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Do you prefer coastal vibes with your crackers? Between the beach and the city, there is a nice balance of festive things to do in St. Pete at Christmas.
While the holiday season is a pleasant time to visit, St. Petersburg in Florida is worth seeing all year round for its standout Salvador Dalí Museum, upscale restaurants, and award-winning beach – find out more here.
Festive Things to Do in St. Pete During Christmas
Christmas at St. Pete Pier
Stroll along the city landmark, St. Pete Pier, where the palm trees are decorated with tinsel!
The 26 acres of public space has a variety of art installations, a children’s playground, splash pads, a small beach, and views over Tampa Bay.
For the best city skyline views, head upstairs to the pier’s restaurant, Teak, which offers indoor and al fresco dining.
St. Pete Pier Christmas Tree
A popular photo spot for couples is the huge Christmas tree with ornaments and a traditional star located at St. Pete Pier.
Listen to live Christmas music while you browse for gifts at the pier’s Christmas market.
If you’re feeling peckish, fill up on pretzels and other snacks.
Visiting St. Pete in winter doesn’t mean frigid temperatures, which is ideal for those looking to stretch their legs during a leisurely walk or maybe even get on their bike.
The city’s trail offers 37 miles of paths for walkers, joggers, runners, and cyclists.
The route includes Downtown, Vinoy Park, North Shore Park, The Dalí Museum, Mahaffey Theater, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the St. Petersburg Museum of History.
Other trails, like the Pinellas Trail and the Progress Energy Trail, can be joined from the St. Pete Trail.
Gallery and Museum Hopping
St. Pete is home to world-renowned galleries such as the Salvador Dali Museum, Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Fairgrounds St. Pete, and the Chihuly Collection.
Many put on a calendar of events during the winter season, such as coffee with curators, live holiday band music, and seasonal drinks such as cocoa and hot cider!
Why not support local while shopping by picking up presents at the gift store or booking a workshop?
Straub Park Santa Parade and Tree Lighting
Look out for the annual parade with the Christmas train, lit-up vehicles, and a waving Mr Santa Clause!
The event takes place at Straub Park, which is named after the long-standing editor of the St. Petersburg Times.
This is also where the nativity scene and menorah for Hanukkah have been located in previous years.
Re-fuel with coffee made by local roasters or pick up some fresh produce and holiday gifts at St. Pete’s Farmers’ Market.
Vendors set up next to Al Lang Stadium at Williams Park every Saturday morning in winter.
See a Show
Whether it is Broadway, opera, or illusionists, Mahaffey Theater (400 1st St S) has a bill of shows taking to its stage this December.
It is also worth checking in around Thanksgiving for Black Friday deals!
Catch a Christmas Movie
St. Pete has a mix of picture houses from chain cinemas like CMX and AMC or indie screens such as the Green Light Cinema.
Between the three movie houses, visitors can watch box office new releases, live concerts, and holiday favorites like It’s a Wonderful Life.
Oakdale Christmas Display
A long-standing tradition for St. Pete at Christmas has to be the Oakdale Christmas Display (2719 Oakdale St S), which has grown from 6000 to over half a million lights!
Since its creation in 1977, the free display has been referred to as one of the best in the US by many media outlets.
Since this is a small neighborhood, it is advised to park nearby and walk through the lights and decorations.
Lights of Lake Park Drive-By
Another St. Pete Christmas light event is the Lake Park Drive-By.
Enjoy the spirit of the season driving through the decorated houses of Lake Park Estates, Wieker, Lakeside Estates, and Lake Seminole Village.
Since its inception in 1993, the community has raised over a million dollars for a local hospice.
From local cider to festive cocktails, St. Pete does seasonal drinks well.
Locals also love the Christma pop-up bar at Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails (11 Central Av) and hot cider at The Bends (919 1st Ave N).
Jingle Bell Run
Get your sneakers and Santa hat on; December is the month for the annual Jingle Bell Run.
The 5K run is slightly different from others as it kicks off in the dark with participants following a path with lights!
If you are visiting St. Pete in December and like the sound of this charity event, find out more here.
Measuring by footfall, Enchant (1 Tropicana Dr) is one of the very best things to do at Christmas in St. Pete!
Over a million lights are set up in Tropicana Fields, making it one of the world’s largest light mazes.
Each year, there is a new theme, so even if you and the family have visited before, there will be a fresh take on the multi-sensory experience.
Enchant St. Pete also has an ice rink, vendors for snacks and shopping, and a chance to meet Santa!
St. Pete Beach at Christmas
Corey Avenue is referred to as the “heart of St. Pete,” and it is the main entertainment hub for the area.
Here, you can holiday shop at the art, craft, and jewelry galleries and clothing stores, then dine at one of the casual restaurants.
While you won’t catch many locals sunbathing during the 70 degree temps, some visitors make the most out of the crowd free stretch of sand along the Gulf of Mexico.
It is easy enough to carry your beach gear to the boardwalk from the parking lot, or you can rent cabanas and umbrellas from Sand Dunes Beach Services.
Hit the Beach Bars
While St. Pete Beach does not permit alcohol, there are a handful of bars to work your way through, such as the Don Cesar, Dolphin Beach Resort, Bellwether, Jimmy B’s, Postcard Inn on the Beach, and Willy’s Booze and Burgers.
Tampa at Christmas
A short drive from St. Pete opens up even more festive activities for this holiday season, from Tampa’s Riverwalk Winter Village, holiday lights at Chick-fil-A and Plant City, and sports games at Amalie Arena.
Read our Tampa in winter guide for more.
Christmas Day in St. Pete
While most tourist attractions close on Christmas Day, visitors can attend midnight or Christmas morning mass at St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church.
Aside from The Galley (27 4th St N), very few restaurants open for Christmas Day lunch, so it is advised to book ahead.
If you can’t reserve a table, consider traveling to Tamapa for more options.
St. Pete’s New Year’s Eve
Sticking around The Burg for NYE and looking for ideas to ring in the new year?
Consider the official fireworks at St. Pete Pier, a party at the speakeasy, The Saint, or a ball at Don CeSar, St. Pete Beach.
Did we miss out on one of your favorite St. Pete Christmas activities? Tell us in the comments.