Entertaining out of town guests?   Celebrating the holiday season with friends?  Want to do something fun with your co-workers?   There are plenty of fun things to do in Tampa Bay this Holiday!  Things that do not involve a mall or Santa Claus!  Here is a quick list of ideas to make your holiday sparkle with laughter and good cheer!

Take A Ride, Go for a Walk or Skate!

Cross Bay Ferry- Tampa Dock

The Cross-Bay Ferry offers water transportation to residents and businesses in Downtown Tampa and Downtown St. Pete and is a fun activity for people of all ages.  If you are shopping, hop aboard and head across the bay without sitting in traffic! In 15-20 minutes you have arrived!  On a date or an evening out?  Add adventure to your list of things to do!  The ferry is fun and a time saver too! Times vary, from 7 am to 10:30 pm depending on the day. Check their schedules for exact times. Click on the name above and you can head over to their website!

Pirate Water Taxi 

Enjoy Pirate Water Taxi's holiday tour of downtown Tampa's lighted bridges, a boarding photo, carolers, holiday cookies, hot cocoa, their whimsical narration, at a one-of-a-kind holiday experience this December cruising up the Hillsborough!  They board at the Tampa Convention Center Dock only Prices: Adults $25, Children 4-12 are $15. The Holiday Cruise lasts 45-55 minutes. Here are the times and dates you can experience this unique thing to do in Tampa Bay:   

Times:    6:00pm 6:20pm 6:40pm 7:00pm 7:20pm
               7:40pm 8:00pm 8:20pm 8:40pm 9:00pm

Dates:     12/1, 12/2, 12/3, 12/4, 12/8, 12/9, 12/10, 12/11,
                12/16, 12/17, 12/22, 12/23, 12/24


..
Winter Village Ice Skating and More at Curtis Hixon Park

Enjoy this temporary Winter Village with plenty of fun things to do at Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa where you can ice skate, enjoy carolers, buy gifts and more Florida style! No heavy jackets or snow boots needed! Enjoy all the wonderful sights, and sounds of the Holidays daily through December 25th.

  • Monday – Thursday: 4:00pm-9:00pm
  • Fridays: 4:00pm-10:00pm  
  • Saturdays: 10:00am-10:00pm
  • Sundays: 12:00pm-9:00pm
  • School Holidays: 10:00am-10:00pm

Ice skate rentals are available on-site at the ice rink for children and adults, tickets are $12 per person for 90 minutes of skating, including skate rental. Tickets can only be purchased at the ice rink entrance.  Call (813) 221-3686 if you want to schedule a group! 

Tampa Riverwalk

Miles long, The Riverwalk is an active, pedestrian-friendly walk chock full of fun experiences along the way from hotels, bars, transportation, entertainment, and fitness.

You can drink alcohol along the walk provided it is in a proper cup.  So where do you get one of those 'proper cups'?  From one on the many approved vendors along the walk, fun places where you can get great food, craft beer, and excellent drinks, places like: Aloft and the W XYZ Bar or Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina where you can enjoy the Sports bar with an 18 foot Big Screen or watch people from the outdoor patio overlooking the marina. You will find the Winter Village mentioned above on the Riverwalk along with dog parks, interactive art, lights and so much more! On the 18th you can watch the Lighted Boat Parade from the Riverwalk, or pay to board American Victory Ship Mariners Memorial Museum where the parade ends and a winner will be crowned! 

Enjoy Friendly Competition here in Tampa Bay!

Pin Chasers - Midtown

Imagine a night out with the family where everyone is off their phones - well at least until you do something silly or throw a strike as the rest of your gang cheers! If you can spare the time (pun intended) bowling is a great way to enjoy family fun!  And this Tampa bowling hot spot has it all with 40 lanes, a full liquor bar, game room, and great food!  Enjoy quality time with your family and friends at any of Pin Chasers 3 convenient Tampa bowling centers.  And best of all, you can enjoy the fun through Christmas night as they'll be open on Christmas Day, from 5pm till 1am!

TopGolf Tampa

TopGolf is not just for golf enthusiasts, it's for anyone who loves music, food, and fun, and unless you are a Grinch, you'll have a great time celebrating with friends, family, and co-workers as you get a little swing-time in!  They book large parties fast, so make your plans and book your group for a "top night" out! If you need a last minute office party idea check out:  Last Minute Holiday Party Ideas in Tampa. Note: TopGolf also has a great brunch AND Santa is coming Saturday, Dec 17th  from 9 am to 11 am and he’s bringing his own cookies and hot chocolate!  Make plans today to bring the little ones and get a complimentary photo with Santa, a FREE holiday-themed gift and, of course, cookies and cocoa too! (LTD to first 200 children)

Let the Games Begin in Tampa Bay!

Rabbit Hole Escape Games

Real live escape games are top attractions and now you can enjoy this exciting new entertainment craze in Seminole Heights!  It is a new type of adventure game crossing online gaming with reality into an immersive interactive live puzzle. Players are locked inside a room where they race against time to solve a series of tasks, puzzles, clues, riddles and other surprises that unfold throughout the game and provide the key to leaving the room.  This is a truly unique for families, friends, co-workers, team-building and special events.  Featured experiences include Space Mining and Bermuda Triangle $29 pp and Polly's Peculiar Pet Store for $55.  You are given one hour to escape, are you up for the challenge?  Psssttt... they have Gift Cards too! 

Game Time

GameTime is a Family Entertainment Center featuring a fun day/night out for kids of all ages.  Play your favorite video games, ride simulators, and redemption games like skee ball!  Besides fun things to do they also offer a full liquor bar, high definition HDTVs, and a great menu of appetizers, burgers, salads and more!  Located in the heart of Ybor City, it's a great place to bring your group! They open at 2 pm Christmas Day so you can play, eat, drink and be merry before Christmas Dinner!  1 Hour of Timed Play is $15,  2 Hours of Timed Play is $23 and 3 Hours of Timed Play is $30 or you can get an all access card, ask for details at the desk.

Grand Prix Tampa

Open Christmas Eve Eve Noon to midnight, Christmas Eve 10 am to 7 pm and Christmas Day 2 pm to 10 pm Grand Prix Tampa is a one-stop destination in North Tampa and a great place any time of year when you are looking for fun things to do in Tampa Bay!  Enjoy go-kart racing, batting cages, miniature golf, bowling, paintless paintball, arcade games, and their Pit Stop restaurant for snacks! An exciting way to spend the day or night this holiday Grand Prix provides hours of entertainment for kids young and old - and let's face it, everyone becomes kids again when you're racing around a go-kart track!  It can't be helped!  Are you ready to race, do you feel the need for speed?  Big Track shown below is $7.75 per person per race, 1 race = 2 laps, and the Family Track is $6.50 per person for a timed race (approx 5 minutes).  You can also  take on the Turbo Bungee for $6.50 per person, or play a round of 18-hole Miniature Golf for only $7.25 per person. Got a baseball or softball player in the fam? It's $3 for 30 pitches in the batting cages! See what I mean about one-stop destination! There are Lots of things you can do at Grand Prix!

Arts & Culture in Tampa Bay

The Florida Orchestra

You will find yourself having a jolly good time with friends and family at the Florida Orchestra traditional Holiday Pops series this year! Tickets are on sale for their performance tonight at The Straz Center (8pm), tomorrow they will be at Mahaffey Theater in St. Pete. at 2 pm and 8 pm. Sunday catch them at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater at 2 pm and 7:30 pm. Be transported by holiday music as Jeff Tyzik conducts his orchestra this weekend! Connect with the spirit of the season through music! If you prefer mornings you might consider the orchestra's Coffee Classics, they take place at 11 am next week at Mahaffey and Ruth Eckerd (Check the site for details).Guest Conductor Stuart Malina will serve up beloved ballet faves with complimentary coffee and doughnuts. You can join a pre-concert conversation at 10 am to gain insight into the works. A Special Concert takes place on the 16th at Mahaffey at 8 pm. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SYMPHONY OF THE GODDESSES.  Take a trip back in time to the land of Hyrule 30 years ago when the “Legend of Zelda” ruled your world as The Florida Orchestra times scores to a high def video projected on a big screen. The season of Holiday music ends with a FREE CONCERT at Westfield Mall December 17th at 6:30 pm. It is going to be a musical holiday!  

Tampa Bay History Center

The Tampa Bay History Center is home to the traveling works of famed Florida photographer Clyde Butcher and his current exhibit "Preserving Eden".  Available now through January 8th you can read more about this exhibit and the History Center in Things to Do in Tampa | History Center Hosts Clyde Butcher’s "Eden" .  This is a rare chance to explore the center AND take in the beauty surrounding us through his exquisite photographs!

Straz Center for Performing Arts

The Straz Center for Performing Arts Center is featuring  An American in Paris.  An award-winning musical about an American soldier, a perplexing French girl, and a beautiful European city, as each looks for a new beginning following a devastating war.  Director Christopher Wheeldon brings Paris to Tampa in perfect harmony with songs from George and Ira Gershwin in a show that earned more awards than any other musical in the 2014-15 season!  The New York Times raves “An American in Paris is a triumph! Pure joy!” and the Wall Street Journal declares, “Once you’ve seen it, you’ll find it hard to settle for less ever again.” Don’t miss this 2015 Tony Award winning Broadway musical this holiday, it is playing in Tampa December 20 - 25, 2016.

Fun for Kids in Tampa

Glazer Children's Museum

Situated in the heart of Downtown Tampa and part of the Tampa Riverwalk, Glazer Children's Museum is a place where children can dream it and BE it! Join them Dec 11th for the Nutcracker Tea. Cost is $25 GA and allows your child to explore the characters of the Nutcracker ballet as they come alive! Meet Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, and other characters in a private setting while enjoying tea and finger foods. You and your special someone will listen to the story,  watch and learn basic movements from classical ballet.  Do you have a Dancer on your list?  If so, THIS it! Put a smile on their face and give them an experience this holiday season they will never forget with this very special thing to do in Tampa Bay!

Fun Girls Night Out! 

Hamburger Mary's Pub House

Where can you play bingo, see outrageous live entertainment, enjoy spectacular drinks and grill your own food? Hamburger Mary's that's where! You've never played Wednesday Night Bingo like THIS before!  Let your hair down as you enjoy great food and a well-done drag show, performed by lively, creative, and talented entertainers who lip sync and dance to your favorite tunes!  It is bawdy, naughty fun and a great way to celebrate the season with a fun Girls Night Out! Go tomorrow, the tenth, and you can also enjoy the  2016 Snow on 7th Holiday Parade

The Getaway

The Getaway is a short drive across Gandy Bridge and a great place to put your toes in the sand as you enjoy grouper tacos and a cold beer!  Want to de-stress?  This is how to do it.  Kick back, and enjoy the holidays with good food, and a great vibe and a laid-back atmosphere under a tiki bar.  Yeah, baby, this is what being a Floridian during the holidays is ALL about! You need time to getaway and they have the place! Love Bloody Mary's?  They've got a good one! Read more about The Getaway and other Bloody Good Spots in Tampa Bay in Best Bloody Mary Bars Found in Tampa | Top 50.

 
Tampa Attractions

Busch Gardens to Transform into Christmas Town for 18 Select Nights

Now through December 31st you can meet Rudolph, meet Santa, take in Christmas shows, and enjoy the sights, lights and sounds of the holidays in Tampa Bay.  An annual Thing to Do in our family, Christmas Town still interested my kids when they were older.  Riding the rides with the lights is something to experience! Click over to their 813area Event Page where you can navigate to their site, buy tickets and get details about times, dates, and cost. 

 

If you have an event or business you feel would be perfect for this Things To Do Holiday article please contact us by commenting below!  We'd enjoy the opportunity to talk with you.
 
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