Fun for the holidays in Tampa Bay

There's so much to do around Tampa Bay this holiday season. From tree lightning ceremonies to ice skating (yes outdoors in Florida!) to concerts to craft shows, there is something to help everyone get into the holiday spirit. We've highlighted more than 40 events so you can basically do something new each day until the new year!

Boat parades

Tarpon Springs Illuminated Boat Parade

Dec. 2 from 6:40pm to 8:30pm, Tarpon Springs

Boats will cruise down the Anclote River and into the bayous where Santa will give out treats to the children in Spring Bayou. There is no charge to participate, but all vessels must be registered to enter. Registration forms may be obtained at the City Marina and at the Recreation Division administrative office. Trophies will be awarded to the best decorated boats. Best viewing is from Craig Park/Spring Bayou. Boats enter Spring Bayou approximately 8:00pm.

https://www.eventcrazy.com/Tarpon-Springs-FL/events/details/804607-Tarpon-Springs-Illuminated-Boat-Parade

Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade & Tree Lighting

Dec. 3 from 6-9 pm at Dunedin Marina, Dunedin

Ring in the holidays during this traditional waterfront celebration as decorated boats parade through the Marina. Festivities also include Santa's arrival (on the last boat of the parade), holiday music, s'mores and the tree lighting ceremony in Edgewater Park. Free to attend. Concessions available by Olde Bay Cafe. The boat parade starts at Marker 1 Marina, travels south along the intracoastal to Union Street, and returns north to the Dunedin Marina. Boats will arrive at Dunedin Marina at approximately 7:00 pm.

Tampa Holiday Lighted Boat Parade

Dec. 17 at 6pm along the Hillsborough River, downtown Tampa

Tampa’s largest lighted boat parade will travel along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa. The parade begins at the southern tip of Davis Islands, travels through the Convention Center basin and up to the Heights where the boats will turn around and head to Sparkman Wharf where judging will occur and the parade will end. Judges are pairs from Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the sailboat and motorboat competitions will each receive a trophy.  All registered boats will receive prizes!

https://thetampariverwalk.com/events-news/events/holiday-lighted-boat-parade.html

Treasure Island Holiday Lighted Boat Parade

Dec. 17 at 5p at Treasure Bay Recreation Facility, Treasure Island

Event kicks off at Treasure Bay Golf & Tennis Clubhouse (10315 Paradise Blvd). A DJ, a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus, interactive entertainers and food/beverage concessions will be available. The parade begins at 6:20p and journeys through the local waterways, ending at John’s Pass.

https://www.mytreasureisland.org/residents/departments/recreation/holiday_lighted_boat_parade.php

Tree lightnings & parades

St. Pete Tree Lighting & Parade

Nov. 26, North Straub Park, St. Pete

Holiday entertainment begins at 6pm. Parade is along the downtown waterfront at 6:30pm. Tree Lighting is in North Straub Park at 7pm. Santa will be in the park Dec. 10-11 and Dec. 16-23 from 6-9pm.

http://www.stpeteparksrec.org/holidayevents/

Krate Tree Lightning

Dec. 1st from 6-8 pm at Krate, Wesley Chapel

The event will feature holiday performances, guest speakers, a tree lighting, and fun night for all. You must RSVP for the free event.

Palm Harbor Tree Lightning

Dec 2, 5-8pm at Harbor Hall, Palm Harbor

Start the holiday season with an evening of entertainment, games and cheer! Real snow play area, food, vendors and family fun! Visit Santa 5:30-7:30 & watch the tree light up at 6! Free admission & parking.

https://www.tampabay.com/life-culture/entertainment/calendar/?_escaped_fragment_=/show/?start=2021-12-03#!/details/Downtown-Tree-Lighting/10407813/2022-12-02T17

Santa Fest & Tampa Tree Lightning

Dec. 3 from 1p-8:30p at Curtis Hixon Park, Tampa

Downtown transforms into a winter wonderland with a parade, tree lightning and an outdoor holiday movie. The parade (1-2:30) features 90 colorful parade units and performances from community groups. SantaFest (1-4p) includes make-n-take crafts, reindeer games for the kids, free photos with Santa and so much more! Tree lighting around 6:30p. Movie (Fred Claus) from 6:30-8:30p. Admission is free! Blankets, low back chairs, and dogs on leashes are welcome. Concessions available on site.

https://allevents.in/tampa/santa-fest-and-tampas-tree-lighting-ceremony/200022895996908

Other holiday parades

Dec. 3 from 3-4:30pm down Main Street in Safety Harbor

Dec. 10 from 11am-Noon in downtown Palm Harbor

Dec. 10 from 4-9pm in Pioneer Park, Dunedin

Festivals & Events

Wiregrass Symphony in Lights

Nightly through Dec. 31 at The Shops at Wiregrass, Wesley Chapel

Magnificent trees, dazzling lights, holiday harmonies, and spectacular snowfalls! Symphony in Lights is a presentation of dancing lights choreographed to music from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, holiday festivities, and snow for the whole family to enjoy. 

Snow Days

Dec. 26-30 at the Florida Aquarium

Grab your gloves and join us for a week full of winter festivities and hands-on snow experiences!
Activities include a snow maze, a snowball toss, Winter Wonderland Dance Party and more. Snow Days is free for members and included with general admission.

Christmas Under the Stars!

Several events at Krate in Wesley Chapel

Bring a blanket and chair and watch a family-friendly holiday movie in front of the KRATE stage and enjoy free hot chocolate, reindeer food and smores. Movie at 7pm.

Scheduled movies are: Jingle All the Way (Nov. 25), Elf (Dec. 3), Home Alone (Dec. 10), Grinch (Dec. 17) and Polar Express (Dec. 23).

Holiday Lights in the Garden

Nightly 5:30-9:30 from Nov. 25 through Jan. 1 at Florida Botanical Garden, Largo

The Gardens will sparkle with 1 million, twinkling, LED lights in a multitude of colors. Vibrant laser lights and lighted figures round out our display to wow guests of all ages. Free event. Parking is limited.

https://www.flbgfoundation.org/holidaylights

Shimmering Lights

Select nights Nov. 25 through Dec. 31, Dover

Walking trail (1/4 mile) through the shimmering lights dancing to music. Walk at your own pace and stop as often as you like. Enjoy Winterland full of blue and white lights, penguins, bears, old man winter and other favorite scenes. Tickets $7.50 advanced, $8.50 at the door

https://www.showpass.com/shimmering-lights-winter-2022/

12 Days of Christmas at Rapager Farm

Dates and time vary Nov. 25 through Dec. 23, Odessa

Holiday lights galore, pictures with Santa, gingerbread village, holiday hayrides, local food and craft vendors, photo opportunities and more. Pre-purchasing tickets recommended. Some events require additional fees (pony rides, gem mining, face painting).

https://rapragerfamilyfarms.com/christmas/

Holiday Market

Dec. 4 at Waterworks Park, downtown Tampa

Support local small businesses and crafters at this outdoor event which also features visits from Santa, meet and greets with the Peppermint Princess, holiday-themed entertainment, photo ops, food and drinks, and on-site childcare to allow you to take advantage of shopping without the kids seeing!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tampas-holiday-market-tickets-381083520067

Enchant Christmas

Nov. 25 through Jan. 1 at Tropicana Field, St. Pete

Indoor light display. This year’s theme is the Mischievous Elf. In addition to the millions of beautiful lights and light maze, you can shop the local businesses inside the marketplace, go ice-skating and even meet Santa! Pre-purchasing tickets is recommended as the event has sold out in past years.

https://enchantchristmas.com/st-petersburg-fl-tropicana-field/

Winter Village

Nov. 18 through Jan 4 at Curtis Hixon Park, Tampa

Ice-skating returns to downtown Tampa! Make reservations for ice skating and explore the holiday village with local businesses selling snacks and hot cocoa, Instaworthy photos sites and a trackless choo choo.

https://wintervillagetampa.com/

ChristmasTown at Busch Gardens

Nov. 13 through Jan. 9 at Busch Gardens, Tampa

Millions of twinkling lights throughout the park’s 335 acres. Other special events include holiday shows and visits with Santa and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Included in park admission.

https://buschgardens.com/tampa/events/christmas-town/

Christmas in the Wild

Select nights in November and December 2022, ZooTampa, Tampa

Lights, lights and more lights. A flurry of fun for everyone. ZooTampa says it is one of Tampa Bay’s largest light displays. The zoo also features holiday shows, treats, visits with Santa, Twinkletown marketplace, cookie decorating and more. Christmas in the Wild is a limited capacity event. Advanced purchase tickets and timed reservations are strongly encouraged and the only way to guarantee admission.

https://zootampa.org/christmas-in-the-wild/ 

Wonderland of Lights & Santa’s Village

Nov. 25 through Dec. 25, International Market World, Auburndale

Drive-thru event to experience a mile of spectacular lights with a visit at Santa’s Village. The Wonderland of Lights and Santa’s Village also features out of car activities like wagon rides, a circus show, camel and pony rides and more.  Buy tickets online and save.

https://thewonderlandoflights.com/home/

Holiday Lights at the Chick-fil-A

Monday through Saturday at 6299 Waters Ave, Tampa

This is on our family bucket list every year. Millions of lights. Local groups providing entertainment. This Chick-fil-A takes holiday decorating to a whole new level!

Snowfest

Dec. 3 from 9a-2p, North Straub Park, St. Pete

There will be toboggan slides for adults and children, inflatables, arts and crafts tents, food trucks and more. The $5 wristband includes all activities and can be purchased online or at an City recreation center beginning Monday, Nov. 28, through Thursday, Dec. 1. Wristbands can also be purchased day of the event.

http://www.stpeteparksrec.org/holidayevents/

Harbor Holiday Nights & Trolley Light Tour

Dec. 9, 10, 16, 17 from 5-9pm at Folly Farm Nature Preserve, Safety Harbor

Come to Folly Farm for holiday lights, campfire, children's activities, and more! Hop on the Trolley for $5 to tour lights throughout Safety Harbor.

http://www.cityofsafetyharbor.com/calendar.aspx?EID=21473

Snow Cat Ridge

Select days Nov. 11 through Feb. 26 at 27839 Saint Joe Rd, Dade City

Outdoor ice sledding and ice skating (in Florida!) and an artic igloo to play inside in snow. Alpine village with food trucks, a fire to roast smores and  viewing area for nightly music and slights show. Advanced reservations recommended.

https://snowcatridge.com/

Victorian Christmas Stroll

Dec. 1-23 from 10a-5p (except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day), Henry B Plant Museum, Tampa

A glimpse of Christmas past, each room of the museum has been beautifully decorated with a different theme. Complimentary cider and cookies will be served on the veranda each day while holiday music plays (live music on select days). Tickets start at $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $12 for kids.

https://www.plantmuseum.com/events/victorian-christmas-stroll

Old Fashioned Christmas at Manatee Village

Dec. 10 from 10a-3p at Manatee Village, Bradenton

There will be crafts, shopping, holiday fun and food. Admission is free. This is an outdoor event so check for weather changes.

https://www.manateevillage.org/events

North Pole Express

Select dates Dec. 1-Dec. 21, Florida Railroad Museum, Parrish

A family-favorite in Tampa Bay. The train takes a 30-minute ride to the North Pole. Everyone will detrain at our special North Pole station where Santa awaits to visit with every child. During your stay a variety of entertainment, activities, camp fires and all the hot chocolate and cookies you care to eat are included with every train ticket. Additional food and beverage will be available for purchase at the North Pole. The entire experience lasts approximately 3.5 hours. Tickets tend to sell out fast so reserve early.

https://www.frrm.org/north-pole-express/

Nutcracker performances

The Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet

Nov. 25 at 3pm and 7pm; Nov. 26 at noon at the Mahaffey Theater, St. Pete

A twist on the traditional Nutcracker. The performance features ballet, larger-than-life puppets, breath-taking acrobatics and dazzling costumes. The live show features stars of the Ukraine ballet.

https://www.themahaffey.com/show/nutcracker-fri-mat/

The Next Generation Ballet

Dec. 16-18 at The Straz, Tampa

This Nutcracker includes principal dancers from New York City Balley alongside NGB’s award-winning young dancers. This family-friendly favorite takes audiences into Clara and Drosselmeyer’s fantastical world of dancing sweets, sword-fighting rodents and some of ballet’s most famous music. Tickets start at $30.

https://www.strazcenter.org/events/Nutcracker

The Dance Theatre of Tampa’s Nutcracker

Dec. 17 at 2 and 7pm; Dec. 18 at 2pm, USF Theatre 1, Tampa

Show features guest and local dancers in a traditional performance of The Nutcracker.

Concerts & Shows

For King + Country’s A Drummer Boy Christmas

Dec. 9 at 7pm at Amalie Arena, Tampa

Grammy award winning duo FOR KING + COUNTRY will bring holiday cheer to Tampa, performing Christmas classics and brand-new songs such as their fan favorite “Little Drummer Boy” and “For God Is With Us.”

https://www.amaliearena.com/events/detail/fkc-2022

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

Dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. Experience the magic as the spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller.

https://www.themahaffey.com/show/mannheim-steamroller/

Dunedin Community Chorus Concert

Dec. 4 at 3pm at Dunedin Community Center

From familiar standards to new songs, this program will delight and kick off your holiday season.

https://www.dunedingov.com/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/40804/30?sortn=EDate&toggle=all&npage=6

Patel Conservatory’s Holiday Music Concert

Dec. 6 at 7pm at The Straz Center Ferguson Hall, Tampa

Celebrate the season with holiday classics, contemporary interpretations and more! Join the Patel Conservatory Chamber Strings ensembles, Vocal Arts choirs and Suzuki Strings as we ring in the holidays, including a performance of the Hallelujah Chorus!

https://www.strazcenter.org/Events/Patel-Shows/Holiday-Music-Concert

The Florida Orchestra Holiday Pops

Dec. 9 at The Straz Center (8 pm); Dec. 10 at Mahaffey Theater (2 pm and 8 pm); Dec. 11 at Ruth Eckerd Hall (2 pm and 7:30 pm)

The Florida Orchestra returns for a special Holiday Pops concert series featuring all of Santa’s favorite songs conducted by Bob Bernhardt. Tickets range from $18-$48.

https://the.floridaorchestra.org/2223-pops3-holiday

A Christmas Carol 

Dec. 9 – 18 at City Theatre’s MainStage, St. Pete

In one night, Ebenezer Scrooge sees his past, present & future come to haunt him & discovers the true meaning of Christmas.

https://www.spcitytheatre.org/tickets/

A Christmas Carol 

Dec. 2 – 18 at Carrollwood Players, Tampa

In one night, Ebenezer Scrooge sees his past, present & future come to haunt him & discovers the true meaning of Christmas.

https://www.broadwayworld.com/tampa/regional/A-Christmas-Carol-2966095

Rockapella Christmas

Dec. 16 at 8pm at Bilheimer Capitol Theatre at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater

The a capella superstars will perform holiday classics like “Silver Bells,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” and “White Christmas” with their original holiday hits “The Hope We Hold,” “Christmas Without You,” and more. Tickets start at $30

https://www.rutheckerdhall.com/event/rockapella-christmas-0

Trans-Siberia Orchestra

Dec. 18 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm at Amalie Arena, Tampa

The Trans-Siberia Orchestra is celebrating 25 years of its multi-sensory show, Christmas Eve and Other Stories. Tickets start at $29.

https://www.amaliearena.com/

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

Dec. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at The Mahaffey Theatre, St. Pete

With colorful new acts, cool holiday scenes, unique performances and special appearances from Santa himself this is a holiday extravaganza you won’t want to miss! Tickets start at $33.

https://www.cirquedreams.com/

Cirque Musica: Holiday Wonderland

Dec. 15 at 7pm at Yuengling Center, Tampa

Usher in the magic of the season with a musical, fun-filled journey. This world-class circus experience is infused with the holiday classics we all love.

https://www.yuenglingcenter.com/events/detail/cirque-2022

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