Happy Holidays! Top Light Displays in the Tampa Bay Area
Perhaps nothing says “Merry Christmas” more than twinkling lights of all colors and sizes decorating local homes and businesses. No matter our age, we all seem to enjoy the after-dark displays, and with people stepping up their game each year by adding bigger and better lights and decor, there’s always something new to see. Tampa Bay is known throughout for its impressive and extensive light displays, with entire neighborhoods participating in the festivities. From Downtown Tampa to St. Pete to Sarasota, folks are lighting up their homes and spreading holiday cheer. Here are the top 5 places to make sure your holiday is merry AND bright.
- Historic Old Northeast Candlelight Tour of Homes: This 21st annual event allows tourists to visit private homes in St. Pete’s Historic Old Northeast neighborhood. All homes are decorated for the holidays. Your admission ticket is your tour brochure, which can be purchased at Westminster Palm View, 939 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. A free trolley is available for those who need assistance during the house to house tour. Prices are $25 advance, $30 day of tour. 3-8 p.m. Sunday. (727) 289-7663.
- River of Lights Christmas Cruise: Board Tampa’s Pirate Taxi for a 45-minute cruise up the Hillsborough River to see festively lighted bridges and shimmering downtown skylines. Includes hot cocoa, cookies and Christmas carols. $28, $18 children. Departs hourly between 6 and 10 p.m. Friday-Sunday; and Dec. 13-16, 20-21, 23-24 and 26. 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 223-7999.
- Symphony in Lights: The holiday light show features a 55-foot tree with more than 250,000 LED lights choreographed to holiday favorites by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. On Sunday, join Chabad at Wiregrass outside Dillard’s for the Grand Menorah Lighting Celebration at 5 p.m. with food and family activities. Free. Hourly 6-9 p.m. through Dec. 31. The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel. (813) 994-2242.
- Tampa Winter Village: The riverfront park turns into a winter wonderland with a 360 degree light display set to holiday music, ice skating, the Winter Village Express, 10 pop-up boutiques, food and drink. Hours are for the ice rink, other hours vary. Free (skating/skate rental/trolley additional). 4-9 p.m. today and Dec. 13; 4-10 p.m. Friday and Dec. 14; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 15; noon-9 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 16; 4-9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Dec. 17-19; Hours for Christmas week are: 4-9 p.m. Dec. 20, 4-10 p.m. Dec. 21, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Dec. 22, noon-9 p.m. Dec. 23, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 24, 4-10 p.m. Dec. 25 and 4-9 p.m. Dec. 26; Various times Dec. 27-Jan. 5. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. (813) 221-3686.
- Palm Harbor: Don’t miss the Indian Trails neighborhood, south of Alderman and east of Omaha Street in Palm Harbor, where homeowners go all out every year, boasting one jaw-dropping scene after the next.
No matter which light displays you chose to visit, be prepared for traffic to be heavy, and pedestrian presence to be increased. Drive with caution, and remember the following pointers:
- As a driver, keep your speed at a minimum when driving near, or through, the light display areas. Children can dart out suddenly, and stopping is nearly impossible if you are driving too quickly for the zone. Remember to keep your headlights on (unless otherwise specified) so pedestrians and other drivers can see you coming, and be alert. If you aren’t getting to enjoy the lights, either find a place to park and strike out on foot, or take turns with other drivers in your car so everyone can enjoy the sights.
- As a pedestrian, remember to make yourself as visible as possible. Wear reflective materials, carry flashlights, and avoid dark clothing or jackets if possible. For children, glow sticks are a great idea since they can wear them as necklaces and/or bracelets and be seen by drivers easily.
- Stay together! This is another tip for those on foot. Stay together, and keep a close eye on small children. It can be easy to get distracted with the sights and sounds of the light displays, and small children can be lost. If your child is too young to keep up or be mindful of those around him, consider taking along a stroller or a child carrier for the evening.
We hope you enjoy the season here in Tampa Bay as much as we do! We know that the unexpected can happen anytime, or anywhere, unfortunately, and when it does you can rest knowing that Sessums Law Group STANDS FOR YOU! If you or someone you love has been injured due to the negligence of another driver, call us and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.