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.
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! This is something you have to do at least once in Florida because…why not? Get the full scoop in this Tampa Bay Parenting feature.
Go Ice-Skating at Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park
Winter Village is back in Downtown Tampa through January 3, 2021 with some changes to help keep you safe. This year, you will need to book your ice skating time in advance online to ensure the event is kept at half capacity. You will have to wear a face mask while ice skating and keep your distance from others. There’s a new trackless train for train rides around the park and the outdoor market is also back featuring local small businesses and artisans.
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.
Experience Van Gogh Alive at the Dali in St. Pete
This is a truly unique experience for the entire family! It’s a chance to step into Vincent van Gogh’s works in an immersive art installation. The exhibition features enormous projections of more than 3,000 of Van Gogh’s works of art including “Starry Night” and “Sunflowers.” The Dalí is currently open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m., with extended hours Thursdays and Fridays until 8 p.m. Keep in mind that timed entry tickets are required. Learn more here. (Update: Tickets are sold out for November, but there are plenty available after, so book now to secure your spot!)
Visit a Christmas Cocktail Bar Pop-Up
Enjoy holiday spirits – literally – at Miracle at Mezzo. This annual pop-up Christmas cocktail bar returns to Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails beginning on Black Friday. 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. ABC Fine Wine & Spirits has a handy Thanksgiving guide with fun tips on wines to pair with turkey and beers to pair with your leftovers. 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.
Go for a Sunset Paddle
Every Friday, Urban Kai for hosts a special sunset paddle happy hour event at Armature Works. This week’s paddle happens on November 27 with 1-hour rentals available at 4:45pm. Tickets are $25/person and include your rental and all paddleboard gear. Kayaks are also available if paddle boarding isn’t your thing.
See a Drive-In Movie at Armature Works in Tampa
If you haven’t experience the Rooftop Cinema Club at Armature Works, this is a great week to do it! They have some great movies on the schedule this week like Elf, The Holiday, Home Alone, and more. We love this experience because it’s a great way to social distance and enjoy a night out. You can even pre-order dinner from the restaurants in Armature Works and pick it up when you arrive. See the full movie schedule for this week here.
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 at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds in Dover. Other favorites include the Holiday Spectacular along the Tampa Riverwalk, waterfront holiday light displays in St. Pete, and the Holiday Lights in Largo Central Park.
Try Glow in the Dark Axe Throwing
Axe throwing is one of the latest crazes to spread to Tampa Bay, and it also makes for a totally unique date night. On Black Friday, Axe Throwing Tampa is hosting a special glow in the dark axe throwing party from 9:30 – 11pm. The targets and axes will glow in the dark, along with glow in the dark paint for extra fun. Reserve your spot here.
Explore the New St. Pete Pier
If you haven’t had a chance to walk around the new St. Pete Pier, this is the week to do it! We love going in the morning and bringing our bikes for an early bike ride and pit stop for lunch and ice cream. There are several restaurants at the Pier, and many more along Beach Drive. Check out our recommendations for a date at the new pier here.
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 this 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, Christmas sing a longs, letters to Santa and more. The boat will be operating at 50% capacity. Tours take place select dates November 27 – December 30, 2020. Tickets begin at $25 for adults.
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 making contact-free visits with holiday characters like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa! The ice skating show will be performed outdoors and there’s even a new fireworks display. Don’t forget to hop aboard the holiday train to sing along to your favorite Christmas tunes! Christmas Town runs daily from November 20, 2020-January 3. 2021. Be sure to book your online reservation before you go to secure your spot.
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 adult beverage 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:
- Ybor City Saturday Market: Saturdays 9am-3pm
- St. Pete Saturday Morning Market: Saturdays 9am-2pm
- Corey Avenue Sunday Market: Sundays 10am-2pm
Got kiddos and looking for family-friendly Thanksgiving weekend in Tampa Bay events? Check out this guide to Thanksgiving Family Fun from Tampa Bay Parenting.
Feature image credit: Pirate Water Taxi