South Florida Holiday Bucket List

South Florida Holiday Bucket List 2016

The holidays are officially here.  While we may not have snow we have no shortage of holiday activities. Looking for the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit?   We have you covered with this complete guide for the holidays.  Here is our South Florida Holiday Bucket List. I have separated the events into two sections the first is for ongoing events and the second is for one time events.

South Florida Holiday Bucket List

Snowfall on the CityPlace Plaza

Snowfall shows are running nightly.  We went on Sunday and it was a fun night out.  CityPlace is so festive with their snowflake lights and huge tree.  The train was also a big hit for us at $3/ride.  It is snowing November 12th-December 31st, except November 24th and December 25th 

  • Monday – Wednesday: 6pm and 7pm
  • Thursday – Sunday: 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm

South Florida Holiday Bucket List Photo by CityPlace

Santa at Bass Pro

This is one of our favorite places to go and see Santa.  They give you a free photo and Kurt loves going to Bass Pro.  I love it because they have Christmas crafts and a Winter wonderland.  Running – November 13th-December 24th

South Florida Holiday Bucket List
Photo by Bass Pro Shop

Holiday Fantasy of Lights

Tradewinds Park – Enjoy the fantasy of color, lights and design this holiday season with 3 miles of giant animated holiday displays.  3600 West Sample Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073.  Drive-thru the lights for $15/car or $40/bus.  November 18th-January 1st

South Florida Holiday Bucket List

Mizner Park Tree 

Located at the south end of the center near Lord & Taylor, Mizner Park’s “iTree” consists of more than 32,000 life-like PVC branches, red & gold bows, ornament clusters and 25,000 clear & multi-colored LED lights. There will be 20 minute musical light shows performed nightly at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. starting on Wednesday, November 23rd and continuing through the holiday season. The tree will be illuminated for photo opportunities between shows

South Florida Holiday Bucket List

Symphony Of Lights at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park’s popular holiday tradition, Symphony of Lights, features more than one million lights with new music synchronized to the lights, a 50-foot tree and entertainment with shows on every honor.  November 25th – December 29th

Santa & Mrs. Claus, toy soldiers, juggling acts and stilt walkers will have appearances from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, November 26th and Sunday, November 27th and then every Friday and Saturday from December 2nd thru December 24th.  Catabella Express Train Rides will be available to take children on a tour of Gulfstream Park from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, November 25th and will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Saturday, November 26th
  • Friday, December 16th
  • Saturday, December 17th
  • Friday, December 23rd
  • Saturday, December 24th
South Florida Holiday Bucket List
Photo by Gulfstream Park

The Polar Express Train Ride

The magical story comes to life when the train departs from Gold Coast Railroad Museum for a 45 minute round-trip journey to the North Pole.

Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the story as they are whisked away on THE POLAR EXPRESS™. Once onboard, hot chocolate and treats are served as passengers read along with the classic children’s book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg. Santa and his helpers greet passengers at the North Pole and then board the train, where each child is given the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell. Chefs aboard each car lead passengers in singing Christmas carols on the ride back to Miami.  Families are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride!   It runs November 25th – December 24th

Festival of the Trees at Ann Norton Museum

The Norton Home will be filled with treasures and holiday gifts for all your family and friends. Daily 10 am – 4 pm and during the Festival of Trees, also 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Admissions apply.

Hyatt Extreme Christmas Home Display 

November 29th-December 28th – Sunday – Thursday 6:00 – 10:00 pm | Friday & Saturday 6:00 – 11:00 pm a 20 year-old tradition, which has been entertaining, inspiring and motivating families from  South Florida. The Hyatt’s take great joy in creating memories for you during this special time of year. Our community can see their display of more than 200,000 lights for FREE. They give back to our community by raising awareness and funds for charitable partners such as Humane Society, Broward Food Bank and Support for the Military working with the Red Cross “Holiday Cards for Heroes”.

South Florida Holiday Bucket List
Photo by Hyatt Extreme Christmas

Sandi the Sand Christmas Tree in West Pam Beach

Holiday in Paradise celebration is located on the beautiful West Palm Beach Waterfront and filled with tons of FREE entertainment and family-friendly holiday activities.  The star of the festivities is “Sandi”, the world’s ONLY holiday sand tree made of 600-tons of sand!  This staggering 35-feet-tall holiday tree will dazzle the crowds nightly with light and music shows.  December 3-January 1st.

South Florida Holiday Bucket List

Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant

From the street corner to the city square, the sights and sounds of Christmas surround us during this wonderful season. It features a festive opening scene with familiar carols in a turn-of-the-century setting, a concert of inspirational contemporary songs, and a musical drama of the nativity and life of Christ. This year’s Pageant includes a spectacular snow-filled winter wonderland (watch for the falling snowflakes, not just on stage, but in the audience as well!) and an elegant cityscape.

South Florida Holiday Bucket List
Photo by Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant

Hoffman’s Chocolates Winter Wonderland,

5190 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth: 6 to 10 p.m. nightly until Dec. 30. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus arrive every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. Tour the magical display of ten thousand lights in the gardens including a gazebo, cascading fountains, live fish, electric trains and animated displays including a life size camel in the mangerscene. Info: call 561-967-2213

South Florida Holiday Bucket List
Photo by Hoffman’s Chocolates

Bethlehem Revisited

This is a re-creation of the city of Bethlehem the night that Jesus was born.   A tradition of First United Methodist Church of Coral Springs for 24 years.  More than 10,000 visitors per year experience the first Christmas in a profoundly personal way. December 9-13th

Back to Bethlehem

They are taking a break this year.

Santa at Town Center Mall 

Check here for all the times including when you can bring your pets.  You can also make an appointment online.  This is the first year they are charging for appointments.  The $10 fee can be applied to your photo purchase.  The least expensive package is almost $25.  We did it and had a great experience, but I felt like the feel was high.

South Florida Holiday Bucket List – One Day Events in December 

  • Sandi lights up the Waterfront! – Thursday, December 1st from 6-10pm. Join us for the annual City of West Palm Beach Holiday Tree Lighting featuring “Sandi,” the world’s ONLY 35-ft-tall holiday tree made from 600 tons of sand that will illuminate downtown West Palm Beach during Clematis by Night. Santa will visit the event from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.Come for the tree lighting and stay for a spectacular night of country music!
  • The Delray Beach 100ft Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony – Thursday, December 1st This is one of the largest and most celebrated holiday events in Palm Beach County. Festivities begin at 5pm. A month long celebration kicks off with Santa landing in a helicopter to light the 100ft Christmas Tree at 7:15pm. Old School Square Park. 561-278- 0424.
  • Boynton Beach Annual Holiday Tree Lighting – Friday, December 2nd 5:30 pm- 10 pm – Tree lighting and Concert.  The public is invited to come out and enjoy the lighting of Boynton’s 50-foot holiday tree and Menorah displays at the Ocean Avenue Amphitheatre. 129 East Ocean Ave.
  • Free Friday Concerts Friday, December 2nd Gates open at 6:30pm Concert starts at 7:30pm – – The Long Run (Eagles tribute) Delray Beach Center for the Arts / Outdoor Pavilion.
  • Elf Movie –  Friday, December 2nd at 8:00pm – Viewing at ArtsPark at Young Circle is a FREE family friendly flick each week.  *Lawn seating. Bring a blanket or a beach chair.
  • Boynton Beach Annual Holiday Parade – Saturday, December 3rd at 11am.  The City’s 46th annual holiday parade begins at 3pm, traveling north on Federal Highway from SE 12th Ave to Ocean Avenue. Come cheer on our local schools and organizations as they celebrate the holiday and this great annual tradition.
  • 60th Annual Candy Cane Parade – Saturday, December 3rd at 7-9:00pm –  Join us for the 61st Annual Hollywood Beach Candy Cane Parade featuring dozens of lighted floats and vehicles with parade participants tossing out candy canes and starlight mints all along the parade route to the thousands of spectators who line the Broadwalk. Parade route runs from Scott Street south to Harrison Street.
  • Carols by Candlelight – Saturday, December 3rd at 7-8:30pm  This is a ticketed event!  The Pavilion at Old School Square invites you to get into the holiday spirit with a new concert experience that will become a community tradition, supporting local children’s programs. Carols by Candlelight, which began in Australia and then San Diego.
  • Deerfield Beach Ocean Way Holiday Celebration Saturday, December 3rd 5:00-9:00pm Join us for the Annual Deerfield Beach Ocean Way Holiday Celebration, Saturday, December 3rd, at the International Fishing Pier, 200 NE 21st Ave. Bring the entire family out for a magical evening as we celebrate the season. Enjoy musical performances, kids activities, photos with Santa, tasty holiday treats, ice skating by the ocean and snow showering all night!
  • Christkindlmarkt – December 3rd and 4th Festival at the American-German Club of the Palm Beaches shares the holiday cheer and excitement of an authentic German outdoor Christmas market. Visitors have plenty of opportunity pick up some German language essentials and learn more about German culture without having to travel to Europe.
  • Drop off day for Toy delivery to your home by Santa on a fire truck – Monday, December 5th from 6-8pm.  On either December 17th or 18th Santa will personally deliver a pre-wrapped gift to your child and pose for pictures before moving on to spread cheer to more boys and girls in the Boca Raton Area. This wonderful program generates funds to send Holiday Care Packages to our troops overseas as well as provide College Scholarships for eligible students within the community. This was Bailey’s favorite holiday event last year.  I highly recommend it.
  • City of Boca Raton Street Parade – Wednesday, December 7th at 7:30pm  – Join us for our 46th annual holiday street parade. This year’s parade theme will be “A Holiday Wish.” Parade route begins at Federal Hwy & SE 8th Street, traveling North to Mizner Park Amphitheater.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas Movie – Friday, December 9th at 8:00pm Viewing at ArtsPark at Young Circle is a FREE family friendly flick each week.  *Lawn seating. Bring a blanket or a beach chair.
  • Boynton Beach and Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade – Friday, December 9th  The event at the Boynton Harbor Marina starts at 5:30 pm with live music from Route Bleu setting the stage for the parade to start at 7:00 pm.  Other viewing areas are located at Intracoastal Park and along the parade route. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. Free community event. No pets please.
  • Delray Beach Holiday Parade – Saturday, December 10th 6:00pm – Beginning east of the Intracoastal and continuing west to the Fire Dept. with over 70 entries to help you celebrate the holidays! Through a special connection to the North Pole, The Delray Beach Fire Department will have Santa riding along on their Fire Truck. 561-243-7277,
  • Boca Raton Children’s Museum Holiday Extavaganza  Saturday, December 10th from 8:30am-3pm Games, Crafts, Face Painting, Pictures with Santa, Holiday Food and Drink.  Tickets are $10/person.  Boca Raton Children’s Museum on Crawford Blvd.  Call the Museum for your tickets today (561) 368-6875 or email
  • Fort Lauderdale’s Winterfest Boat Parade Saturday, December 10th More than 1,000,000 cheering spectators along the 12 mile route have transformed the this event into not only the largest, one-day, live audience of any event in Florida, but also the seventh largest one-day spectator event in the country! Winterfest was just named by Readers Digest as “100 Best in America” which lists the top events in the United States. They are a nonprofit and their mission is to enhance the community’s image by producing wholesome, unique, internationally recognized events that reflect the diversity and culture of South Florida.
  • North Beach Village Resort’s Boat Parade Viewing Party – Saturday, December 10th –  2nd Annual Boat Parade Viewing Party at their premiere viewing location right on the Intracoastal Waterway.  This family-friendly Minion-themed viewing party will feature live entertainment, pictures with Santa, food, drinks, vendor booths, local artists, and the procession of the world’s most watched boat parade hosted by Pitbull. In the spirit of this year’s boat parade theme, “Cartoon and Comics”, guests are encouraged to arrive in Minion costumes.  This is a ticketed event.
  • Free Friday Concerts – Friday, December 11th at 7:30pm. Free Friday Concerts. String Theory Band brings Rock, Reggae, Classic, Pop, and everything in between!  Delray Beach Center for the Arts / Outdoor Pavilion.  Weather permitting; bring your lawn chairs, and bring the family, but PLEASE, no pets or outside food or beverages. Food trucks and cash bar available.
  • FAU presents: TUBA CHRISTMAS 2015  Sunday, December 11th at 5pm.  Enjoy the tradition of holiday music performed by tubas and euphoniums, started by Indiana University Professor Harvey G. Phillips. Tuba Christmas.  Outdoor event, bring chairs or blankets. Free event.
  • Gingerbread Concert Sunday, December 11th at 3pm – The annual Gingerbread Holiday Concert attracts parents, grandparents and kids of all ages to the Boca Raton Resort & Hotel’s Great Hall to enjoy seasonal classics performed by the Lynn University Philharmonia Orchestra.
  •  CityPlace Winter Wonderland – Sunday, December 11th. Live cultural and holiday performances, bounce houses, and holiday crafts.  Santa’s arrival and holiday performances.
  • Coral Springs Light up the Night – Wednesday, December 14th at 7:00pm. The parade will feature marching bands, decorated floats and other entries along Sample Road from Coral Springs Drive to City Hall.  Before the holiday parade, individuals and families will participate in the Coral Springs Holiday Mile along Sample Road near Coral Springs Drive at 6:15 p.m. This will be a timed one-mile event, with awards for the top three male and female participants in each age category.
  • Santa by the Sea – Wednesday, December 14th at 5:30pm – Santa in the City of Wilton Manor – residents along the Wilton Manors waterway and those at public viewing areas will have a chance to catch a glimpse of St. Nicholas himself while he takes a break from his busy North Pole Workshop and embarks on journey around Middle River with his reindeer, sleigh and helpers. Or call (954) 630-3118.
  • Holiday Evening at Vizcaya Wednesday, December 14th at 6:00- 9:00pm- Join us in a trip back in time and enjoy Vizcaya decked in holiday decorations, as it would have been in the time of its founder James Deering. Delight in an old-fashioned holiday evening with live music from Vizcaya’s pipe organ, hot chocolate, light appetizers and desserts and arts and crafts. Must be on site by 8:00 p.m. to be admitted to the program. Refunds for late arrivals will not be given. New member special: Become a member and get free tickets to Holiday Evenings with code EVENING.
  • Blue Suede Christmas at Old School Square Thursday, December 15th 7:30pm  A rockin’ holiday tribute to Elvis Presley, now outside at the Pavilion!We expect such a great holiday crowd, that we have moved this event from the Fieldhouse to the Pavlion — and made it a $5 donation at the gate.
  • Home Alone Movie Viewing – Friday, December 16th Viewing at ArtsPark at Young Circle is a FREE family friendly flick each week.  *Lawn seating. Bring a blanket or a beach chair.
  • The Polar Express Movie – Friday, December 16th At Mizner Park Activities begin at 5:00pm Movie begins at 6:30pm Climb aboard for family fun activities – train rides and “snow.” Dress in your pajamas for a showing of the Polar Express movie. Refreshments including hot chocolate, movie theater popcorn and pizza available for purchase.
  •  Free Friday Concerts Friday, December 16th at 8:00pm venue Q, winner of the Tony “Triple Crown” for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. Avenue Q is part flesh, part felt and packed with heart! Delray Beach Center for the Arts / Outdoor Pavilion. 561-243-7922,
  • Piles of Smiles “Snow Dayat Sugar Sand Park Community Center Saturday, December 17th at 10am-4pm  Sugar Sand Park invites your family to experience a South Florida rarity…SNOW!  Children ages 4 to 12 will enjoy playing in 25 tons of real snow.  Advance reservations are $12 ($15 day of event) and include the snow play, plus wristband access to all the other “cool” winter activities. Reservations can be booked in advance online or at the Willow Theatre Box Office. Space is limited. Adult admission is included with paid child(ren).
  • Boca Holiday Boat Parade – Saturday, December 17th at 6:30pm Fireworks will be at viewing areas: Red Reef Park & Silver Palm Park.  Boat Route: Intracoastal waterway starting at the C-15 canal (Boca Raton-Delray Beach city limits) traveling south to Hillsboro Bridge.Bridge Opening (estimated): Spanish River Blvd Bridge – Beginning at 6:50 pm, Palmetto Park Bridge – Beginning at 7:20 pm, Camino Real Bridge – Beginning at 7:30 pm, Bridges will be held in the “Up” position for approximately 30 minutes
  • Boca Bowl Tuesday, December 20th at 7pm – The bowl game will be played at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla., on the campus of Florida Atlantic University and nationally televised on ESPN or ESPN2. The open-air stadium opened in 2011 and seats just under 30,000 fans.  Started at 3:00pm the Ford Fan Fest will be offering music, food and activities for kids and much more.
  • Kids in Party Day Out – Wednesday, December 23rd  –  Drop off the kids for Explorium activities, pizza & games.  (Pre-register by Dec 21)  at Sugar Sand Park.
  • The Tchaikovsky Christmas Spectacular December 26th – Founded by legendary dancer and former Prima Ballerina of The Bolshoi Theatre Ballet, Maya Plissetskaya, The State Ballet Theatre of Russia, now under the direction of award-winning dancer and Moiseyev dance company soloist Nikolay Anokhin, presents selections from two of the greatest classical ballets of all time: The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.  This production is set to the music of Tchaikovsky and features 50 of Russia’s brightest ballet stars.  The Palm Beach Daily News called it “Effortless precision.” The New York Times called it “Full of enchantment!”
  • Noon Eve Party – December 31st at Sugar Sand Park  Ring in the New Year with activities, dancing, a juice toast at noon and a balloon drop.  (Pre-register by Dec 28)Space is limited.
  •  Winter Children’s Fair at Patch Reef Park – January 4th – Lots of fun for children ages 2-12 Free attractions: Strawberry the Clown,Boca Raton Fire Fighter & Fire Truck* arts & crafts, free admission to the park.  Cost: Rides $5.00 each or buy a ride bracelet for $20.00 & ride all day! Fun foods, carnival games, & face painting by Fantasy Faces available for purchase. 

Do you have any recommendations for events we missed on our South Florida Holiday Bucket List 2016?  Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.

  • Note dates and times are subject to change.  I recommend checking the links or calling before going.

South Florida Holiday Bucket List

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