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2021 holiday events to check out around Tampa Bay

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Posted at 11:12 AM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 10:39:15-05

TAMPA, Fla.—Whether you're looking for festive lights or pop-up Christmas bars, these 15 events are sure to put you in the holiday spirit!


Winter Village
When: November 19-January 2
Where: Curtis Hixon Park at 600 N Ashley Dr, Tampa
Cost: FREE
Info: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is transformed with the sights, sounds and activities of the holidays for children and adults of all ages. Enjoy The Shops of Winter Village featuing 7 boutiques from local vendors, winter cafe that serves up holiday treats and an ice skating rink ($17, includes skate rental). Hop aboard the Winter Village Express ($10 for everyone over the age of 2), a one hour excursion that features a sing-a-long, trivia and milk and cookies.

Giant Adventure: Winter Village at Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park

River of Lights
When: December 3-30
Where: Tampa Convention Center (Pirate Water Taxi Home Dock: Stop #7)
Cost: $20 for children | $25 for adults
Info: Hop on Tampa's water taxi tour of holiday lights and decorations along the river including Holiday Island. As you cruise, you will get up-close views of Downtown Tampa's spectacular seasonal decorations and holiday lights. This family-friendly event will include a holiday river tour hosted by Ebenezer, Dickens Carolers performing Christmas sing-a-longs, and a chance to see snow flurries in Florida! Every child will have an opportunity to write a letter to Santa and drop it off in Tampa's only floating mailbox to the North Pole.

Giant Adventure: The River of Lights in Downtown Tampa

Sylvan Ramble Lights
When: December 3-31 (select nights)
Where: 4412 West Sylvan Ramble Street, Tampa
Cost: FREE
Info: What started as a small computerized light show, has turned into one of the biggest holiday light shows in the area! Shows last about 20 minutes and feature popular songs that will be sure to get you in the holiday mood, plus special effects like fog and and spark machines. The show is free to watch, but they will be collecting donations for Where Love Grows.

Bad Santa: A Naughty Pop-Up Cocktail Experience
When: December 9-26 (select nights)
Where: The Cuban Club at 2010 Avenida Republica de Cuba, Tampa
Cost: $55+
Info: This immersive holiday speakeasy in Ybor is run by a naughty Kris Kringle, who wanted to take a year off to pursue his dream of opening a bar. Visit one of the naughtiest locations in the city as Bad Santa himself takes you on a very merry 4-part interactive cocktail journey. Ticket Price includes includes 4 themed cocktails and live entertainment. Hang out with Bad Santa and find out what it really means to be on the naughty list!

Hang out with a Naughty Kris Kringle at Bad Santa Bar in Ybor | Taste and See Tampa Bay

Tampa Riverwalk’s Holiday Spectacular
When: November 26-January 2
Where: Curtis Hixon Park
Cost: Free
Info: The Tampa Riverwalk is decking the halls or should we say the river! From November 20th to January 2nd, you can get in the holiday spirit and experience the Riverwalk’s Holiday Spectacular! Enjoy lots and lots of festive light displays as you stroll alongside the river. As most holiday events on the Tampa Riverwalk are, the holiday spectacular is free and fun for all ages!

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
When: November 12-January 2
Where: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Cost: $99
Info: Celebrate the year with holiday cheer and create merry memories for the whole family during this iconic seasonal event. Included in park admission, park guests can enjoy holiday traditions with a twist, from millions of twinkling lights throughout the park’s 335 acres to holiday shows and visits with Santa and Rudolph® the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay | Taste and See Tampa Bay

Christmas in the Wild
When: November 26-December 30
Where: ZooTampa at 1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa
Cost: $29.95 (ages 2 and under get in FREE)
Info: It’s the most wonderful time of the year at ZooTampa with the return of Christmas in the Wild, featuring one of Tampa Bay’s largest light displays, delectable holiday treats, amazing wildlife and new festive adventures. This year is BIGGER, better and brighter than ever, with six new illuminated zones of lights and festive entertainment that the whole family will enjoy.

Have fun with animals with Christmas in the Wild at ZooTampa | Taste and See Tampa Bay

St. Petersburg

Winter Beach at St. Pete Pier
When: November 20-January 17
Where: St. Pete Pier at 800 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg
Cost: FREE
Info: The St. Pete Pier is transforming into a waterfront winter wonderland! There’s always something to do at Winter Beach and at the St. Pete Pier, from ice skating, to Santa sightings, to an arcade, or a free holiday concert. Find the perfect gift this holiday season at the Winter Beach Holiday Market, featuring a diverse lineup of local vendors, artists, and the Winter Beach gift shop. Admission to Winter Beach is free, however, tickets are required to ice skate. Tickets are now on sale for $17, and include 75-minute access to the rink and skate rentals.

Winter Beach at the St. Pete Pier | Taste and See Tampa Bay

Enchant Christmas
When: November 26-January 2
Where: Tropicana Field at 1 Tropicana Dr., St. Petersburg
Cost: $25+ (ages 2 and under are free)
Info: The immersive experience is back this year and will again transform Tropicana Field into a Christmas wonderland. Enchant features ice skating, Christmas light maze, the Enchant Market, a kids play area, plenty of holiday treats and Santa himself.

Enchant Christmas returns to Tropicana Field for the holidays | Taste and See Tampa Bay

Miracle at Mezzo
When: November 26-December 31
Where: Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails at 1111 Central Ave, St. Petersburg
Cost: FREE
Info: Back for it's 4th consecutive year, Intermezzo is transforming into a holiday bar! Enjoy specially crafted Christmas cocktails and shots ranging from $9-$14 as you take in the kitschy and festive decor!

This pop-up Christmas cocktail bar in St. Pete will put you in the holiday spirit | Taste and See Tampa Bay

Around Hillsborough

Tampa Bay's Festival of Lights and Santa's Village
When: November 25-January 2 (select nights)
Where: Hillsborough County Fairgrounds at 215 Sydney Washer Rd, Dover
Cost: $25/car (up to 8 people)
Info: The Hillsborough County Fairgrounds has an ALL-NEW holiday light spectacular. Tampa Bay’s Festival of Lights and Santa’s Village will envelop guests in an enchanting winter wonderland from beginning to end. One million lights will blanket the entire site and this year’s event boasts a nearly two-mile drive-thru of continuous light features followed by a festive walking visit to Santa’s Village, where guests can enjoy ornament making, camel rides, plenty of food vendors, pictures with Santa and much more. Select nights are drive-thru only ($20/car) so make sure to plan ahead!

Tampa Bay's Festival of Lights and Santa's Village | Taste and See Tampa Bay

Nights of Shimmering Lights
When: November 26-December 26 (select nights)
Where: Sunkissed Acres at 2302 N Dover Road, Dover
Cost: $7 (kids 2 and under get in FREE)
Info: This winter event features a ¼-mile walking trail through the shimmering lights dancing to music. Walk at your own pace and stop as often as you like. Didn’t get enough the first time through? Try it again and again as many times as you like! When you need a break, make sure to stop at the Holiday Village for light refreshments, watch a seasonal movie on the big screen, play some games or take pictures at the photo spot.

Night of Shimmering Lights in Dover, FL | Taste and See Tampa Bay

Around Pinellas

Santa's Social Club
When: December 1-27
Where: Sonder Social Club at 966 Douglas Ave Unit 101, Dunedin
Cost: FREE
Info: Sonder Social Club in Dunedin has transformed into Santa's Social Club, for a much-needed, unique Christmas pop-up bar experience! Check out more than 2,000 feet of lights, 1,000 ornaments and additional festive decor that customers brought in. The bar features a 12 Drinks of Christmas cocktail menu (prices range from $10-$13) as well as some festive holiday food items.

This Christmas Pop-Up Bar in Dunedin will bring you holiday cheer | Taste and See Tampa Bay

Florida Botanical Gardens
When: November 26-January 2
Where: 12520 Ulmerton Rd, Largo
Cost: $10 suggested donation for those over 13
Info: The Gardens will sparkle with 1 million, twinkling, LED lights in a multitude of colors. Vibrant laser lights and lighted figures round out our display to wow guests of all ages. The Train Guys will be back again for the opening weekend of the event. Their model trains will surround our 18 foot evergreen tree, bedecked in nature-inspired splendor, in the heart of the Wedding Garden.

Holiday Lights at The Florida Botanical Gardens | Taste and See Tampa Bay

Lights on 98th
When: December 4-24 (select nights)
Where: 7877 98th St. N, Seminole
Cost: FREE
Info: This drive-thru/walk-thru experience in Seminole features roughly a 1/4-million lights, live music, holiday movies, a fire pit and free Chick-fil-A cookies. Stop by for a photo with Santa and the Grinch as you take in the colorful Christmas display. This is a free community event to attend, but they are accepting donations for Stop the Movement, a local charity that raises awareness about human trafficking.

Lights on 98th Street in Seminole | Taste and See Tampa Bay