The holidays are coming up fast—and even if you and yours want to play it safe this season, Tampa still has so much to offer! We here at Falcon Charter Bus have put together this guide to the best socially distant holiday activities in Tampa so your learning pod, coworkers, family and friends, or senior group can celebrate safely and with peace of mind.
Need a lift to your favorite Tampa holiday events? We’ve got you covered there, too! Our large network of coaches and 24/7 support team mean we can find your group nearly any kind of minibus or charter bus rental you might need. Rather than braving public transit during a pandemic or putting miles on personal vehicles, rest assured that your bus rental will be thoroughly sanitized before you board. We’ll even work with you to enforce whatever COVID-19 safety measures you want aboard your Tampa charter bus—from mask mandates to hand sanitizing stations and more!
Now, let’s get to merry-making!
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
November 12 – January 2
335 acres of holiday lights, a festive locomotive ride, and tons of holiday shopping opportunities? You can find it all at Busch Gardens Tampa this holiday season! While many folks flock to this popular theme park for holiday fun this time of year, most of the celebrations and attractions are outside—so as long as you mask up while indoors and avoid the worst of the crowds, an excursion here should be relatively COVID-friendly.
After singing along to carols aboard the decorated train and saying hi to the giraffes, rhinos, and zebras, make time to catch one of the many holiday shows Busch Gardens has to offer. From gravity-defying ice skating performances to storytime with Mrs. Claus, there’s something for groups of all ages at Busch Gardens’s Christmas Town.
Face coverings are recommended at indoor events, but many of the festive activities will be taking place outdoors.
The Winter Village
November 19 – January 2
If your group would rather stay close to downtown, this annual extravaganza will surely keep you entertained—all without leaving Tampa city limits. This year, the Tampa Riverwalk and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park will come alive with holiday fun for all ages, including showcases from 7 local boutiques and plenty of gingerbread and hot chocolate to go around!
Oh, and did we mention there’s ice skating? The Winter Village’s motto is “if you can walk, you can skate” (though the rink is ADA-accessible as well). So regardless of your skill level or age, all skaters are welcome to glide along to the bright lights and cheerful music. Admission to the rink is $17 and includes the rental of a pair of skates, though we suggest bringing your own and keeping your distance from other skaters to ensure social distancing.
Tampa Christmas Parade and Santa Fest
Locals and visitors alike won’t want to miss this beloved Downtown tradition. The parade steps off on the corner of Morgan Street and Madison Street at 1:30, then travels west to Ashley Drive before turning North and concluding on Cass Street. The parade committee recommends that spectators view the parade from Madison Street. This road makes up a majority of the parade route, so your group will likely have more space to spread out and keep your distance from other spectators along this stretch.
After you’ve gotten your fill of parading floats, dance teams, and drum lines, be sure to stick around—Santa Fest kicks off in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park after the parade ends! There, you can enjoy live musical performances, treat the kids to a make-and-take craft session, and take a photo with Santa himself. When the sun starts to set, Mayor Castor and Santa will light up the park’s Christmas tree and a free screening of The Grinch will play into the night. All activities are outdoors, and masks or face coverings are encouraged when interacting with vendors.
Lighted Boat Parade
Because nothing says “Christmas in Florida” like a parade of bedazzled boats! Tampa’s largest lighted boat parade takes place the Saturday before Christmas and kicks off at the southern tip of the Davis Islands. Anywhere along the Heights would also provide great visibility of the boats, though the most popular spot to view the festivities is along the Convention Center basin. To maintain social distancing, we recommend having your bus driver drop off everyone at the designated unloading zone outside the Convention Center and walking toward Sparkman Wharf, where there will likely be sparser crowds.
Jingle Bell Bazaar At Centennial Park
The historic district of Ybor City is great for sightseeing tours with out-of-towners—so after you’ve walked around and taken in the sites, plan to unwind at this free outdoor event in the neighborhood! Family-friendly dance and music performances will add a lively backdrop to your time perusing local merchant booths, snacking on food truck cuisine, and crafting holiday decorations with the kids. And even better—Historic Ybor City is one of the most motorcoach-friendly neighborhoods in Tampa! Ask your charter bus driver to drop everyone off on the corner at 9th Avenue and 16th Street before parking your bus rental along 12th Avenue, between 17th and 15th Street.
3rd Annual Merry Beach Market
Looking to support local creators during your holiday shopping outings? Venture over to R.O.C. Park in Madeira Beach! Here, over 50 local vendors are expected to set up shop at this outdoor holiday market along the waterfront. Even if you’re not here to shop, consider swinging by to let the kids run around the designated play area or to enjoy a brew or two at the pop-up beer garden. (Should you need a safe ride home, by the way, we recommend reserving a private bus rental to avoid waiting around for multiple rideshares!)
Jingle All The Way with a Tampa Bus Rental
Ready to spread some holiday cheer? Let the Falcon Charter Bus team handle your transportation logistics and keep everyone together in a sanitized shuttle, so your group can focus on making memories and exploring the city. We can even set you up with a ride that offers an AUX port for on-the-road caroling and a DVD player with TVs for holiday movie marathons!