Get Off the Couch, Bradenton! 20 Cool Things to Do in December

things to do in bradenton

Get Off the Couch, Bradenton! 20 Cool Things to Do in December

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are here and Bradenton is ready to celebrate. From shopping sprees and holiday events to cornhole and chili cook-offs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Take a look at our round-up of the top 20 things to do in Bradenton this month.

1. Holiday Shop Crawl

Multiple Locations
Daily through December 24th

As you make your holiday shopping list and check it twice, remember that supporting local will make ALL the difference this year! In fact, the choices you make could mean the difference between a family business surviving or having to close its doors.

Discover Bradenton is making it FUN to visit local shops! Visit one (or all!) of our 24 participating vendors, scan the QR code, and you’ll be entered to win a GRAND PRIZE that includes a gift card from EVERY vendor ($350+ value!)

You can find all the details here: Discover Bradenton Holiday Shop Crawl


2. Palmetto’s Christmas in the Park


Palmetto Historical Park: 515 10th Ave W Palmetto, FL 34221
Friday and Saturday, December 3rd and 4th from 1 PM to 7 PM

If you’re ready to get into the holiday spirit, then you might want to check out Christmas in the Park at the Palmetto Historical Park & Manatee County Agricultural Museum.

If you decide to go, there will be two options for you to try out:

Option 1 – Visit with Santa & Palmetto Historical Park Tour
Option 2 – Visit with Santa Only

There are only a few spots left, so if you’re interested, you’ll want to sign up right away!


3. December Artwalk: Holiday Bizarre

Village of the Arts – Bradenton, FL 34205
Friday, December 3rd from 6 PM to 9 PM and Saturday, December 4th from 11 AM to 4 PM

The monthly Art Walks in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts are always a great time. If you’re looking for a unique and awesome holiday gift, then this is the place you’ll want to go.

The whole village will be decorated with holiday lights and there will also be live music, art galleries, and tasty treats to keep you entertained all day long. This is the perfect opportunity for you to #ShopLocal and support our amazing community of artists.


4. Lights of Palmetto

Daily throughout December
5220 69th St. E. Palmetto, FL

If you’re ready to get into the holiday spirit, you won’t want to miss Lights of Palmetto. This incredible synchronized musical light display is absolutely magical!

The display hours are Sunday through Thursday from 5:45 pm to 10:30 pm and Friday and Saturday from 5:45 pm until 11 pm. It will run each night throughout the holiday season. You can tune your car’s radio to 96.1 FM to listen to the music.

This year, your kids can also bring their letters to Santa and drop them off in Santa’s Mailbox. They might even get a letter back from him!


5. De Soto’s 2nd Annual Cornhole Tournament

Bradenton Riverwalk, Bradenton, FL
Saturday, December 4th at 12 PM

Saturday, December 4th, the Hernando De Soto Historical Society is holding their 2nd Annual Cornhole Tournament sponsored by STC&F Enterprises.

The cost to enter is $50 per team and the prizes are $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for their place. Check-in will be at 10:30 am and bags will be thrown at noon! It’s not too late to join in on the fun, so register your team today.


6. 3rd Annual Bradenton Beach Holiday Boat Parade

402 Church Ave Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
Saturday, December 4th at 6 PM

You don’t want to miss the 3rd Annual Bradenton Beach Holiday Boat Parade! It’s fun and FREE event where boat owners are invited to showcase their splendidly lit vessels as they parade along the Intracoastal Waterway.

The festivities will begin around 6 pm at the Longboat Pass Bridge and will end at the Bradenton Beach City Pier, which is also the best parade viewing spot.


7. Christmas in Cortez

4415 119th St W Cortez, FL 34215
Saturday, December 4th from 10 AM to 2 PM

Head over to the Florida Maritime Museum for their Christmas in Cortez celebration. During this FREE family-friendly event, you’ll get to enjoy carnival-style games, lawn games, holiday-themed crafts, several interactive booths, and even a snow slide!

Local businesses will be there to serve you family-friendly drinks and snacks and you can also visit Santa at his nautical shop to see if you’re on the naughty or nice list.


8. Paddywagon Chili Cook Off

Paddywagon Irish Pub: 320 Old Main St, Bradenton, FL 34205
Sunday, December 5th at 2 PM

Watch out because Florida’s “chili” weather is right around the corner. Don’t miss your chance to get spicy at Paddywagon Irish Pub‘s Chili Cook-Off. Come show off your best chili recipe or just taste and cast your votes for the winners.

There will be prizes, special drinks, raffles, giveaways, and more! Sign-up sheets are available at Paddywagon’s downtown location, so ask your bartender next time you visit.


9. Holiday Classes at Gypsea Soul

Gypsea Soul: 615 15th Street West Bradenton, FL 34205
Daily throughout December

Want to give a gorgeous, unique gift that your special someone will cherish forever? Check out the art classes at Gypsea Soul. There will be chances to make angels or Christmas trees from sea glass, resin artwork, paintings, and more.

Classes are generally about 2 hours long and you’re always welcome to BYOB. This is a great way to enjoy time with family and friends and bring home a stunning piece of art that you’ll be proud to display in your home or present as a gift.

Advance reservations are recommended, so be sure to check out their website and book your spots ahead of time.


10. Hunsader Farms Country Christmas

Hunsader Farms: 5500 County Road 675 E, Bradenton, FL 34211
December 10th to 12th and December 17th to 19th from 6 PM to 10 PM

Hunsader Farms Country Christmas is a long-standing tradition that you won’t want to miss! You and your kids can enjoy Train Rides, Campfires, Petting Zoos, Snow Tubing, and more – all while being surrounded by over 300,000 astonishing Christmas lights. There will also be dinner, ice cream, a s’mores station, warm pretzels, craft vendors, and lots of other festive treats for everyone to enjoy.

Admission is $12 and kids under 5 get in for free.


11. A Night Before Xmas at GT Bray

GT Bray Park: 5502 33rd Avenue Drive West Bradenton, FL 34209
Friday, December 10th from 6 PM to 8:30 PM

Christmas is truly a magical season with lots of fun and activities for everyone! This year, come out and celebrate A Night Before Christmas at GT Bray Park.

There will be bounce houses, face paintings, an amphitheater playing ELF, a real snow slide, and much more. Santa and Mrs. Clause will be visiting the park as well. There will also be local vendors and food trucks for the whole family to enjoy.

This event is FREE for everyone, but you may want to consider bringing a new, unwrapped toy for Toys For Tots.

12. Cat’s Meow Tent Event

The Cat’s Meow: 4307 26th St. W. Bradenton, FL 34205
Saturday, December 11th from 9 AM to 4 PM

If you’ve got a hard-to-shop-for person on your list or you just want to find some treasures for yourself, you’ll want to head out to The Cat’s Meow: A Vintage Marketplace for their monthly tent event.

There will be lots of exciting guest vendors set up inside and you’ll also be able to shop indoors, where you’ll find 8000 sq ft of permanent vendors.

The Cat’s Meow is also a Toys for Tots drop-off location, so consider bringing a new, unwrapped toy along with you when you come out to do your holiday shopping.


13. Winter Wonderland

Old Main St, Bradenton, FL 34205
Saturday, December 11th from 5 PM to 6 PM

The Winter Wonderland Celebration in Downtown Bradenton this holiday season! Snow is on the way and saucers are finally here. This family-friendly event will feature all the holiday treats, live music, and hill for unlimited sledding.

This event typically attracts more than 15,000 people with 2 large snow slides and 1 bunny slope using more than 20 tons of ice. It’s not every day you get to go sledding in Florida, so make sure you mark your calendars!


14. Night Market at Kava Social Club

Kava Social Club: 540 13th St. W. Bradenton, FL 34205
Saturday, December 11th from 7 PM to 11 PM

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet, you’ll have another chance on Saturday night. Kava Social Club hosts a Night Market with vendors, artists, live music, games, giveaways, flow performances, and more.

While you’re there, be sure to stop inside and check out Kava Social Club. They have a menu full of specialty teas, coffee drinks, kava, and more and some great snacks as well!


15. Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade

Manatee River, Bradenton, FL
Saturday, December 11th at Sundown

The county’s largest holiday event is back! Don’t miss out on the Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade. Watch as a fleet of decked-out vessels cruise around the Manatee River while competing for cash prizes and the winning title.

This popular annual event is the perfect way to celebrate with our family and loved ones while bringing back old traditions and supporting local businesses that give back to our community.


16. Jewelry to the Rescue

Compass Hotel Anna Maria Sound: 12324 Manatee Ave. W. Bradenton, FL 34209
Sunday, December 12th from 1 PM to 4 PM

Ready to do some Christmas shopping and support an amazing cause? Check out Jewelry to the Rescue at the Compass Hotel Anna Maria Sound.

They’ll have all kinds of jewelry – from fine gemstones to fun costume pieces for sale at super discounted prices. Foods and beverages are also available so you won’t get hungry while going on your shopping spree.

This event supports the Friends of Manatee County Animal Services (FOMCAS) and proceeds will be given to this great cause.


17. Ring in the Holidays

Neel Auditorium: 5840 26th St W, Bradenton, FL 34207
Monday, December 13th from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM

The Pops Orchestra is partnering with Sarasota’s premier handbell ensemble, Ring Sarasota for an annual holiday event you don’t want to miss.

Ring In The Holidays will be presented by a 65-piece orchestra and over 200 bells rung by 15 ringers performing all your favorite holiday hits. Remember, wear red and green for your attire and they will ring the bells to inspire.

To get your tickets now, just CLICK HERE.


18. Winter Nights Under the Lights

Palma Sola Botanical Park: 9800 17th Ave NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
Thursday to Friday, December 16th to 19th from 6 PM to 9 PM

If you love the holiday nights and winter feels, then you don’t want to miss Palma Sola Botanical Park’s Winter Nights Under the Lights! This stunning light display is FREE for everyone to enjoy, however, donations are welcome to help the park continue to provide fun memories for the community.

Food and drinks will also be available for purchase. Invite your family friends and enjoy this festive season. We hope to see you there!


19. Bradenton Seafood and Music Festival

Bradenton Riverwalk: 452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205 34205
December 17th from 4 PM to 10 PM, December 18th, 11 AM to 10 PM, and December 19th from 11 AM to 6 PM

If you enjoy seafood and live music, make sure you check out the Bradenton Seafood and Music Festival at the Riverwalk in Downtown Bradenton.

This fun and relaxing event will feature great food, amazing live musical performances, and plenty of opportunities to shop for arts, crafts, and fine products!

Enjoy foods cooked fresh onsite (seafood, meat, vegetarian) with a variety of side dishes and of course – desserts! For drinks, choose from alcoholic, non-alcoholic, and fruit drinks. While eating, listen to the captivating sounds of live musical performances on stage by some of Florida’s and the region’s top musical talents from such genres as R&B, jazz, rock, reggae, and Caribbean sounds.


20. Paranormal Cirque New Years’ Eve Party

Riveria Dunes Marina: 102 Riveria Dunes Way Palmetto, FL 34221
Friday, December 31st from 10 pm to 12 am

Looking for a fun way to ring in the New Year? Paranormal Cirque is back and is hosting a special New Years’ Eve event in Palmetto!

You’ll be able to enjoy an incredible show, have some tasty hor d’oeuvres and count down to midnight with a champagne toast. This is your chance to party with their freaks under the Big Top!

Regular tickets include two drinks while the VIP tickets come with unlimited beer and wine. This might sell out, so don’t wait to get your tickets.


There you have it – a list of all the fun things to do in Bradenton this December! Make your calendars and bookmark this page, so you don’t miss a thing. We are always adding new posts to our Event Calendar, so make sure you check it out to discover even more great Bradenton events!

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