What’s the best thing about Florida’s winter?
It doesn’t get very cold, so we get to have fun in the sun for every season!
Get ready to fill your calendar with Tampa events this winter and holiday season. With the warm temperatures and lots of sunshine, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. So, no matter what type of fun you fancy, you’ll find plenty of unique ways to celebrate the season in Tampa.
Tampa Events For A Winter To Remember
Fun happenings in Tampa this season range from traditional Christmas-time events to outdoor activities that would be nearly impossible in other parts of the country. Let’s take a look at some of the things going on this time of year.
This incredible theme park offers a great family activity with something for everyone. It features six roller coasters, several live shows, and over 2,000 animals. Explore the free-roaming animals on the Serengeti Railway or even hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies at Walkabout Way.
Now through December 31, you can celebrate the holidays with the park’s annual Christmas Town event. Enjoy over 1 million festive lights, beautifully decorated trees, holiday gifts and treats, live performances, and, of course, Old Saint Nick. The celebration starts at 5 PM daily.
Clearwater’s well-maintained beaches offer a wide range of things to do. In addition to the warm sun and sandy beaches, visitors can enjoy fishing, chartered boat rentals, dolphin watching, and more. You can even meet Winter, the famous dolphin, at Clearwater Aquarium.
Dine at the area’s incredible seafood restaurants before you dance the night away at some of Florida’s best nightclubs. At The Pier in Clearwater, you will find daily events including a sunset celebration, live entertainment, and even a craft fair.
Tampa’s scenic Riverwalk and famous Waterfront offer great ways to explore the city. There you can walk or ride bikes along pathways to popular downtown attractions, such as The Museum of Art, History Center, and other cultural and inspirational sites. The 2.5-mile-long Riverwalk pathway is home to restaurants, shady park benches, and rest stops all along the way.
Looking for something more adventurous? Explore the Hillsborough River, Garrison Channel, or Harbour and Davis islands in a Pirate Water Taxi. You can also get to these by renting a water bike, BiYak, or paddle board. The slow-moving waters of the Hillsborough are perfect for any of these activities.
Enjoy a round of golf with the Tournament Players Club of Tampa. The award-winning course was named one of the toughest public golf courses in the region. Experience the ins and outs of wetlands, woodlands, and lakes throughout this beautiful golf course.
Experience nature in one of the most popular state parks in Central Florida. This park offers campsites, picnic areas, hiking trails, kayaking, canoeing, and even a public pool. The Hillsborough River cuts through the park and continues on through downtown Tampa, where it meets the Bay. If you love the outdoors, this is the place to be.
Holiday Event Calendar
If you’re looking specifically for some holiday cheer,
you can’t miss these Tampa events!
Friday, November 30, 2018
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Tampa
Tampa’s annual tree-lighting ceremony, hosted by Friends of Tampa Recreation, usually takes place on the first Friday in December. However, this year it will be the last Friday in November.
Enjoy the countdown to the tree lighting, along with a free movie. Bring the whole family – even the dog! – to enjoy the festive event with excellent views of the river and downtown skyline. Concessions will be available, but remember that glass and alcohol are prohibited.
Also, if you’re bringing your beloved pooch, make sure that dogs are kept on-leash at all times.
Saturday, December 1, 2018
11 AM – 4 PM
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Tampa
Come to enjoy fun for the whole family in Winter Wonderland during Santa Fest at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Santa Fest takes place from noon to 4 PM.
Kids and the young at heart will love taking photos with Santa, playing games, and making their own holiday crafts to take home.
The parade steps off at 11 AM at Morgan and Madison Streets, traveling west on Madison. The route continues north on Ashley Drive, ending at Cass Street. Be aware of road closures due to the parade route.
Parade Tip: For the best view, arrive early to stake out a spot along Madison Street.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
7th Avenue, Ybor City
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Tampa’s historic district is hosting its 8th annual Snow on 7th Holiday Parade this year. Participants will include marching bands, live performers, festive floats, and Santa. Snow will fall all along 7th Avenue, between 15th and 17th Streets. Free hot chocolate and cookies will be offered from Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grille. Catch the pre-show starting at 6 PM at Centro Ybor before the parade starts at 7 PM.
The largest performing arts center in the Southeast is right here in Tampa! It features the Florida Orchestra, Opera Tampa, Broadway musicals, comedy shows, and concerts. Throughout the year it even hosts special seasonal events and performances.
This year’s holiday performances include :
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
- The Texas Tenors: Deep in the Heart of Christmas
- Jane Lynch A Swingin’ Little Christmas
- Next Generation Ballet’s Nutcracker
- And more!
December 1 – 23, 2018
Take the annual Victorian Christmas Stroll from December 1 through 23 at the Henry B. Plant Museum. This charming and festive event showcases 14 rooms with festive decorations, Christmas trees, unique gifts, and antique holiday accessories. There will be plenty to do with games and other activities. In addition, complimentary spiced cider and cookies will be served on the veranda.
Now – December 30, 2018
Weekends, 4 – 10 PM
Lowry Park Zoo is celebrating Christmas in the Wild every weekend through December 30. The lights and festive decorations will really put you in the holiday mood. Enjoy the zoo animals, Christmas carolers, live performances, seasonal treats and refreshments, and don’t forget to see Santa in the Christmas Lodge. This is the perfect holiday family event.
Now – January 5, 2019
Get into the holiday spirit at Winter Village, located along the downtown Tampa’s riverfront, featuring:
- An outdoor ice rink,
- Pop-up market,
- Loads of seasonal food, sights, sounds,
- And fun activities for the whole family.
This is a great place to shop for holiday gifts, decorations, toys, and more! Celebrate the holiday season at Winter Village through January 5.
Monday, December 31, 2018
9 PM – 1 AM
Armature Works, Tampa
Ring in the New Year at the Armature Works. Tickets include dancing, live music, open bar, champagne, and hors d’oeuvres, along with a fireworks display on the lawn at midnight.
Monday, December 31, 2018
There are several places to see fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Tampa Bay. Each location has its own events, rules, and start time.
Here is a small sampling of this year’s New Year’s Eve events:
- Light It Up Clearwater – Clearwater Beach
- First Night St. Petersburg – Various Locations
- New Year’s Eve Celebration – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
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