15+ Relaxing Things to Do Thanksgiving Weekend in Tampa Bay
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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:

Thanksgiving dinner ideas:

Enjoy A Cornucopia of Sun and Fun at TradeWinds Island Resorts

If your flock is ready to spread their wings, take your Thanksgiving get-together to St. Pete Beach this year! TradeWinds Turkey & Tan Lines package offers sun, fun, and savings! With the resort amenity fee included, be ready to take advantage of endless activities and amenities, plus a 20% discounted room rate for two nights. Experience more this holiday for less on an award-winning beach. They’ve prepared a cornucopia of fall events with a tropical twist. Rev up your energy with classic festivities like the Turkey Trot 5k, Punt, Pass & Kick Competition, and more! Make sure you put on your Thanksgiving pants and enjoy festive turkey day options that will leave you stuffed at either RumFish Grill or Palm Court. The package also includes two adult Thanksgiving Brunch Buffet tickets (call 727-363-2290 to reserve). There’s no better way to celebrate the holiday season than with each other on TradeWinds’ award-winning shore.
TradeWinds Island Resorts

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 opened for the season on November 10, 2023. Get the full scoop in this Tampa Bay Parenting feature.

Spend an Evening at Winter Village

Winter Village is back in Downtown Tampa November 17, 2023 through January 1, 2024. Activities include a cafe, holiday market, surprise visits with Santa, FREE holiday movies in partnership with Tampa Theatre, curling, and ice skating. The holiday movie lineup includes free screenings of Elf on December 16. Reservations are strongly recommended for ice skating and can be made online.

Skating rink at Winter Village Curtis Hixon Park
Skating Rink at Winter Village

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.

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
  • Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park
  • Vinoy Park
  • Lettuce Lake Park
  • Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum
  • Phillipe Park
  • Glencliff Park

Read our post on the Top Tampa Bay Parks for the Perfect Picnic Date for more ideas.

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.

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 firework 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 11, 2023-January 7, 2024.

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

Volunteer

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 TotsMeals on Wheels, or other local charities.

Learn New Skills at a Holiday Cooking Class

In between leftovers, learn new tricks over Thanksgiving weekend at a holiday-themed cooking class. AJ’s Kitchen Drawer can teach you the art of creating holiday favorites on select dates November-December. Or learn how to make perfect fall croissants or a macarons at Sur La Table in Hyde Park Village.

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.

Enjoy Seasonal Brews at a Local Brewery

Tampa has quite the selection of local breweries – some of the best in the country. Most of them have outdoor seating which could make for a perfect fall day of sitting outdoors and sipping on some seasonal brews. Many of them are within walking distance of each other, so you could every create your own personal brewery crawl. Check out some of the best brews in St. Pete, Dunedin, Ybor, and The Heights District.

Visit a Christmas Cocktail Bar 

Enjoy holiday spirits – literally – at Miracle at Mezzo. This annual pop-up Christmas cocktail bar will hopefully be returning to Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails this year. Enjoy a special menu of holiday concoctions (served in special holiday glasses) plus festive decor and more.

Join a Christmas Lights Cruise on the Pirate Water Taxi

Don’t miss this water taxi cruise to view Tampa’s Christmas lights and holiday decorations during select nights in November and December. 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.

Thanksgiving at Disney Springs

If you want Disney magic without the fuss of the theme parks, Disney Springs is a good option. Between the restaurants and all the shops, you can easily take care of a Thanksgiving meal and holiday shopping all in one place.

A reservation is not needed to visit Disney Springs, and it’s free to park and walk around. Just be prepared that the parking garages may fill up early in the day.

Our quick guide to Thanksgiving at Disney Springs includes where to book your Thanksgiving dinner reservation, where to grab a special treat, and some tips on parking and when to visit.

 

Watch a Classic Holiday Movie

Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time to get into the holiday spirit. Head to Tampa Theatre for their annual holiday classics series. On select days from November 26, 2023- January 7, 2024, pop over to the Tampa Theatre and enjoy holiday movies, other late-night activities, and even a visit or two from Santa! It’s not just a movie, it’s a whole experience right at your fingertips.

  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – Sunday, November 26 at 3pm. Before the film, at 2pm guests are invited to meet Santa Claus himself and take home a free 4×6 commemorative photo, courtesy of Bank of America.
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – Sunday, December 3 at 3pm
  • The Grinch (2018) – Sunday, December 10 at 3pm
  • It’s a Wonderful Life:
    • Friday, December 15 at 7pm
    • Saturday-Sunday, December 16 and 17 at 3pm and 7pm
    • Monday-Thursday, December 18-21 at 7pm
  •  White Christmas Sing Along – Sunday, December 24 at 3pm
  • RENT – Sunday, December 31 at 3pm
  • Frozen Sing Along – Sunday, January 7 at 3pm
  • Tickets for all movies are $10 for non-members and $7 for members. Sing Alongs are $14.50 for non-members and $11.50 for members.

More Movie Fun: Snuggle Up to Watch Holiday and Christmas Moves in Tampa

Got kiddos and looking for family-friendly Thanksgiving weekend stuff to do in the Tampa Bay area? Check out this guide to Thanksgiving Family Fun from Tampa Bay Parenting.

Feature image credit: Pirate Water Taxi

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