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WHAT TO DO WINTER 2019

SPEND THE HOLIDAYS

IN TAMPA BAY

With weather that's far from frightful, the holidays in Tampa Bay are always delightful. And we still manage to go ice skating outdoors! So grab your friends and family and make new memories when you unlock Tampa Bay between now and New Year's Day.

Winter Village Tampa
Winter Village Tampa
Winter in Tampa
Winter in Tampa
Winter in Tampa
Winter Village Tampa

Christmas Town

November 16 - January 6, 2020

What Christmas without an express to the Pole? Hop on the holiday train during Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay’s Christmas Town and be whisked along as you sing your favorite Christmas tunes, spreading holiday cheer between stops. Visit Christmas Town for snowy scenes, hot cocoa and lots of lights! You can even enjoy the lights as you dangle from the top of SheiKra before the breath-taking plunge! 

 

Winter Village

November 22 - January 5, 2020

Ever ice-skated beneath palm trees? Now's your chance! Tampa Bay's only outdoor ice rink opens along the Tampa Riverwalk as part of the annual Winter Village holiday market. Find that special something for that special someone among the market's 10 boutique pop-up shops. And catch the free outdoor screenings of live-action version of The Grinch and The Muppets Christmas Carol, both on November 23 and 30.

 

Three Kings Celebration

January 4 - January 6, 2020

This Latin American tradition (known as the Epiphany elsewhere) celebrates the story of the Three Wise Men as they traveled to the city of Bethlehem bearing gifts for the Christ child. Join Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay for this year's Three Kings Celebration with live musical performances and bi-lingual story telling.

 

Outback Bowl parade

December 31, 2019

Cheer on players from the SEC and Big 10 the night before they meet for the big game at Raymond James Stadium. Join the crowds lining 7th Avenue in historic Ybor City for marching bands, cheerleaders and other fun, followed by a massive pep rally. 

 

New Year’s Eve Gala

December 31 - January 1, 2019

Ring in the new year at the Gathering in historic Armature Works during its New Year’s Eve Gala. Find a seat on the lawn or along the Tampa Riverwalk to watch downtown's twinkling skyline light up with fireworks. Dance to live music and make a toast with a glass of champagne from the open bar.

 

New Year’s Eve Laser Light Show

December 31 - January 1, 2019

Sparkman Wharf lights up the night ahead of the fireworks with hourly laser light shows and live music at its waterfront location in the Channel District. 

 

Outback Bowl

January 1, 2020

The top college football teams from the SEC and Big 10 tackle the 34th edition of Tampa Bay's hometown bowl game. Join the crowds in the post-New Year's tailgating outside Raymond James Stadium, then cheer your when they take to the gridiron inside. Tickets are on sale now. 

 

Black Friday

November 29, 2019

Find that one-of-a-kind gift for each person on your list when you hit Tampa Bay's array of shopping options. The Unlock Tampa Bay Visitors Center carries locally themed keepsakes for the Tampa Bay fan. Historic Hyde Park Village offers international chic and unique local boutiques. Interntaional Plaza's 200 stores are a lesson in luxury shopping, featuring brands from Apple to Zara. Big-name bargains will be waiting at Tampa Premium Outlets 20 minutes north of downtown.

 

THANKSGIVING DINNER

NOVEMBER 28, 2019

Leave the cooking to us. A host of Tampa Bay's best restaurants are waiting to host you and your guests with special deals for Thanksgiving. Book a table at the Columbia, Florida's oldest restaurant, or order their traditional turkey-and-the-trimmings to go and make a picnic out of it. 

 

Tree Lighting Ceremony

December 6, 2019

Join the festive holiday crowds for downtown's annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park to mark the start of the holiday season. Afterward, grab a seat on the lawn a free showing of that Christmas classic "Elf," starring Will Ferrell. Low back chairs, blankets, dogs on leashes and coolers are permitted. 

 

Christmas in the Wild

December 20-23, 2019

Enchanting decorations abound throughout the Zoo including a 50-ft Christmas tree complete with 12,000 dancing lights, 2,000 ornaments, and an 8-ft star. Also experience an expanded Santa's Village for seasonal shopping and magical meetings with Jolly St. Nick and his playful elves.

 

Saturdays With Santa

November 30 - December 21, 2019

Share holiday wishes and take pictures with Santa Claus at The Florida Aquarium. Santa will be at the Aquarium for photos while his elves dive in the Aquarium’s Coral Reef habitat during its regularly scheduled dive presentation times. Pictures are available for purchase.

 

Holiday Classic Films

December 1 - December 29, 2019

Lend your voice to the chorus crooning along with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney as the Tampa Theatre unveils its first sing-along "White Christmas" as part of its annual Holiday Classics Series. Other movies that will be featured include Elf, Miracle on 34th Street and more. You'll also find some, shall we say, more grown-up holiday-themed films as part of the periodic Rewind series.

 

Victorian Christmas Stroll

December 1 - December 23, 2019

Take a walk back in time to relive Christmases past when the former Tampa Bay Hotel (now Plant Hall at the University of Tampa) recreates the glory of the holidays circa 1891, the year the hotel opened as a luxurious resort. The Henry B. Plant Museum transforms into a Victorian Christmas with vintage décor, antique toys and so much more. Gaze at the 40,000 lights display and Christmas trees that are more than 14 feet. Listen to live music during the evening hours while munching on cookies and drinking cider, which is complimentary.

Thanksgiving Dinner

November 28, 2019

Leave the cooking to us. A host of Tampa Bay's best restaurants are waiting to host you and your guests with special deals for Thanksgiving. Book a table at the Columbia, Florida's oldest restaurant, or order their traditional turkey-and-the-trimmings to go and make a picnic out of it. 

 

"The Nutcracker"

November 29-December 1, 2019

Dancers from the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and the award-winning Next Generation Ballet perform the Tchaikovsky's holiday classic "The Nutcracker" in Carol Morsani Hall at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing arts. Let yourself be carried away to the land of Sugar Plum Fairies, magical dances, and the Mouse King. 

 

Penguins, Pancakes & Santa

December 7, 8:30-9:30 a.m., 2019

Join Santa and his elves for a special buffet-style pancake breakfast at The Florida Aquarium then meet and greet special guests -- the aquarium's penguins! Get your tickets now.

 

Snow on 7th

December 14, 2019

Santa and his helpers bring the North Pole to historic Ybor City for the free Snow on 7th festival and parade through the heart of Tampa Bay's historic Latin Quarter. The festivities will include middle school and high school marching bands, Gasparilla krewes and local dance teams perform along the historic streets filled with snow.

 

Lighted Boat Parade

December 21, 2019

Situated where the Hillsborough River meets the bay, this is a community that loves its boats. Even Saint Nick gets into the act, giving the reindeer the night off so he can tour the waterfront decked out in Christmas lights. Join the flotilla or pick a spot along the Tampa Riverwalk to watch the parade pass by. Or board The Florida Aquarium's Bay Spirit II and watch the parade from the water while sipping cocoa and snacking on Christmas cookies.

 

Gasparilla Bowl

December 23, 2019

Tampa Bay's pirate spirit invades Raymond James Stadium when the best teams from the ACC, AAC, and Conference USA hit the gridiron for the area's newest bowl game. Grab your tri-corner hat and maybe a parrot for the pre-game activities, then bring your crew to town for tailgating and tons of fun two days before Christmas. (Psst! We also have great last-minute holiday shopping just down the road from the stadium.)

 

Snow Days

December 26 - December 30, 2019

We may be in Florida, but we can still have snow! The Florida Aquarium creates a real snow play area for kids where they can make snowballs and have all kind of wintery fun. After you're done, head inside for an Aquarium experience including animal encounters, diving elves and more! The snow play area is included with general admission.