Six Tampa Bay Date Night Ideas for the Christmas Holiday
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Six Tampa Bay Date Night Ideas for the Christmas Holiday

‘Tis the season for tinsel and mistletoe, cookies and candy canes, presents and - dare we say? – romance. With all the rushing and wrapping that goes along with the Christmas season, it’s important to take some time out to share a little love with a special someone. Here are six festive Tampa Bay date night ideas for you and yours.

1. Ice skating in Tampa: Surrounded by the downtown Tampa cityscape, the seasonal ice rink offers a quintessential setting for holding hands and shaking up the typical date night with a dash of festive activity. Location: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park 600 N Ashley Dr, Tampa, FL 33602, Cost: $10, includes 90 minutes of skate time and skate rental, Website:

Tampa Ice Rink 

2. Carriage ride in St. Pete: St. Pete Carriages offers several options for enjoying downtown St. Petersburg the way travelers did in times past – by horse and buggy. According to their website, the “Option 2” ride is the most romantic; it’s the one that tours the Vinoy hotel and North Straub Park, which has a lovely light display for the holidays. For couples willing to pay a little more, try the Old Northeast Lights Tour, which takes visitors to see all the twinkling houses in the Old Northeast neighborhood of St. Petersburg. (I think this sounds like an epic engagement idea.) Reservations recommended. Location: 320 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg, FL Cost: Option 2: $80 for 30-35 mins; Old Northeast Lights Tour: $140 for 1 hour. Website:

St. Pete Carriages, Photo By Luis Santana

3. Christmas movie on the big screen: Share Christmas movie memories at the Tampa Theatre or Capitol Theatre, which are both running holiday classics this year. Find faith in the meaning of Christmas watching George and Mary Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life at the historical Tampa Theatre. Or celebrate the strangeness and magic of holiday romance with a double feature of When Harry Met Sally and Love Actually at Capitol Theatre. 

Tampa Theatre: 711 North Franklin Street, Tampa, 33602 Cost: $10 Website: ; Capitol Theatre: 405 Cleveland Street, Clearwater, FL 33755 Cost: $7 Website:

Tampa Theatre in Tampa Florida  

4. Live Christmas cheer on stage: There are several holiday musicals taking place in the Tampa Bay area for you and your love to get immersed in Christmas glee. Freefall Theatre is running A Christmas Carol, traditional English carols and all. Our performing arts critic Stephanie Hayes reviews the spooky classic: “Costumes by Mike and Kathy Buck Designs and Davis are luscious to look at, as is the set by Greg Bierce and Matt Davis. The lighting by Mike Wood is up to Freefall's engaging standards. And there's even snow.” 

Location: 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg 

Cost: $21-$46 Website:

Freefall Theatre, A Christmas Carol  

5. Cozy Christmas-themed night at home: If you want to create some Christmas chemistry (and preserve the pocketbook) with a romantic night at home, we can help. Make the house smell like the holidays and indulge in sweetness by baking some cookies with your other half. Check out our Christmas Cookie Recipe Archive Page, which is bulging with recipe ideas for a sugary delight. Get off the couch and create a warm, pillowy picnic space on the floor in front of your TV to help you get snuggled up to enjoy a holiday movie or television show. Check out this roundup from our TV expert Michelle Stark for when and where to catch holiday classics. If you want to make things a bit flirtier, throw in a Christmas cocktail. Here are two light and bubbly adult beverage recipes via the Associated Press.

6. Lights, Lights, Lights! Shimmering lights at night are the perfect way to get all twinkly over the one who has your heart. There are plenty of options for strolling through holiday decorations in the bay area. Here are a few suggestions:

·      Holiday Lights in the Florida Botanical Gardens: 12520 Ulmerton Rd., Largo, FL 33774 Cost: $4 donation (13 and older) Website:

·      Nights of Shimmering Lights: 215 Sydney Washer Rd, Dover, FL 33527 Cost: $15-$20 Website:

·      Waterfront Lights Display at Straub Park: 400 Bayshore Dr. NE. St. Petersburg, Florida 33701 Cost: No Charge Website:

·      Symphony in Lights at Wiregrass (with snow!): 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543 Cost: No Charge Website:

Nights of Shimmering Lights  

Do you know of a great holiday date night idea in the bay area? Let us know about it by using #TampaBayHoliday on Twitter.

- Amber McDonald, Times Staff Writer 

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