Hello, winter!! Please stay as long as you’d like, or until I run out of cute outfits. While we have it, I figured this is the perfect time to talk about “must see” places and events for the Christmas season.
- Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park
- Winter Village has become a major event for downtown Tampa, and only continues to get better each year. Guests can get into the Christmas spirit with ice skating, shopping, and tons of other family-friendly activities.
- Don’t feel like finding a parking spot in downtown? New this year, the Winter Village Express transports guests on a holiday-themed streetcar from Centro Ybor to Whiting Station, just steps away from Winter Village. The streetcar also offers a combo ticket with transportation + ice skating!
- My recommendation: grab a lawn chair and go to a movie on the lawn! While Tampa Theatre undergoes renovations, it’s hosting Winter Classics on select Friday’s and Saturday’s.
- December 15: Elf
- December 16: It’s a Wonderful Life
- River of Lights
- Pirate Water Taxi offers a seasonal experience with River of Lights, a 45-minute cruise down the river with holiday cookies and hot chocolate included. For those who prefer the “adult” method to stay warm, beer and wine are also available for purchase on-board.
- Although the Pirate Water Taxi operates every night, River of Lights is offered on Friday’s – Sunday’s and select other dates.
- My recommendation: hop on the River of Lights on December 23rd, when the Riverwalk hosts its annual Lighted Boat Parade. There’s no doubt that this will be the best way to take in the sights of all the festive boats on the river.
- Busch Gardens Christmas Town
- If you’re looking for a place to enjoy all-things-Christmas, look no further. During the holiday season, Busch Gardens transforms into a winter wonderland with over two million lights, nine festive shows, endless holiday-eats, and all your favorite thrill rides.
- New this year, Sam the Snowman joins Rudolph & Friends for the perfect photo ops (but Bumble will forever be my favorite).
- My recommendation: Go all in and get a food/drink sampler lanyard to get a little taste of everything at the park. Christmas Town Village is the perfect spot for your sweet tooth, housing everything from mini doughnuts to sweet potato s’mores. If you’re in the mood for salty/sweet, get the chicken and waffles. You will not regret it.
LIGHTS AND SIGHTS
- Chick-Fil-A, Waters Avenue
- If you’re ever in the mood for Chick-Fil-A, which happens often for me, consider making the drive to the Waters Avenue location. Even if there’s a wait in the drive thru, you spend that wait in a tunnel of magical lights. The second best part? You leave with Chick-Fil-A food (yum).
- South Boulevard
- Right off Swann Ave, South Boulevard brightens the night with all white lights (sorry for the tongue twister on that one).
- Hyaleah Road
- I’m a little bias because I grew up in Temple Terrace, but this street is always decked out in gorgeous lights. I’ve always wondered if it was a pre-requisite that you had to agree to carry on the tradition if you move in on this block…
- The Oakdale Christmas House
- Located at 2719 Oakdale Street South, this St. Pete house has an incredible light display and a $4,000 electric bill that comes with it. With a bill that high, you know it has to be good.
Happy Holidays and happy sight-seeing!