Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 31-Jan.6

Published Dec. 31, 2018

New Year's Eve: It's time to ring in 2019 tonight and Tampa Bay is teeming with ways to celebrate. First Night St Petersburg is a family-oriented celebration of the arts that includes music, art and entertainment at more than 10 venues around downtown. It's free to wander around, but you need a button to participate in activities and enter venues ($12-$15, $5-$10 ages 6-12, 5 and younger free). Find them at In Tampa, TV personality Mario Lopez hosts the Pied Piper's New Year's Eve Party at the Godfrey Hotel, with tunes by DJs Magic Mike and LeSage. The party will have its own fireworks display over the bay at midnight ($29-$59; $155 VIP).

2019 Outback Bowl: The Iowa Hawkeyes and Mississippi State Bulldogs square off at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium on Tuesday, in the 31st bowl game between the Big Ten Conference and the Southeastern Conference. $80 and up.

Epiphany: The celebration of the baptism of Christ brings more than 20,000 people to Tarpon Springs Bayou on Sunday, where teenage boys will dive to find the sunken Holy Cross, which earns a year of good luck. A procession of children in traditional costumes, choir members and Greek folk dancers accompany the boys. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 36 N Pinellas Ave. Free. (727) 937-3540.

date night

Music: Friday, Can't You See Southern rockers the Marshall Tucker Band at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre, where they return after their sold-out performance in 2017 ($45-$75). Also Friday, musician David Lowery plays double duty with both of the alt-rock bands he founded, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa ($22). Saturday, Victor Wainwright will tickle the ivories with his band the Train at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg ($19-$25).

Ron White: The cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman performs two shows at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall on Friday ($49-$59).

The Florida Orchestra: Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue: The legendary composition comes to life with Cuban jazz pianist Aldo López-Gavilán, conducted by Thomas Wilkins, Friday at Tampa's Straz Center, Saturday at St. Pete's Mahaffey Theater and Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall ($18-$48).

Kids and Family

Swan Lake: The Ukraine's National Ballet Theatre of Odessa brings a full scale full-scale production of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet to the Mahaffey Theater on Sunday ($46.80-$74).

MOre to explore

Find all the fun ways to ring in the new year at