At USAmeriBank we are committed to banking on values and understand that the holiday season is an important time for many of us, and so we hope you take time to celebrate the holidays with your family and friends. With that in mind, our team has created a list of some of the area’s best holiday events that will hopefully help make your holiday merry and bright. From parades to light shows, there is an opportunity for everyone to get in on the holiday fun. We hope these festive suggestions will help you create some great memories and perhaps even start a new annual tradition.
• Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park – (Nov 17 – Jan 5) www.wintervillagetampa.com
Celebrate the holiday season in Downtown Tampa at the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park, presented by USAmeriBank. Located along the Tampa Riverwalk, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is transformed with the sights, sounds and activities of the holidays for children and adults of all ages. The Winter Village includes Tampa’s only outdoor ice skating rink, a pop up holiday shopping experience, and the Winter Village Express holiday themed streetcar.
• Christmas in the Wild at Lowry Park Zoo – (Various thru December) www.lowryparkzoo.com
Lowry Park Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with breathtaking lights, delicious holiday treats, festive entertainment and wildlife at night. Enjoy seasonal treats, enchanting entertainment and a 50-foot animated Christmas tree! Best of all, visit Santa in his Tree Top Lodge and marvel at the magic of wildlife at night.
• Snow on Seventh – (Dec 9) www.yborcityonline.com/events/snow-on-7th/
Experience a magical experience on Seventh Avenue in Ybor City as snow falls from the rooftops. The parade will include Mayor Bob Buckhorn, several marching bands, childrens dance groups, and Santa himself.
• St. Petersburg Illuminated Boat Parade - (Dec 9) www.stpeteboatparade.org
Enjoy a Florida holiday season with the annual tradition of a holiday boat parade. Organized by the Rotary Club of St Petersburg, this will mark the 31st year that the boat parade will make its way through downtown St. Petersburg. The parade will begin at Bayboro, pass in front of the old pier area, present near Spa Beach, sail by the Vinoy Basin, then make its way back out into Tampa Bay.
• Plant Museum Victorian Christmas Stroll - (Dec 1 - Dec 23) www.plantmuseum.com
Experience the grandeur of a Victorian Christmas at the former 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel. Visitors will explore the Museum transformed by Christmas trees ranging in height from a few inches to more than 14 feet, 40,000 lights, and hundreds of feet of garland. Decorations include vintage fashions, antique toys, locally sourced cigar boxes, and fanciful ornaments. Complimentary cider and cookies will be served on the veranda each day.
• Christmas Town at Busch Gardens - (Nov 19 – Dec 31) www.buschgardens.com
Every holiday season Busch Gardens transforms part of its attraction to celebrate the season. Christmas Town beams with twinkling lights, Yuletide shows, holiday shopping and even Santa’s House. Beloved characters from the television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer return with Christmas Town’s debut of Sam the Snowman.
• Florida Botanical Gardens Holiday Lights in the Gardens - (Nov 24 – Dec 31) www.flbg.org
Holiday Lights in the Gardens is a seasonal escape into a wonderland of twinkling lights and fun entertainment. Over 1 million LED lights shine throughout the Botanical Gardens highlighting the plants and nature-themed light displays. Holiday Lights is a family friendly event and includes refreshments, entertainment, and Santa.
• City of Tampa Tree Lighting Ceremony (Dec 1) www.tampagov.net
Join Mayor Buckhorn at Curtis Hixon Park on the first Friday in December to participate in Tampa's annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The events will begin at 6pm, include a countdown to light the tree, and a free showing of The Polar Express. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets, low back chairs, and family friendly treats to enjoy the festive atmosphere and the movie.
• Largo Annual Holiday Stroll – (Nov 31 – Jan 1) www.largo.com
Gather at Largo Central Park for a stroll through the beautiful lights and entertainment. Enjoy a variety of crafts and activities throughout the month for all ages. More than two million LED lights will illuminate the 70-acre park. Lighting will be available all month, with the official Christmas tree lighting taking place on December 2nd at 7pm!
• North Straub Park SnowFest and Boat Parade – (Dec 2) www.stpeteparksrec.org
Celebrate the holidays with sixty-four tons of snow in downtown St. Petersburg during the annual Snowfest festival. Activities include a toboggan slide, art tent, karaoke, moonwalk, giant slide, and “glice” ice skating.
• University of Tampa Sykes Chapel Holiday Concert - (Dec 3) www.ut.edu/sykeschapel/events
Enjoy a joyful opening to the holiday season with traditional and new music sung by the student voices of the UT Chamber Singers and Camerata. Maestro Ryan Hebert and Rodney Shores will conduct the University of Tampa Choirs through seasonal music with a brass ensemble.
• North Pole Express by the Florida Train Museum (Nov 30 – Dec 18) www.frrm.org
Board a train for the north Pole at the Florida Train Museum in Parrish, FL. The 30-minute ride in an historic train car include carolers who walk the aisles singing some of your favorite Christmas songs. Once you arrive at the North Pole, families enjoy lights, drink unlimited hot chocolate, roast smores, and participate in arts and crafts. The night includes a visit by Santa.