Winter on the Water: Top 28 Holiday Events in Jacksonville

Posted By: Mon, November 06, 2017

Related Subjects: Adventure & Sports Areas Arts & Culture Bars & Nightlife Beaches & Waterways Events Family Fun General Holiday's Outdoors & Nature Places to Stay Romance Shopping

The holidays are nearing and family-friendly, fun events are already filling the calendar this season in Jacksonville. What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with a Winter on the Water?

We'll be celebrating the holiday's for the next two months during Winter on the Water, a series of holiday festivities and events in Jacksonville. Book your weekend to Jax for a variety of events including fireworks, the Enchanted Christmas Village, Winterfest at Adventure Landing, Zoolights at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, the TaxSlayer Bowl, our lighted boat parade and Jaguars football! Start a new holiday tradition with your family in Jacksonville this year.


We've listed out the the top 28 Winter on the Water events in Jacksonville, certain to get you in the holiday spirit!

1. St. Johns Town Center Holiday Spectacular

Regardless of what's on your holiday shopping list, the St. Johns Town Center is your shopping headquarters! Enjoy the dazzling 32-foot tree and take advantage of a photo opportunity with Santa who will be available at the Santa House near Dick’s Sporting Goods to hear holiday wish lists. Shop local and national brands at some of the best stores in the country. 

When: November 11- December 24

2. WinterFEST at Adventure Landing in Jacksonville Beach

Bringing snow to sunny Florida, you can enjoy a variety of winter activities and holiday family fun at WinterFEST including: The Alpine Racer 130-foot long ice slide, nightly snowfalls, outdoor ice skating rink, s’more roasting, and a beautiful alpine village and plenty more. 

When: November - January

3. The Alhambra Theatre and Dining Presents Bruce Allen Scudder's Christmas Carole

Get into the holiday spirit at this classic Jacksonville venue. The Alhambra is the oldest operating dinner theater in the nation and its performances and menu are a Jacksonville favorite during the holidays. 

When: November 22- December 24

4. Pete’s Bar Thanksgiving Day Celebration

It’s a Jacksonville holiday tradition for more than 30 years! Pete’s celebration brings thousands of residents and visitors to the quaint Neptune Beach neighborhood on Thanksgiving Day for food, drinks, live music and a lot of fun. 

When: November 23

5. Christmas on the River at the Jacksonville Landing

The 31st Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take at 7 p.m. in The Jacksonville Landing’s Courtyard. The 56-foot-tall energy-efficient tree features over 78,000 L.E.D. lights and more than 100 ornaments and performances highlighting Jacksonville’s local musicians. There will be nightly tree light shows until New Year’s Eve.

When: November 24 - December 31

6. Deck the Chairs

More than twenty American Red Cross life guard chairs will be decorated in coastal-themed designs and lights in Downtown Jacksonville Beach. Kickoff is the day after Thanksgiving with chair decorating, music, hot cocoa, judging and lighting ceremonies. 

When: November 24 – January 1

7. Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour

Jazz saxophonist Dave Koz presents the 20th Anniversary of his Christmas Tour with special guests David Benoit, Rick Braun, Peter White and Selina Albright. Two decades ago, GRAMMY® nominee Dave Koz – a nice Jewish boy – launched his first-ever Christmas tour. 

When: November 25

8. SiriusXM Presents The Brian Setzer Orchestra's 14th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour 

The iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-Award winner Brian Setzer (“Rock This Town,” and “Jump Jive An’ Wail”) and his 19-piece orchestra whip up a huge dose of retro holiday cheer with their Christmas Rocks! Tour.

When: November 25

9. Holiday Cocktail Tasting 

NOLA MOCA presents a tasting of holiday libations and hors d’oeuvres. Featured cocktails will take your holiday party to the next level! Take home our recipes or book your holiday party at MOCA and let our skilled chef and bartenders recreate them for you. 

When: November 16

10. 98° At Christmas 

Pop quartet, 98° (Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey, Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre) return to the stage to perform Christmas classics from their soon-to- be released holiday album, and their biggest hits!

When: November 30 

11. This Wonderful Life

This Wonderful Life is a one-man play beautifully acted by Jeremy Kendall. Based on the iconic 1946 holiday favorite film, It’s a Wonderful Life, the production brings to life over 32 familiar people in an amazing display of physical and verbal virtuosity.

When: December 2 

12. A Hip Hop Nutcracker with Emcee Kurtis Blow

The Hip Hop Nutcracker re-imagines Tchaikovsky’s classic score through explosive hip hop choreography.

When: December 3 

13. Holiday Pops

Jacksonville’s favorite Holiday tradition is back and better than ever. Featuring the talents of the Jacksonville Symphony and Symphony Chorus, guest performers and the area’s only guaranteed snowfall. 

When: December 7-10 

14. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens ZOOLights

Thousands of LED lights will transform the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens into a luminous winter wonderland filled with moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees and animal silhouettes. Guests can also enjoy marshmallow roasting, the 4-D Theater Ride, carousel rides, warm weather “ice” skating and more!

When: December 8-January 6 

15. Beaches Polar Express

This two day event will take place Friday, December 8, 2-6 p.m. and Saturday, December 9, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Visitors are invited to write a letter to Santa, enjoy cocoa and cookies, make crafts, and enjoy other festivities in the History Park.

When: December 8-9

16. 26th Annual Community Nutcracker

There is something exceptional about Community Nutcracker that no one can deny. This highly sophisticated production is built purely upon a passion for art and selfless will for an emotionally stirring result. 

When: December 8-9 

17. Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Experience the sounds of the season with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. 

When: December 14 

18. The Jacksonville Symphony presents First Coast Nutcracker

 A tradition in North Florida for more than 40 years, The First Coast Nutcracker Ballet is an experience for the whole family. The Jacksonville Symphony plays Tchaikovsky’s classic for a show that will dazzle and delight.

When: December 15-17 

19. Handel’s Messiah

The greatest story ever told…the most majestic music ever conceived. The Jacksonville Symphony and Chorus present music’s most powerful message of faith in THE Messiah of the season.

When: December 16-17 

20. Christmas at Congaree

We're celebrating a Congaree Christmas with other local farmers, artisans, boutiques, and food vendors, and treating good boys and girls (and ladies and gentlemen) to sleigh (hay) rides in our new wagons. Don't forget your wish lists! Santa Claus is coming to the farm, too. 

When: December 17

21. The TEN Tenors: Home for the Holidays

Direct from Australia, The TEN Tenors perform traditional and contemporary versions of holiday favorites “Joy to the World,” “Sleigh Ride,” “White Christmas,” “Amazing, Grace,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Feliz Navidad” and more.

When: December 20 

22. It’s a Wonderful Life

When: December 22 

23. A Charlie Brown Christmas Live

The Emmy® and Peabody award-winning story by Charles M. Schulz has been a longstanding tradition, warming the hearts of millions of fans since it first aired on television over 50 years ago. Now, the live on stage adaptation of the classic animated television special brings all your favorite characters to life - all set to the unforgettable sounds of the Vince Guaraldi musical score. Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts gang in their journey to uncover the true meaning of Christmas. 

When: December 22 

24. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker

Celebrate this Christmas with the experience taking North America by storm! Marking the 25th Anniversary Tour, Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker features over-the-top production and world-class Russian artists. 

When: December 27 

25. Community First Jacksonville Light Boat Parade

Whether you are on boat or land, experience the transformation of the St. Johns River as boats of every shape and size are glowing with ambiance and decorations that captivate the imagination!  The boat parade begins at 7 p.m. and the night ends with a wonderful firework display in Downtown Jacksonville kicking off the TaxSlayer Bowl celebrations. 

When: December 30

26. TaxSlayer Bowl

This annual football game is played at the EverBank Field in Downtown attracting thousands of visitors from out of town. The game matches up one of the top teams from the SEC, the ACC, the Big Ten Conference or Notre Dame. Come experience the excitement as the TaxSlayer Bowl treats thousands of fans to one of the most exciting bowl games in college football! 

When: December 30 

27. New Year’s Eve: Orchestral Lunacy

Internationally acclaimed performer Tomáš Kubinek brings hilarity and charm to the Symphony stage in a work of grand music, madcap brilliance and old world panache. 

When: December 31 

28. New Year’s Eve Celebration

Fireworks are Jacksonville’s most favorite way to celebrate the holidays, join hundreds of thousands in Downtown Jacksonville on New Year's Eve as the city lights up the night to welcome 2017. Live music, food trucks, craft vendors, and family fun all take place next to the St. Johns River. 

When: December 31


For all the latest happenings in Jacksonville, view our events calendar to see all the biggest festivals and events throughout the year.


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