It’s the holiday season, and even if the weather isn’t as nice as you want and there’s no snow on the ground, there are still plenty of places to see Christmas lights in the Tampa Bay area and get into the holiday spirit.
The winter season is officially here, and it feels like the holidays have been underway for several months now. People around the country have put up strings of Christmas lights and other displays to celebrate the holiday season. Here in Tampa Bay, there are many places where the public can go around and see some of these elaborate displays right before Christmas on Sunday.
If you follow the weather or have searched around social media lately, you might have come across weather maps and memes showing how warm it is in the state of Florida. To the surprise of some, it is very warm in Florida during this time of year when many expect it to be much cooler, but this is not unusual to natives, like myself.
Though it may be warm and not feel like the holidays, in a traditional sense, that shouldn’t stop those who want to view incredible displays of Christmas lights and decorations.
Recently, the Tampa Bay Times posted an article listing several places in the Tampa Bay area to see Christmas light displays, and below you’ll find a summary of a few of those places. The full listing can be found here.
In Largo, visitors to the Florida Botanical Gardens can “delight in the shimmering lights, holiday entertainment, beautiful flora and warmth of the season,” per the official flyer for the event. The Holiday Lights in the Garden display runs until Friday, Dec. 31, and visitors can enjoy special visits from Santa Claus, family-friendly entertainment, food and beverages, 1-million twinkly lights and lasers, free parking and more. Admission is $4 for adults and free for guests 12 years of age and under.
Christmas light enthusiasts who also love a great tune to go with the displays should visit the Symphony in Lights at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, which is about 20 miles north of downtown Tampa. Per the Tampa Bay Times, “The holiday light show with more than 250,000 LED lights choreographed to holiday favorites chosen by mall guests.” This is a free event, and it’s something fun to check out while you’re shopping. Open nightly through Dec. 31.
If you’re in the St. Petersburg area, check out the Waterfront Light Display in downtown, where visitors can stroll along a walkway and see thousands of lights, decorations and even a giant greeting card display. This is a free event, and the path is near Straub Park, which is at Beach Drive and Fifth Avenue NE. It’s on display from 5 to 11 p.m. daily.
One of the local Chick-Fil-A restaurants has a holiday tradition where it puts on an annual lights and Christmas decorations display. Visitors to the restaurant can see the display in action nightly at sundown during the holiday season. The display turns off at 10 p.m. when the store closes, and it’s an easy and quick way to drive by and see a wonderful set of lights and decorations.
Finally, in the Spring Hill area, the Castorino family is showing off their Christmas light display to the public, and visitors can go view the many lights and decorations that they set up in their front and side yards. Per the Tampa Bay Times, there are “more than 300 lighted and animated buildings and accessories — including Lionel trains, trolleys, Disney monorails and a drive-in theater — that fill their two-car garage.” This is on display from 6 to 9 p.m. nightly through Dec. 27 and it’s free.
As you can see, there are several places where locals and visitors can see Christmas light displays in Tampa Bay during the holiday season, even if it’s still warm and there’s no snow on the ground. Rest assured, Christmas is only a few days away, and seeing these incredible displays is a great way to get into the holiday spirit.