Holiday Happenings in Central Florida

By: Peyten Palo

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Check out the Holiday Happenings in Central Florida. This year’s events are highlighted by Christmas themed events at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort in Winter Haven, Bok Tower Gardens, and Polk County History Center, and more.

Holiday Happenings in Central Florida

Holidays at LEGOLAND

Celebrate the holidays the LEGOLAND way! This jolly time of year features a combination of seasonal shows and treats, special LEGO characters, twinkling lights, fireworks on select nights and more during Holidays at LEGOLAND and Kids’ New Year’s Party!

Select dates: November 24-26, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 & 22-31. General Admission tickets include all themed events and shows.

Santa at photo spot during Holidays at LEGOLAND

Wonder House Christmas Tours

Wonder House in Bartow will be hosting Christmas tours from November 24 – January 7. Tours are available Friday – Sunday and must be scheduled in advance, and typically last an hour and a half.

Exterior of 3-story Wonder House in Bartow, FL

Holidays at Bok Tower Gardens

A favorite with visitors and locals alike, Holidays at Bok Tower Gardens features many events from November 25 thorough January 7. This year’s theme, Holidays in the Highlands, is a celebrations that allows us to celebrate the glorious holiday season atop Iron Mountain, one of the highest points in Florida! Special events include holiday concerts, outdoor gnome hunt, and tours of El Retiro.

Polk County History Center Festival of Wreaths

Polk County History Center is proud to host their annual 13th Annual Festival of Wreaths, November 11 – December 14. The History Center is selling wreaths via silent auction and all proceeds benefit the historic landmark. Visit the museum Tuesday – Saturday between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Starlight Nights Downtown Winter Haven

Starlight Nights is Winter Haven’s newest Holiday tradition – a six-week long festival of lights celebrating the Holidays and the city’s wonderful Historic Downtown District. From December 1 through January 6 visitors can experience the magic of the Holiday’s with over 22,000 lights, extended shopping hours (Thursday – Saturday only), and food and drink specials!

Downtown Winter Haven will be lit up from 5:30-10:00PM each night.

Light Up BSP

Starting December 15, enjoy two weeks of festive, free, and fun activities at Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland during their Light Up BSP event. There will be nightly holiday themes that include Holiday Honky Tonk, Jingle Bell Rock, Glow in the Park, and more!

Light Up BSP event poster

Haven Holiday Market

Haven Holiday Market, featuring more than 150 vendors, is a great place for you to get your holiday shopping started!

November 18, 2023 | 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Outstanding Holiday Entertainment & Family Fun

You can enjoy numerous holiday performances throughout Polk County including a series of concerts and events at the RP Funding Center.

Imperial Symphony Orchestra chamber ensemble wearing masks during performance in photo for Kingdom of Sweets

Holiday Parades Around Central Florida

Winter Haven Chain of Lakes Christmas Boat Parade

Celebrate the holidays Central Florida style with the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes Christmas Boat Parade in December 2! This annual event, hosted by Chain Life Winter Haven begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. on Lake May in Winter Haven. The best viewing areas are Harborside Restaurant, Tanner’s Lakeside Bar & Grill, Old Man Franks and the Twisted Prop.

Holiday boat rides - Holiday Happenings in Central Florida

Havendale Christmas Parade

The annual Havendale Christmas Parade in Winter Haven and Auburndale is returning December 8, 2023 from 7-9pm. The route this year is planned to start at the Spring Haven Community in Winter Haven and head west to the Publix in Auburndale. The Greater Auburndale Chamber of Commerce is working to sign up groups and businesses to participate in the parade.

Lakeland Christmas Parade

Recognized as one of Lakeland’s largest annual events, the Lakeland Christmas Parade is held annually on the first Thursday in December. This year, the parade will take place on December 7, 2023. The parade starts off at the RP Funding Center to begin their 1.25-mile course winding through the city’s streets, around Lake Morton and up Tennessee Ave. Parade participants deck out their floats to reflect each year’s theme, “Christmas in Candy Land”

Lakeland Christmas Parade - Holiday Happenings in Central Florida

We have many more wonderful events and activities taking place all across Polk County, as well as the best places to stay in Central Florida, and tips for making your time here merry and bright. Happy Holidays!

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