Holiday Events in Southwest Florida: Lights, Parades, and More
From new parties to annual parades, Naples and the surrounding area hosts a variety of local holiday events and traditions every year. Whether you’re looking for an entire evening dedicated to Christmas shopping or the best time to bring your children to meet Santa, we’ve rounded up dozens of events to serve as your guide to celebrating the holiday season.
On December 1, guests can enjoy the 42nd annual Christmas Walk and Tree Lighting Ceremony on Fifth Avenue, while the Evening on Fifth: Rockin’ & Shoppin’ for the Holidays event features live music, shopping, dining, and dancing on December 8.
The Naples Botanical Garden’s Night Lights in the Garden event will run from December 15-23 and December 26-30 and will include live musical performances, family activities, thousands of twinkling lights, and the garden’s newest seasonal exhibit, Origami in the Garden, lit especially for the evening events until 9 p.m.
Make-A-Wish Southern Florida’s annual holiday tradition, Tea at The Ritz, will be December 3 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, decked out in holiday decor.
Brambles Tea Room will host a special Tales and Tea event on December 8 featuring a storyteller sharing a wonderful story as well as a seasonal tea complete with sandwiches, scones, and pastries including Christmas cookies and a red velvet yule log.
The Marco Island Center for the Arts will host its Beaux Art Holiday Tea, an annual holiday tea party featuring a special performance by Jackie Pierce, on December 15.
The Miami City Ballet brings to life George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker December 3 and 4 on stage at Artis—Naples. After winning an epic battle against the dastardly Rat King, Marie and her nutcracker prince set off on an adventure to the Land of Sweets, where they’re treated to majestic balletic sequences set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score.
The Florida Everblades Figure Skating Club will present their annual holiday show on December 11 at the Germain Arena. This year’s theme is “Holiday Playlist,” and more than 35 young skaters will perform to medleys from favorite holiday movies.
The Holiday Pops concerts at Artis-Naples are part of an all-new program of holiday classics featuring the Naples Philharmonic Chorus and Youth Chorus. Multiple performances will run from December 15-18.
The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s third annual holiday market on December 12 encourages shoppers to browse for gifts while enjoying demonstrations by local specialty artists featuring paintings, pottery, natural jewelry, nature photography, and more. Guests are also invited to walk the boardwalk and visit the Blair Audubon Visitor Center Tea Room Café for refreshments.
On Christmas Eve, enjoy a festive snow show, complimentary photos with Santa, stories with Mrs. Claus, and strolling holiday carolers while shopping at the Village on Venetian Bay.
For Animal Lovers
Celebrate Christmas Marco Island-style with activities ranging from the Holiday Pets on Parade party on December 6 at CJ’s on the Bay to enjoying cookies and milk with Santa in Mackle Park on December 17. The annual street parade on San Marco Road is scheduled for December 17 as well, while guests can enjoy ice-skating at Veteran’s Community Park on December 19. Visit christmasislandstyle.com for more activities.
The Naples Preserve’s annual holiday celebration will take place December 9-11, with each evening featuring musical entertainment, light refreshments, sunset boardwalk tours, and special animal guests.
Meet adoptable pets at the Humane Society’s Santa Paws event on December 13 at the Village on Venetian Bay, or bring your own pups out to meet and take holiday photos with Santa.
During the Winter Fest at the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens from December 16-18, guests can watch as Naples zoo staff deliver gifts to the animals including beautifully wrapped presents and holiday-related delicacies.
On the Water
Southwest Florida’s coast offers plenty of chances to show off merrily decorated watercraft in parades on pleasant tropical evenings.
Naples Bay Christmas Boat Parade, December 10: Best views from Pinchers Crab Shack, Riverwalk Restaurant, Kelly’s Fish House, The Boat House Restaurant, Naples City Dock, and Naples Landings Park. Sponsored by the Marine Industries Association of Collier County, the event’s proceeds benefit the Ricky King Foundation.
Marco Island Christmas Island Style Boat Parade, December 10: Best views from The Esplanade on Smokehouse Bay and Snook Inn on the Marco River.
Village on Venetian Bay Boat Parade, Naples, December 13: Best views from Bayside Seafood Grill, Fish restaurant, The Pub, M Waterfront Grille, and MiraMare. T-Michael’s has views from indoors. Bonus: Enjoy live entertainment, face-painting, a snow show, and Santa Claus.
Bonita Springs Christmas Boat Parade, December 10: Best views at Riverside Park along the Imperial River, the U.S. 41 Bridge, and the Imperial River Boat Ramp. Views from homes along the river are especially ideal.
Don’t miss the quintessential Naples holiday experience—the annual Christmas at Palm Cottage. “This year’s tour reflects a more sincere presentation of what the holidays back in the day would look like,” says Naples Historical Society Executive Director Elaine Reed. The historic halls will be decked with charming, finely detailed decorations. Reed recommends booking tours online for $13 a person, as space is limited.
Naples’ 2016 Christmas Parade will be held December 6, and will line up on Broad Avenue. The floats will turn right onto Third Street South, right onto Fifth Avenue South, and end on Eighth Street South.
The Jewish Federation of Collier County will host their Seventh Annual Community-wide Chanukah and Menorah Lighting Celebration December 26 at Mercato. Preschool and Religious School children will perform and the Naples Klezmer Revival Band will provide live music.
The Seventh Annual Marco Island Community Chanukah Celebration will take place December 29 at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island. This family-friendly event will feature Chanukah music, a candle lighting ceremony and lots of holiday spirit.