Tuesday, November 30, 2021 / by Glenn Musto
It's critical to discover methods to spend quality time with your family this Christmas season. With gifts to buy and other obligations, it's good to have some free holiday cheer.
To you, what does a "vacation" entail? Our beautiful cities on the bay go all out when it comes to celebrating, whether it's shopping for unusual gifts, gathering the family in the vehicle (or boat!) to gaze at the lights, or dressing up and going to a show or local attraction.
Every year, the holidays seem to begin earlier and earlier. Here are some great holiday events in Tampa Bay and methods to celebrate your holiday in Tampa Bay this year!
Lighted Boat Parade
On December 19, the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade will take place. Come out to the Tampa Riverwalk to get into the holiday spirit as a flotilla of vessels sails by, all decked out in holiday garb. With 12 big oaks adorned for the season and four illuminated arches built to the park's entrance, Water Works Park at the south end of the Tampa Riverwalk is the perfect place to start feeling festive this year.
At Busch Gardens, a warm-weather winter paradise awaits, with a variety of Christmas celebrations held throughout the park. Millions of glittering lights can be found across the park's 335 acres, as well as physically distant holiday displays, magnificent animal encounters, and even a visit with Santa and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
The Straz Center is a world-class musical theatre in Tampa that hosts the majority of the city's main cultural events. The Florida Orchestra and Opera Tampa, as well as popular music legends like Lena Horn and the Isley Brothers, will play here. A full calendar of Broadway musicals is also available at the Straz. The facility is modern and attractive, with a number of different locations. The 2,610-seat Carol Morsani Hall, with state-of-the-art acoustics and a 120-foot stage, is the largest and most stunning. The 268-seat Jaeb Theater can be set up in cabaret style for more intimate events, in addition to another, smaller music hall.
Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park
For people who are used to snow and cold, Tampa's pleasant weather can make it tough to get into the holiday spirit. Winter Village, located downtown along the lovely riverbank, will add a pleasant chill to your holiday celebrations. This event, which includes an outdoor ice rink, cafe, and pop-up market, brings the sights, sounds, and tastes of the season together. A 75-minute skate for $15, which includes skate rentals, is a great way to spend some quality time with the family on the ice. Seasonal snacks and kid-friendly beverages are available at the cafe, and the pop-up market has local vendors and craftsmen selling decorations, clothes, handmade toys, jewelry, dog accessories, and more!
A Pirate’s Christmas
If you've ever visited Tampa, Florida in late winter, you'll know that pirates are a major thing. Pirates take over Tampa Bay every year at Gasparilla, one of Florida's best events. Join them for A Pirate's Christmas in Tampa this holiday season! Take a 45-minute family sail from Sparkman Wharf till January 3. For a swashbuckling holiday celebration, you'll be aboard the Lost Pearl! As sailors, you'll be brought to Holiday Island to see Tampa's largest floating Christmas tree up close and personal! Make sure to dress up in your quirky holiday sweaters for some fun photos! Each hour, on the hour, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., cruises depart.