By: Max Crampton-Thomas
4 min read December 2019 — ‘Tis the season for family fun and Tampa Bay has a myriad of holiday happenings to choose from. It comes as no surprise that the region holds such an eclectic and widespread range of options as the local economy boasts healthy and robust tourism and entertainment markets. The only challenge is deciding how to choose between all of the merry events happening throughout the Bay. Invest: explores five of the top options to spend your time during this holiday season.
Not everyone is privileged to have the World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze and Market in their own backyard, but those in the Tampa Bay region can find this very attraction at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Embark on an adventure to find Santa’s reindeer inside an amazing, custom-designed light maze. Once you have solved the mystery, guests can enjoy the seasonal food and drinks as well as a Christmas Market featuring over 40 local and international artisans. Enchant runs until Dec. 29 and is a wonderful event for families of all ages.
For more, visit: https://enchantchristmas.com/stpete
Busch Gardens Christmas Town
On its own merit, Busch Gardens is already a must-see attraction in the Bay, so the fact that it features a holiday event that USA Today ranked as one of it’s 10 Best Theme Park Holiday Events, only furthers this narrative. Christmas Town not only is a beautifully decorated affair with millions of holiday lights, it is also a truly fun event. Visitors are afforded the opportunity to visit with Santa and Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, holiday-themed culinary experiences, live shows and the ability to have nighttime experiences on their famous thrill rides. Christmas Town is open to the public until Jan. 6 so there is still plenty of time to enjoy.
To read more, visit: https://buschgardens.com/tampa/events/christmas-town/
Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park
Winter Village is not the typical holiday-themed event. Winter Village features a holiday-themed cafe, appropriately deemed the Icicle Craft Kitchen, a variety of unique shopping experiences and a unique train ride called the Winter Village Express. But perhaps most significant is the last thing most people would expect to find in Florida: an outdoor ice rink. This is Downtown Tampa’s only outdoor ice rink,and quite possibly one of the only ones in Florida, which is made even more unique with the amazing views of the Tampa Riverwalk and Hillsborough River. This can’t miss opportunity is open until Jan. 5 and the perfect way to bring some holiday happiness.
For more, visit: http://www.wintervillagetampa.com/
Downtown Tampa Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
In most of the country, a boat is the last place anyone would expect to be during the wintertime, but in Florida the winter is possibly the best time to take out a boat and enjoy the cooler temperatures. That being said, it’s only fitting that Downtown Tampa is home to the annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade. The parade runs all the way down Tampa Riverwalk and features some of the region’s most unique watercrafts sporting their finest holiday lights. The event takes place from 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 in Downtown Tampa.
For more information, visit: https://thetampariverwalk.com/events/lighted-boat-parade/
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
This time of year all of the major holidays have one consistent thing in common: there is always a big football game on. In Tampa Bay, this stands true as the region will once again welcome the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl to town on Dec. 23 at Raymond James Stadium. Residents of the Bay can enjoy from their homes or partake in the festivities at the game as the University of Central Florida Knights take on last year’s Bowl champions the Marshall Thundering Herd. The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without some good old-fashioned football.
To learn more, visit: https://www.gasparillabowl.com/