Christmas at Jacksonville

By Swathi Ramaswamy on May 08, 2018
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As you are all set to find the best holiday experiences, you will not want to miss out on the Christmas events in Jacksonville, Northeast Florida. Entertaining everyone right after Thanksgiving are many events such as the Jacksonville Light Boat Parade, The Jacksonville Landing, and the Palm Valley Boat Parade.

PC: Wikimedia Commons

You can also enjoy your holidays at specially themed destinations such as the Jacksonville Zoo, beaches, gardens, and Ponte Verda beach with the enchanted Christmas village. You can tap along to jazz, pop, and progressive rock from big bands and also several theatrical productions including the evergreen ‘A Christmas Carol’. Here are a few of the things you could do during the Christmas season at Jacksonville.

1. Shop at St. Johns Town Center

The St. Johns Town Center is your shopping headquarters for everything you have on your list and things that did not even cross your mind. They have almost all the local and national brands from where you can purchase your Christmas decorations and gifts. Get your kids along with you and reserve a Fastpass to get pictures with Santa by skipping the line. 

2. Attend the Winter Fest in Jacksonville Beach

Adventure Landing transforms the famous Water Park of Shipwreck Island into a complete Alpine experience to make the season extra exciting. The place is packed with people who come to enjoy ice skating and various other attractions. All the winter enthusiasts can indulge in a host of activities including slides and clicking photographs with Santa. They can also walk through and admire the display of lights. So, get ready to experience a frosty Christmas at this Alpine event. They have daily, monthly and seasonal passed ranging from 35  USD to 450 USD, depending on the rides you want to go on.

3. Watch a play at the Alhambra Theatre

This classic venue in Jacksonville is the perfect place to get into a good holiday spirit. It is the oldest theatre with a dining area and a favourite among the residents of Jacksonville for holiday seasons. They have various plays for Christmas lined up to entertain the audience.

4. Witness Christmas tree lighting at Hemingway Park

The Jacksonville Landing has been demolished and with that, the Christmas tree lighting ceremony has moved to Hemingway Park. But, the annual event will be celebrated with equal fervor, even this year. The 56-foot-tall, energy-efficient Christmas tree, covered with ornaments makes for a sight to behold. Jacksonville’s local musicians keep the night going while the visitors enjoy the tree light show every night for two months. A fireworks display takes place over the St. Johns River at the grand finale at 9 pm while the Christmas tree is lightened with all the bulbs. 

5. Visit the Jacksonville Zoo

Make it a family tradition to go for the Zoo Lights arranged by the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. The sparkling lights and brilliant colours of the surroundings will lift your spirit and bring you Christmas cheer. It begins in the second week of December and goes on till the month of January. It costs around 15 USD for non-members of the zoo and 12 USD for the zoo members. There are lovely moving sculptures; realistic large animal silhouettes and brilliantly lighted trees. Apart from the general setting they also have a 4-D theatre ride, other carousel rides, stingray bay, and ice skating. However, these rides are permitted only for children less than 12 years and cost an additional 10 USD and 8 USD for the non-members and members of the zoo respectively.

6. Attend the First Coast Nutcracker

A North Florida tradition for more than forty years, the First Coast Nutcracker is an amazing sight for all family members. They educate and entertain the people and have impacted the community on several levels. It is not only entertaining for all ages but is also a source of inspiration for young minds. They also have a community program where they provide tickets to students and people who are unable to attend the shows without assistance. The world of music and dance brings out the true spirit of Christmas in Jacksonville which should be experienced by the family as a whole.

Christmas is the time to make merry and enjoy with family and friends. There could be no better place than Jacksonville to mark the celebrations of this amazing festival season and usher in the new year with the festive spirit. With so many interesting things to do in Jacksonville, you will never have a dull moment during your Christmas holidays.

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