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Tampa Riverwalk has the 9th Best Public Holiday Display, according to USA Today

Multiple colorful trees in a park
Photo by Andrew Harlan

The Tampa Riverwalk is home to the magical Holiday Spectacular, which officially kicked off on November 25 with the lighting of a 35-foot-tall Christmas tree floating in the harbor. Visitors can explore the charming Winter Wonder Wharf at Sparkman Wharf, traverse the riverwalk to Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park, and wind up on the lawn at Armature to admire the trees on the lawn. According to USA Today voters, it is the 9th Best Public Holiday Display in America.

Full rankings:


  1. Bentleyville ‘Tour of Lights’ – Duluth, Minnesota
  2. Chickasha Festival of Light – Chickasha, Oklahoma
  3. Circle of Lights – Indianapolis, Indiana
  4. Holiday in Paradise – West Palm Beach, Florida
  5. Festival of Lights at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa – Riverside, California
  6. Johannessen Lights – Winter Park, Florida
  7. Christmas Town USA – McAdenville, North Carolina
  8. Light Up the Holidays – Altamonte Springs, Florida
  9. Holiday Spectacular presented by Mosaic – Tampa, Florida
  10. The Miracle on South 13th Street – Philadelphia, Pennslvania

The Riverwalk becomes aglow with festive lights and decorations, and the entire area of Water Works Park sees strings of lights draped on the oak trees, along with unique floating displays like gingerbread houses or toy trains set in the adjacent river. You can jump on a Pirate Water Taxi for the best views.

a cruise ship goes under an illuminated bridge
The Pirate Water Taxi offers River of Lights cruises
a floating Christmas tree next to a water taxi at sunset
Photo via Friends of the Tampa Riverwalk

The shade structures along the Riverwalk are also illuminated in red and green lights, and the space along The Sail Plaza is populated with jubilant decor.

Our centrally located Winter Village, which is complete with an outdoor skating rink, igloos, and a symphony of lights in the park. Check our Holiday Events Guide for even more holiday cheer.


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