Living in Florida makes many transplanted Tampanians miss the snow, but the Winter Village Tampa at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park ​gives you a taste of the cold of the Northeast without having to buy boots or shovel snow. And from shopping to ice skating (yes, actual ice skating on real ice outdoors in Florida!), it's a great stop for families and folks of all ages from November 16th to January 5th. 

Presented by USAmeriBank, this year the ice rink is closer to the river, and is just as surreal to be able to skate in the sunshine. It's $13 per person to hit the ice for 90 minutes, and skate rental is included. 

There's also the Cafe at Winter Village, which will offer local favorites such as Kahwa Coffee, Whatever Pops and treats from Mise Waterfront Bar. 

You'll also be able to grab some gifts for under the tree at the Winter Village Shops; 10 different local shops with pop-up markets right in Curtis Hixon Park. Sponsored by PODS Moving and Storage, each shop is in its own PODS container. The shops are A Gift to Africa, Chef Inspired Popcorn, Dark Cycle, Etch Pro, JF PoP Up Shop, The Modern Paws , OBS, Tampa Bay Rays and Swanson Soapworks.

There are also plenty of special events will be in the park this year throughout the run of the village. With the Tampa Theatre ​under restoration, their holiday movie series will be outside and free! From Miracle on 34th St. to Elf, there are plenty on the schedule, mostly on Fridays and Saturdays. Be sure check out the official City of Tampa tree lighting on Nov. 30tht at 6 p.m., and Dec. 1st is Santa Fest, where kids can meet St. Nick in the sunshine. And the 8th Annual Winter Wonder Ride benefits the purchase of bicycles and helmets for at-risk kids and will take place Dec. 8th at 2 p.m.

The Tampa Streetcar is also getting in on the act, being rebranded as the Winter Village Express for five Sundays this November and December. From 3:15 p.m.-7:45 p.m., "treats, music, and fun" as you travel between Ybor City and the Whiting Street Station. 

The Tampa Winter Village Hours are also the skating hours are 4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday, and 12 p.m.-9 p.m. on Sunday. But when Hillsborough County Schools are closed, it's 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 12 p.m.-9 p.m. on Sunday. It's an unforgettable experience, and a great place to take pictures and send them to your relatives that are freezing up North.

The Tampa Winter Village gives you everything you need to get in the holiday spirit, but you can still wear flip-flops and shorts. And for more events such as Winter Village Tampa, be sure to check out 813area for more information on all things to do in Tampa - and be sure to register: it's free!