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 19, 2022. Get the full scoop in this Tampa Bay Parenting feature.
Spend an Evening at Winter Village
Winter Village is back in Downtown Tampa November 18, 2022 through January 4, 2023. 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 holiday classics (TBD) on November 19 and December 16. 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.
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
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 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 14, 2022-January 9, 2023. Be sure to book your online reservation before you go to secure your spot.
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.
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-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.
Events We’re Hoping Will Return for 2022
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 marked the debut of a new holiday tradition, Winter Beach at the St. Pete Pier. Though we’re still waiting for their 2022 dates, 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 even enhanced with themed ice-skating nights!
Visit a Christmas Cocktail Bar Pop-Up
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.
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. 2022 lineup TBD.
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. 2022 dates TBD.
Feature image credit: Pirate Water Taxi