These are the best places to see twinkling Christmas lights in Tampa Bay.

‘Tis the season, and there’s nothing we love more than a brilliant display of holiday lights. Glowing bulbs along rooftops and doorways, bright displays of reindeer and snowflakes, and wreaths filling windows with soft lighting are the trappings of the most wonderful time of the year. So whether you’re the type to deck your halls, or prefer to let others do the work as you drink it all in (along with some mulled cider), it’s helpful to know the best holiday light destinations. Here are just a few of our favorites.

  • Holiday Lights in the Garden (The Florida Botanical Gardens)

    Enjoy a romantic stroll through the garden. They have food, live entertainment and a magnificent display of Christmas lights throughout the gardens. There is a suggested donation of $4 for visitors 13 and older.
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  • Christmas in the Wild at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

    The zoo lights tradition is going strong and has just made inroads to the Lowry Park Zoo! For the first year ever, the local zoo will celebrate the season with 19 nights of shimmering lights, holiday treats and all-around awesome festivities. Plus, it will put the wildlife front and center, so you still get that good old-fashioned zoo experience.
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  • Rawls Road Lights

    Rawls Road isn’t institution-designed. Instead, it’s a collection of amazingly decorated houses, courtesy of dedicated homeowners. It has been a Carrollwood tradition for going on two decades and features millions of lights festooning dozens of homes. There is a drive-through portion as well as a walk-through area complete with a light show.

  • Busch Gardens Christmas Town

    A whole town dedicated to Christmas? Yes, please. Here you’ll find more than lights: You can meet Rudolph, eat delectable Christmas treats and even see the abominable snow monster.
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  • Christmas Lane at Plant City

    What has been a tradition for the Lane family for many years has become something special for many in Tampa – Christmas Lane. It has become so popular that they moved it to the Charlie Grimes Family Agriculture Center located at the Plant City fairgrounds.
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  • Neighborhoods

    People that decorate their homes put so much love and dedication into decorating their homes for Christmas. There are some neighborhoods throughout the Tampa Bay area that are sure to deliver every year. Let us know about the neighborhood in your area so we can add it to the list! Now, go pack the kids in the car, grab your special Christmas love by the hand, stop by Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks for some yummy hot cocoa (who cares if it’s 70 degrees outside, crank the A/C!) and spend the evening taking a cruise through these Tampa area neighborhoods decorated like a winter wonderland:

    • Brandon Woods in Brandon, FL
    • Barrington Oaks in Brandon, FL
    • Hyde Park in Tampa, FL
  • Walk Through Bethlehem

    Since 1986, Kings Avenue Baptist Church has been putting on a FREE, impressive tour with live animals and over 300 volunteers to recreate the town of Bethlehem. It’s a guided, interactive tour that takes you back to the night of the birth of Jesus. They even have a real live baby acting as baby Jesus! If you’ve never been, it’s worth the wait.
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  • Night of Lights in St. Augustine

    If you want to venture away from the Tampa area for a Christmas light spectacle, then check out the Night of Lights at St. Augustine which runs through the new year.
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  • Watch Online

    Can’t get out because of all that snow and ice on the roads? Okay… that was a bad joke. But here are a few Christmas light displays you might enjoy watching from the cozy comfort of your Tampa home… and maybe give you a few ideas you can try on your house!

If you’re looking for more, you can always check out the following sites that offer a list of places to get your fill of Christmas this year:

If you are the type to put up twinkling strands and glowing Santas, you’ll no doubt get some ideas from visiting these spots. At the very least, you’re bound to have a grand old time with friends and family. It’s a great way to get everyone in the Christmas spirit!