Celebrate Christmas in Tampa Bay!
The holidays are nearly here and it’s safe to say that people are more than ready for some festive fun. Get ready for even MORE holiday cheer since some Christmas experiences will be even bigger and brighter than last year.
Whether you want to meet Santa, take in the dazzling beauty of Christmas lights, or celebrate the season at local theme parks, we’re sharing our list of favorite Christmas events in Tampa Bay for families– and we’re breaking it down by theme to help you find an event that best suits you.
*Keep in mind that dates, times, and events are subject to change so be sure to check with each destination’s website or social media pages before you go. Some events are still TBD for 2023, so check back often. Want to add your family-friendly event to our holiday events lists? Email us at email@example.com.
Experience the BEST Christmas Light Displays in Tampa Bay!
There are so many ways and places to enjoy the splendor of Christmas lights in Tampa Bay! Among our favorites: Busch Gardens Christmas Town boasts millions of twinkling lights, and Enchant Christmas in St. Pete is a not-to-miss indoor holiday light spectacular. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite holiday light displays in Tampa Bay.
Enjoy the Holiday Family Fun at Theme Parks and Attractions
We’re pretty lucky to be within a quick drive to some world-renowned theme parks! Take advantage of it during the holidays. Here are some of our family’s favorite events at theme parks and more holiday attractions:
Daily November 11, 2023 – January 7, 2024
Enjoy park-wide festive fun at this award-winning holiday event. The park becomes filled with holiday cheer and guests can enjoy holiday traditions with a twist. Ride the Holly Jolly Express train, view millions of twinkling lights from the top of a roller coaster, visit Santa in his workshop, and spend time with Rudolph and his friends from the classic holiday movie, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Guests can also enjoy festive live shows and take part in special holiday dining and shopping. Christmas Town is included with admission.
Select nights November 24 – December 30, 2023
Enjoy one of Tampa’s largest light displays as the zoo transforms into a seasonal wonderland. This year promises to be bigger, better, and brighter than ever. There’s a new Lantern Lullaby area in Asia where you can walk among gorgeous Asian paper lanterns to the tunes of your favorite holiday music, a new Gingerbread Jubilee, and new Holiday Signature Animal Encounters. There are also returning favorites like visits with Santa, Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Claus, the Forest of Fantasy light show, and MORE! Christmas in the Wild is a separately ticketed event.
Select dates November 24 – December 31, 2023
Get ready to celebrate an awesome holiday season at LEGOLAND Resort! This bricktacular event features unforgettable seasonal shows, LEGO holiday character experiences, sweet treats, and special activities. Light displays will twinkle throughout the park and a giant LEGO Christmas tree is sure to mesmerize guests with its 360-degree light show . Holidays at LEGOLAND is included with admission.
November 23 – December 31, 2023, from 5 pm-10 pm
The annual family-friendly tradition at Largo Central Park will feature a spectacular holiday light display of over two million dazzling LED lights. Guests can also enjoy a stunning carousel and a seven-story Ferris wheel that offers breathtaking views of the lighted park. Rides are $5 each or 5 for $20. It is free to park and stroll among the sparkly Christmas lights.
Experience the Magic of Enchant Christmas in St. Pete
Enchant Christmas is one of our favorite holiday events in Tampa Bay as Tropicana Field is transformed into a winter wonderland from November 24 through December 23, 2023, featuring millions of twinkling lights. You can also go ice-skating along a lighted trail, visit with Santa, shop local businesses at the market, and more! The best part is, it’s indoors so it’s weatherproof! This year’s theme is Reindeer Games and features an ALL NEW light maze!
Visit with Santa Claus in Tampa Bay
Santa is making his rounds in Tampa Bay before his big adventure to deliver holiday cheer to kids around the world on Christmas Eve! We’ve put together a list of some of the best spots to take pictures with Santa in Tampa Bay.
Check Out a Drive-Thru Holiday Lights Event
In addition to all the awesome walk-through events, there are plenty of drive-thru holiday lights experiences too! There are some really cool drive-thru events that you can enjoy from your car!
November 23 – December 31, 2023 | 6-9 pm weekdays & 6-10 pm weekends
Your hometown holiday festival returns with more lights, new entertainment, and the gift of family fun! From Thanksgiving Day until New Year’s Eve, Tampa Bay’s Festival of Lights and Santa’s Village envelops families in more than 1 million lights along an expanded 2-mile drive featuring hundreds of dazzling light displays. Santa’s Village is packed with holiday-themed rides, a Holiday Market, and the Hometown Hillsborough Historical Village. Visits with Santa, craft stations, Santa’s Barnyard, camel rides, holiday movies, and live entertainment promise endless fun for the entire family.
Celebration of Lights at the Concourse in Shady Hills-Pasco County
November 24-December 30, 2023, on select nights
Drive one mile through a beautiful display of larger-than-life holiday lights at the Concourse in Shady Hill’s annual Celebration of Lights event. You can also park to board a mini train over to Safety Town, a miniature town decorated with lights. Santa will even be there! It’s $25 per carload.
December 1-30, 2023
This is a drive-through Christmas lights event! First, you and your family will drive through Christmas lights for a mile to experience spectacular lights, and next, if you choose, after seeing the drive-through Christmas lights you can visit Santa’s Village at the end of the drive-through Christmas lights! Santa’s Village features rides, entertainment, a visit with Santa, and Holiday activities for children and adults of all ages!
Holiday Lights at the Chick-fil-A on Waters Ave in Tampa
November 17-December 30, 2023
This Chick-fil-A store is taking holiday decorating to a whole new level and they’re back at it again this year. Add this to your family’s holiday bucket list! Visit the store at 6299 W Waters Avenue in Tampa. Follow their Facebook page here for updates.
November 24-December 24, 2023
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 kid’s zone. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph will also be there to celebrate and take festive photos with guests.
More holiday light displays in Tampa Bay you won’t want to miss!
Go Ice-Skating or Play with Real Snow in Tampa Bay
Enjoy Outdoor Ice Skating at Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa
November 17, 2023-January 1, 2024
You and the kids can skate along downtown Tampa’s only outdoor ice rink and even try a game of street curling at Winter Village. But, that’s not all. Not only will they be hosting fun, themed nights and Santa on select days, but you can also get some holiday shopping done at The Shops of Winter Village and try some seasonal holiday sips and treats from The Cafe.
Ice-Skate at Enchant Christmas in St. Pete
November 24-December 23, 2023
The holiday lights at this indoor event at Tropicana Field are a must-see and there’s nothing quite like ice-skating through the trail at Enchant Christmas. Ice skating is an additional $10 for kids 17 and younger and $15 for adults.
November 25-December 24 on Saturdays & Sundays | December 26-31, Daily
Grab your gloves and join the Aquarium for Snow Days, hands-on real snow experiences! Dash your way through a snow-flurried “Snow Maze,” toss a snowball with your hands or snowball slingshot, and dance to your heart’s content at a Winter Wonderland Dance Party! Snow Days is free for Aquarium members and included with general admission.
December 2, 2023, from 9 am-2 pm
Adults and kids can purchase a wristband for $5 for toboggan sledding in North Straub Park! There will also be inflatables, arts and crafts tents, food trucks, and more. Stay in the area til after sunset to enjoy the Christmas lights and displays at Pioneer Park, Vinoy Park, and the new St. Pete Pier.
Miracle on Cleveland Street in Clearwater
2023 date TBD
Ruth Eckerd Hall is hosting a free community event on Sunday, December 4 from 2 pm-6 pm on the 400 block of downtown Clearwater featuring falling snow, live performances, selfie-stations, video chat with Santa’s elves, snowboard simulator, ice-skating on synthetic ice, games, Gingerbread Mini Putt Putt for kids, a craft station, Touch-A-Truck, and more!
Winter Wonderland at R.E. Olds Park in Oldsmar
2023 date TBD
Slide down the snow slide, visit with Santa, and enjoy the festivities with your neighbors.
Cozy Up for Holiday Movies
The Tampa Theatre is bringing back Holiday Classics on select nights from November 26, 2023, through January 7, 2024. Be sure to attend the screening of Mircale on 34th Street on November 26 and visit with Santa in the lobby! Other family-favorite showings this year include National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Grinch, Rent, a Frozen Sing-Along and more! Tickets $10-$14.50.
Tarpon Springs is hosting its Holiday Movie in the Park at Craig Park on December 16, 2023, at dusk. Put your pj’s on and snuggle up to enjoy an outdoor holiday movie. There will be crafts and even a visit from Santa!
There are other outdoor movie experiences too, like downtown Clearwater, and other locations in Tampa Bay. You’ll likely see more of these events popping up around town as we get closer to the holiday.
Check out a Holiday Boat Parade
December 23, 2023, at 6 pm
As you enjoy the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade, take a stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk among the festive holiday lights as the area transforms into a winter wonderland. Highlights of the Holiday Spectacular include a 35-foot-tall LED-lighted Christmas tree that floats in the harbor, a holiday selfie station at the Pirate Water Taxi ticket booth, a floating gingerbread lighted display, and a lighted pine tree forest. Hotels, restaurants, and bars along the Riverwalk will also have festive lighted displays.
Select dates in November and December | The Holiday Lighted Boat Parade is on December 23, 2023
Don’t miss this water taxi cruise to view Tampa’s Christmas lights and holiday decorations. The Christmas Light cruise departs from the Tampa Convention Center, and the Christmas Light cruise includes Holiday Christmas carols and visit with pirate elves! Write a letter to Santa and pop it in the North Pole buoy. There is also a special Christmas light cruise for the Tampa Holiday Lighted Boat Parade on December 23, 2023.
Go experience the Nutcracker in Tampa Bay
There are several performances of the Nutcracker in Tampa Bay, including a show-stopping performance by the Next Generation Ballet at the Straz in Tampa.
- The Next Generation Ballet at The Straz – December 21-23, 2023
- The St Petersburg Ballet Company – December 1-3 2023
- The Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Tradition at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Pete – December 30, 2023
Experience the MAGIC of the Holidays with Zubrick Magic
If you’re seeking to make this holiday season truly enchanting, there’s one essential experience you can’t miss in Tampa Bay: the Zubrick Magic Theatre. On select days through New Year’s Day, prepare to be captivated by the exceptional illusionists Chris and Ryan Zubrick as they unveil never-before-seen Christmas-themed magic sprinkled throughout their performance.
Attend a Holiday Performance in Tampa Bay
These are a few of our favorite kid-friendly holiday shows in Tampa Bay! (We’re sharing even MORE holiday shows in Tampa Bay here)
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Mahaffey in St. Pete | December 2, 2023, at 2 pm and 7:30 pm
The Florida Orchestra will perform live along with a screening of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the film starring Jim Carey).
The Florida Orchestra Holiday Pops | December 15-17, 2023, multiple times and locations
- December 15: The Straz Center in Tampa a 8 pm
- December 16: Mahaffey Theater in St. Pete at 2 pm and 8 pm
- December 17: Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater at 2 pm and 7:30 pm
Enjoy the sounds of the holidays as performed by the Florida Orchestra!
Cirque Musica: Holiday Wonderland at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater | December 22, 2023, at 7 pm
Cirque Musica: Holiday Wonderland, the must-see holiday event, comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall! “Wonderland” is an all-new musical journey that will transport audiences to a magical land far away for a fun-filled, unforgettable holiday-themed show experience. Featuring the talented cast of Cirque Musica, spectators will be dazzled by the acrobats, aerialists, hilarious hijinks, and holiday cheer.
Head to the Museum for Pint-Sized Holiday Fun!
Glazer Children’s Museum is getting into the holiday spirit with a gingerbread-inspired wonderland, sponsored by Macy’s, Gingerbread Village. Located on Level 2 of the museum, children can step into a sweet winter wonderland to build a gingerbread house made from recycled materials like cardboard, pipe cleaners, bottle caps, and more. You can experience Gingerbread Village from November 21-December 31, 2023.
All aboard! Experience the coolest holiday-themed train rides in Tampa Bay
North Pole Express at the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish
November 30-December 21, select days/nights
The North Pole Express at the Florida Railroad Museum is a family favorite in Tampa Bay. You and the kids can board the open-air train for a ride to the North Pole where there are themed activities and a visit with Santa. Tickets tend to sell out fast, but a few dates and times are still available.
Celebrate of Lights at the Concourse in Shady Hills
November 24-December 23, 2023 on select nights
You can also board a mini train at the Celebrate of Lights at the Concourse in Shady Hills as part of their annual holiday event. The Holiday Train is $3 and runs on select nights from November to December. It will take you to Safety Town which is decorated with lights for the holidays!
The Rudolph Limited Mini Train Rides with Largo Central Railroad
December 9 and December 16, 2023, from 5:45 pm-9:30 pm
Largo Central Railroad is offering its themed “The Rudolph Limited” mini-train rides that take you and the kids on a beautiful ride through the park that is lit and decorated for the holidays. Tickets are $10 each.
Holly Jolly Express at Busch Gardens Christmas Town
November 11, 2023-January 7, 2024
The Holly Jolly Express at Christmas Town at Busch Gardens is a must-experience when you attend! You can sing along to holiday music as you take a ride around the park and take in all of the beautiful lights!
Explore Holidays of Christmas Past
November 24-December 23, 2023 from 10 am-8 pm (except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day)
Each room in the historic Henry B Plant Museum will be beautifully decorated with a different theme. You just might leave with a list as long as Santa’s full of decorating ideas! Tickets start at $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $12 for kids. There are discount days, too.
Christmas in the Country at Cracker Country at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa
December 9, 2023, from 10 am-4 pm
Christmas in the Country is where you and the kids can experience an old-fashioned Christmas through holiday traditions from the 19th century. There will be carols, historical interpretations, and more. You’ll also be able to churn butter and make salt dough ornaments. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $12 for adults and $10 for kids ages 6-11. Kids 5 and younger get in for free.
December 9, 2023, from 10 am-3 pm.
Enjoy a day filled with make-and-take crafts, shopping, holiday fun, and food. Admission is free.
Write a Letter to Santa
Did you know your child can get a letter from Santa? The United States Postal Service’s “Greetings from the North Pole” program makes this possible, real postmark from the North Pole and all! You’ll want to get your child’s letter in the mail no later than December 10, 2023, to be safe. We’re sharing the details on what you need to know here.
There are so many fun Christmas on the Farm events that not only showcase pretty lights, but also give you and the kids a chance to get up close with farm animals! We’re sharing our top picks here.
It may not be set up for the holidays, but a visit to a local citrus grove for an afternoon U-Pick is a perfect day outside for families seeking some natural Vitamin D and Vitamin C! We checked out Dooley Groves in Ruskin for their December u-pick of sugarbelles which was a great experience. Find more u-pick farms in Tampa Bay here.
Worth the Drive:
Celebrate the Holiday Season with Westgate River Ranch and Rodeo’s Winter Wonderland Experience every Friday and Saturday from November 24 through January 6th. Enjoy a festive Hayride with classic Christmas Carols and explore the brand-new Enchanted Forest adventure.
Get lost in a delightful holiday maze, discover sweet surprises at the Candy Land playground, and jingle all the way through the Florida outdoors on a wonderland hayride. Wrap up your journey at the festive tree farm, where unforgettable memories and delectable treats await, promising to delight your taste buds! Come enjoy a magical holiday celebration!
Featured Romantic Gift Idea!
Give the gift of laughter and love this holiday season! Date Night Dancing is an easy to follow program that will have any couple laughing, loving and most importantly dancing together in no time. All from the comfort of your own home – NO dance experience needed!
- Perfect for anyone with “two left feet”
- Fun & entertaining lessons
- Universal moves taught: dance to ANY Music!
- Instant streaming access
Awesome Christmas Events in Orlando – since it’s so close to Tampa Bay!
Colorful Christmas at Crayola Experience Orlando
November 18 – January 7, 2024
Deck the halls with tons of COLOR! Colorful Christmas is back. From November 18 – January 7, come enjoy holiday fun the Crayola way! Make handmade gifts from the heart, complete a seasonal scavenger hunt, and more! It’s a holiday hullabaloo with SNOW much to do! Buy tickets ahead and save $5 with Code: TBP, now through January 7, 2024.
November 17, 2023 – January 1, 2024
There are holiday activities here morning, noon, and night. Plus, ICE! returns this holiday season. Step into a wonderland carved by expert artisans out of two million pounds of colorful ice. The story of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!™ envelops you in larger-than-life sculptures.
November 9 – December 22, 2023, select nights
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party returns this year after a two-year hiatus. This special event will bring back old favorites like cocoa and cookies at designated locations throughout the park, snow on Main Street, a themed parade and fireworks show, and more. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays starts on November 24-December 30, 2023, with the sights, sounds, and tastes of the season from cultures around the world.
November 10, 2023 – January 2, 2024
Head to SeaWorld Orlando to make new holiday memories with festive shopping, delicious food, and dazzling live shows inspired by the natural world. Stroll the lakeside Christmas Market and pick out unique, artisan-crafted gifts. The Christmas Celebration is included with park admission.
November 17 – December 31, 2023
Head to Universal Orlando Resort for the biggest, loudest, awesomest holiday celebration of the season! Celebrate with seasonal shows and decorations at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Sip on hot Butterbeer in Diagon Alley in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade in Universal Islands of Adventure as they come to life with magical lights and festive events. The Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s features larger-than-life balloons, with appearances by the Minions and characters from Shrek and Madagascar. Head over to Whoville for The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular starring The Grinch himself.
More events coming soon as they’re announced!