Get Off the Couch, Bradenton! 25 Cool Things to Do in December

The holidays are here and there's no shortage of things to do in Bradenton! Looking for fun ways to get in the holiday spirit? We've got you covered!
bradenton events

1. Brew and Browse Craft Market

Saturday, December 1st from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m.
3 Keys Brewing & Eatery: 2505 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton, Florida 34208

What’s better than shopping local for the holidays? Doing it while enjoying a mimosa brunch! Stop by 3 Keys Brewery for their Brew and Browse Craft Market and pick up some great gifts from local vendors and artists.

Some of the things you’ll find here include CBD and hemp products, essential oils, jewelry and keychains, apparel, home decor, diffuser jewelry, homemade bows, vegan baked goods, and homemade ice cream!

2. Ornament Extravaganza

Tuesday, December 3rd from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
ArtCenter Manatee: 209 9th St. W. Bradenton, FL 34205

Give your tree some extra special sparkle this year by picking up a unique handcrafted ornament during ArtCenter Manatee’s Ornament Extravaganza. They have thousands of ornaments for sale made from clay, wood, glass, metal, egg, fabric, mosaic, and more!

This event begins on December 3rd and runs continually during gallery hours (Mon, Fri, Sat 9 am- 5 pm, Tues, Wed, Thurs. 9 am – 6 pm ) until the 13th. Find some time to stop by – you’ll be glad you did!

3. Holiday Splendor for Toys for Tots

Thursday, December 5th from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.
The Ringling: 5401 Bay Shore Rd. Sarasota, FL 34243

Ringling Museum’s Holiday Splendor for Toys for Tots is definitely an event you won’t want to miss!

The museum will have extended hours, holiday music, and performances by local schools. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase. The Ca’ d’Zan, Museum of Art, and Tibbals Learning Center will all be open. Admission is free with one unwrapped gift per person.

4. December Artwalk: A Village Wonderland

Friday, December 6th from 6 pm to 9 pm and Saturday, December 7th from 11 am until 4 pm
Village of the Arts

The December Artwalk in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts is arguably the most popular Artwalk of the entire year — and with good reason!

You’ll love wandering through the village and soaking in all the holiday lights and decorations, live music, and strolling entertainment. This is also a great place to #shoplocal for the holidays. Here you’ll find unique gifts for everyone on your list, as well as tasty treats to enjoy along the way!

5. 8th Annual Blues Appetizer Concert

Friday, December 6th from 6 pm to 9 pm
Riverwalk Event Pavilion – 452 3rd Ave. W Bradenton, FL 34205

The Bradenton Blues Festival may be sold out, but you can still enjoy the festivities at the FREE Blues Appetizer Concert held at the Riverwalk Event Pavilion. This concert features incredible performances by the Rusty Wright Band and the Duffy Bishop Band.

Get there early for the best seats, and don’t forget to bring your chairs! There will also be vendors on hand.

6. It’s a Wonderful Life (A New Musical)

Runs from Thursday, December 5th through December 22nd
Manatee Performing Arts Center: 502 Third Avenue West Bradenton FL 34205

The Manatee Performing Arts Center presents a wonderful new twist on the holiday classic with their rendition of It’s a Wonderful Life a New Musical. The entire family is sure to enjoy this show, so book your tickets soon.

Shows run on various days and times, so check their calendar before making your plans!

7. Metro Diner’s Brunch with Santa

Saturday, December 7th from 10 am until 2 pm
Metro Diner: 4726 Cortez Rd. W. Bradenton, FL 34209

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss Brunch with Santa at the Metro Diner. They’ll be serving special holiday treats and will have tons of fun children’s activities. And — the big guy himself will be visiting tables and posing for pictures.

Best of all, 10% of your check will go to support The Boys and Girls Club of Manatee County (be sure to mention this to your server when you order!)

8. Christmas in the Park

Saturday, December 7th from 3 pm until 8 pm
Palmetto Historical Park: 515 10th Ave W, Palmetto, Florida 34221

Kick the holidays off right with Palmetto’s Christmas in the Park. This free event will feature children’s games and activities, a real snow hill for sledding, and a visit from Santa!

There will also be several food trucks and vendors including Basic Witches, Kona Ice, Word of Mouth BBQ, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

9. Manatee Community Concert Band (MCCB) Holiday Concert

Saturday, December 7th at 7 pm
SCF Neel Performing Arts Center: 11 East 60th Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34207

Celebrate the sounds of the season with the Manatee Community Concert Band’s free Holiday Concert.

This fun event is perfect for all members of the family and is a great way to get into the holiday spirit!

10. Marauders Holiday Dash and Drive

Saturday, December 7th from 7:30 am until 11:30 am
Bradenton Marauders: 1611 9th Street W., Bradenton, Florida 34205

Burn off those holiday treats while supporting a great cause at the Marauders Holiday Dash and Drive.

This event features a 5k race, 1-mile family fun run, and a post-race party. During the event, they’re also hosting a toy drive to benefit the Salvation Army.

11. 7th Annual Winter Jeep Jam Toy Drive

Saturday, December 7th from 12 pm until 4 pm
Firkins Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram: 2700 1st St, Bradenton, Florida 34208

Join Tri-Countyjeepers, Inc. and Firkins Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram for their 7th annual Jeep Jam Toy Drive and Jeep show.

Bring a new unwrapped toy and help make the holidays special for local children in need. There will also be games and raffles and delicious treats from Cigar City Smokers BBQ and American Honey Creamery.

12. Holiday Projects at Maker’s Market

Saturday, December 7th from 5:30 until 8:30 pm
Maker’s Market: 6650 Cortez Road West, Bradenton, Florida 34210

Get your home “Pinterest Perfect” for the holidays during Maker’s Market’s Holiday Projects night.

Choose from a variety of projects including holiday signs, light-up signs, stocking hangers, door hangers, porch decor, holiday countdown “clocks,” and more! Don’t miss your chance to make one of these limited-edition projects!

13. Nutcracker Tea Party

Sunday, December 8th from 1 pm until 3 pm
Mixon Farms: 2525 27th St E, Bradenton, Florida 34208

Little girls will love getting dressed up and enjoying the fun and fancy Nutcracker Tea Party at Mixon Farms.

This event will feature excerpts from the beloved Nutcracker Ballet performed by the Dance Theater of Bradenton as well as a lunch buffet with finger foods, sweet treats, and a self-serve candy bar. Tickets are $30 for children 2 and over and $40 for adults.

14. Christmas Tree Resin Art

Wednesday, December 11th at 11 am
Gypsea Soul: 615 15th Street W. Bradenton Florida 34205

Feeling crafty? Head over to Gypsea Soul for their Christmas Tree Resin Art class.

They have a wide variety of coastal embellishments to stir your creativity, and you’re welcome to personalize your piece by adding some of your own items as well. This is a two-hour beginner-friendly class.

While you create, you can also enjoy a holiday-themed cocktail on the house!

15. Holiday Movie Night: The Polar Express

Friday, December 13th from 8 pm until 11 pm
Caddy’s Bradenton: 801 Riverside Drive East, Bradenton, Florida 34208

We’re so lucky to enjoy beautiful weather during the holidays. Why not celebrate by watching a beloved family classic — The Polar Express — outside on the patio at Caddy’s Holiday Movie Night?

They have plenty of delicious dinners and tasty bar beverages to keep you full and happy all through the night.

16. Coquina Beach Seafood & Music Festival

Friday, December 13th from 4 pm until 10 pm
Saturday, December 14th from 11 am until 10 pm
Sunday, December 15th from 11 am until 6 pm
Coquina Beach

Come on out to the beach and enjoy fresh food and beverages while listening to live music at the Coquina Beach Seafood and Music Festival.

The three-day music lineup features a wide array of genres including R&B, jazz, rock, reggae and Caribbean sounds.

17. Paint Your Pet

Saturday, December 14th from 2 pm until 5 pm
Painting with a Twist: 5917 Manatee Ave. W, Suite 209 Bradenton, FL 34209

We all love our furry friends, so why not create a unique keepsake that you can enjoy forever? At Painting with a Twist’s Paint Your Pet event, you can do exactly that, and have a blast while doing it!

Just send a photo of your pet ahead of time, and when you arrive your image is already drawn on your canvas. Then an experienced instructor will walk you through creating your masterpiece.

The cost is just $55 and includes all the supplies you need. Best of all, part of the proceeds from this class will support Friends of Manatee County Animal Shelter (FOMCAS).

18. 1st Annual Giving Back Beer Fest

Saturday, December 14th from 2 pm until 5:30 pm
3 Keys Brewing & Eatery: 2505 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton, Florida 34208

To celebrate their third anniversary, Three Keys Brewery is hosting the 1st Annual Giving Back Beer Fest which will support Manatee Operation TroopSupport (M.O.T.S.).

The event will feature beer tastings from several local breweries, plus tasty treats, ice cream, and live music. Purchase your advance tickets now, since prices increase the day of the event.

19. Reindeer River Run 5k

Saturday, December 14th from 4 pm until 8 pm
Downtown Bradenton 400 12th St W, Bradenton, Florida 34205

The family-friendly Reindeer River Run 5k will feature a 5k run/walk, kid’s candy cane dash, and a holiday-themed post-run party.

This is a chip-timed race and all participants will receive a race shirt and finisher’s medal. Stick around after the race is done to enjoy the Holiday Boat Parade!

20. Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade

Saturday, December 14th from 6 pm until 10 pm
Manatee River

One of Bradenton’s favorite holiday traditions – the Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade is one event you won’t want to miss.

The 22nd annual event begins on Snead Island at sundown and makes its way up the river to Caddys. There are many great viewing locations along the Green Bridge and Manatee Riverwalk.

21. A Night Before Christmas

Saturday, December 14th from 10 am until 2 pm
GT Bray Park: 5502 33rd Avenue Drive West, Bradenton, Florida 34209

Ready to get your kids out of the house and away from their devices? Bring them out to A Night Before Christmas at GT Bray Park! Here they can enjoy a bounce house, SNOW, hayrides, face painting, and more. They better behave, because rumor has it SANTA will be stopping by as well!

Wristbands for this event are just $5!

22. Lights in Bloom

Saturday, December 14th from 6 pm until 9 pm (And multiple additional days throughout the month)
Selby Gardens: 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, Florida 34236

Selby Garden’s Lights in Bloom is another holiday event that’s worth the short drive.

You’ll be stunned by the gorgeous display that features over 2 million lights throughout the garden. There will also be arts and crafts for the kids, games, and entertainment — as well as nightly visits from Santa!

Food from Michael’s on East and a cash bar will be available and the Selby House Cafe will also be open.

23. Friendly City Flea Night Market

Saturday, December 14th from 6 pm until 10 pm
The Friendly City Flea: 540 13th Street W, Bradenton, Florida 34205

Friendly City Flea Bradenton

If you want to #shoplocal this holiday season, you definitely won’t want to miss The Friendly City Flea!

This gathering of local makers, musicians, and creatives is always a great time! Can’t make it on the 14th? Mark your calendar for the next market on the 21st from 10 am until 2 pm!

24. An Old Florida Christmas

Sunday, December 15th from 11 am until 4 pm
Manatee Village Historical Park: 1404 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton, Florida 34208

Take a step back in time and enjoy An Old Florida Christmas at the Manatee Village Historical Park.

Here you’ll find beautiful decorations inspired by the Victorian era and Florida’s pioneer history. The whole family is also sure to enjoy the make-and-take crafts, vintage silent films, live music, food vendors, and more. You can also wrap up your holiday shopping — local artisans will be there selling candles, soaps, ornaments, jewelry, blankets, books, purses, shell art, ceramics, and more

25. Main Street Live!

Tuesday, December 31st from 5 pm until midnight
Old Main St. Bradenton

Ring in the New Year at Bradenton’s biggest and best block party, Main Street Live!

Enjoy vendors, food trucks, and great live music by the Daisy Dukes Band and Southbound. Don’t forget to stop by some of the nearby bars and pubs to check out their New Year’s Eve events and specials as well!

There you have it — 25 great ways to celebrate the holidays in Bradenton! Make sure to check back in a few weeks to learn about the hottest things going on in January! In the meantime, don’t forget to follow Discover Bradenton on Facebook so you never miss a thing!

Did you enjoy this article? Share it on your favorite social media platform! 


More Posts

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse!

Get all of our latest blog posts delivered right to your inbox every Monday morning!

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse!

Get our latest articles
delivered right to your inbox
every Monday morning.