1. Arts & Entertainment

Where to find Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

From neighborhood displays to theme parks, we’ve got lots to look at.
Seeing the decorations at the Kresge house, a.k.a. the Oakdale Christmas House in St. Petersburg, has been a holiday tradition for many since it was first decorated in 1977. [Times (2009)]
Seeing the decorations at the Kresge house, a.k.a. the Oakdale Christmas House in St. Petersburg, has been a holiday tradition for many since it was first decorated in 1977. [Times (2009)]

Neighborhoods and area attractions have decked the halls and are lit so bright you should be able to see them from outer space. From neighborhood streets to botanical gardens to waterways, here are some promising places to take the family in search of dazzling displays.


Enchant Christmas: This large-scale, immersive holiday light experience features a giant Christmas light maze and market, a food hall, ice skating trail and live entertainment. $19.99-$32.99, $16.99-$25.99 seniors/ages 14-17, $14.99-$23.99 ages 4-13, 3 and younger free. 4 p.m. daily through Dec. 29. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg.

Holiday Lights in the Gardens: The gardens sparkle with 1 million twinkling, LED lights with lasers, lighted figures and trains. $5, 12 and younger free. 5:30 p.m. daily through Jan. 4. Florida Botanical Gardens, 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo. (727) 582-5800.

Holiday Lights in Largo Central Park: Take a stroll through the park, which is filled with more than 2 million lights. Ferris wheel and carousel rides are available. Free, $5 per ride. 6 p.m. daily through Jan. 1. Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive. (727) 587-6700.

Oakdale Christmas House: The 43rd annual light display with religious representations includes lit walkways, water fountains, a computerized light show, animated dolls, a three-story snowman and an 18-train model railroad. Free. 6 p.m. daily through Jan. 3. Christmas House, 2719 Oakdale St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-5562.

Candy Cane Lane: Dozens of residents in the Pinellas Park neighborhood decorate their homes and yards with lights, inflatables and mechanical characters. 6 p.m. daily through Jan. 1. 52nd Street near 81st Avenue N and England Brothers Park, Pinellas Park. (727) 369-0700.

Indian Trails: WFTS-Ch. 28 meteorologist Denis Phillips and his neighbors light up the Palm Harbor subdivision for charity. They sell hot chocolate, cookies and popcorn from their driveway to passersby on foot and in the line of traffic that starts backing up well before dark. Treats cost $1 and proceeds go to the Children’s Miracle Network. 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Tuesday. Alderman Road and Omaha Street.

RELATED: Hurricane man Denis Phillips is the Clark Griswold of Palm Harbor

Lights of Lake Park: The neighborhoods of Lake Park Estates, Wieker, Lakeside Estates and Lake Seminole Village generously decorate their homes and yards with over 3 miles of Christmas lights and decorations. Donations benefit Suncoast Hospice. Free (donations appreciated). 6 p.m. daily through Dec. 31. Lights of Lake Park at Lake Park Estates, Bryan Dairy Road and 109th Terrace N, Seminole. (845) 645-5468.

A crowd fills Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg to watch the mayor flip the switch and turn on the holiday lights. [Tampa Bay Times (2013)]

Waterfront Light Display: Straub Park, Vinoy Park and Pioneer Park are lit with thousands of holiday lights, with decorations and a giant greeting card display. Takes place in part of Holidays in the Sunshine City. Free. 6 p.m. daily through Jan. 1. Straub Park, Beach Drive and Fifth Avenue NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7441.

Kenneth City: Homes in the area are decorated for a neighborhood light contest. 6 p.m. daily through Dec. 31. Carl Schleck Park, 6000 54th Ave. N, Kenneth City. (727) 498-8948.

Winter’s Wonderland: Experience Winter’s Wonderland with lights and decorations all around the aquarium. Hop on the Sea of Lights boat tour to view decorations around Clearwater Bay. $25.98, 2 and younger free. 10 a.m. daily through Jan. 6. Clearwater Marine Aquarium, 249 Winward Passage, Clearwater. (727) 441-1790.

Redington Beach/Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade: Lighted boats wind through various residential canals and inlets from Redington Beach through the Park Boulevard drawbridge, and end up at Caddy’s Pub in Indian Shores. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 22. Tom Stuart Causeway, adjacent to 650 150th Ave., Madeira Beach. (727) 391-3875.

Christmas Boat Party: Enjoy live music and tiki cocktails as you check out a display of docked boats that are festively decorated for the holidays. No cover (food/drink additional). 6 p.m. Dec. 21. The Getaway, 13090 Gandy Blvd. N, St. Petersburg. (813) 267-1602.


Holiday Lighted Boat Parade Aboard the American Victory: View Tampa’s lighted boat parade from the deck of the American Victory Ship. The night includes music by DJ Reko, food trucks, eggnog, hot chocolate, visits with Santa, photos, beer and wine. $12, $10 seniors, $7 children. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21. American Victory Ship, 705 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 228-8766.

Christmas Lane: A winter wonderland extravaganza featuring Santa, 1.5 million sparkling lights, 40-foot-tall trees, live entertainment, living Nativities with real animals and a KidZone. $5, $3 ages 4-12, 3 and younger free. 6 nightly through Dec. 24. Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds, 2508 W Oak Ave., Plant City. (813) 478-0494.

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: The Sing-Along Train pulls into Christmas Town, delivering you to a land with millions of twinkling lights, holiday shows and meet and greets with Rudolph and Santa. Included with admission. 10 a.m. daily through Jan. 6. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. (813) 884-4386.

Victorian Christmas Stroll: Get a glimpse of Christmas past as the former 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel is decorated with holiday trees, 40,000 lights and hundreds of feet of garland. $16, $14 seniors, $10 children. Discount days available. 10 a.m. Dec. 19-23. Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 254-1891.

Streamside Drive Holiday Display: A 17-foot Santa towers over this display with an outdoor train and more than 55,000 lights set to music played over radio 88.3-FM. Free. 6 p.m. daily through Dec. 31. Holiday Home, 11048 Streamside Drive, Tampa.

Wonderland of Lights: Santa sets up his village at the end of this 1-mile drive-through light display with circus attractions, a wolf exhibit, amusement rides, wagon rides, camel rides and visits with Santa. $25 per car, $40 nine-25 passengers, $75 more than 26 passengers. Priced by vehicle size. 6 p.m. daily through Jan. 4. Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, 215 Sydney Washer Road, Brandon. (813) 737-3247.

River of Lights: Board the Pirate Water Taxi to drink hot chocolate and sing carols on a 45-minute cruise by giant holiday light displays along the Hillsborough River. Departs hourly from 6 to 10 p.m. $28, $18 children. 6 p.m. Dec. 19-20, Dec. 22-24 and Dec. 26-30. Pirate Water Taxi, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 390-3711.

Christmas Trail: A quarter-mile outdoor walking Christmas Trail with numerous holiday-themed scenes featuring thousands of lights, music, animated characters, photos with Santa, an ice show, snow, face painting, a 24-foot-tall pole light tree and snowball fights. Free (registration required). 5:30 p.m. Dec. 20-23. Ominous Descent, 2837 S Frontage Road, Plant City. (863) 944-0748.

Christmas Light Show: More than 30,000 channels of lights sequenced with popular holiday music. Display includes effects with water and smoke. Benefits Clothes to Kids. Free (donations appreciated). 7 p.m. Dec. 20-25 and Dec. 27-28. Sylvan Ramble Lights, 4412 W Sylvan Ramble St., Tampa. (813) 728-2841.

Downtown Tampa Lighted Boat Parade: Approximately 100 boats will be decorated with lights and ornaments and head out from the Tampa Convention center to Armature Works and back down the river to Sparkman Wharf. Prizes will be awarded for motorboat and sailboat categories. Free. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21. Tampa Riverwalk, 601 Old Water St., Tampa.

Chick-fil-A Christmas Lights: A Tampa branch of the fast-food restaurant dazzles with its annual lights display, decorations and hourly “snow” falls. Lights come on from 6 p.m. to closing Mondays through Saturdays. Free. 6299 W Waters Ave., Tampa.

North Suncoast

Celebration of Lights: A drive-through light display with inflatables, carnival games, music, a visit with Santa and special featured activities that change every weekend. Board the miniature Holiday Train on a brand-new section of track with seasonal decorations and lights for $6 per person. $10 carload. 6 p.m. Dec. 20-21. The Concourse, 11919 Alric Pottberg Road, Shady Hills. (727) 233-2968.

Symphony in Lights: The mall’s giant annual display of holiday decor, snow and lights dancing to music by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Free. Shows run from 6 to 9 nightly through Dec. 31. The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel. (813) 994-2242.

Celebration of Lights: The garden turns into a spectacle of dancing lights set to music by nightly entertainment, guest appearances and ornate decorations. $7, $3 ages 3-12, 2 and younger free. 5:30 p.m. daily through Dec. 24 and Dec. 26. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, 4150 S Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa. (352) 628-5343.


Christmas at Universal: Universal celebrates the holidays with tons of lights and giant displays including Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Macy’s Universal Holiday Parade and the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular. Check closing time at time of purchase. Included with admission. 9 a.m. daily through Jan. 5. Universal Orlando, 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando. Toll-free 1-800-837-2273.

A float and a balloon in the Holiday Parade during a nighttime preview event of Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's. [Tampa Bay Times (2017)]

SeaWorld Christmas: SeaWorld transforms into a winter wonderland with more than 3 million lights, the all-new Sesame Street Christmas Parade, seasonal shows, including O’Wondrous Night and Winter Wonderland on Ice, and meet and greets with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa. Included with admission.10 a.m. daily through Dec. 31. SeaWorld, 7007 SeaWorld Drive, Orlando. Toll-free 1-800-327-2424.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Disney’s annual holiday party with snowfall on Main Street USA, decorated buildings, a holiday-themed parade, characters dressed for the holidays, hot chocolate and an all-new fireworks display with a holiday show projected on Cinderella Castle. $94-$134 (all ages). 7 p.m. Dec. 19-22. Magic Kingdom, 1180 Seven Seas Drive, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 939-5277.

Holidays at Legoland: The holiday events include treats, holiday-themed Lego builds and “twinkling lights.” Visitors will also be able to see seasonal shows such as Holly Jolly Jubilee, a musical featuring Santa’s workshop and his elves. Snow will fall at Rockin Around, a 30-foot-tall Lego Christmas tree spectacular. Visitors can meet Lego Santa and Toy Soldier. Included with admission. $84.99 and up. 10 a.m. Dec. 20-31. Legoland Florida, 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven. Toll-free 1-888-690-5346.

To our Readers,
We are temporarily suspending comments on The staff members tasked with managing this feature are devoted to our ongoing coronavirus pandemic coverage. We apologize for this inconvenience. If you want to submit a tip, please go to this page. You may also submit a letter to the editor.