Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time to slow down, unwind, and cherish time with your loved ones. While Thursday is all about connection and bonding over great food, the long weekend is another opportunity to explore and connect. Here’s a list of relaxing suggestions for maximizing your quality time together this Thanksgiving weekend in Tampa Bay.
More Thanksgiving fun:
- Top Picks for Thanksgiving Dinner To Go and Dine In
- How to Host Friendsgiving: Our favorite bloggers dish on tasty recipes
- Where to Find the Best Holiday Lights in Tampa Bay
Cut down your own Florida Christmas Tree
Yes, you can absolutely cut down your own Christmas tree and it’s an easy drive away from Tampa at Ergle Tree Farm in Dade City. If you still love the look of the trees from up north, they have a tree lot too! The farm will be open for the season on November 20, 2021. Get the full scoop in this Tampa Bay Parenting feature.
Spend an Evening at Winter Village
Winter Village is back in Downtown Tampa November 19, 2021 through January 2, 2022. Activities include a cafe, holiday market, surprise visits with Santa, FREE holiday movies in partnership with Tampa Theatre, and ice skating. The holiday movie lineup includes free screenings of The Polar Express on November 20, 2021 and A Christmas Story on November 27, 2021. Both movies begin at 7pm. Reservations are strongly recommended for ice skating and can be made online.
Take a Hike
For a totally free date, visit a nearby nature preserve to climb a lookout tower, search for local wildlife, stroll on a boardwalk or hike quiet trails. Weedon Island Preserve features a multiple trails and observation towers, plus scenic boardwalks for walkers and paddling trails for kayakers. Also check out the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve, which includes 60 miles of hiking trails and loads of wildlife.
Go Ice Skating at the New Winter Beach in St. Pete
If you haven’t had a chance to walk around the St. Pete Pier, this is the week to do it! 2021 marks the debut of a new holiday tradition, Winter Beach at the St. Pete Pier. This inaugural holiday event kicks off on November 20, 2021 and runs through January 17, 2022. Activities include free holiday movies, visits with Santa, a holiday market, snow days and more. But the true highlight is ice skating in an outdoor rink made of real ice! The fun is enhanced with themed ice skating nights like Britney night, 90s night, and a Santa hat skate. Tickets are $17 for 75 minutes of skating, including rental.
Visit a Christmas Cocktail Bar Pop-Up
Enjoy holiday spirits – literally – at Miracle at Mezzo. This annual pop-up Christmas cocktail bar will again return to Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails this November 2021. Enjoy a special menu of holiday concoctions (served in special holiday glasses) plus festive decor and more.
Have a DIY Thanksgiving Leftovers Picnic
Head to a local park, garden, or even your own backyard with your leftovers for an intimate lunch with your love. A few favorite picnic spots:
- Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
- Vinoy Park
- Lettuce Lake Park
- Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum
Read our post on the Top Tampa Bay Parks for the Perfect Picnic Date for more ideas.
Watch a Classic Holiday Movie
Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time to get into the holiday spirit. Head to Tampa Theatre for a screening of Miracle on 34th Street on Sunday, November 28, 2021 at 3pm. The film is part of Tampa Theatre's annual holiday classics series.
You can also see FREE holiday movies under the stars at Winter Village in Curtis Hixon Park. Thanksgiving weekend features a free outdoor screening of A Christmas Story on November 27, 2021 at 7pm.
Admire the twinkling holiday lights at displays throughout Tampa Bay
There are several beautiful holiday light displays that will make their debut this Thanksgiving weekend in Tampa. Some are even offering drive-thru experiences so you don’t have to get out of your car, like the Wonderland of Lights in Auburndale. Other favorites include the Holiday Spectacular along the Tampa Riverwalk and waterfront holiday light displays in St. Pete.
Join a Christmas Lights Cruise on the Pirate Water Taxi
Head over to the Hillsborough River to the Pirate Water Taxi for a unique way to celebrate the holiday season. During the 45-minute River of Lights tour, you’ll enjoy great views of Downtown Tampa’s best Christmas lights and decorations from the water. Other perks include snow flurries, adult beverages available for purchase onboard, a visit from a pirate elf, letters to Santa and more.
Tours take place select dates November 26 – December 30, 2021. Tickets begin at $25.
Helping those in need is in the spirit of the holidays and a great addition to your holiday events list this Thanksgiving weekend in Tampa. 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.
Check out Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Walk among the millions of twinkling lights while visiting with holiday characters like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa! Festive shows include a brand new holiday fireworks show and the return of the beloved ice skating show, Christmas on Ice. Don’t forget to hop aboard the holiday train to sing along to your favorite Christmas tunes! Christmas Town runs daily from November 12, 2021-January 2, 2022. Be sure to book your online reservation before you go to secure your spot.
Learn New Skills at a Holiday Cooking Class
In between leftovers, learn new tricks over Thanksgiving weekend at a holiday-themed cooking class. Publix Aprons Cooking School of Citrus Park can teach you the art of building the perfect gingerbread house select dates November 26 – December 19, 2021. Or, learn how to make perfect fall croissants (November 26) or a 3-layer Winter Wonderland cake (November 27) at Sur La Table in Hyde Park Village.
Unwind at a Thanksgiving Weekend Outdoor Yoga Class
After an epic feast on Thursday, stretch and relax during one of Tampa Bay's regular outdoor yoga classes. One of our favorites is Bend, Bubbles and Brunch on Sundays at the Epicurean Hotel. Tickets are $25 and include all day pool access and a free glass of champagne after class. You can also join Yoga in the Park on Sundays at Julian B Lane Riverfront Park.
Continue the Feast at a Local Farmer's Market
Head to the nearest farmer's market to check out local produce and pick up ingredients for a low-key meal at home. Or, just peruse the local vendors to see what treasures you can find! A few local favorites are the Ybor City Saturday Market and St. Pete Saturday Morning Market.
Feature image credit: Pirate Water Taxi