Updated for 2022! Getting into the holiday spirit isn’t always easy in Florida. With temperatures averaging over 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the Tampa Bay area, November and December in Florida can seem strange to someone who wasn’t raised here. That doesn’t make the holidays any less enjoyable. Boat parades, lots of lights and plenty of cheer show up for the holidays. Here’s our 2022 list of Christmas events in Tampa and the surrounding areas.
Note: Events are constantly being updated and added. The information posted is the latest that My Cornacopia has at the time of publishing.
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Holiday Lights in the Garden – Florida Botanical Gardens (Largo)
With over 1 million LED lights lighting up the Florida Botanical Gardens, the annual Holiday Lights in the Gardens starts on November 26, 2022. There are also laser light, figurines, model trains and local talent performing for the holidays. There is also food and non-alcoholic drinks available for purchase. During Holiday Lights, which is from 5:30pm to 9:30pm, there is a requested donation of $10 per person over the age of 13. Want to experience the gardens a little early? Head to their Hops Night in the Garden event on Saturday, November 19th from 6pm to 9pm and be the first to experience the holiday lights display nad drink some local beers.
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens (Tampa)
One of the most popular Christmas events in Tampa takes place at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Christmas Town. Chosen by USA Today as one of its 10 Best Theme Park Holiday Events, Christmas Town has millions of lights decorating the park, a Sing-Along Train, a Christmas on Ice show, the Three Kings Journey, story time with Mrs. Claus, and meet and greets with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa.
There’s also the Christmas Village that features food and drink selections created just for this event. Christmas Town Tampa Bay is included with admission to Busch Gardens and takes place from November 14, 2022 to January 9, 2023.
Enchant Christmas (St. Petersburg)
This bright Christmas event near Tampa is Enchant Christmas held in the heart of downtown St Petersburg. With a 100-foot animated tree, ice skating trail, photos with Santa, a story themed maze, a Christmas market and holiday treats, it’s a one-stop-shop for holiday fun! Enchant St. Petersburg is open from November 25, 2022 to January 1, 2023 with ticket prices varying depending on which day you visit.
There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs
Looking for an event in northern Pinellas County? This event is held on Tarpon Avenue and offers children’s crafts, vendors, live music, falling snow, train rides and Santa! There’s even a boat parade at the end of the evening. There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs takes place from 5pm to 10pm on Friday, December 2, 2022.
Miracle on Cleveland Street (Clearwater)
Taking place in downtown Clearwater, this event transforms Cleveland Street into a family festival. Taking place on December 4, 2022 from 2pm to 7pm, there’s live entertainment, train rides, bounce houses, ice skating, an ornament craft station, and of course – Santa!
Boat Parades Near Tampa and St. Petersburg
One can’t miss Christmas event in Tampa and the surrounding coastal towns is attending a boat parade. Boats adorned with lights and decorations travel the waterways as spectators line the bridges and walkways next to the water. Cities located on waterways host boat parades in December.
Admission is free but be sure to scope out the area in advance for the perfect viewing spot. Also, check websites to see when road closures are taking place that day. Drawbridges may close to car and foot traffic if they need to be lifted for larger boats. And get there early and bring a chair – these parades are popular!
- Tarpon Springs Illuminated Boat Parade – December 2, 2022
- St. Pete Beach Lighted Boat Parade – December 2, 2022
- Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade – December 3, 2022
- Clearwater Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade – December 10, 2022
- Downtown St. Petersburg (St. Pete Pier) Boat Parade – December 10, 2022
- Boca Ciega Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade – December 17, 2022
- Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Lighted Boat Parade – December 17, 2022
- Treasure Island Holiday Lighted Boat Parade – December 17, 2022
- Redington Beach/Indian Shores Holiday Lighted Boat Parade – December 18, 2022
Note: Information will continue to be updated as cities announce their plans
Victorian Christmas Stroll – Henry B. Plant Museum (Tampa)
Located on the University of Tampa’s campus, the Henry B. Plant Museum is a flashback to when the university used to be a hotel in the late 1800’s/early 1900s. Showcasing the Gilded Age and turn of the century lifestyles of the rich, the museum is a great visit any time of year.
At the end of each year, the museum turns into a extravaganza and is one of the more interesting Christmas events in Tampa. Called the Victorian Christmas Stroll, you’ll see vintage clothing, antique toys and ornaments galore. They even serve cookies and cider on the veranda to enjoy after visiting.
The full experience of the Victorian Christmas Stroll runs December 1-23, 2022. The museum is open from 10 am to 8 pm. Tickets are $18 for ages 13 and up, seniors and students with ID are $16 and children ages 4 to 12 are $12.
Holidays at Bok Tower Gardens (Winter Gardens)
Located a little farther than some of the other attractions, Bok Towers is located up I-4 towards Orlando but we still consider it a Christmas event in Tampa because it’s not too far and is a beautiful location. Home to a 60 bell carillon tower, Bok Tower Gardens has been open since 1929 and designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. Located on 50 acres, it’s home to many animals and over 120 bird species.
Holidays at Bok Tower Gardens include displays of seasonal greenery and flowers, a gnome scavenger hunt, concerts and recreation of holidays in the 1930s at El Retiro, the home located onsite. Holidays at Bok Tower Gardens is from November 25, 2022 to January 8, 2023.
Bok Towers is open from 8 am to 6 pm every day of the year. Admission to Bok Towers Gardens is $17 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Active duty military members receive free general admission for themselves and up to four additional friends and family are admitted at half price.
Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park (Tampa)
Are you looking to ice skate this holiday season but didn’t think it was possible in Florida? Well it is!
In Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa you can visit Winter Village. With an outdoor skating rink, small temporary restaurants and a shopping area, it’ll let Floridians feel a piece of winter. Don’t own skates? They have children’s and adult sizes to rent. Also new this year – a non-frozen curling court where visitors can practice the Olympic sport that almost anyone with skill can compete in. And don’t miss out on the Winter Village Express where you can take the trolley from downtown to Ybor and back while enjoying cookies, sing-a-longs and trivia games.
Tickets for ice skating and the Winter Village Express must be purchased online. Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park is open from November 18, 2022 through January 4, 2023. Hours vary based on date.
Holiday Lights in Largo Central Park (Largo)
Wander around the light park to experience the Christmas lights and then enjoy the rides, including a Ferris wheel and carousel, and food available. A 25-year tradition done by the City of Largo, there are over 2 million LED lights throughout the park. Entrance is free and rides cost $5 each. Holiday Lights in Largo Central Park runs from November 24, 2022 through January 1, 2023.
Tree Lightings and Traditional Parades for Christmas Events in Tampa
- Ybor City Tree Lighting – November 16, 2022
- St. Petersburg Tree Lighting and Parade – November 26, 2022
- Tampa Riverwalk Harbour Tree Lighting – November 28, 2022
- City of Clearwater Tree Lighting – November 30, 2022
- Dunedin Tree Lighting – December 3, 2022
- Holiday Spirit of Lights Festival Downtown Clearwater – December 9, 2022
- Home for the Holidays Paws-on-Parade and Block Party – December 17, 2022
Where to Stay in Tampa/St. Petersburg Area
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