Choosing which holiday events to attend can be a daunting task, especially when there are so many to choose from – including a handful of brand new events for 2023. To take away some of the stress of decision making, we’ve curated this guide to the best holiday events in Tampa Bay, Clearwater & St Pete to fuel your holiday date nights.
Check out our bucket list of must-do experiences, view some holiday lights, find our picks for FREE events, watch a classic Christmas movie, take your loved one ice skating, attend holiday performances, or check out a local holiday market for unique gifts. Our guide has it all!
Our holiday events guide is organized into the following sections to help you easily find the type of event you’re looking for:
- Christmas Events Bucket List
- Best Christmas Lights in Tampa Bay
- Free Holiday Events
- Where to Watch Christmas Movies
- Ice Skating
- Theme Park Christmas Events
- Holiday Performances and Entertainment
Have a Holiday event you would like featured? Contact us and we will consider adding it!
ENCHANT Christmas Light Maze Adventure, Reindeer Games
November 24 through December 31 at Tropicana Field
Enchant is an immersive experience weaving magic into every corner, perfect for joyful seasonal celebrations. Single and group tickets as well as private event bookings are all on sale now – experience the magic of Enchant this holiday season.
Each season of Enchant brings to life an immersive concept based on an original story by Enchant. In its fourth year, Enchant St. Petersburg will feature brand new magic as guests wander the World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze in search of the missing magic sleigh bells. In this story, forest animal friends of Santa’s reindeer thought it would be fun to fly Santa’s sleigh for a mischievous moment. So they hatched a plan to get the reindeer’s magic bells — and it worked! Help find the magic bells in time to save Christmas!
The best prices on tickets are available now at EnchantChristmas.com.
November 24 – January 6th (Every Friday and Saturday)
Celebrate the Holiday Season with the Westgate River Ranch Annual Winter Wonderland Experience! Enjoy a festive Hayride with classic Christmas Carols and explore their 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! Join them for a magical holiday celebration!
Select Dates through January 7
When you visit the historic Tampa Theatre, you’re not just coming for a movie – you’re coming for an experience. One of the brightest and most beloved of those experiences is the tradition of sharing favorite holiday films on the big screen with family and friends and singing along to holiday carols with the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ before the show.
- Dec. 10: THE GRINCH (2018)
- Dec. 15-21: IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)
- Dec. 24: Sing-Along WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954)
- Dec. 31: RENT (2005)
- Jan. 7: Sing-Along FROZEN (2013)
Tickets for Sing-Along White Christmas and Frozen are $14.50 ($11.50 for Theatre Members), and all other Holiday Classics movies are $10.00 ($7.00 for Members).
November 26 – January 1 from 6-10 PM
First Baptist Church Plant City, 3309 James L. Redman Parkway
This free, synchronized light show features over 80,000 lights, great music, and a message of hope for the Christmas season. The 35-minute program runs nightly from 6 – 10 PM through January 1st. Experience the joy and love of the holiday season!
December 2-3 & December 9-10, from 11 am to 2 pm
Melting Pot Social, 104 W Tyler St
Step into a heartwarming holiday wonderland that promises to make your season merry and bright! Indulge in a delectable brunch menu filled with your favorite treats. But the real magic happens when you meet the man in red himself—Santa Claus!
Capture the enchantment with a FREE picture with Santa and make even more memories at our digital photo booth. Reservations are filling up fast, so don’t miss out on this jolly good time. Make your holiday season extra special and reserve your spot now. Call 813-683-5707 or visit meltingpotsocial.com to secure your reservation.
Come and experience the joy of the season with Brunch with Santa. Melting Pot Social can’t wait to share the magic with you!
Christmas Events Bucket List for 2023
Looking for an overview on our top picks for celebrating the holidays in Tampa Bay? This is your section! Below you can skim our curated list of the must-do holiday events and experiences in Tampa Bay.
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
The weather forecast this Christmas at Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee calls for a high of 9 degrees, with a 100% chance of ICE! In ICE! featuring “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, guests step into an arctic attraction – kept at a frosty 9 degrees – into a wondrous world of larger-than-life, hand-carved ice sculptures. After experiencing frozen fun inside ICE!, guests can enjoy a sleigh-full of live shows, immersive family events, millions of sparkling lights, a 60-foot-tall Christmas tree that comes to life in a kaleidoscope of color, and more all across the resort’s 64-acre winter wonderland.
Every Wednesday through Sunday from Nov. 15 – Dec. 10, 2023 and every day Dec. 13 – 31, 2023
Island H2O Water Park
Holiday Nights at Island H2O Water Park is so much more than a dazzling lights display – it’s the one-stop spot for family fun, festive food, holiday shopping, and nightly entertainment – with proceeds benefitting Give Kids The World Village.
This dazzling and fun event is great for families, and for couples. There is a play area for little tykes, plus character and Santa Claus greetings. Guests can indulge in holiday shopping as they surf through the holiday market featuring local vendors with a showcase of unique gifts and handcrafted ornaments. Sip steaming mugs of cider and hot cocoa, enjoy holiday themed bites, and toast s’mores big enough to share all while enjoying unique live entertainment each night.
Visit the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park
Friday, November 17, 2023 at 5pm and running through January 1, 2024
Get some shopping done at the holiday shops, sip drinks at the café, ice skate at Downtown Tampa’s only outdoor ice rink, and more at this iconic Tampa Bay Christmas event. Admission to the Winter Village is free, but some activities like ice skating require tickets.
Date Night at Downtown Tampa at Winter Village
Explore Busch Gardens Christmas Town
November 11, 2023 – January 7, 2024
Going to Busch Gardens is a Tampa bucket list item year-round. During the holiday events season, it’s even more enticing. With decorations strung out across the park, Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town is a holiday event like no other. You can enjoy the signature thrill rides at night, watch the holiday shows, eat at restaurants all around the park, and more. Highlights this year include brand-new fireworks show and the return of Christmas On Ice.
Watch a Tree Lighting Show
Now this is an easy one for the holiday events list! Tree lighting ceremonies are popping up all over Tampa Bay at many outdoor locations including Curtis Hixon Park, Safety Harbor, and more. Take your significant other to watch these tree lighting shows and cross another item off of your holiday bucket list.
Attend a Holiday Boat Parade
It’s always fun to see boats decorated with festive lights, holiday inflatables and more.
A few of our favorites include the Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Lighted Boat Parade (December 17), Tarpon Springs Holiday Boat Parade (December 2) and the 37th Annual Treasure Island Holiday Lighted Boat Parade (December 17).
Go Ice Skating
It may not be that cold in Florida, but ice skating is still a must this holiday season. Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park is a classic option (tickets required for ice skating).
Refer to the Ice-Skating section below for the best local spots to enjoy this holiday pastime.
READ MORE: Here’s what to expect at Downtown Tampa’s Winter Village.
Select dates in November and December | 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.
See the Christmas Movies section below or our guide to Christmas movies in Tampa Bay for additional movie screenings for the holidays.
Enjoy holiday spirits – literally – at Miracle at Mezzo. This annual pop-up Christmas cocktail bar has returned to Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails. Enjoy a special menu of holiday concoctions (served in special holiday glasses) plus festive decor and more.
Celebrate Winter Wonder Wharf
Sparkman Wharf is getting a holiday twist with Winter Wonder Wharf! On select dates in December, you can enjoy a holiday remix singalong, check out a holiday comedy show, and go caroling.
Helping those in need is in the spirit of the holidays and a great addition to your holiday events list. Volunteering at a soup kitchen, like Metropolitan Ministries, is a great way to give back. You can also help with Toys for Tots, Meals on Wheels, or other local charities.
Watch New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Check out our inclusive listing of NYE fireworks in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Pete and everything in between in our post on New Year’s Eve Fireworks. We’ll be updating this post soon with current events. For New Year’s Eve event, check out The Best New Year’s Eve Events in Tampa Bay Clearwater St Pete.
Nothing says Christmas quite like strolling around hand in hand to “oooh” and “ahhhh” at holiday lights. Below are a few of our favorite Christmas lights displays in Tampa Bay.
Nightly through December 31, 2023
Enjoy a lively array of dancing lights, dazzling decor and snow. Symphony in Lights is an amazing holiday light show at The Shops at Wiregrass, choreographed to music featuring the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
November 24, 2023- December 31, 2023
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.
Friday, November 17, 2023 – December 30, 2023
This Chick-fil-A store has a tradition of taking Christmas lights in Tampa to a whole new level and they’re back at it again with this year’s Christmas lights display. Even Santa comes to visit! Add this annual Tampa Bay Christmas light event to your family’s Christmas light holiday bucket list!
Through January 4, 2023
Experience a sparkling spectacle of art and lights during the inaugural Holiday Lights Immersive Experience! Enjoy 14 holiday aromas, funky Christmas decor, and search for Gingerbird houses. Visit Fairgrounds St. Pete to see the Mermaid Star Motel, Strawberry Room, and other whimsical art installations transformed for the holiday season. Included with daily admission.
Holiday Spectacular on the Tampa Riverwalk and Water Works Park
November 2023- January 2024
Take a stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk among the festive holiday lights as the area transforms into a winter wonderland. Highlights 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.
November 23, 2023-December 31, 2023
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 $6 each or 4 for $20. Largo Central Park’s Christmas lights and Holiday lights will light up on evenings from 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. It is free to park and stroll among the sparkly Christmas lights. 101 Central Park Dr, Largo, FL 33771.
November 24, 2023-January 3, 2024
Looking for a Christmas light display in St. Petersburg? Oakdale Christmas House in St. Pete offers an amazing walk through Christmas light experience that is bigger and better than before! You’ll be amazed by the Oakdale Christmas House’s 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, this event is not to be missed. The house is located at 2719 Oakdale Street South, St. Petersburg, FL.
November 25, 2023-Jan. 1, 2024
Kick off the holiday season with a tree lighting in North Straub park with the Mayor and Santa on November 25, 2023 with a Santa Parade and Tree Lighting! Stand along the pedestrian walkways at North and South Straub Parks in St Petersburg for this free light show on the water. There will also be a Christmas lights and displays at Pioneer Park, Vinoy Park and the new St. Pete Pier.
December 9 and 16, 2023 at 6pm
The Indian Trails neighborhood off Alderman Rd. and Omaha Street in Palm Harbor dazzles with a spectacular display of lights. Local meteorologist Denis Phillips will have a hot chocolate fundraiser on December 10th and 17th along with items from his “Rule #7” collection. All proceeds go to the Children’s Miracle Network and Feeding Tampa Bay.
Read our guide to Where to Find the Best Holiday Lights in Tampa Bay for even MORE ideas!
FREE Holiday Events 2023
A holiday date night doesn’t have to cost a dime. Partake in free festive celebrations throughout Tampa Bay including tree lightings, a fun holiday-themed scavenger hunt, and so much more.
December 2, 2023, 1pm
The parade steps off at 1:00 p.m. beginning at Morgan Street and Madison Street. It travels west on Madison Street to Ashley Drive, turns north and ends at Ashley Drive and Cass Street. Best viewing is along Madison Street. After the parade thru downtown, come by Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for Santa Fest entertainment and activities 3:30-5:30 p.m. Stay for the Tampa Tree Lighting entertainment 6-6:30 p.m. See Mayor Castor and Santa Claus light up the tree before a holiday movie plays in the park to end the day.
December 10, 2023, noon-6pm
The Annual Jingle Bell Bazaar is a fun, festive holiday event in Historic Ybor City. Join the fun in Centennial Park.
Saturday, December 9 – Friday, December 16, 2023
Local Clearwater businesses are hosting this holiday celebration including a Christmas tree lighting, caroling, parade, photo ops, a Christmas market and more.
December 23, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.
Tampa’s largest boat 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. Boats will be judges by 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. Many viewing spots along the Riverwalk between Armature Works all the way through the Sail Pavilion and over by Sparkman Wharf provide fantastic views of the parade.
Check out our guide to 30+ Free Holiday Events in Tampa Bay for a Festive Date for the full scoop on the best free holiday events to attend.
It doesn’t get more classic than cuddling up to watch holiday films together! From free outdoor movies to Christmas classics returning to the big screen, here’s where to see holiday movies in Tampa Bay this season.
Select showings, Sunday, November 26 – Sunday, January 07, 2024
Partake in the tradition of sharing favorite holiday films on the big screen with family and friends and singing along to Christmas carols with the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ before the show.
December 9, 2023 at 6:30pm
Crescent Lake Park
First come, first served. The lot opens at 7pm and a showing of Home Alone 2: Lost in NY will begin at 8pm. Concessions will be available for purchase.
Get the full list of Where to Watch Christmas Movies
Wondering where you can skate hand in hand on REAL ice? Look no further. Several holiday celebrations offer ice skating seasonally, and public skating sessions at indoor rinks continue the fun all year.
Through January 1, 2024
The ice-skating rink at the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park is one of everybody’s favorite holiday events. It allows you to skate while enjoying beautiful views of the Tampa Riverwalk and Hillsborough River. If you don’t have your own ice skates, don’t worry, skate rental is included in the ticket price. Tickets for ice skating are $15 and include 75 minutes of skating time and your skate rental.
Ice skating never gets old at the TGH Ice Plex, especially since it’s the official training facility of the Tampa Bay Lightning! Throughout the week, there are different public skating sessions available. On select nights you can even skate with a live DJ playing music. Admission for ice skating is $10, $15 with skate rental. Public skating times vary.
This rink makes the list of perfect holiday events for your holiday skating date. With multiple public skate sessions, you’ll be able to find a perfect time for your date. Including skate rental, admission is $15. Without skate rental, admission is $10.
At any of the three locations of the Tampa Bay Skating Academy, you can skate your heart out on a beautiful date. You and your significant other can skate for 90 minutes and spend the rest of the day together getting a meal at the Bar and Grill or leave the TBSA to explore the area around you and find some other fun event to keep your date going. Admission for skating varies depending on the skating session you choose.
Attractions + Theme Park Christmas Events 2023
Celebrate in serious style by attending a holiday celebration at Tampa and Orlando attractions and theme parks.
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 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
November 17, 2023 – 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
Select nights Select Nights November 25 – 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. Enjoy six new illuminated zones of lights, festive entertainment, delectable holiday treats, and amazing wildlife. Wander over to Twinkle Town Marketplace where you can meet Santa.
Through December 31, 2023
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a favorite and Disney Jollywood Nights debuts this year at Hollywood Studios. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays starts on November 24, 2023 through December 30, 2023 with the sights, sounds and tastes of the season from cultures around the world.
Holiday Performances and Entertainment
Get in the holiday spirit at these special performances including The Nutcracker, holiday concerts, and more.
November 21, 2023 at 7:30pm
Bring in the holiday season with a bang! 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!
December 1 – 23, 2023
Henry B. Plant Museum
Experience the grandeur of a Victorian Christmas during this signature event of the Henry B. Plant Museum at the University of Tampa. Travel back to the 1890s as you visit decorated exhibit rooms.
December 8-17, 2023
St. Petersburg City Theatre’s MainStage
In one night, Ebenezer Scrooge sees his past, present & future come to haunt him & discovers the true meaning of Christmas. A host of beloved characters come to life on stage in this spectacular annual production.
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
2023 Date TBD
The Straz Center
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 Many Moods of Christmas.
$23.75 and up
December 21-23, 2023
Now a glittering, star-studded Tampa holiday tradition, Next Generation Ballet’s Nutcracker includes principal dancers from American Ballet Theatre. 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.
$30 and up
December 22, 2023, 8pm
Bilheimer Capitol Theatre
Rockapella brings it’s exciting, internationally acclaimed, a cappella sound back to the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre with a night of holiday classics! For their new Christmas show, 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.
$30 – $59
December 23, 2023 at 2:30, 5:30, and 7:30pm
The Trans-Siberia Orchestra is back at Amalie Arena in Tampa, celebrating 26 years of its multi-sensory show, Christmas Eve and Other Stories.
$29 and up
New Year’s Eve 2024 | Dec. 31
Looking for the Best New Year’s Events in Tampa Clearwater and St Pete? Check our our guide to NYE! And we have the 411 on how to enjoy NYE fireworks in and around Tampa Bay!
Updates for New Year’s Eve this year coming soon.
Want more holiday fun in Tampa Bay?
Our media partners at Tampa Bay Parenting have a comprehensive list of family-friendly holiday events around Tampa Bay!
Feature image credit: Enchant Christmas