Top Holiday Events Near Tampa

Ice Skates on Skating Rink
Holiday Events in Tampa

Getting into the holiday spirit isn’t always easy in Tampa. With temperatures averaging over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, December in Florida can seem strange to someone who lives up north. If you need some inspiration to get your family in the holiday mood, here are the top holiday events near Tampa to help.

Holiday Lights In The Garden (Largo)

With over 1 million lights, Holiday Lights in the Garden at the Florida Botanical Gardens is a great family outing. In its 19th year, this event features nightly performances, a gift center, food & drinks and model trains that go around an evergreen tree. The botanical gardens are handicapped accessible and dogs on leashes that are okay with crowds are welome.

Holiday Lights in the Garden is open between 5:30pm and 9:30pm until January 4, 2020. A $5 donation is requested for entry.

Image of holiday lights

Holidays On The Farm (Plant City)

Located at Keel Farms, this events offers vendors, a bounce house, hayride and other fun kid activities. And of course, Santa Claus will be there!

Keel Farms is also home to Keel & Curley Winery and Keel Farms Agrarian Ale+Cider. Wine tours are available and there is an on-site restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating so you can grab a bite to eat after the event.

Holidays on the Farm is open select Saturdays in December, 2019 from 10am to 4pm. Tickets are $5 per person.

Christmas Town (Tampa)

Located inside Busch Gardens Tampa, Christmas Town was voted one of USA Today 10 Beset Theme Park Holiday Event. With million of lights decorating the park, the Holiday Sing-Along Train, Christmas on Ice (and many other shows), a gospel inspired celebration, the Three Kings Journey which is a musical tale of the trail to Bethlehem, and meet and greets with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa. There’s also a Christmas Village that features food and drink selections that were created just for this event.

Lights at Busch Gardens

Christmas Town is included with admission to Busch Gardens and is open until January 6, 2020.

Boat Parades (various)

If you haven’t lived in Florida long or are a visitor to the area during December, experiencing a boat parade is a must. Boats adorned with lights and decorations travel the waterways as spectators line the bridges and walkways next to the water. Cities on waterways, including Clearwater, Tampa, Maderia Beach and Apollo Beach, host boat parades throughout December. Admission is free but be sure to scope out the area in advance for the perfect viewing spot. Also check each website to see when road closures are taking place that day.

Enchant Christmas (St. Petersburg)

Billed as ‘The World’s Largest Maze’, Enchant Christmas is only in three cities in the United States and St. Petersburg is one of those cities.

Image courtesy of Enchant Christmas

In addition to the lighted maze, there’s also a Christmas Market, seasonal food and drinks, live entertainment, Santa Claus and an ice skating trail. There’s something for every age and a great place to bring the entire family.

Enchant Christmas is open until December 29, 2019. Ticket prices start at $19.99 for adults, $16.99 for kids ages 14 to 17 and $14.99 for kids ages 4 to 13. Ticket prices vary by date. There is general admission and VIP packages available. Strollers are allowed in the venue, but not inside the maze itself.

Henry B. Plant Museum (Tampa)

Located on the campus of the University of Tampa, the Henry B. Plant Museum showcases the area when the university used to be a hotel in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. Showcasing the Guilded Age and turn of the century lifestyles of the rich, the museum is a great visit any time of year.Table Set for Victoria Christmas

During December though the museum turns into a Christmas extravaganza. 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.

Henry B. Plant Museum is open in December Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 8pm and closed on Mondays. Entrance during December for the Victorian Christmas Stroll is $16 for adults and $10 for children.

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 worth the trip. Home to a 60 bell carillon tower, Bok Tower Gardens has been open since 1929. The gardens were designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr, son of the landscape designer of Central Park and Bilmore Estates. Located on 130 acres, it’s home to many animals and over 120 bird species.

Bok Tower Garden in Florida
Photo by miroslav_1, Depositphoto.com

Holidays at Bok Tower Gardens includes a home tour of Pinewood Estates, walking tours, holiday concerts and beer & wine dinners. Some events have separate ticket prices than the general entrance fee so be sure to check prices and dates for specific events. Holiday events take place through January 5, 2020.

Bok Towers is open from 8am to 6pm every day of the year. Admission to Bok Towers Gardens is $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Active duty military members receive free general admission.

Winter Village (Tampa)

Looking to ice skate this December? Head to Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa and 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.

Photo by vkovalcik, Depositphotos.com

Winter Village is open through January 5, 2020. Hours vary based on date.

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4 Comments

  1. Danijela

    29th Dec 2019 -

    So true, for someone coming from Europe, 70 degrees around Christmas is a bit strange but surely worth experiencing. 🙂
    Would love to see the Christmas Town in Tampa and Enchant Christmas in St. Petersburg, they both sound so festive. Love your list, it makes it easier to get the idea of what’s out there to visit.
    Happy holidays. 🙂

  2. Andrea

    28th Dec 2019 -

    Hello. This is an amazing travel guide of what do you doing in tampa. Thank you

  3. Maggie

    24th Dec 2019 -

    So I live in Northern Virginia, and we have both Christmas Town at our Busch Gardens and Enchant in DC, both of which are awesome!! The only downside is that it’s cold here, so I bet they’d be even more fun in Tampa haha. But Tampa has a surprising number of great looking Christmassy activities!

  4. Kavita Favelle

    24th Dec 2019 -

    I know many people from places that experience all four seasons, including snow during winter, find it hard to imagine Christmas in warmer climes, but we used to visit our family in Florida for Christmas every few years as a kid, so I got used to the idea! For me, the holiday lights and Christmas markets are key attractions, I love the sound of Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town. Winter Village also appeals, though I’ve not ice skated for a long time!

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