Winter on the Water

The holidays are coming and family-friendly fun events fill the calendar this season in Jacksonville.

Experience holiday extravaganzas, nightly snowfalls, dazzling boat parades, ZOOLights and much more. Find out why everyone wants to spend their “Winter On The Water” in Jacksonville!

Here are the Top WOW Events in Jacksonville that will surely get you in the holiday spirit:

1. St. Johns Town Center Holiday Spectacular - November 10

The 13th annual Holiday Spectacular at St. Johns Town Center will kick off the holiday season on Saturday, November 10 from 2-8 p.m. The festive event will feature a full day of activities, culminating with the lighting of the tree by Santa Claus and fireworks display at 8 p.m. Shoppers will enjoy holiday entertainment including live music from 2-6 p.m., with main stage activities beginning at 6 p.m.

2. WinterFEST at Adventure Landing in Jacksonville Beach - November 16th - January 7th

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.

3. The Alhambra Theatre and Dining Presents Elf the Musical - November 24 - December 24

Buddy, is a young orphan who sneaks into the present bag of Santa and is taken back to the North Pole. There he is raised unaware that he is actually a human. In this story, we follow his journey to New York to find his real father.

4. Pete’s Bar Thanksgiving Day Celebration - November 22

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.

5. Christmas on the River at the Jacksonville Landing

The 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.

6. Deck the Chairs - November 23 – January 1

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.

7. Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour 2018 - November 29

Grammy-nominated saxophonist Dave Koz returns with his annual Christmas tour. Joining him to perform fresh renditions of Christmas classics, and holiday hits from their respective catalogs are Grammy-nominated Jazz saxophonist Mindi Abair, vocalists Jonathan Butler and smooth jazz keyboardist Keiko Matsui.

8. Holiday Cocktail Tasting - November 15

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.

9. Community First Jacksonville Light Boat Parade - November 24

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.

10. The Piano Guys: Christmas Together - November 26

Back by popular audience demand, The Piano Guys unite traditional Christmas, classical and pop music for their new holiday show Christmas Together.

11. Jacksonville Holiday Market for Makers- December 1

Once inside the door you will be able to enjoy a holiday themed free DIY flower crown station, Engine15 fresh brews on tap, take photos at our many unique photo walls, music and more! December 1-2 from 11am-4pm Tickets starting at $7 & kids under 12 free!

12. Holiday Pops - December 7-9

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.

13. Home Free Country Christmas - December 9

Since winning NBC’s The Sing Off, country vocal superstars, Home Free have released two albums Crazy Life and Full of Cheer and amassed 185 million views on YouTube.

14. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens ZOOLights - December 8-January 5

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!

15. Beaches Polar Express - December 8-9

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.

16. 27th Annual Community Nutcracker - December 7-8

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.

17. The Jacksonville Symphony presents First Coast Nutcracker - December 14-16

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.

18. Trans-Siberian Orchestra - December 13

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

19. Handel’s Messiah - December 15-16

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.

20. For King & Country: Little Drummer Boy - December 16

Soaring melodies, driving rhythms, theatrical instrumentation and personal themes are the heartbeat of for KING & COUNTRY. The Australian duo, comprised of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, brings their headlining Christmas tour to Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

21. A Christmas with Rockapella - December 19

For their new Christmas show, Acapella superstars Rockapella will perform holiday classics like “Silver Bells,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” and “White Christmas” with their original holiday hits “The Hope We Hold,” “Christmas Without You,” and more.

22. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Musical - December 20

All of your favorite characters from the original TV special including, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, the Misfit Toys and, of course, Rudolph, come to life in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical.

23. Horton's Holiday Hayride featuring Rev. Horton Heat, Junior Brown, The Blasters - December 21

The Rockabilly event of the year comes to the Florida Theatre!

24. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker - December 22

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.

25. TaxSlayer Bowl - December 31

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!

26. New Year's from Vienna- December 31

The toast of the town! Join Courtney Lewis and the Jacksonville Symphony for another unforgettable New Year’s Eve. The evening begins with an elegant program of Viennese classics, followed by the best New Year’s party in town with the Chris Thomas Band and capped by a perfect view of the fireworks on the river at midnight!

27. New Year’s Eve Celebration - December 31

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 2019. Live music, food trucks, craft vendors, and family fun all take place next to the St. Johns River.

For all the latest happenings in Jacksonville, view our events calendar or check out our annual, trip-worthy events page to see all the biggest festivals and events throughout the year.