Downtown Tampa Holiday Events

This notice is archived content and this information may no longer be accurate.
It's the most wonderful time of the year. The City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc., announced this year's holiday happenings. Mark your calendar for these great events that are perfect for the young as well as the young at heart.

Tampa's Downtown on Ice, an outdoor ice rink opens at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 16 at Curtis Hixon holiday eventsWaterfront Park. Skating is $10 for 90 minutes and includes the skates. As part of the opening day festivities a free movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, will be shown in the park beginning at 7 p.m. Popcorn, candy and other concessions will be available.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn will light the Christmas Tree on Friday, November 30. Tampa's Tree Lighting Ceremony begins at 6 p.m. with a special guest performance by Michael "Big Mike" Lynch from American Idol and the Gibbs High School Choir on the Tampa Expressway Authority stage. Chadd & Kristi from the Magic 94.9 Morning Show will host the ceremony, which will also feature Late Night Brass band.

Immediately following the lighting of the tree will be a free movie in the park featuring The Grinch Who Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey.

Santa Claus comes to town on Saturday, December 1 during Downtown Tampa's Holiday Parade presented by the Rough Riders and Santa Fest presented by the Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc.

The parade steps off at 11 a.m. and features colorful floats, marching bands, dance troops and of course Santa Claus. The parade begins at Madison and Pierce streets. Heads west on Madison Street then turns north onto Ashley Drive and ends at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park The best, unobstructed viewing is along Madison Street from Pierce Street to Tampa Street.

Parade viewers are encouraged to arrive by 9 a.m. for ease in parking and to get a good spot. Suggested parking options:
  • Poe Garage, 800 N. Ashley Drive, $4/special event rate (Garage will close at approx. 10 a.m.)
  • Royal Street, 1200 N. Tampa Street, $2/day
  • Jackson Street, E. Kennedy Blvd & Jackson Street, $5/special event rate
  • Ft. Brooke Garage, 107 N. Franklin Street, hourly rate
After the parade, fun continues in the park with Santa Fest. Bring your little elves to Santa Fest for a free keepsake photo with Santa photos presented by Sargento Cheese. The festival also includes continuous holiday entertainment on the Tampa Expressway Authority stage featuring the Gulf Coast Youth Choirs and Tuba Christmas, interactive games, bounce houses, rock wall, make-n-take crafts, and giveaways.

New for this year is Tampa's Christmas Market that will offer great gift items such as poinsettias and Christmas cactus, homemade arts and crafts, ornaments, and other holiday-themed items and foods. The Christmas Market will be open on Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1.

Tampa's Tree Lighting Ceremony, Santa Fest and Tampa Downtown on Ice are held in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, located at 600 N. Ashley Drive.

For more information, please visit us on the web at, or on Facebook at Events in Downtown, or call 813-966-5505.