Through Saturday, Dec. 3, North Port City Hall, 4970 City Hall Blvd, northportfl.gov
Houses entered into the Gingerbread House People’s Choice contest will remain on view for voting at North Port City Hall through Saturday, Dec. 3, culminating in an awards ceremony at the Poinsettia Festival. Admission to view and vote is free.
Through Sunday, Dec. 4, Wellen Park Welcome Center, 12275 Mercado Drive, Venice, wellenpark.com
The Wellen Park Welcome Center will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for participation with the Salvation Army Angel Tree. Each angel on the tree includes the Christmas wishlist of a child or senior adult. Participants will shop for the items on the wishlist, including toys and clothes, and bring their gifts back to the welcome center by Dec. 4 for distribution.
Through Dec. 19, Upper Level of The Mall at University Town Center, 140 University Town Center Drive, utcsarasota.com
The 14th Annual Gingerbread Festival and the 3rd Annual Festival of Trees will take over the upper level of the Mall at UTC. Gingerbread houses made by members of the community will be interspersed among roughly 50 Christmas trees. Each tree will be decorated by a local charity, and visitors can purchase $1 raffle tickets to vote for their favorite tree. All of the proceeds will benefit the charities that sponsored each tree, and UTC will contribute an extra donation to the top-three trees. All trees will also be available for a silent auction. Admission is free.
Through Dec. 23, Tamiami Tap, 711 S. Osprey Ave., tamiamitap.com
Starting Friday, Nov. 25, Miracle at the Tamiami Tap will make Sarasota spirits bright. The pop-up bar will fill the Tap with fun, festive and offbeat decorations. Ten holiday cocktails will be served in themed drinkware, which will be available for purchase to benefit the Satchel’s Last Resort Animal Shelter and Forty Carrots Family Center. Each cocktail costs $14.
Through Dec. 23, The Donelly Theatre, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Campus, 1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota, westcoastblacktheatre.org
On select dates in Dec., the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will perform the popular Black Nativity. The production combines musical styles like gospel and blues, Christmas carols and Langston Hughes’ poetry to put a unique spin on the nativity story. Matinee showings begin at 2 p.m. and evening showings begin at 7:30 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
Through Jan. 2, The Mall at University Town Center, 140 University Town Center Drive, utcsarasota.com
Enjoy festive fun throughout the holiday season at UTC. The program will feature light shows, ice skating, holiday movies, horse-drawn carriage rides and more. UTC businesses and eateries will also be open. Stop by the Gingerbread Festival and Festival of Trees inside the mall as well. Admission is free except for the ice skating rink and carriage rides. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.
Through Jan. 3, St. Armands Circle, 1 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, winteronthecircle.com
St. Armands Circle invites all to its Winter Spectacular, open Monday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 12 to 9 p.m. Attendees can purchase tickets for the Winterland or a combination package for both the Winterland and the Candy Cane Lane Ice Skating Rink. Admission to Winterland includes carousel and train rides, a children’s workshop, a reindeer scavenger hunt and more. There will also be free live entertainment. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.
Dec. 1, 8 and 15, The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, (941) 359-5700, ringling.org
During the holidays, even the stoney statues and stern portraits of the Ringling museum are in a giving mood. From 5 to 8 p.m., visitors who bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots will gain free admission to the entire museum, including the art museum, the Ca’ d’Zan and the circus museum. The event will also feature music from local schools and food and drinks will be sold. Admission is one unwrapped toy per person, $15 without a toy for adults and $5 without a toy for children.
Friday, Dec. 2, State St., Sarasota, freshfridayssarasota.com
Season two of Fresh Fridays kicks off on Dec. 2 with Shop, Stroll and Sing in downtown Sarasota. The event will ring in the season from 7 to 10 p.m. Attendees are invited to partake in holiday karaoke, marvel at the falling “snow” and enjoy live entertainment. Food and beverages from local eateries will be available for purchase. There will also be an opportunity to win a gift basket from local businesses. Early birds will enjoy free giveaways, photos and more. Admission is free.
Friday, Dec. 2, CoolToday Park, 18800 South West Villages Pkwy, Venice, cooltodaypark.com
Enjoy the balmy winter weather at the Beer Run, starting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2. Participants will run, jog or walk around the park concourse. Registration is $25 and includes a t-shirt and three refreshing beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic options will be offered). Food will also be available for purchase. To register, click here.
Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18 and 24, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N Palm Ave, Sarasota, floridastudiotheatre.org
Bring the whole family to see Deck the Halls, Sarasota’s beloved holiday musical show. This year features new additions and puts a Florida twist on Christmas and Hanukkah. You might even meet some sandy snowmen! Shows run select weekends in December at 10 a.m. or 12 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.
Saturday, Dec. 3, The Sudbury Residence, 9407 25th St. E., Parrish, entrenousmanatee.org
The annual holiday tour of homes returns after a two-year hiatus. Four decorated homes will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests may begin their day at any of the four homes and will receive a ticket book and map upon arrival. While transportation is not provided between houses, attendees are encouraged to enjoy the guided home tours at their own pace. In addition to the home tours, there will be a decorated Elf Alley, Sweet Shoppe and holiday cheer basket raffle. All proceeds will go towards sponsoring the club’s community outreach programs. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.
Saturday, Dec. 3, North Port City Hall, 4970 City Hall Blvd., North Port, northportfl.gov
Join the North Port community at their annual parade and festival. This year’s theme is “What a Wonderful North Port Life.” The event will feature a parade of floats, a tree lighting, a holiday card lane, a gingerbread house display and more. There will also be games, entertainment and an art workshop for children. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Admission is free.
Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4, The Mall at UTC (Parking Lot 4, east side), 140 University Town Center Drive, utcsarasota.com
Shop until you drop at this giant outdoor holiday market. More than 140 vendors will participate. There will also be live entertainment, food trucks and more. Admission is free.
Saturday, Dec. 3, Vino Bistro of Sarasota, 1419 5th St., Sarasota, eventbrite.com
The first annual Nightmare Before Christmas Feast will take place Dec. 3 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Vino Bistro of Sarasota. A delicious three-course meal fit for the Pumpkin King Jack Skellington himself will be served along with wine pairings and interactive entertainment. Tickets are $95 and can be purchased here.
Saturday, Dec. 3, CoolToday Park, 18800 South West Villages Pkwy, Venice, cooltodaypark.com
The Braves Tomahawk 5K begins at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. Runners will race near the park, behind the scenes through the stadium and on the field, with their finish displayed on the JumboTron. Come for the race, then stick around for the Braves Jingle Jam. Registration is $45 and includes a post-race breakfast, t-shirt and finisher’s medal. Proceeds will benefit the Atlanta Braves Foundation. To register, click here.
Saturday, Dec. 3, South Nokomis Beach to North Venice Beach, (941) 718-8644, venicechristsmasboatparade.com
When Santa stops by Florida, he trades his sleigh in for a boat and joins the Venice Christmas Boat Parade. Starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, festive boats adorned with twinkly lights and holiday decorations will float from the Albee Road Bridge in South Nokomis past downtown Venice down to North Venice Beach. Spectators can view the parade along the Intracoastal. If it rains, the parade will be moved to Sunday, Dec. 4. Admission is free.
Saturday, Dec. 3, United Way of South Sarasota County Office, 4242 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, 941-961-2937, northportareachamber.com
Santa loves milk and cookies, but did you know that pancakes are his favorite breakfast treat? At the Sertoma Club of Venice’s annual Breakfast with Santa, chow down on yummy pancakes and enjoy a photo-op with Santa. You’ll even receive a digital copy of the photo to share with your loved ones. Admission is free.
Saturday, Dec. 3, 116 Bridge St. (U.S. Post Office parking lot), Bradenton Beach, lovebradentonbeach.com
Enjoy watery winter wonder during the Bridge Street Boat Parade and Street Party. The street party will run from 3 to 9 p.m., and the boat parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. Younger attendees can partake in arts and crafts, visits with Santa and other activities. For the young at heart, open container rules will be waived. There will also be live music, prizes from local businesses and a special Bradenton Beach ornament available for purchase to benefit Turning Points of Bradenton. Admission is free.
Saturday, Dec. 3, from Main St. and U.S. 301 to J.D. Hamel Park, Sarasota, sarasotaholidayparade.com
At 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, the streets of Sarasota will go from sunny to snowy, courtesy of the 26th annual Sarasota Holiday Parade. Snow is the star of this year’s “Winter Wonderland” theme, which will feature snowmen, marching bands and more. Attendance is free.
Dec. 3-4, CoolToday Park, 18800 South West Villages Pkwy, Venice, cooltodaypark.com
The fourth annual Braves Jingle Jam will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The family-friendly event will feature kids’ activities, horse and carriage rides, meet and greets with Santa and more. There will also be a holiday market, live music and a golf cart parade. Admission is free.
Dec. 3-4, Historic Spanish Point Campus, 401 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, selby.org
Take advantage of Florida’s beautiful winter weather during Wintergreen Weekend at Historic Spanish Point. Dec. 3-4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., enjoy holiday activities and entertainment, as well as festive refreshments for purchase. Admission is free for Selby Gardens’ members, $16 for non-members, $11 for children (5–17) and free for ages 4 and under.
Monday, Dec. 5, Manatee Performing Arts Center, Stone Hall, 502 Third Avenue W., Bradenton, manateeperformingartscenter.com
Manatee Performing Arts Center presents this fan-favorite holiday show featuring music from Joe Gattuso and other artists. With performances ranging from moving to lighthearted, the show has been a Bradenton holiday staple since 2013. Proceeds benefit the Prodigal Daughters Journey Home rehabilitation center for women and children. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.
Dec. 6-9, Palmetto Historical Park, 515 10th Ave. West, Palmetto, palmettohistoricalpark.com
Experience an old-fashioned Christmas at the Palmetto Historical Park and Manatee County Agricultural Museum. Holiday tours will run Dec. 6-9, with morning tours at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and afternoon tours at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Guided tours will begin in the Carnegie Library at Palmetto Historical Park and conclude in the Agricultural Museum. Admire the holiday decorations as you learn about Palmetto’s history. Admission is free, but reservations are required and can be made here.
Wednesday, Dec. 7, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, vanwezel.org
Rock around the Christmas tree during the Million Dollar Quartet Christmas holiday musical at the Van Wezel. You’ll enjoy rock ’n’ roll holiday tunes from music icons like Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
Wednesday, Dec. 7 through Sunday, Dec. 11, Holley Hall, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, sarasotaorchestra.org
Revel in the sounds of the season with the Sarasota Orchestra. The holiday concert will delight audiences with “Festive Sounds of Hanukkah,” ’Twas the Night Before Christmas and more. Rumor has it there will even be a sing-along for audiences. Performances begin at 4, 5:30 or 7:30 p.m. depending on the show’s date. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.
Thursday, Dec. 8, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, vanwezel.org
Enjoy new and familiar Christmas songs from singer Chris Isaak, who released his Everybody Knows It's Christmas album this year. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
Friday, Dec. 9, Southside Village, Laurent Place and Hillview St., Sarasota, southsidevillage.org
From 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, Sarasota’s Southside Village will host its holiday stroll. There will be live music, exciting kids’ activities, tasty holiday treats and more. The event will also feature an appearance by Santa and a thrilling snow slide, as well as a raffle benefiting Girls Inc. Admission is free.
Dec. 9-11, 13-19, 21-23 and 29-30, 1826 Fourth St., Sarasota, discoversarasotatours.com
Discover Sarasota Tours will debut its new Christmas Carol Trolley Tour on select dates this December, departing at 5:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. Sip on complimentary drinks at the Trolley Cottage, then embark on the 75-minute musical and light tour based on letters to Santa. Roll through the streets of Sarasota while bopping to Christmas carols and embracing the magic of the holidays. Admission is $49.99 for ages 12-plus and $29.99 for ages 3-11. Parking is free.
Saturday, Dec. 10, Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton, manateevillage.org
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Manatee Village rekindles the Christmas spirit of yore. The village will be decorated in festive Victorian and Florida pioneer styles, and guests are encouraged to check out the museum’s exhibits as well. The event will also feature food, vendors, entertainment and “make and take” crafts. Admission is free.
Saturday, Dec. 10, Manatee Performing Arts Center, Stone Hall, 502 Third Avenue W., Bradenton, manateeperformingartscenter.com
Performers from the Venice Theatre and the Manatee Performing Arts Center will unite for this holiday concert. All proceeds will benefit the Venice Theatre to help repair damage from Hurricane Ian. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.
Saturday, Dec. 10, The Bay Sarasota (Common Ground & Oval areas), 1055 Blvd of the Arts, Sarasota, thebaysarasota.org
Tropical Christmas will be in full swing from 4 to 6 p.m. at The Bay. Amidst the mangrove forests, you’ll find games, live music, photos with Santa and more. Pro tip: The Bay is also a great place to catch the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, on Dec. 10, at Sarasota Bay. Admission is free.
Saturday, Dec. 10, Raffurty’s Bar & Grill, 1888 Main St., Sarasota, eventbrite.com
The 7th annual Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl is back, featuring stops at six local bars and eateries. Attendees are encouraged to don their ugliest holiday sweaters for the event, which runs from 5 to 11 p.m. Bar crawl tickets include discounted themed drinks, a beer koozie, admission to the after-party and more. VIP tickets are also available and come with additional perks. Regular tickets are $17.99, and VIP tickets are $29.99. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.
Saturday, Dec. 10, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, vanwezel.org
The Hip Hop Nutcracker will shake up Sarasota on Dec. 10. In its 10th year, this show blends contemporary dance with Tchaikovksy’s classics for unforgettable performances. The show begins at 7 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
Saturday, Dec. 10, Siesta Beach Park, 948 Beach Road, Sarasota, runsignup.com
The 46th annual Sandy Claws Beach Run on Siesta Beach returns Dec. 10, starting at 8 a.m. Runners, walkers and joggers will race like reindeer over the sandy shore, with options for an adult and children’s 5K and a one-mile fun run for all ages. Be sure to dress up for the holiday costume contest. 5K participants will receive medals, and fun run participants will receive ribbons. For more information and to register, click here.
Dec. 10-11, 16-18 and 22-23, Hunsader Farms, 5500 C.R. 675 Bradenton, hunsaderfarms.com
On select nights in December from 6 to 10 p.m., marvel at over 300,000 holiday lights. This family-friendly event will feature live entertainment, kids’ activities, a Christmas village and more. There will also be holiday vendors and tasty treats for purchase. Admission is $15; parking is free.
Saturday, Dec. 10, Marina Jack, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, suncoastcharitiesforchildren.org
The annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights will sail through Sarasota Bay from 6 to 8 p.m. Each boat will be decked out in holiday-themed lights and will be judged based on its decorations. The best viewing spots are City Island, Bayfront Park and Marina Jack. Admission is free, but guests are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy or book to Suncoast Charities for Children.
Saturday, Dec. 10, Wellen Park Welcome Center, 12275 Mercado Drive, Venice, wellenpark.com
Tired of drinking eggnog every holiday? Attend the Holiday Mixology Class, from 6 to 8 p.m., and learn how to make a Ginger Pomegranate Cosmo and an About Thyme as you enjoy sushi and appetizers. You’ll also leave with a mixology kit filled with everything you need to recreate the cocktails at home. Admission is $30. To register, click here.
Dec. 10-23 and 26-30 and Jan. 1-5, 1534 Mound St., Sarasota, selby.org
Lights in Bloom is a beloved local tradition. From 6 to 9 p.m., the gardens radiate the spirit of the season with more than 2 million lights. Stroll under twinkling palm trees, enjoy food and drink for purchase and listen to holiday songs. You’ll even meet some festive Floridian friends, including alligators, dolphins and flamingos. Early entry tickets (5:30 p.m.) are $40 for non-members, $35 for members, $20 for children 5-17 and free for children 4 and under. General admission tickets (6 p.m.) are $30 for non-members, $25 for members, $15 for children 5-17 and free for children 4 and under.
Sunday, Dec. 11, Church of the Redeemer, 222 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, choralartistssarasota.com
At 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, the Choral Artists of Sarasota will perform their Peace on Earth concert. The singers will blend holiday carols with “In Terra Pax” to spread messages of peace. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $5 for students and include entry into the concert’s “Meet the Music” session on Dec. 1 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
Monday, Dec. 12, Wellen Park Welcome Center, 12275 Mercado Drive, Venice, wellenpark.com
Relax into the holidays during this “make and take” watercolor class from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is $30 and includes a canvas, painting supplies, snacks and wine. Advanced registration is required; to register click here.
Tuesday, Dec. 13, The Green at UTC, across from Gifts & More at 125 N. Cattlemen Rd. Unit 101, Sarasota, utcsarasota.com
Dogs are always on the nice list, so bring your pup to Barks & Brews for a night of fun from 6 to 8 p.m. Enjoy holiday treats, craft brews, entertainment and photos with Santa. There will be appearances by adoptable dogs and a raffle benefiting Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue. Admission is free.
Wednesday, Dec. 14, and Thursday, Dec. 15, Bradenton Kiwanis Theater, 502 Third Avenue W., Bradenton, manateeperformingartscenter.com
The Manatee Performing Arts Center’s senior theater troupe, DraMature, presents its lively holiday show, featuring music, sketches and more. Wednesday’s evening performance begins at 7:30 p.m., and Thursday’s matinee begins at 2 p.m. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.
Thursday, Dec. 15, Rosemary Park, 531 Central Ave., Sarasota, eventbrite.com
From 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 15, the Rosemary Art and Design District will host the RADD Holiday Bash and Toy Drive. The event will feature live music, food trucks and letters for Santa station. Deck out your bike for the BLVD Bike Ride and wear your ugliest holiday sweater. Admission is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the toy drive.
Friday, Dec. 16, Wellen Park Welcome Center, 12275 Mercado Drive, Venice, wellenpark.com
Forget Santa’s sleigh, the best way to travel this holiday is by bike. The Bright Bike Parade begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 16. Ride your decorated bike in the three-mile-long parade, then enjoy refreshments at the welcome center. Reservations are required; to register and learn more, click here.
Saturday, Dec. 17, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, vanwezel.org
Journey to a magical holiday wonderland at the Van Wezel on Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. This spectacular acrobatic musical and holiday show will delight viewers big and small. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
Saturday, Dec. 17, Wellen Park Welcome Center, 12275 Mercado Drive, Venice, wellenpark.com
At 9 a.m. on Dec. 17, partake in holiday-themed Zumba at Wellen Park. Class will be held outside; admission is free.
Saturday, Dec. 17, Wellen Park Welcome Center, 12275 Mercado Drive, Venice, wellenpark.com
Bring your kids to Santa’s workshop at Wellen Park. They’ll create their own holiday ornament, enjoy festive treats and meet Santa himself! Admission is free, but reservations are required. To reserve a spot, click here.
Saturday, Dec. 17, Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, lovebradentonbeach.com
From 3 to 9 p.m., Christmas on Bridge Street will keep spirits bright. Kids can take photos with Santa and the Anna Maria Island Privateer pirates. Face painting, caroling and other holiday activities will be offered. At 7 p.m., all are invited to watch the movie Home Sweet Home Alone. There will also be a concession stand and takeout from local restaurants. Admission is free.
Sunday, Dec. 18, Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, atasteofchanukah.com
The 11th annual Taste of Chanukah Food & Music Festival will take place at the Phillippi Estate Park on Sunday, Dec. 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. Indulge your kosher cravings with local food vendors and a gelt helicopter drop. The family-friendly event will also feature a snow slide, train ride and other holiday activities. Tickets purchased before Dec. 10 are $7; tickets purchased after that date are $10. Kids 12 and under are free.
Thursday, Dec. 22, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, vanwezel.org
Grammy-nominated Jim Brickman will serenade audiences at the Van Wezel with his annual holiday tour on Thursday, Dec. 22. Brickman will sing and perform holiday favorites as well as his own festive tunes on the piano. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.
Monday, Jan. 2, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, vanwezel.org
Kick off 2023 with the Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert at the Van Wezel. With dancers, singers and the Strauss Symphony of America, the concert will take audiences back to the golden age of Viennese music, bringing to mind grand balls and winter fun. The show begins at 7 p.m. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.