Holly Jolly Holidays 2021
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. There is so much to do around the Tampa Bay area in December. Here are some of our top picks. What are your favorite places to visit?
Zoo Tampa’s Christmas in the Wild
Select nights through Dec. 30
Magical light displays, holiday treats, entertainment and more. Advanced reservations and paid tickets required.
Christmastown at Busch Gardens
Through Jan. 2
The holidays come to life through Busch Gardens with lights, holiday shows, visits with Santa and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Holly Jolly Express train ride and holiday treats. The park is celebrating Hanukkah through Dec. 6 with the lighting of a menorah at 5:45pm. Christmastown is included with regular park admission.
Hillsborough County Fairgrounds Festival of Lights
Select dates through Dec. 26
215 Sydney Washer Rd, Dover
This drive-through event features millions of lights and you don't have to leave your car! Tickets are sold per carload. ($25) Santa Village open on select nights.
Sylvan Ramble Lights Show
Select dates through Dec. 31
4412 West Sylvan Ramble St, Tampa
Spectacular light and music show with proceeds benefitting Where Love Grows, a charity that helps fight childhood hunger. Shows last about 20 minutes and feature popular songs that will be sure to get you in the holiday mood. Advanced reservations required. Free with donations accepted for Where Love Grows.
Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park
Through Jan. 2
Curtis Hixon Park, downtown Tampa
Ice skating (tickets and reservations available), boutique with local crafters, Winter Village Express trolley, Sweet Shoppe and more. On select weekends there will be a movie on the lawn. The City of Tampa’s Santa Fest parade is Dec. 4at 1:30p with the tree lightning at 5:30p. Free with paid activities.
Tampa’s Holiday Boat Parade
Dec. 18 at 6p
Tampa’s largest lighted boat parade will set sail along the Hillsborough River from Davis Island to the Heights and end at Sparkman Wharf.
Victorian Christmas Stroll at Henry Plant Museum
Through Dec. 23
401 W. Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa
A look at Christmas past with a stroll through themed displays throughout the museum. The museum will have a display of 40 vintage Santas in honor of 40 years. Take in the beauty of a 14′ Christmas tree and travel back in time to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Complimentary cider and cookies will be served on the veranda each day while holiday music floats through the air. Guests can enjoy live music most days. Timed tickets with advanced reservation required. Face masks are required for all visitors as this is an indoor event.
Holiday Tree Lighting at Amature Works
Dec. 4 from 6-8p
The Annual Heights District Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration at Armature Works features family-friendly activities, Santa photo ops, live music and performances, and a visit from Busch Gardens Christmas Town Elves, who will be giving out fun surprises to kids on the nice list! The ceremonial tree lighting will happen at 7:00, followed by holiday performances. Holiday vendors will be outside on the Armature Works lawn, or head inside for sweet treats, dinner, or drinks from Heights Public Market vendors.
Florida Aquarium Snow Days
Dec. 26-Jan. 2
701 Channelside, Tampa
Snow is in the forecast at The Florida Aquarium. From an epic battle where you'll throw snowballs at the pollution monsters plaguing our oceans to a Winter Wonderland dance party and many more gloved hands-on interactives experiences, it’s fun for the whole family! Included with membership and paid admission. Visitors may enjoy Snow Days with extended hours at the Aquarium December 26 - 31 from 9:30 AM – 8 PM and January 1 - 2 from 9:30 AM - 5 PM.
Chick-Fil-A on Waters Avenue
Through Dec. 31 from 6-10pm(closed Sundays)
6299 W Waters Ave, Tampa
Visit the most festive Chick-Fil-A in Tampa Bay and check out their annual Christmas lights display! Santa will also be there on select dates.
Raprager Family Farms Winter Festival and Christmas Extravaganza
Select dates through Dec. 28
16907 Boy Scout Rd, Odessa
Raprager Family Farm is exploding with Christmas cheer! Lights and decorations blanket the farm. Go on a holiday hayride and take a picture inside a giant inflatable snow globe. Check out the lighted gingerbread village, hear stories from Mrs. Claus and pay a visit to Santa and take pictures with him at his workshop. In addition to holiday-themed attractions, there will be a petting zoo, corn pit, bounce pillow, and crop maze. Tickets can be pre-purchased.
St. Petersburg / Safety Harbor
Through Jan. 2
1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg
Tropicana Field gets decked out for the holidays. With a breathtaking ice skating trail, a Christmas market & eatery, a play place for the little ones and a light maze, this will surely get you into the holiday spirit. Reservation and paid ticket required.
Safety Harbor’s Christmas Parade
Dec. 4 at 10am
Main Street, Safety Harbor
Floats, old fashioned cars, Shriners and Santa will kickoff the holiday season.
Winter Beach St. Pete at St. Pete Pier
Through Jan. 17
The St. Pete Pier is decorated and dazzling for the holidays. Go ice-skating, play in the snow, holiday market and meet Santa at St. Pete Pier’s inaugural Christmas event. Free with paid activities.
Holiday Lights & Rides at Largo Central Park
Through Jan. 2
101 Central Park Dr, Largo
Largo Central Park will feature a spectacular holiday light display of over two million dazzling LED lights, a carousel and a seven-story Ferris wheel that offers breathtaking views of the lighted park. Rides are $5 each or 5 for $20. Christmas displays will light up from 5-10pm. It is free to park and stroll among the sparkly Christmas lights.
Holiday Lights in The Gardens at The Florida Botanical Gardens
Through Jan. 2 from 5:30-9:30pm
12520 Ulmerton Rd, Largo
The gardens sparkle with one million LED lights that twinkle in a variety of bright colors. Vibrant laser lights and lighted figures are sure to wow guests of all ages. The Children’s Candy Cane Area will provide free kids crafts on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Suggested donation of $10.
The Oakdale Christmas House in St. Petersburg
Through Jan. 3
2719 Oakdale Street South, St. Petersburg
Oakdale Christmas House offers an amazing walk through Christmas light experience. More than a half million twinkling lights which has been ranked as among the world’s best Christmas light displays! Featured on both HGTV and The Today Show. Free.
Wesley Chapel / Dade City
Shops at Wiregrass Symphony in Lights
Through Dec. 31
Symphony in Lights features magnificent trees, dancing lights choreographed to music from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, visits with Santa and snow! There are also holiday movies at the Circle at 4pm on Dec. 4 (The Grinch) and Dec. 11 (Elf). Free with paid activities and food.
Snowcat Ridge Alpine Park
Through March 27
27839 Saint Joe Rd., Dade City
Snow in Florida? You heard correctly. Snowy slopes for tubing, an artic ice igloo, ice skating and holiday village with sweet treats and gifts. Tickets available online.
Pioneer Christmas & Vintage Market
Dec. 4 from 10a-4p
15602 Pioneer Florida Museum, Dade City
Craft vendors, live entertainment, model trains, children’s games, cookie decorating, pony rides, scavenger hunt and more. Museum buildings will be open and decorated. Admission $5 per person (under 5 free). Canned goods will be collected during the event.
Glorious Nights at First Baptist Church of Plant City
Through Jan. 2
3309 James L. Redman Pkwy., Plant City
Let the sleigh bells ring. Let the carolers sing. The more Santas, the merrier. The more trees, the better. And the lights... Join First Baptist Church of Plant City from 6-10p nightly for something new and unique. Glorious Night is a 30-minute drive-in light show featuring Christmas songs old and new, a story of hope and thousands of programmed Christmas lights!
Christmas Lane in Plant City
Thursdays through Sundays through Dec. 24
The Florida Strawberry Festival fairgrounds is transformed into an enchanting winter wonderland. Take in the wonder of the 1.5 million lights that adorn 200 Christmas trees from 4 to 40 feet. They will have rides, food, live entertainment, and a kids zone. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph will also be there to celebrate and take festive photos with guests. Tickets can be pre-purchased.