Tampa Holiday To-Do List


Millions of lights and festive decor bring Busch Gardens Christmas Town to life.

Viviana Burgos

Thanksgiving is officially over, making way for the holiday season, and there are many activities around the Tampa Bay to get in the spirit.


Gaither’s band and orchestra will perform holiday classics like jingle bells and at their Winter Concert on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

Gaither’s chorus program is holding their annual Holiday Concert on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. with a holiday pre-show beginning at 6:15 p.m. in the auditorium lobby. Tickets can be purchased from chorus members in advance and will also be sold at the door for $5.


Enchant Christmas at Tropicana Field


Enchant Christmas has a massive light display and Christmas market with local food and vendors and an ice-skating trail with lit archways. The event runs from Nov. 22 until Dec. 29. Prices vary. 

Lighted Boat Parade 


The Hillsborough River will light up again for the Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Lighted Boat Parade on Dec. 21 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. For people who own boats that would like to participate in the parade, registration is still open online for a fee of $50. Prizes will also be given to the best dressed boats.

The Boat Parade starts at the Tampa Convention Center. The community can view the lights from businesses and restaurants along the harbor for free.

Christmas in the Wild at ZooTampa


The holiday event at ZooTampa returns on weekends through Dec. 23 from 4-9 p.m. The zoo has thousands of Christmas lights and ornaments along with a holiday market, festive trees and special animal interactions. Tickets start at $26.95 for adults and youth.

Symphony in Lights 


The Shops at Wiregrass is bringing back its holiday light show with dancing lights, festive decor and even some “snow.” The light show is choreographed to music from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Guests can watch as the trees are brought to life. The light show runs nightly through Dec. 31 at each hour between 6 and 9 p.m.

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens 


Millions of lights, holiday shows and festive decorations are on display at Busch Gardens Christmas Town which takes place every night from Nov. 16 to Jan. 6. Entry to Christmas Town is included with daily admission, fun cards and annual passes. 


Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park


The Winter Village in Downtown presented by the Tampa Bay Lightning features an ice rink, a cafe with local coffee and treats, a market with local goods and Christmas light decorations. There’s also the Winter Village Express, the decked-out trolley that goes from Whiting Station to Ybor City and back. Individual Ice rink tickets start at $15 and tickets for The Express Train must be purchased online in advance of your trip which costs $10 per person for ages above two.

Winter Wonder Ride 


Onbikes returns with their 9th annual Winter Wonder Ride at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on Dec. 14. The Winter Wonder Ride is a charity bike ride that funds the purchase of bicycles and helmets for at-risk kids. Participants go on a bike ride through scenic downtown Tampa, along Bayshore Boulevard, and return to Curtis Hixon park for their Post-Ride Celebration, where they can dance the night away!

Santafest Parade


Curtis Hixon Park transforms into a winter wonderland featuring holiday entertainment, holiday crafts and games for all the little ones. The 38th annual Downtown Tampa Christmas parade will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7 from noon- 4 p.m. 

Tampa’s Tree Lighting Ceremony


On the first Friday of December, Curtis Hixon will host the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony with a countdown to light the tree with Mayor Castor and a free movie in the park following the ceremony. Come watch Elf with Will Farrell! Admission is free and concessions will be available.