into a dazzling spectacle of holiday lights. Stroll through the park and admire the two million LED lights that illuminate the trees and walkways. Take a ride on the carousel or the seven-story Ferris wheel for breathtaking views of the lighted park. Largo Central Park is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit.

13. Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park

Celebrate the holiday season at Winter Village, located at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa. From November 17th to January 1st, the park is transformed into a festive winter wonderland. Lace up your skates and glide across the real ice skating rink, browse the holiday shops for unique gifts, and indulge in seasonal treats at the café. Take a ride on the Curtis Hixon Choo Choo and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Winter Village is the perfect place to create cherished holiday memories with your loved ones.

14. Gallagher’s Tree Patch – A Festive Christmas Tree Experience

Create cherished memories with your loved ones at Gallagher’s Tree Patch. This family-owned Christmas tree farm offers a magical experience as you select the perfect Christmas tree. Wander through the farm, inhale the fresh scent of pine, and find the tree that will become the centerpiece of your holiday celebrations. In addition to Christmas trees, Gallagher’s Tree Patch also offers a variety of holiday items that make great gifts. Find the perfect present and make your holiday season extra special.

15. Winter Wonder Wharf at Sparkman Wharf

Sparkman Wharf is getting a holiday makeover with Winter Wonder Wharf. This festive event features a tree lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa Claus, live entertainment, festive backdrops for fun photo ops, and more. Enjoy a meal at one of the many dining options at Sparkman Wharf and soak up the holiday atmosphere. Take a stroll along the Riverwalk and enjoy the cool fresh air as you celebrate the magic of the holiday season.

16. Tampa’s Urban Holiday Winterfest

Celebrate the holidays at Tampa’s Urban Holiday Winterfest. This merry holiday festival brings together over 100 artisans, crafty creators, and one-of-a-kind businesses to spread festive cheer. Browse through a wide array of unique gifts, indulge in delicious food and drinks, and enjoy live entertainment throughout the festival. The best part is, Winterfest is pet-friendly, so bring your furry friends along for the fun. Tampa’s Urban Holiday Winterfest is the perfect place to support local businesses and find unique holiday treasures.

Winter Wonderland Clearwater location

17. Winter Wonderland Clearwater

Step into a world of holiday cheer at Winter Wonderland Clearwater. This annual event has been spreading holiday joy since 1993. Enjoy Santa photo ops, cookie decorating classes, hot chocolate, and more. The best part is, admission to Winter Wonderland Clearwater is free, but guests are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item or an unwrapped toy to donate to those in need. Spread some holiday cheer and make a difference in your community at Winter Wonderland Clearwater.

18. Ybor City Tree Lighting – 13th Annual

Witness the magic of the Ybor City Tree Lighting, now in its 13th year. Located at Centro Ybor, this annual event features the lighting of a beautifully decorated tree that serves as the focal point of the festivities. Capture the perfect holiday photo as you enjoy a night out in the historic Ybor City district. The Ybor City Tree Lighting is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season in style.


19. Downtown St. Pete – Holiday Lights & Displays

Downtown St. Pete comes alive with holiday lights and displays during the festive season. Enjoy the Snowfest, visit with Santa, witness the tree lighting ceremony, and more. The downtown area is transformed into a winter wonderland, with holiday decorations adorning the parks, streets, and storefronts. Take a stroll and immerse yourself in the holiday spirit as you explore the various displays. Downtown St. Pete is the perfect place to experience the magic of the season.

20. Tampa’s Santa Fest & Tree Lighting

Head to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for Santa Fest entertainment and holiday activities. From 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., enjoy live entertainment, festive food trucks, and fun-filled holiday activities for the whole family. The highlight of the day is the Tampa Tree Lighting ceremony at 6:00 p.m., where Mayor Castor and Santa Claus will light up the tree, officially marking the start of the holiday season. Celebrate the magic of Christmas with your loved ones at Tampa’s Santa Fest & Tree Lighting.

21. Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Spectacular

Enjoy countless festive light displays as you stroll alongside the Hillsborough River during the Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Spectacular. From November to January, the Riverwalk transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with a 35-foot Christmas tree floating in the harbor, holiday selfie stations, and more. Take in the breathtaking views, capture memorable photos, and soak up the holiday spirit. The Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Spectacular is a must-visit event for locals and visitors alike.

22. Chick-Fil-A Lights

Experience the magic of nearly one million light bulbs at Chick-Fil-A Lights. This special light display takes place at the Chick-Fil-A on Waters Ave in Tampa. Enjoy the festive atmosphere, listen to Christmas songs, and indulge in delicious treats while you marvel at the dazzling lights. Don’t forget to grab a milkshake or a deluxe chicken sandwich while you’re there. Chick-Fil-A Lights is the perfect place to celebrate the holiday season with friends and family.

23. Holiday Harbour Tree Lighting

Head to the Tampa Convention Center for the Holiday Harbour Tree Lighting. Witness the official lighting of a 35-foot-tall Christmas tree and enjoy a festive celebration along the Riverwalk. Food trucks, live entertainment, and vendors will be on hand to add to the holiday spirit. Grab a bite to eat and a drink at The Sail Plaza, and take a leisurely stroll along the Riverwalk to fully immerse yourself in the holiday ambiance. The Holiday Harbour Tree Lighting is a must-attend event for all residents and visitors of Tampa Bay.

24. Holiday Extravaganza at Hyde Park Village

Celebrate the holiday season in style at the Holiday Extravaganza at Hyde Park Village. Enjoy a beautiful tree lighting ceremony, live entertainment, a holiday market featuring local vendors, and a visit from Santa Claus. Indulge in mouth-watering ice cream from OddFellows and pick up some unique gifts from Posies Flower Truck. The Holiday Extravaganza is the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit and find the perfect presents for your loved ones.

Make Magical Memories with Holiday Events

The holiday season in Tampa Bay is filled with enchanting events and activities that will create magical memories for years to come. From immersive winter wonderlands to dazzling light displays

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