There are so many Christmas events in Tampa, so if you’re looking to celebrate the holidays here, you’re sure to find something you’ll love. Christmas in Florida is so special because you can actually enjoy outdoor activities with Florida’s mild temperatures. I have compiled a great list of activities, events, and more for you to enjoy this holiday season in Tampa Bay and hope you find this list to be helpful.
Enchant Christmas in St. Petersburg, Florida
Enchant Christmas is returning to St Pete! We went for the first time in 2020 and had a great time. Tickets start at $35 for adults and $25 for kids, so it is a bit pricier than some of the other Christmas events but it is a very unique experience. Enchant is located in the Tropicana, which is a really large venue, and they take up the whole space. There is a maze with a theme that changes every year (last year it was Mischevious Elf and this year it is Santa’s Magic Timepiece). Basically, you find 8 checkpoints in the maze and each checkpoint offers a place to stamp your passport. I also love their Christmas drinks (though, again, they are a little expensive).
You can pay extra at Enchant to do additional activities such as ice skating. Ice skating is $18 and you can bring your own ice skates or use theirs, which is included in the cost. There is also a Christmas village made up of local vendors.
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
This is a tradition in our family – we love Christmas Town! Each year, Busch Gardens transforms into a winter wonderland for the holidays. It is included with the cost of regular admission (or annual pass) and it’s worth the visit. I recommend visiting at night to see all of the lights – there are literally millions throughout Busch Garden’s 335 acres. Plus, you still have access to all of your favorite things about Busch Gardens, such as the rides, food, animals, and more.
Holiday Lights Largo Central Park
This is a definite must visit! The park is huge and you can stroll through the decorated gardens to see over two million Christmas lights and lighted displays. There is even a Ferris wheel, carousel, and a campfire. Best of all is that entrance to Holiday Lights in the park is free. Activities such as the Ferris wheel is $5 and food is available for purchase.
Pirate Water Taxi River of Lights
With River of Lights Holiday Cruises, you will be on a water taxi passing through lighted bridges and downtown. You’ll be entertained with a fun, festive narration and a sing-along of Christmas carols. It’s a great family event and the kids can write a letter to Santa and send it through the mail buoy to the North Pole!
Holiday Lights in the Gardens at Florida Botanical Gardens
The Florida Botanical Gardens are a beautiful place to visit even when it isn’t the holiday season. But add tons of Christmas magic to this already beautiful place and you have pretty much the best place to get into the Christmas spirit ever. Holiday Lights in the Gardens features over 1 million Christmas lights but there will also be laser lights and lighted figures. Plus, there will be local performers and concessions available for purchase. Holiday Lights in the Gardens will be open November 25, 2022 through January 1, 2023. There is a suggested donation of $10 for visitors over the age of 13 and it is well worth it.
Christmas in the Wild at Lowry Park Zoo
Lowry Park Zoo transforms to Christmas in the Wild with Christmas lights, projection shows, and a holiday village.
Oakdale Light Display
The Oakdale Light Display is a walk through display located at 2719 Oakdale Street South in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Oakdale Light Display has been featured on several TV shows, including HGTV’s All Out Christmas and NBC’s Today Show. It will open November 25, 2022 and will run through January 3, 2023.
12 Days of Christmas on Clearwater Beach
Pier 60 is always a fun place to visit with a lot going on. For Christmas this year, however, it will be even more fun. Local Clearwater businesses will be hosting a holiday celebration at Pier 60 this year. You can expect a Christmas tree lighting, caroling, parade, holiday movies in the park, Christmas market, and more. Admission is free and the event dates are December 1-15, 2022.
Victorian Christmas Stroll
The Victorian Christmas Stroll is a true Tampa holiday tradition at the Henry B. Plant Museum. The Christmas decorations show how Christmas was celebrated in the Victorian era. Each room is different and has a theme with matching displays.
Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Spectacular
Tampa will be hosting their Riverwalk Holiday Spectacular! Located along the riverwalk in downtown Tampa, there will be light displays, including the 35 foot tall LED Christmas tree that floats in the harbor. This event is free to enjoy.
Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is located right along the Hillsborough River, and this is a great way to celebrate Christmas in Tampa! This space will be transformed for the holidays. They will have an ice rink, Christmas lights, holiday pop up shops, and more! Ice skating does require tickets, but the rest of the event is free.
Is there a more Florida way to celebrate Christmas than with a boat parade? I don’t think so! There are several boat parades to choose from, I’ve organized them in chronological order by the event date.
Dunedin will have their boat parade on December 3, 2022. The event will be from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Decorated boats will launch from Loggerhead Marker 1 Marina and float through the intercoastal towards the Dunedin Marina/Edgewater Park. The parade starts at 6 pm and boats will be arriving at the Dunedin Marina around 7 pm. There will be holiday music, food, Santa, and lighting of the Christmas tree.
Clearwater Yacht Club Boat Parade is December 10, 2022. The boats will launch north of the Mandalay channel bridge, head north, then through the Island Estates community, then to the Memorial Causeway Bridge, and back towards the beach.
Madeira Beach 56th Annual Festival of Lights Boat Parade will be Saturday, December 10, 2022. The parade will start at American Legion Post 273 at 6:30 pm. The parade will wind through the canals and end at John’s Pass around 9:45 p.m. ROC Park will have a market, live music, and viewing opportunities for the boat parade.
Tampa Riverwalk Lighted Boat Parade is Tampa’s largest lighted boat parade. It will take place December 17, 2022 along the Hillsborough Rver in Downtown Tampa. The parade begins at 6 pm and will leave from the Davis Islands. The parade will travel through the Convention Center basin, to the Heights, then turn around and head to Sparkman Wharf.
Tarpon Springs Boat Parade will be December 2, 2022 in the Craig Park/Spring Bayou area. You can grab a spot on the shore and watch the decorated/lighted boats pass. The event is free and will occur around 8 pm.
Treasure Island Lighted Boat Parade will begin at 6:20 p.m. on Saturday, December 17, 2022. The parade will start just south of the Treasure Island Bridge, will travel south of Paradise Island, back through the Causeway Bridge, around Isles of Palms and Capri, and will finish at John’s Pass. The parade is expected to be at John’s Pass around 8:15 p.m. There will also be a holiday celebration at Treasure Bay from 5-7:30 pm where there will be a DJ, visits by Santa and Mrs. Clause, food, drinks, and more. This is also a good location to view the boat parade.
Indian Rocks Beach Holiday Boat Parade will be December 17, 2022. The lineup will begin at the Walsingham Bridge, wind through the fingers, and end at Harbor Drive North.
Redington Beach and Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade will be December 18, 2022. The parade starts at 6:00 p.m. and goes from the Tom Stuart Causeway to Caddy’s in Indian Shores.
Gulfport Boca Ciega Yacht Club’s 36th Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade kicks off at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 17, 2022. Boats will leave from the Gulfport Municipal Marina. The parade will float by Williams Pier, the Casino, and beach. The boat show will also pass through several communities before heading back.
Adult Christmas Events in Tampa Bay, Florida
If you want to have some more adult fun, you could check out the 2022 Annual Ugly Sweater Crawl in St. Pete. This is happening on December 10, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. starting at Thirsty First in downtown St Pete. Tickets are around $20. If interested, you can check out the Ugly Sweater Facebook page for additional information and to stay up to date.
Miracle at Mezzo is a popup bar that takes over Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails with festive decor and holiday-inspired drinks.
Santa’s Social Club is a Christmas pop up bar located at Sonder Social Club in Dunedin. They will have festive decorations, cocktails, and plenty of Instagram photo opportunities.
Finally, if you need some gift ideas, check out my Florida Gift Guide!
Hopefully this has given you some good ideas on Christmas activities in Tampa and Saint Petersburg, Florida!