We may not be breaking out the skis and snow boots — plenty of us are still wearing t-shirts and flip flops — but we can still get into the holiday spirit here in Tampa Bay. We’ve got it all: parties, family events and even snow. Check out some of these incredible holiday celebrations to get you and your family in a holiday mood.
North Straub Park
350 5th Ave. N.E.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Date: Dec. 7, 2013 at 11 a.m.
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, you can have one without booking a flight. Sixty-five tons of white powder will be falling on North Straub Park, paving the way for fun activities like tobogganing and “glice” ice skating. Other family-friendly activities will include cookie decorating, a Santa parade, tree lighting, climbing wall, art walk and more. Wristbands are only $5 for both kids and adults. This is an event you won’t want to miss.
Symphony in Lights
The Shops at Wiregrass
28211 Paseo Drive
Wesley Chapel, FL 33534
Dates: Nightly through Dec. 31, 21013
If you want to “ooh” and “ahh” at the sight of twinkling lights set to the beautiful music of one of the most famous orchestras in the world, pay The Shops at Wiregrass a visit on any night in December. Playing throughout each evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., you can view over 250,000 lights that dance to the concert music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Make your way to Center Court to immerse yourself in a winter wonderland with snow flurries to boot.
Winter Break Bash
1619 E. 7th Ave.
Tampa, FL 33605
Date: Dec. 12, 2013 at 10 p.m.
Every Thursday is college night at this Ybor club, but on December 12, students from USF, UT, HCC and other local colleges can celebrate the end of the semester and kick off the start of winter break with a bang. Regular admission is $10 and V.I.P. admission is $20, but there is no cover charge for ladies or for college students with I.D. until midnight. Drink specials include $2 domestic bottles, $2 shots and $3 cocktails. Holiday dress is encouraged but not required. Don’t forget to bring your I.D.
2013 Jingle Bell Run/Walk
Hillsborough Community College Dale Mabry Campus
4001 W. Tampa Bay Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33614
Date: Dec. 21, 2013 at 9 a.m.
This annual race was voted as one of the “Most Incredible Themed Races.” Participants can choose either a 5K or one-mile route to help raise awareness and raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation. In addition, this family-friendly event will include a holiday costume contest, kids’ activities and a Santa chase, food, entertainment and beer and mimosas after the race. All race participants will receive a goodie bag, jingle bells and a long-sleeved official Jingle Bell shirt. Register online today.
River Of Lights Holiday Cruise
Yacht Star Ship
603 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
If you’re dying to go on a cruise but just can’t get away, check out the Yacht Star Ship for a mini-cruise. The River of Lights Holiday Cruise is an annual event that gives cruise-goers a tour of beautifully lighted bridges and the Tampa Harbor while enjoying a free concert from a chorus of carolers and feasting on a fabulous buffet of traditional holiday foods. To top it all off, there will be a visit from Santa for the kids, hot chocolate and some of Santa’s favorite cookies. Call ahead for reservations. Tickets are $49.95 for adults and $29.95 for children. A portion of ticket sales will benefit Friends of the Riverwalk.
Head to CBS Tampa’s Best Of pages for more local tips on family fun, shopping, nightlife, food, culture and more!
Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.