Guide to holiday lights around Tampa Bay

It’s the most wonderful time of the year- for seeing light displays around Tampa Bay.

The Christmas and holiday season light displays and events are underway this week with the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce’s 13th annual Christmas tree from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, November 15th, at Centro Ybor, 1600 E. Seventh Ave. The event will include live entertainment, with a tree lighting at 7 p.m. 

For more information, go to Ybor City tree lighting.

Tampa Downtown Partnership Winter Village

The Tampa Downtown Partnership’s Winter Village returns to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park from November 17 through January 1.

The Tampa Downtown Partnership’s Winter Village returns to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park from November 17 through January 1.Sponsored by the Tampa Bay Lightning, the annual event features an ice skating rink, a total of 40 local small businesses in the Shops at Winter Village, theme nights and street curling, a movie night featuring “Elf” on December 16th and the “Winter Village Express,” a streetcar singalong filled with holiday music, trivia and stories that will make five 50-minute trips every Sunday evening from Nov. 19 through Dec. 17. 

There is also a 360-degree elevated light show by TECO.

For more information, go to Winter Village 2023.

Water Street Tampa Season Spectacular and Winter Wonder Wharf

Water Street Tampa hosts its second annual Season Spectacular holiday
celebration and its Winter Wonder Wharf event at Sparkman Wharf on Friday, November 17th. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and includes photos with Santa Claus, live music, seasonal cocktails and bites, hot chocolate and treats.

At Sparkman Wharf, there will be a tree lighting for a 35-foot Christmas tree. During the holiday season, a display of more than 300,000 lights will illuminate the Water Street neighborhood. At Sparkman Wharf, special events include a holiday performance featuring the Mistletones and BeatBoxer on December 2nd, rapping carolers on December 9th and electric violinist LaRon Hearst on December 16th. On December 7th, Water Street Tampa will also host a Holiday Promenade night market 

For more information, go to Water Street events.

Holiday Lights in the Gardens

Holiday Lights in the Gardens returns to the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo from November 24th through December 31st.  

The annual display, which has been nominated for Best Botanical Gardens Light Display, sparkles with more than one million twinkling LED lights in an array of vibrant colors, laser lights and lighted figures. Lights in the Gardens will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. nightly. The suggested donation is $10 per person. Donations support the Florida Botanical Gardens’ new children’s garden, the Majeed Discovery Garden.

For more information, go to Holiday Lights in the Gardens.

Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Spectacular

Friends of the Tampa Riverwalk’s annual Holiday Spectacular light display runs from November 26th to January 2nd along the Riverwalk. The annual Christmas tree lighting is November 26th. The Holiday Lighted Boat Parade returns on December 23rd.

This year's lighted waterfront displays will include a new barge featuring a polar bear and igloo. The Riverwalk Holiday Lighted Boat Parade is in the running for USAToday's Reader's Choice Best Holiday Parade. 

To vote, go to Best Holiday Parade by noon on November 29th.

For more information, go to Tampa Riverwalk Holiday Spectacular.

City of Clearwater holiday events

The City of Clearwater’s annual Christmas tree lighting event is Friday, December 1, in Coachman Park. The event begins at 4 p.m. It is part of the city’s busy holiday event schedule.

A Chanukah celebration with the Chabad of Clearwater, which includes the lighting of a surprise-themed menorah, hot latkes, gelt drop and children's activities, is scheduled for Thursday, December 7th at Coachman Park. 

Holiday trolley tours are also scheduled for December 8th at the North Greenwood Recreation & Aquatic Complex and the Clearwater Beach Library & Recreation Center and for December 15th at the Long Center and the Countryside Recreation Center.

For more information on upcoming events in Clearwater this season, go to Clearwater holiday events
Enchant Christmas in St. Petersburg

Prepare to be enchanted as Enchant Christmas in St. Petersburg transforms Tropicana Field into an immersive experience filled with the world’s largest illuminated winter wonderland. Enchant Christmas in St. Petersburg is back at Tropicana Field from November 24th to DEcember 31st.

Open from November 24th to December 31st, Enchant Christmas offers the chance to stroll a village with tiny storefronts from artisan vendors, play games with Santa’s reindeer, explore the larger-than-life light maze, glide on the ice skating trail and
more. Tickets start at $25 for juniors and $34 for adults.

For more information, go to Enchant Christmas in St. Petersburg.

Holiday lights and carnival rides at Largo Central Park

The annual tradition of holiday lights and carnival rides returns to Largo Central Park nightly from November 23rd through December 31st.  Visitors will stroll through a display of more than two million LED lights. There will be a Ferris wheel and carousel, with rides costing $6 or 10 tickets for $50. Vendors will sell food and beverages. A Christmas tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for December 2nd. 

For more information, go to Largo Central Park holiday lights.

Tampa Bay’s Festival of Lights at Hillsborough County Fairgrounds

Tampa Bay’s Festival of Lights and Santa’s Village returns to the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds from November 23rd through December 31st.

Visitors will drive nearly two miles through more than one million lights, including seasonal and Florida-themed displays and a drive-thru animated light tunnel. The expanded Santa’s Village will be open Thursdays through Sundays and will feature holiday-themed rides and a self-guided walking tour of the Hometown Hillsborough Historical Village, which will be decorated in holiday lights.

Tickets start at $20 per car for the drive-through-only experience and $25 per car on days Santa’s Village is open

For more information, go to Tampa Bay’s Festival of Lights.

Pirate Water Taxi River of Lights

The Pirate Water Taxi River of Lights holiday cruise down the Hillsborough River returns to Tampa from November 26th through December 24th.

The 45-minute tour offers a view of holiday lights and decorations, as well as festive storytelling and caroling aboard the taxi. Children will be able to write a letter to Santa and drop it in Tampa’s only floating mail buoy aboard a new “Elf on the Barge” floating display. 

The tours depart from Pirate Water Taxi’s main dock 7 located behind the Tampa Convention Center. Adult tickets start at $35 and children ages 2-12 start at $25. Annual passholders may receive 15% off admission on up to 6 tickets. 

For more information, go to River of Lights.

Symphony in Lights at The Shops at Wiregrass

The annual Symphony in Lights continues at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel nightly through December 31st.

Symphony in Lights continues nightly at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel through December 31st. Hourly shows and snowfall will begin at 6 p.m. each evening. Holiday festivities at The Shops at Wiregrass will include photos with Santa Claus, the chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree, a car show on November 19th, a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot and a “Black Friday” event with characters from “Whoville” and live reindeer.

For more information, go to The Shops at Wiregrass holiday events.
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