It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is taking over all events in Tampa Bay and we couldn’t be more excited! It can be difficult to narrow down which holiday event is worth checking out. We tried to make your decision easier with this list of must-see holiday events in Tampa Bay with the help of From tree ceremonies to light-up boat parades, here are the holiday events in Tampa Bay you shouldn’t miss out on.

Want a way to enjoy the holiday cheer without breaking the bank? We made a list of our favorite Tampa Bay area neighborhoods with dazzling Christmas lights displays! Click here to see the popular areas.

Spending your Christmas in Tampa

We have a lot of non-traditional holiday celebrations in Tampa. While many other cities can take advantage of winter-themed celebrations, we have to get creative in the Sunshine State. Light-up boat parades are one of the more popular Florida Christmas events, you can see Christmas sand sculptures or make “sand angels”. And all of our theme parks transform into a holiday paradise.  Here are some unique ways you can spend your Christmas day in Tampa.

Here are the must-see holiday events in Tampa Bay for 2023

  • Winter Village - Curtis Hixon Park

    It’s back! The winter village at Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa is back from November 17, 2023 – January 1, 2024. Located along the Tampa Riverwalk, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is transformed with the sights, sounds and activities of the holidays for children and adults of all ages. Here are 13 things to know before going to the winter wonderland.

  • Lighted Boat Parade - Tampa Riverwalk

    Go from one event to another! Tampa’s largest lighted boat parade will happen the Saturday before Christmas, December 23, 2023 along the Hillsborough river. The parade begins at the southern tip of Davis Islands, travels through the Convention Center basin and up to the Heights where the boats will turn around and head to Sparkman Wharf where judging will occur and the parade will end. The parade starts at 6pm but you might want to show up a little early to get a good spot.

  • Enchant - St. Pete

    One of Tampa Bay’s best holiday traditions is back! Cross the bridge to St. Pete for a winter wonderland experience you won’t forget. From November 24 2023 – December 31, 2023, stroll through lighted tunnels, travel to magical illuminated lands as you search for stars, find your way to our epic 100 foot tall Christmas tree, and look for special surprises along the way. If ice skating outside at Curtis Hixon doesn’t fit in your schedule, take some time from your Enchant experience to skate at the Trop! Ice skating tickets cost $15 and rental skates are included. General admission tickets start at $35 for adults and $25 for kids.

  • Snow Days At The Florida Aquarium

    Who says it can’t snow in Florida? Grab your gloves and join us for a week full of winter festivities and hands-on snow experiences! Activities include a snow maze, snowball toss, Winter Wonderland Dance Party and more. Snow Days takes place Monday, December 26 – Friday, December 30 and is included with general admission.

  • Watch A Holiday Classic At The Tampa Theater

    One of the brightest and most beloved of those experiences is the tradition of sharing favorite holiday films on the big screen with family and friends, and singing along to Christmas carols with the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ before select shows. Click here to see all movies are playing this year & showtimes.

  • River Of Lights Holiday Cruise

    Hop on Tampa’s Pirate Water Taxi tour of holiday lights and decorations along the river including Holiday Island. This unique holiday cruise will quickly become your new favorite holiday tradition. Adult tickets start at $30 and kids start at $25.  Note: The River of Lights cruises are canceled for Saturday, December 16 due to weather.

    Boarding and Departure Location:​ Pirate Water Taxi Stop 7 – behind the Tampa Convention Center
    Cruise Times: 6:15 P.M., 7:15 P.M., 8:15 P.M., 9:15 P.M.
    Duration: 45-minutes

  • Tampa Bay’s Festival of Lights

    The Hillsborough County Fairgrounds announces their UPGRADED holiday light spectacular, opening on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23, and running through Sunday, December 31. Tampa Bay’s Festival of Lights and Santa’s Village will envelop guests in an enchanting winter wonderland. The entire site will feature over a million lights. This year’s event features a nearly two-mile drive-thru of continuous light features followed by a festive walking visit to Santa’s Village. Tickets are $25/car, so bring the whole family!

    Click here for more information. 

  • Visit A Pop-Up Christmas Bar

    Head to Strandhill Public Tampa Heights for “Miracle on Main.” These holiday experiences only last for a limited time, starting Nov. 24 and open through New Year’s Eve. Check out our full list of our favorite Christmas cocktails in Tampa here.

  • Holiday Dinner Buffet Cruises

    Spend an holiday evening aboard the Yacht Starship! Set sail and create an evening of awe as you cruise through Tampa Bay’s beautiful skyline. Adult tickets start at $79.95 and include:

    • Holiday Buffet Dinner Menu – View Menu
    • 2.5-hour Cruise
    • (2) Well Drink Tickets Per Person (Ages 21+) – Well Drink Tickets Include: Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, NUTRL Seltzers, Shock Top, House Wines, and House Liquors
    • Cash Bar
    • Complimentary Water, Tea, and Coffee
    • DJ Entertainment
  • Holiday Events At Armature Works

    Armature works still has a few events left on their calendar for December. If you like to paddleboard, join the Holiday Hangout Paddle. Or watch a Christmas classic on the lawn on December 18, Armature Works will be showing Elf!



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    A post shared by Armature Works (@armatureworks_tampa)

  • Winter Wonder Wharf - Sparkman Wharf

    Celebrate the season with the whole family at Sparkman Wharf at Winter Wonder Wharf. Enjoy holiday-centric events and entertainment including a tree lighting, live entertainment, a visit from Santa Claus and festive backdrops for fun photo-ops. Each weekend starting November 18 will feature a different holiday celebration.

    Friday, November 17th kicks off their holiday events with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
    Saturday, December 2nd – Mistletones & BeatBoxer
    Saturday, December 9th – Rapping Carolers
    Saturday, December 22nd – LaRon Hearst Violinist & Family

  • Onbikes - Winter Wonder Ride

    As a holiday-themed bike ride, the Winter Wonder Ride allows participants to set out and see the iconic sights and sounds of Downtown Tampa and the beautiful Bayshore Boulevard. Tickets include access to the Winter Wonder Ride Concert at Curtis Hixon Park, or you can just grab tickets for the show! Click here for more info. 


  • Season Spectacular - Water Street Tampa

    Head to Water Street in Downtown Tampa for a complete transformation into a winter wonderland. There are a bunch of great photo ops around the giant tree and golden teddy bears.

    Water st christmas tree in tampa

    Photo: J.Glorioso/BBGI

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