The holiday season is always a special time of year, and there is no better place to spend it than in the Clearwater/St. Pete and Indian Rocks region. This exceptional area is known for its pleasant weather, its welcoming people, and its incredible natural and manmade scenery.
Whether you want to spend your December hanging out with your friends, shopping for the folks back home, or just watching the world go by, you will find plenty of great things to see and do. Here is just a sampling of the December goings-on in and around Clearwater St. Pete and Indian Rocks.
Thanksgiving Weekend Arts and Crafts Festival
The Thanksgiving Day weekend is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, and there is no better place to shop than the Thanksgiving Weekend Arts and Crafts Festival. This annual rite of the holiday season is the perfect place to start your holiday shopping, and you never know what you will find.
The fun gets underway in Tarpon Springs and runs from November 30 to December 1, 2019. So, finish your turkey dinner early – you will want to be well-rested as you browse the booths in search of the ultimate holiday gift.
Holiday Lights in the Garden
If you remember driving around and looking at holiday lights, you will want to head to Largo during December. The annual Holiday Lights in the Garden puts a new and natural twist on holiday lighting, and you will be amazed at the spectacular displays.
Running from November 29 through December 30, Holiday Lights in the Garden is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. Be sure to come early – you will want to visit several times before the lights go out.
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
Any time is a great time to visit Busch Gardens, but when the holiday season approaches, the park goes all out. During December, the grounds of Busch Gardens are transformed into a holiday wonderland, one filled with entertainment, great shopping, and more than a million twinkling lights.
All of these holiday festivities are included in your gate admission or with the purchase of an annual pass. If you want to get into the Christmas spirit, Busch Gardens is the place to be.
The enchantment of Christmas is not just for the kids. The whole family is sure to enjoy this annual light maze and Christmas market. The kids can have fun running through the maze while their parents shop for the perfect gift at the one-of-a-kind holiday market. Enchant Christmas runs from November 22 through December 29, so you have plenty of time to make your plans.
Grasshopper and the Ant
The St. Pete Clearwater and Indian Rocks region is known for many things, including its exceptional arts scene. The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Pete is a real standout in the field, and this December, the Grasshopper and the Ant installation welcomes visitors from across the area and around the world. The installation is underway now and runs through January 5, 2020, so get your tickets now.
Feast on the Beach
The holiday season is a time for feasting, with fantastic food, good friends, and delicious drinks. You can enjoy all of those things this December 6 through 8 at the aptly named Feast on the Beach. This Clearwater Beach event is sure to please your taste buds, so come hungry and get ready to feast.
10th Annual Shopapalooza Festival
Every holiday season, the St. Pete area comes alive with great vendors and lots of fabulous shopping. If you want to get a jump start on your holiday shopping, the 10th annual Shopapalooza Festival is the place to be. This yearly event runs from November 30 through December 1 and features more than 200 vendors, so you are sure to find something you love. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but you will want to come early for the best selection.
St. Pete Dine and Wine Tour
The Clearwater St. Pete and Indian Rocks region is becoming well known for its wines, and you can sample some of the best at the St. Pete Dine and Wine Tour. Taking place on December 3 and December 10, this celebration of all things culinary and wine-related is sure to please your palate and have you coming back for more.
Celtic Angels Christmas
The holiday season is a sacred time of year, and a time to reflect on the blessings of family and friends. If you want to celebrate the most special time of year, just head to the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre on December 5. At 7 p.m., the curtain rises on the Celtic Angels Christmas, a celebration of the holiness and beauty of the holiday season.
Singer Tony Bennett is known for his marvelous love songs, and for his holiday classics. If you love his music and his songs, you will want to check out the “I Left My Heart Tour” when it comes to the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Pete. The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. on December 5, but you will want to get your tickets early – this exceptional event is sure to sell out.
Trisha Yearwood in Concert
If you love great country music and good company, you will want to check out Trisha Yearwood in concert. On December 6 at 7:30 p.m., Trisha and her band will be bringing their unique brand of country music to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Be sure to get your tickets early – before they sell out.
Il Divo Holiday Song Celebration
It would not be the holiday season without all those beautiful Christmas songs and sacred carols. Singing is an integral part of the holiday season, and you can celebrate in style at the Il Divo Holiday Song Celebration. Taking place at 8:00 p.m. on December 6 at the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Pete, this musical event is fun for the whole family. You are sure to have a good time, and you might even discover a new favorite holiday song.
Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs
When it comes to holiday fun and intimate celebrations, there is no place quite like Tarpon Springs. This free event deserves a primary place in your December plans, so mark December 6 on your calendar. The event runs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., but you will want to come early to get your fill of holiday fun.
When you arrive, you will find a dedicated snow play area for the young and young at heart, along with music and lots of enjoyable activities for the kids – and their parents. We think you will agree that there is snow place like downtown Tarpon Springs for the holidays.
You do not have to be a basketball fan to enjoy the high-spirited antics and athletic prowess of the Harlem Globetrotters. Bring the whole family and get ready to have a great time. This year the Harlem Globetrotters bring their exclusive brand of basketball to the Yuengling Center in Tampa, and the festivities get underway at 4 p.m. on December 7.
Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band Rumours
If you love Fleetwood Mac, you are sure to appreciate Rumours, one of the best and most beloved Fleetwood Mac tribute bands on the planet. On December 7 at 8 p.m., Rumours brings its brand of Fleetwood Mac music to Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center, and you do not want to miss it.
Honeymoon Island State Park Bluegrass Festival
Bluegrass has a special place in the history of music, and this unique branch of country music will be on full display at the Honeymoon Island State Park Bluegrass Festival. This prestigious music festival is a highlight of the holiday season, and you can join in on the fun. The festival gets underway at 11 a.m. on December 7 and runs till 5 p.m. Come early to enjoy all the great bands as you soak up the holiday atmosphere on Honeymoon Island.
Holiday Stroll Tree Lighting and Holiday Gift Market
Tree lighting ceremonies are a staple of the holiday season, and these events are always something special. If you love twinkling lights and great holiday shopping, you will want to head to Largo Central Park on December 7.
That is where you will find the Holiday Stroll Tree Lighting and Holiday Market. The festivities run from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., so come early for the tree lighting and stay late for some genuinely exceptional holiday shopping.
Live from Nashville – Merry Country Christmas
The Clearwater region may be hundreds of miles from downtown Nashville, but the residents can get down with the best of them. Clearwater residents love their country music, and they can celebrate in style on December 8.
That is when Live from Nashville – Merry Country Christmas comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The fun gets underway at 1 p.m., and you will want to get your tickets early.
Tampa Bay Bucs Games
The people of Tampa love their football, and Tampa Bay Bucs games are always well attended. On December 22, you can cheer the Bucs on to victory when they take on the Indianapolis Colts. The next week brings the Atlanta Falcons to town for a December 29 matchup, so buy your tickets now and bring the whole family.
Chris Angel – Raw ‘The Midreak Tour’
If you love magic and amazing illusions, you already know the name Chris Angel. If you are not yet familiar with Angel’s illusions, you will want to check out his performance on Friday, December 13, at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The curtain rises at 8 p.m., but you will want to get your tickets quickly – the show is sure to sell out.
Don McLean is a living legend in the world of music, with 40 gold and platinum records to his name. For more than 50 years, McLean has been sharing his exceptional voice and his unparalleled songwriting abilities with appreciative audiences around the world. Get a glimpse on December 13 at Bilheimer Capitol Theatre in Clearwater.
The stage is set, and American Pie is sure to be on the setlist, so get ready to sing along and come early. The curtain goes up at 8 p.m. sharp.
Say No to Drugs Holiday Classic
Drug abuse is a significant problem in the modern world. However, education and abuse still go a long way, especially with young people. If you want to do your part to fight substance abuse, head out to the Say No to Drugs Holiday Classic.
The race takes place on December 14 and features a 5K, 10K, and even a 1-mile fun run for the kids. So, bring the whole family and run for a good cause.
Largo Train North Pole Express
If your kids love trains, you will want to head to Largo for the North Pole Express. This railroad-inspired holiday celebration is sure to please, and everyone will have a great time.
The Largo Train North Pole Express takes place on December 14 and 15 and runs from 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., but you will want to come early and check out the Rainbow Rotary Playground at Largo Central Park. This unique play spot is the only playground in the area that is entirely accessible to disabled visitors, so everyone can have a great time.
Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
The Clearwater St. Pete and Indian Rocks region is known for its sparkling waterways and its easy ocean access, so there are lots of boats. This December, you can see those boats on display in the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade.
When you attend this unique holiday event, you will marvel at the boats as they make their way through the intercoastal waterways of Indian Rocks Beach. These exceptional watercraft will then be judged on several different criteria, and competition is fierce for the prizes up for grabs. Area boat owners really go all out, and you get to enjoy the results of their hard work.
The Florida Orchestra Presents TFO: Holiday Pops Sunday
If you love great music and good company, you will want to head to St. Pete on December 14 and 15 for the Holiday Pops concert. The concerts take place at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on December 14 and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on December 15 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.
Tomáseen Foleys A Celtic Christmas
Celtic music is an integral part of the holiday season, so it is only fitting that Largo is playing host to the Tomáseen Foleys A Celtic Christmas celebration. If you are a fan of great music, you will want to make this your December 15 destination. The concert gets underway at 1 p.m., so get your tickets now and bring the whole family.
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol has been a staple of the holiday season ever since it was first published. This Dickens classic is an annual rite of passage for theatre lovers and anyone who craves a heartwarming story of love and redemption.
This year’s staging of the holiday classic takes place on December 21 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Presented by the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, the play hits the stage at 7 p.m., so bring the family for some hauntingly good holiday fun.
The Florida Orchestra – Handel’s Messiah
Orchestral music is a beautiful part of the holiday season, and there is no more fitting piece than Handel’s Messiah. So bring your love of fine music to Mahaffey Theatre in St. Pete on December 22. The curtain rises at 8 p.m., but you will want to buy your tickets early – this annual event is sure to be a sellout.
Moscow Ballet – Great Russian Nutcracker
You do not have to be a ballet fan to love the Nutcracker. This annual rite of the holiday season has been wowing fans of soaring music and incredible dance for decades. This December, you get your chance to experience it for yourself.On December 26 and 27, the world-famous Moscow Ballet brings the Great Russian Nutcracker to the stage of the beautiful Mahaffey Theatre in St. Pete, Get your tickets now!
Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on December 26 and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on December 27. This holiday celebration is excellent for the whole family, and it might just spark a lifelong love of ballet.
Bert’s Island of Misfits Luau
If you are looking for something different to do this December, just head down to Bert’s Barracuda Harley-Davidson for an authentic pig roast and luau. But this event is about more than great food and holiday camaraderie – it is about giving back and making a difference.
If you plan to attend, stop, and pick up an unwrapped toy on your way. Toys will be donated to kids who deserve a happy holiday season, and your generosity will be rewarded with a heaping plate of pork.
The Tampa Bay region has a rich history, and sometimes a notorious one. Tampa Bay residents are proud of their origins, and they come together to celebrate the life and legend of Jose Gaspar, an infamous pirate, and local hero.
The Gasparilla Bowl takes place on December 23 in St. Pete, and you will definitely want to attend. If you love pirates and hijinks on the high seas, this event is sure to be one of the highlights of the holiday season.
Picker Place Ybor
Vintage shopping has gone mainstream, with shows like American Pickers bringing the art of the deal to a much wider audience. This December, you can try your luck and score some bargains at Picker Place Ybor, Tampa’s exclusive vintage marketplace.
Located in historic Ybor City at 1402 E. 2nd Avenue, Picker Place Ybor opens its doors on December 28 and 29. Be sure to come early for the best selection and get ready to do some fun holiday shopping.
Outback Bowl Beach Day
If you want to get your new year off to a great start, make the Outback Bowl Beach Day your New Year’s destination. Taking place on January 1, 2020, this celebration of all things beach is fun for the entire family.
27th Annual First Night St. Petersburg 2020
The last night of the year is always a special time, and you can celebrate in style at the 27th annual First Night St. Petersburg. You can welcome 2020 with thousands of your closest friends in downtown St. Petersburg, so start making your plans now.
In addition to the special events taking place in the St. Pete Clearwater and Indian Rocks region, you will find plenty of monthly activities to keep you busy this December. Here are some of the best ongoing events in the area.
Mimosas and Masterpieces
If you love fine art and adult beverages, you can get your fill of both at Mimosas and Masterpieces, an ongoing celebration at the Dali Museum in St. Pete. This event is scheduled for December 1, 8, 15, and 22 and runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tuesday Morning Fresh Market
Fresh food is so important, and you can find the best ingredients at the Tuesday Morning Fresh Market in Gulfport. This weekly event starts on December 3, but check local listings for holiday times and dates.
Brocante Vintage Market
If you love vintage shopping, you will want to check out the Brocante Vintage Market in St. Pete. The market takes place the first weekend of every month, including December 7 and 8.
On the second Friday of every month, Dunedin comes alive with the Second Friday celebration. The December date is December 13, so start making your plans now.
St. Pete 2nd Saturday Art Walk
Art lovers flock to St. Pete the 2nd Saturday of every month, so mark December 14 on your calendar and put on your walking shoes for the St. Pete 2nd Saturday Art Walk. You can meet the artists, shop for exceptional artwork, and have a great time with your art-loving friends.
Guerilla Art Market
Taking place in St. Pete on December 14 and the 2nd Saturday of every month, the Guerilla Art Market is a favorite with local residents and holiday visitors alike. If you love art, you will love this monthly celebration of culture, charm, and local color.
Safety Harbor 3rd Friday Music Series
Safety Harbor is a beautiful spot and a great place to enjoy a concert. On the 3rd Friday of every month, including December 20, Safety Harbor plays host to its Friday Music Series, and you do not want to miss it.
Moonlight Canopy Tours
Thrill-seekers from throughout the region flock to Oldsmar on select Friday and Saturday nights from October through March to get a unique view of the Tampa Bay area. Reservations are required, so start making your plans now.
St. Pete Shuffle Fridays
Friday is always a fun day, but it is even better when you come to St. Pete for Shuffle Fridays. This is a first-come, first-served event, so be sure to go early.
Shuffle Fridays is a kid-friendly event, and you can even bring your four-legged friends – they love dogs. The event is BYOB, but no glass bottles, please. A donation is requested, and you will want to be generous.
The St. Pete Clearwater and Indian Rocks region is home to some of the best events in the world this December. If you are ready to have a great time, just head down here and get ready to celebrate the season with your family and friends.