Even though some Sarasota citizens may celebrate Christmas while swimming in the ocean (daily high temperatures there are around 71 °F or 21 °C), they know how to create bright and dazzling Christmas vibes. If you and your family would like to fully immerse in the holiday spirit, Christmas lights in Sarasota, Florida, are definitely worth your attention!
Lights in Bloom®: An Open-air Holiday Light Show (December 8, 2023–January 3, 2024)
An Open-air Holiday Light Show is located at Selby Gardens' Downtown Sarasota campus, where you will get a thrill out of the glow of more than 2 million LED lights. This Sarasota Christmas lights show made USA Today's Top ten Botanical Garden Holiday Lights Shows in 2019, making it one of the most wanted shows to visit. What's more, you can join in various activities, such as touchless face painting, photo shooting, and balloon artistry. Oh, and food—there's a lot of finger-licking food!
Holiday Tour of Lights (December 4–31, 2023)
Holiday Tour of Lights is a famous Sarasota trolley Christmas lights tour that takes its passengers to some of Sarasota's best-illuminated displays. Reserve a seat on an open-air, old-fashioned trolley and dive deeper into the world of the brightest parts of Sarasota. Wading through the tiny streets is the best way to seize the moment and enjoy the holiday spirit. Tours depart every day at 6:15 pm and 8:15 pm; tickets cost $15 per person.
Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights (December 9, 2023)
Even though it only lasts 2 hours, the Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is a MUST see when talking about Christmas lights in Sarasota. It's a part of the annual Florida Holiday Boat Parade that fascinates and hypnotizes thousands of spectators. People grab their chairs, some snacks, and drinks and head to the best places from which they can enjoy the festival of brightly lighted and spectacularly decorated boats. About 25 boats and yachts make their way starting from City Island, moving across Sarasota Bay to Centennial Park, the Ringling Bridge, and then to Sarasota's Bayfront Park. The show begins at 6 pm and is organized by Marina Jack Yacht Basin. The best spots to view from are Bayfront Park, City Island, and Centennial Park. A little tip: arrive an hour earlier to get the best seats.
Colonial Gables neighborhoods (late November 2023–early January 2024)
What can be better than spotting the brightest Sarasota-area neighborhoods on your own? Viewing how the locals celebrate Christmas is the best and cheapest way to immerse yourself in the holiday atmosphere. Colonial Gables Christmas lights in Sarasota have been tempting visitors for many years for justifiable reasons. It's one of the most glowing neighborhoods with spectacular displays and must-see homes decorated above and beyond every Christmas. Save these spots: Camus Street, Woodmont Road, and Bee Ridge.
To buy tickets, please check back for updates on the official websites (see External Resources below.) Also, feel free to take a look at the map suggesting the best accommodations nearby.