Downtown Tampa annual holiday celebration has already started with the opening of The Tampa Downtown Partnership’s Winter Village, a winter wonderland offering an outdoor ice-skating rink and other activities, at Curtis Hixon Park. New to the holiday celebrations this year is a Tampa Bay Lighting-themed 360-degree holiday light show with illuminated trees synchronized to music, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
They are always looking for ways to enhance the Winter Village experience, and this will be their most memorable year yet. They are excited to partner with the Tampa Bay Lightning this year. You will see a lot of new holiday decorations in honor of our back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.
The 5,000-square-foot ice-skating rink at Curtis Hixon Park will operate seven days a week. Tickets require advanced reservations are subject to weather and rink conditions. Tickets are $17. (Click here)
Also, new this year, the festivities are expanding to Lykes Gaslight Square Park. “Sweet Street at The Square” will feature Sweet Mama’s Ice Cream shop along with lighting, local shopping and activations every Sunday.
The family-friendly excursion will continue to take families from downtown’s Whiting Station to Ybor City and back on the TECO Line Streetcar. The one-hour trip features a holiday sing-along, holiday trivia, milk and cookies, and some surprises. The Winter Village Express only runs on Sunday evenings. Dates are Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12 and 19. Tickets are $10 with children 2 and under riding for free. Click here for tickets.
And for those on a budget, there’s plenty to do at the Winter Village that is free of charge as well. There will be random appearances by Santa and the Curtis Hixon Choo-Choo, a 12-seat, three-car trackless train, will make 10-minute loops around the park during the light show.
2021 Santa Fest Return to Curtis Hixon Waterfront
The 2021 Santa Fest returns to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park Dec. 4, followed by the annual Tampa tree lighting. The parade steps off at 1:30 p.m. at Morgan and Madison streets, travels west on Madison Street to Ashley Drive, turns north and ends at Ashley Drive and Cass Street. The best viewing is along Madison Street.
After the parade through downtown, stop by Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for Santa Fest entertainment and activities from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Santa will light the holiday tree at 5:30 p.m. The evening will wrap up with Tampa Theatre presenting the 2018 film, “The Grinch” on the lawn in the park at 7 p.m.
Enjoy Winter Wonder Ride and Help Kids
The 10th annual Winter Wonder Ride Dec. 11 at Curtis Hixon Park. This is a holiday-themed bike ride through downtown Tampa and along Bayshore Boulevard before returning to Curtis Hixon Park for a post-ride celebration. The ride departs at 4:30 p.m. Riders must check in by 4 p.m. General admission is $55 and includes the ride, a commemorative T-shirt, access to the post-ride celebration and a bike valet to keep your bike safe. (VIP and other special programs are available. Click here for tickets. Proceeds will go to purchase new bikes for kids in need throughout Tampa Bay again this year.
Holiday Classics in The Park:
Tampa Theatre will host free screenings of holiday classic films on the lawn in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m., “A Christmas Story” will be available for viewing.
Holiday Lighted Boat Parade:
Tampa’s largest lighted boat parade will happen the Saturday before Christmas, Dec. 18, along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa.
The parade begins at 6 p.m. at the southern tip of Davis Islands, travels through the Convention Center basin and up to the Heights where the boats will turn around and head to Sparkman Wharf where judging will occur.
Judges are pairs from Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the first-, second- and third-place winners of the sailboat and motorboat competitions will each receive a trophy.
All photos shown are for editorial purposes only to help promote the Winter Village in Downtown Tampa Partnership and Visit Tampa Bay. Many of the photos are from previous year’s events. All rights reserved.