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Tampa Bay Traditions: Our Favorite Holiday Events this November

The holiday music is already creeping into your car radio…it’s that a time, friends! The holidays are upon us and there are some fantastic events kicking off this month in Tampa Bay.

Our team has picked our favorite holiday events in Tampa Bay to share with you, so get the calendars out and let’s starting planning!

Related: Thanksgiving Break Camps in Tampa Bay 


Holiday Shopping Events:

The Junior League of Tampa Holiday Gift Market

The Junior League of Tampa Holiday Gift Market presented by Publix 

Nov. 11-14, various times  
‘Tis  the season of giving and shopping! The Junior League of Tampa’s largest fundraising event is back at the Florida State Fairgrounds and it’s a win-win–you get to support a good cause while supporting small businesses! There will be more than 200 merchants to shop and explore during this year’s event which is very sweetly, Candyland-inspired. Net proceeds fund the League’s community projects around Tampa Bay, focusing on child welfare and education.  For more information and tickets, visit  jltampa.org/hgm 


 Spectacular Lights and Holiday Events in Tampa Bay: 

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa

Santa at Bass Pro Shop in Brandon

Nov. 7-Dec. 24

Santa is back at Bass Pro Shop! Since Santa still needs to stay healthy during the holidays, kids won’t be able to sit on his lap, but they will be able to sit on the bench in front of him while visiting. There will also be games and events for the whole family, carousel rides, and holiday craft gift bags to take home. Visits are by appointment only and reservations can be made online within a 7-day timeframe of the visit. basspro.com

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens 

Nov. 12-Jan. 2, 2022

Enjoy park-wide festive fun at this award-winning holiday event. The park becomes filled with holiday cheer and guests can enjoy holiday traditions with a twist. Ride the Holly Jolly Express train, view millions of twinkling lights from the top of a roller coaster, visit Santa in his workshop, and spend time with Rudolph and his friends from the classic holiday movie, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Guests can also enjoy festive live shows and take part in special holiday dining and shopping. buschgardens.com 

Santa Photos at Tampa Bay Shopping Centers 

Nov. 11-Dec. 24 (dates and times vary by location)

Santa will be back at several Tampa area malls including International Plaza, Westshore Mall, and The Shops at Wiregrass. Orchestrated once again by Cherry Hill Productions, there are still safety measures in place, though guests now have the option to sit with Santa or take socially distanced pictures with Santa. Other safety standards in place include vaccinated Santa characters, required staff face coverings (except for Santa) and increased cleaning procedures. Reservations required at select locations. whereissanta.com

Symphony in Lights at Wiregrass

Nov. 13-Dec. 31 

Kick off the season with a tree lighting ceremony Nov. 13 from 5-9 p.m. and then return the rest of the season to experience the dancing lights, holiday décor and snow at The Shops at Wiregrass. Catch an inspiring light show choreographed to the holiday music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Shows are nightly on the hour. Free. theshopsatwiregrass.com

Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park  in Downtown Tampa 

Nov. 19-Jan. 2, 2022, various times
Celebrate the holidays starting in November and lasting into the new year at Curtis Hixon Park. Come see the transformed waterfront park decked with sights, sounds and activities full of holiday cheer for children and adults of all ages. Downtown Tampa’s only outdoor ice rink will be back again this year as another must-do for Tampa residents and guests alike.  wintervillagetampa.com 

Winter Beach at the St. Pete Pier 

Nov. 20-January 17, 2022

This is a NEW event in Tampa Bay that will transform the St. Pete Pier in a holiday wonderland with outdoor ice skating on real ice, “snow days”, a silent disco, food, holiday music and more. Admission to Winter Beach is free, but you will need to pay an admission fee to ice skate on the 4,000 square foot rink. winterbeachstpete.com

Holiday Spectacular on the Tampa Riverwalk and Water Works Park 

Nov. 20-Jan. 2, 2022 

Take a stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk among the festive holiday lights as the area transforms into a winter wonderland. Highlights include a 35-foot-tall LED lighted Christmas tree that floats in the harbor, a holiday selfie station at the Pirate Water Taxi ticket booth, a floating gingerbread lighted display, and a lighted pine tree forest. Hotels, restaurants, and bars along the Riverwalk will also have festive lighted displays.  Thetampariverwalk.com 

Gingerbread Village at Glazer Children’s Museum 

Nov. 20-Jan. 3, 2022 
GCM is getting into the holiday spirit with a gingerbread-inspired wonderland sponsored by Macy’s. Located on Level 2 of the museum, children can step into a sweet winter wonderland to build a gingerbread house made from recycled materials like cardboard, pipe cleaners, bottle caps and more. glazermuseum.org

Photo Credit: Glazer Children’s Museum

Raprager Family Farm’s Winter Festival and Christmas Extravaganza

Nov. 26- Dec. 28

Raprager Family Farm is exploding with Christmas cheer! Lights and decorations blanket the farm. Go on a holiday hayride and take a picture inside a giant inflatable snow globe. Check out the lighted gingerbread village, hear stories from Mrs. Claus and pay a visit to Santa and take pictures with him at his workshop. In addition to holiday-themed attractions, there will be a petting zoo, corn pit, bounce pillow, and crop maze. While you are there, be sure to stop by the Sweet Shop for some warm cinnamon roasted nuts, hot cocoa, and Christmas fudge. rapragerfamilyfarms.com/christmas

A Pirate’s Christmas Cruise on the Lost Pearl in Tampa

Select nights beginning Nov. 26

We love this only in Tampa experience! You and the kids can set sail on a Christmas themed cruise on the beloved Lost Pearl. The kiddos can even write a letter to Santa and drop it off on Tampa’s only floating mailbox! There will even be flurries of snowflakes. Learn more and book your cruise here: tampapirateship.com

Christmas in the Wild  at ZooTampa

Nov. 29 and 30; Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 20-23, 26-30, various times  
The zoo transforms into a whimsical wonderland filled with lights, seasonal holiday treats and festive shows. Enjoy the magic of wildlife at night while celebrating the holiday season. Wander back to Santa’s village where you can meet the big guy himself. Socially distanced photos with Santa can be taken in front of his sleigh.  zootampa.org  

The Wonderland of Lights & Santa’s Villagein Auburndale 

Nov. 25-Jan. 2, 2022 various times 

Experience Tampa Bay’s holiday theme park in a new location at International Market World in Auburndale. Enjoy a beautiful mile of decorated Holiday displays and dazzling lights. Once your mile is up, check out holiday-themed attractions, a wolf exhibit, rides, and of course, photos with Santa. thewonderlandoflights.com 

Holiday Lights & Rides at Largo Central Park

Nov. 25-Jan. 2, 2022 

Largo Central Park will light up again with more than 2 million LED Christmas lights. This is an outdoor walking Christmas light tour. Hop on the seven-story Ferris wheel for a bird’s eye view of the 70-acre park. Rides are $5 each. Largo Central Park’s Christmas lights and holiday lights are from 6 -11 p.m. It is free to park and stroll among the sparkly Christmas lights.  101 Central Park Dr., Largo, FL 33771.  Playlargo.com 

Holidays at LEGOLAND  

Nov. 26-28 and Dec. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 24-31 

Holidays at LEGOLAND feature a combination of seasonal shows, tasty treats and twinkling lights. Guests will dance, sing along, and deck the halls with interactive experiences, rock around a 30-foot-tall LEGO tree with interactive lights and music, meet LEGO Santa and create memories with giant holiday-themed LEGO builds. Legoland.com/florida 

Enchant Christmasat Tropicana Field

Nov. 26-Jan. 2, 2022, various times  
Become part of the magical story of “The Mischievous Elf” as you help save Christmas at the World of Enchant. Wander through the incredible dazzling display of lights, spin around on the ice-skating rink, and create some fun holiday crafts. Head over to Santa’s Landing to meet Santa himself. Nestled in a serene snowscape below a sky full of twinkling stars, it is an enchanting and memorable setting for a one-of-a-kind Christmas experience. stpete.enchantchristmas.com 

Oakdale Christmas House  in St. Petersburg 

Nov. 26, 2021-Jan. 3, 2022 6-10 p.m. 

Prepare to be dazzled by an array of half a million flashing colorful twinkles for a holiday light display that garnered a top 3 showing as a finalist on NBC’s “Today” show. Check out an 18-train HO scale railroad, moving planes, carnival rides and many more NEW additions for 2021 at the St. Petersburg home. Admission is free. Home is located at 2719 Oakdale St. S., St. Petersburg .   christmasdisplay.org    


Holiday Performances in November: 

Holidaze at the Mahaffey

Cirque Dreams  Holidaze  at The Mahaffey

Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.  
Bring in the holiday season with a bang! With colorful new acts, cool holiday scenes, unique performances and special appearances from Santa himself, this is a holiday extravaganza you won’t want to miss! themahaffey.com 


Holiday Stories in Tampa Bay:

We’re putting the finishing touches on our annual holiday guides, so stand by! It’ll be ready to help guide your holiday planning very soon!


Holiday Events in Orlando kicking off in November: 

So. Much. Christmas. at Gaylord Palms

Nov. 19, 2021-Jan. 3, 2022
There’s something for everyone during the holidays at Gaylord Palms Resort. Experience the luxury of a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal at Villa de Flora. Enjoy classic holiday activities like photos with Santa, gingerbread house decorating, and story time with Mrs. Claus. Feast with the Grinch during a character breakfast and then join him on his Wonderful Awful Idea Scavenger Hunt. Stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and discover acres of magnificent decorations including a 60-foot Christmas tree and over 2 million dazzling lights throughout the resort. Other family-friendly activities include Snow Flow Mountain, Elf Training Academy, Cirque: Spirit of Christmas, and The Greatest Story Stage Show. New this year is Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf. Journey into Buddy the Elf’s world to help save Christmas during this multi-sensory interactive experience. christmasatgaylordpalms.marriott.com 

Holidays at Universal Orlando

Nov. 13, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022
Head to Universal Orlando Resort for the biggest, loudest, awesomest holiday celebration of the season. Celebrate with seasonal shows and decorations in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Sip on hot Butterbeer in Diagon Alley in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade in Universal Islands of Adventure as they come to life with magical lights and festive events. The Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s features larger-than-life balloons, with appearances by the Minions and characters from Shrek and Madagascar. Head over to Whoville for The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular starring The Grinch himself. universalorlando.com 

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration

Nov. 13, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022
During the holidays, SeaWorld transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland. Over 3 million sparkling lights light up the park. Experience award-winning entertainment like the ice-skating extravaganza, Winter Wonderland on Ice. Meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer from the beloved holiday TV classic, and head over to Wild Artic to meet Santa himself. seaworld.com 

Colorful Christmas at Crayola Experience

Nov. 20, 2021-Jan. 3, 2022
Crayola’s Colorful Christmas Crew is back with an all-new challenge! Help Santa and his friends save the holiday and enjoy some SNOW-tastic adventures as you go. Solve riddles and listen to stories from animatronic Christmas characters. Kids can play in a life-sized snow globe and watch a light show by Scarlet and her singing reindeer friends. And of course, what would be a visit without some holiday arts and crafts? Included with general admission. crayolaexperience.com 

Brie Gorecki
Brie has been writing for websites and local publications for over 10 years. A USF graduate, she has worked for several major companies in New York, Atlanta and here in Tampa. You can read her articles on Tampa Bay Parenting, Tampa Bay Date Night Guide and Orlando Date Night Guide. She’s a Disney fanatic, an animal lover, and is a huge foodie who loves trying all the amazing restaurants around Tampa Bay. She’s a proud mom to a sweet little Star Wars and Godzilla-loving boy, and to her “fur-babies,” a rescue dog and cat from Humane Society of Tampa Bay. She loves spending time with her family, whether it’s a date night out with her husband or a day filled with roller coaster rides at a theme park.

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