Deck the Palms

All the Best Holiday Events Happening in Sarasota This Year

From twinkly palm trees to boat parades, Southwest Florida shines during the holidays.

By Laura Paquette December 6, 2022

Selby Gardens Lights in Bloom

Through Dec. 30 and Jan. 1-5, 1534 Mound St., Sarasota, 

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.

Holidays at UTC 

Through Jan. 2, The Mall at University Town Center, 140 University Town Center Drive,

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. 

St. Armands Circle Winter Spectacular

Through Jan. 3, St. Armands Circle, 1 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, 

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.

Discover Sarasota Tours Christmas Carol Trolley Tour

Select dates through Dec. 30, 1826 Fourth St., Sarasota, 

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.

Sailor Circus Holiday Special 

Through Saturday, Dec 31, The Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota,

The Sailor Circus Academy presents the Sailor Circus Holiday Special. This year’s performance pays homage to beloved holiday films and TV specials, immersing audiences into a giant vintage television set where performers ages 8-18 will bring life to these iconic stories. On Wednesday through Friday, shows begin at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Saturday the show will begin at 1 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $40, depending upon the seating area. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.

New Year’s Eve Food Truck Rally at Big Top Brewing Company

Saturday, Dec. 31, Big Top Brewing Company, 975 Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota, 

From 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., a variety of food trucks will serve up tasty eats, and YaYa Diamond and The Dream Chasers will perform. At midnight, expect a champagne toast and keg drop. Admission is free. 

Sarasota New Year’s Eve Pineapple Drop Block Party

Saturday, Dec. 31, Intersection of Main Street and Lemon Avenue,

Party like it’s 2023 at the Sarasota Pineapple Drop. This fan-favorite event will take place from 1 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. on Jan. 1. The party will also feature a DJ, live music, games and carnival rides, as well as the highly-anticipated glowing pineapple drop at midnight. Following the drop, enjoy fireworks over Sarasota Bay. Food and drinks will be available for purchase, and local eateries will offer holiday specials and promotions. Admission is free.

New Year’s Eve at Waterside Place

Saturday, Dec. 31, Waterside Place, 1561 Lakefront Drive, Sarasota, 

From 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., Waterside Place invites everyone to ring in the new year. There will be a DJ, food trucks and eats and drinks from Korê Steakhouse and Good Liquid Brewing Company. Admission is free.

New Year’s Soirée at Pier 22

Saturday, Dec. 31, Pier 22, 1200 1st Ave. W., Bradenton,

Give 2022 an elegant finish starting at 7 p.m. at Pier 22. Guests will enjoy a buffet and full open bar while listening to gypsy jazz performed by Hot Club SRQ Trio. There will also be a live DJ and midnight toast. Tickets are $200 per person; to purchase tickets, click here.

New Year’s Eve Party at 88Live Piano Bar 

Saturday, Dec. 31, 88Live Piano Bar, 6640 Cortez Rd. W. Ste. A, Bradenton,

At 8 p.m., kick off the new year with live music from The Unessentials Dueling Pianos. The evening will feature dancing, hors d’oeuvres, champagne and party favors. Tickets are $25 per person. Contact 88Live at 941-900-1133 for ticket purchase information.

New Year’s Eve Beach Bash at Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill Manatee River 

Saturday, Dec. 31, Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill, 313 19th St. E., Ellenton,

This beachside new year’s bash will begin at 8 p.m. and will feature live music from the 301 Travelers Band, an à la carte food and drinks menu and a champagne toast at midnight. Palapa cabanas, VIP tables and firepits are available for reservation here. Reservations are encouraged and can be made here for a $15 hold charge, which will be returned unless you are a no-show.  

New Year’s Eve at Mattison’s 

Saturday, Dec. 31, Various Mattison’s locations,

Ring in the new year at any of the Mattison’s restaurants. Mattisons Forty-One (open 4 p.m. to midnight), will offer its regular menu, a Chateaubriand for two special and music from Randy Stephens. Mattison’s City Grille (open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.) in downtown offers a front-row seat to the Pineapple Drop and block party on Lemon Ave. and Main St. Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille in Bradenton (open 11 a.m. to midnight) will feature a special dinner menu, music from Avalanche and dancing. Mattison’s also offers new year’s catering options for private parties and quiet nights in. To make reservations, plan catering and learn more, click here

New Year Soirée at Grove 

Saturday, Dec. 31, Grove Restaurant,10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch,

Give 2022 a stylish send-off at Grove’s New Year Soirée. This party will feature a delicious buffet, a full open bar and loads of champagne. There will also be live jazz, a DJ, a photo booth and a midnight toast. Festive cocktail attire is encouraged. Tickets are $254 per person including tax and gratuities. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here

New Year’s Eve with Ron Feingold at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre

Saturday, Dec. 31, McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, 

Ring in the new year with some laughs at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre. Ron Feingold will headline the event, along with Scott Novotny and Helen Keaney. The Green Room will open at 8:30 p.m. with the full food and beverage menu available and the show will start at 9:30 p.m. Attendees will also enjoy party favors, a midnight champagne toast and raffle prizes. All audience members must be at least 18 years old to attend. Tickets are $70. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.

New Year’s Day Hangover Brunch at 99 Bottles 

Sunday, Jan. 1, 99 Bottles Tap Room & Bottle Shop, 1445 2nd St., Sarasota, 

Relax into the new year with a delicious brunch spread from 99 Bottles. Authentic, New York-style bagels, toppings and bagel sandwiches will be on the menu, along with coffee from O&A Coffee and Supply, Bloody Marys, mimosas, wine and craft beer. To-go ordering will also be available. Brunch will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Seating will be first come, first served. 

New Year’s Day Fun Run and Potluck 

Sunday, Jan. 1, Siesta Beach Park, 948 Beach Rd., Sarasota,

Join the Manasota Track Club from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for an exciting fun run and potluck at Siesta Beach. Bring your favorite potluck dish and meet at the Siesta Beach playground to begin the run. For more information, contact the Manasota Track Club here.

Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert

Monday, Jan. 2, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 

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.

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