Tampa, Florida, known for its beautiful weather and vibrant culture, is an excellent destination to celebrate the holiday season. While snow may be scarce, the city compensates with a warm and inviting atmosphere that makes for a unique holiday experience. Tampa offers a wide range of activities and events that capture the essence of the season, from festive light displays to boat parades. In this article, we will explore some of the most exciting activities to enjoy in Tampa during the holiday season.
Christmas at Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season, offering a unique blend of thrill rides and festive attractions. The park is adorned with millions of twinkling lights and features a Christmas Town Village where you can explore holiday markets, savor seasonal treats, and enjoy heartwarming shows. Don't miss the chance to take a ride on some of the park's famous roller coasters while soaking in the enchanting holiday ambiance.
Holiday Light Displays
Tampa Bay is home to several spectacular holiday light displays that will leave you in awe. One such display is the Wonderland of Lights and Santa's Village at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds. It's a drive-through experience that features dazzling light displays, animated scenes, and opportunities for photos with Santa Claus. Another must-see is the annual Holiday Lights in the Gardens at the Florida Botanical Gardens in nearby St. Petersburg, where the gardens are illuminated with thousands of twinkling lights and decorations.
Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park
Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa becomes a winter wonderland during the holiday season, hosting the Winter Village. Visitors can enjoy ice skating on a temporary outdoor rink, sip hot cocoa, and browse through holiday shops offering unique gifts and crafts. The park also features a large Christmas tree and festive music, creating a magical atmosphere for all to enjoy.
Tampa's waterfront locations make it a perfect setting for holiday boat parades. Several local communities organize these events, featuring boats decked out in festive lights and decorations. The Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is a major highlight, with boats gliding along the Hillsborough River while spectators enjoy the dazzling displays from the riverbanks.
Ybor City's Snow on 7th Holiday Parade
Ybor City, Tampa's historic district, hosts the Snow on 7th Holiday Parade, a unique event where they bring "snow" to the Sunshine State. Although it's not real snow, the parade is a delightful spectacle featuring colorful floats, marching bands, and a snowfall of bubbles. The parade captures the essence of the holiday season and adds a touch of Florida charm.
Tampa's Winter Village at The Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Tampa offers a luxurious holiday experience with its Winter Village. The beautifully decorated hotel courtyard includes an ice skating rink, private igloos for dining, and festive decorations. You can enjoy seasonal cocktails and delicious food while soaking in the upscale holiday ambiance.
ZooTampa's Christmas in the Wild
ZooTampa at Lowry Park transforms into a magical wonderland during Christmas in the Wild. Families can enjoy holiday-themed animal encounters, Christmas lights, a festive dance party, and much more. It's a fantastic opportunity to combine the joy of the holiday season with a visit to one of Tampa's most beloved attractions.
Tampa boasts an array of shopping destinations that are perfect for finding unique holiday gifts. Hyde Park Village, International Plaza, and the Tampa Premium Outlets are just a few of the shopping centers where you can explore an abundance of stores and boutiques. Whether you're looking for fashion, jewelry, or one-of-a-kind treasures, Tampa's shopping scene has you covered.
A Christmas Carol at the Straz Center
A timeless holiday tradition, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts presents "A Christmas Carol" each year. This heartwarming production brings Charles Dickens' classic tale to life with stunning costumes, captivating performances, and a message of redemption and goodwill.
Visiting Tampa, Florida, during the holiday season offers a unique and memorable experience. From dazzling light displays to festive parades and a wide range of seasonal activities, Tampa has something for everyone to enjoy during this special time of year. Whether you're a local resident or a visitor, you'll find the holiday spirit alive and well in Tampa's warm and welcoming community. So, pack your bags, put on your Santa hat, and get ready to make some unforgettable holiday memories in the Sunshine State's vibrant city of Tampa.