Get Off The Couch, Bradenton! 20 Cool Things To Do In December

Things to Do in Bradenton December 2023

Embrace the magic of December in Bradenton! The holidays are here and the community is getting ready for festive celebrations. From Christmas parties and beautiful light displays to cornhole and parades, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Take a look at our round-up of the top 20 cool things to do in Bradenton this month.

1. Bradenton Blues Festival

Friday, December 1st from 5 PM to 9 PM and Saturday, December 2nd from 10 AM to 8 PM
Rossi Park: 452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205 and Riverwalk Pavilion: 452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205

Get ready to groove to the beat of the Bradenton Blues Festival, a spectacular production by Realize Bradenton. Taking center stage at Rossi Park and the Riverwalk Pavillon, this is one of the city’s biggest annual events.

The Blues Fest is a must-attend experience. Don’t miss out on this dazzling celebration of blues and community!

Learn more and get your tickets now!


2. A Very Merry Village Christmas

Friday, December 1st from 6 PM to 9:30 PM and December 2nd from 11 AM to 4 PM
Bradenton’s Village of the Arts: 12th St. W Bradenton, FL 34205

Start off the holiday season with a Very Merry Christmas in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts!

Escape the typical mall mayhem and check out a diverse selection of products where you’ll discover the joy of gift-giving while doing some holiday shopping in this Christmas Wonderland. Explore one festive shop to another, each decorated with holiday cheer, while listening to the music of local high school choirs. As you explore this festive scene, grab a bite from their wonderful restaurants. Rumor has it that Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus themselves will be doing their holiday shopping here, so grab the kids and come on down!


3. The North Pole Express

Multiple Dates in December
Florida Railroad Museum: 12210 83rd St E Parrish, FL 34219

The Elves are now in charge and they have invited the Grinch to take over the North Pole Express!

Don’t miss out on this enchanting 35-minute ride from Parrish, Florida to the North Pole, where Santa Claus will be waiting to greet every child. When you get there, get ready for a revamped event under new elf management, turning the North Pole Express into a festive experience. There will be a movie theater, a whimsical night glow hay ride, playful games with the elves, delicious snacks, and more!

Your ticket grants you access to a variety of entertainment and ensures you stay warm and toasty by the campfire. Unlimited hot chocolate and cookies will be served – the perfect treat this holiday season. Plus, additional food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Don’t miss this magical Christmas experience. Get your tickets here!


4. Lights of Palmetto

Multiple Dates in December
Lights of Palmetto: 5220 69th Street E Palmetto, FL 34221

This is a sparkling holiday tradition that you don’t want to miss! Lights of Palmetto is at it again, with a stunning display that is sure to take your breath away.

Kids are also invited to drop off their letters to Santa at a specially designated mailbox located right on the property.

You can catch the amazing light display throughout December. Watch a sneak peek of the previous year’s show here and learn more on their Facebook page.


5. Doggie & Me Jingle Paws Recipe

Saturday, December 2nd from 10 AM to 2 PM
Pineapple Kitchen: 4914 Lena Road, Unit 104, Bradenton, FL

Get ready to wag those tails and share the festivities with your furry friends at the Doggy & Me Jingle Paws Party at Pineapple Kitchen.

Have some fun with Christmas Dog Treat Decorating, Christmas Hair Painting, Nails & Bows, Christmas Paw Print Keepsake, Pictures with Santa, Pet Holiday Gift Shopping, and more.

All proceeds of this heartwarming fundraiser go towards supporting Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue in their mission to provide a loving haven for rescued dogs and cats and helping them find their forever homes.

Please remember that this is an outdoor event, and all dogs are required to be on a leash to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Don’t miss out on this celebration of the season where wagging tails and festive ambiance unite. Get your tickets here.


6. Girls’ Night In for Feeding Empty Little Tummies

Tuesday, December 5th from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Feeding Empty Little Tummies (F.E.L.T.): 901 8th Ave W, Palmetto, Fl 34221

Prepare for a night filled with fun, companionship, and the chance to make a positive impact. Be part of Girls’ Night In, a gathering designed to raise funds for Feeding Empty Little Tummies (F.E.L.T), hosted by Karen Jorden, owner of Chicken Salad Chick.

Please bring a suggested $20 to donate and a bottle of wine or drink of choice to enjoy. In lieu of wine you can bring a food item for the backpacks. Food and wine will be served and there will also be tons of beautiful gift baskets raffled off.
Let’s fill the tummies of those little ones who aren’t always guaranteed a meal – one backpack at a time! Note, this is a ladies-only event!


7. Jingle Mingle Sip & Shop

Wednesday, December 6th from 4 PM to 7 PM
Callahan Residence: 114 25th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205

As the holiday season approaches, get a head start with your holiday shopping! Join the Jingle Mingle Sip & Shop – an event that combines festivities, local vendors, and the joy of giving back.

This is not just a simple shopping spree, it’s an opportunity to support local businesses and contribute to the Junior League of Manatee County, all while making your shopping experience extra special and fun.

Stroll around to discover a variety of unique treasures from an array of local vendors. Barkity Market, Marilyn’s Toffee, Trades of Hope, The Teal Turtle Boutique, Silver by Carol, Driftwood Beach, Little Blue Designs, and The Wooden Fence will be there to display their products. From fashion items to trinkets and treats – you’re sure to find something for your holiday list.

All proceeds from the event will go to the Junior League of Manatee County (JLMC) as they support our community focus on poverty, specifically food insecurity.


8. A Night Before Christmas

Friday, December 8th from 5:30 PM to 8 PM
G.T Bray Park: 5502 33rd Ave Dr W, Bradenton, FL 34209

Gather up the kids and head out for a night of enchantment at the annual A Night Before Christmas event at G.T. Bray Park. This festive celebration is designed for you and your family to enjoy the spirit of Christmas.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be making a grand entrance and taking professional pictures with the children that you’ll be able to download for free. This event is FREE! However, a suggested donation of a new, unwrapped toy per family for a local children’s organization is encouraged. For those seeking extra fun, there will be a $5 wristband to grant access to the bounce house, petting zoo, face paintings, and a festive train ride along the Christmas path. Wristband purchases are cash only on event day.

Local vendors will also be there with holiday cheer, and food trucks will line up with delectable treats for snacks and dinner. You’ll love making this festive event part of your holiday tradition!


9. Winter Wonderland

Saturday, December 9th from 5 PM to 8:30 PM
Old Main Street, Bradenton, FL 34205

Get ready for a magical transformation as Bradenton’s Old Main Street turns into a Winter Wonderland, creating a festive experience for the whole family.

Stroll around and explore Old Main Street’s holiday decorations while checking out local vendors who will be displaying their products perfect for holiday gifting.

While you’re there, you can watch delightful performances from local students and a special appearance by Santa Claus himself. This is a community celebration that you don’t want to miss.


10. DeSoto Cornhole Tournament

Saturday, December 9th at 10:30 AM
Rossi Park Riverwalk: 452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205

Gear up for a day of friendly competition and community fun at the annual De Soto Cornhole Tournament! This event is a great way to support the fundraising efforts of the Hernando De Soto Historical Society while participating in a fun cornhole showdown.

There are two divisions to choose from:
1) Skilled Division ($60 per team of two): This is for the more serious cornhole enthusiasts, which allows them to bring their own boards and bags and compete for a cash prize.

2) Fun Division ($40 per team of two): This division is for players who just want to have a simple, fun game using De Soto’s own boards and equipment.

Whether you’re a seasoned cornhole pro or just looking for a day of fun, this tournament welcomes all. Make this a fun event that everyone can enjoy! This might sell out, so don’t wait! Get your tickets here.


11. Christmas in Cortez

Saturday, December 9th from 1 PM to 4 PM
Florida Maritime Museum: 4415 119th St W Cortez, FL 34215

Head on over to the Florida Maritime Museum to celebrate Christmas in Cortez! During this FREE family-friendly event, experience lots of fun holiday activities for everyone. There will be crafts, games, bounce houses, a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus, and more.

Food and drinks will be available on-site for purchase, but admission, parking, and ALL activities are free of charge. Parking is available at the F.I.S.H. Preserve on Cortez Road, there will be no parking at the museum.

Mark your calendar for a day of maritime merriment at Christmas in Cortez!


12. Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade

Saturday, December 9th from 6 PM to 10 PM
Bradenton Yacht Club: 4307 13th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Don’t miss out on the country’s grandest holiday event, the Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade. Thousands of spectators will gather together to watch the Manatee River transform into a dazzling holiday display of lighted boats tour around the river. There will be holiday music, food, and fun.

The best public viewing spots are along the Green Bridge and Palmetto Pier, while some local businesses such as the Bradenton Yacht Club, Riverhouse Waterfront Restaurant, and Pier 22 will be hosting VIP viewing parties.


13. Old Florida Christmas

Saturday, December 9th from 10 AM to 3 PM
Manatee Village Historical Park: 1404 Manatee Ave E Bradenton, FL 34208

Take on a journey to an old-style Christmas celebration at “An Old Florida Christmas” in the Manatee Village Historical Park.

Come out and enjoy delightful food, good music, complimentary “make and take” seasonal crafts, and a vibrant marketplace displaying handmade goods from local vendors. Best of all, this event is free!

Mark your calendars for a day of festivities!


14. Paint & Sip Party

Saturday, December 9th from 12 PM to 3 PM
Fiorelli Winery & Vineyard: 4250 Waterbury Road Bradenton, FL 34211

Embrace the winter season with a brush in one hand and a glass of wine in the other at Fiorelli Winery’s Sip & Paint party together with Painting with a Twist Bradenton & Sarasota at Fiorelli Winery & Vineyard.

Kick off the program with a wine-tasting given by one of Fiorelli Wineries’ wine educators and after that, dive into the world of art with a custom painting class led by Hope & Sheri with the Painting with a Twist. The winery will be open to the public until 7 PM, allowing the fun to continue. The event will be held outdoors on their front patio overlooking the vineyard, where live music will be played until 5 PM. No outside food and drinks are allowed.

This event is limited to 25 guests only, so get your tickets now!


15. AMI Privateers Children’s Christmas Parade and After Party

Saturday, December 9th at 10 AM
Anna Maria Island: 101 66th St, Holmes Beach, FL

Ahoy There Mateys! It’s time for the annual Children’s Christmas Parade and After Party with Santa.

Catch the parade kick-off at 10 AM sharp from the Coquina Beach North Ramp, making its way through Bradenton Beach, Homes Beach, and concluding on Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria.

Following the parade will be the Children’s After Party at Holmes Beach City Field. Let your little ones enjoy a magical visit and get a special gift from the man in red – Santa Claus! Complimentary hot dog lunches will be served courtesy of the Anna Maria Island Privateers.


16. Friendly City Flea

Sunday, December 10th from 10 AM to 3 PM
Oscura: 816 Manatee Ave E Bradenton, FL 34208

Explore a world of creative adventure at the Outdoor Friendly City Flea at Osura in Old Manatee, Bradenton.

This curated market gathers together a talented fusion of makers, musicians, and creatives, transforming the Old Manatee neighborhood into a vibrant community of art. With over 70 artisan vendors on display, you can do some holiday shopping while supporting local businesses. Brunch + Coffee + Cocktails will also be served with live music. This is the best place to spend your Sunday.

While you’re there, explore the Old Manatee Neighborhood. Check out some local shops like Segunda Vida, Bat City Comic Professionals, and The Vintage Vine Market.


17. Winter Night Under the Lights

Wednesday to Sunday, December 13th to 17th from 6 PM to 9 PM
Palma Sola Botanical Park: 9800 17th Ave NW, Bradenton, FL 34209

Celebrate the holidays in a magical way at Winter Nights Under the Lights at Palma Sola Botanical Park!

Explore acres of twinkling lights that will teleport you to a wonderland. There will be food trucks, live holiday music, a gift market, hay rides, a tree decorating contest, children’s crafts, toys for tots, a decorated golf cart parade, hot cocoa & cider, and more. Also, watch Santa Claus himself make a special appearance.

This event is FREE for everyone, but donations are highly appreciated to help keep the park open for the community.


18. Christmas Elf at Pineapple Inn

Thursday, December 14th and Friday, December 22nd from 6 PM to 7:30 PM
Pineapple Kitchen: 4914 Lena Road, Unit 104 Bradenton, FL 34211

Step into the world of holiday magic with “The Christmas Elf at Pineapple Inn” at the Pineapple Kitchen. Help Mr. Kris solve the mischievous antics of the Christmas Elf to keep Christmas from coming. All guests are encouraged to dress in their favorite holiday pajamas as they participate in this original interactive family mystery show that is fun for all ages.

Seats are limited to 22 guests only, so choose a date and secure your tickets now! Tickets cost $60 per person (each adult and child) and include admission to the show, a children’s menu, and a four-course dinner.

Gather your family, wear your festive pajamas, and enjoy a magical night of mystery, fun, and culinary delights.


19. Old Manatee Holiday Block Party

Friday, December 15h from 5 PM to 9 PM
Old Manatee, Bradenton, Florida

Celebrate the season at the Old Manatee Historic District’s First Annual Holiday Block Party!

Walk the candlelit neighborhood and visit every shop for a fun holiday experience! During this free event, you can enjoy:

✨ Santa and Mrs Clause at Your Honeycomb and The Vintage Vine Market ✨ Mexican Christmas with music, tamales and Ponche at Segunda Vida ✨ Mulled wine at Vernona Gourmet – Authentic Hungarian Restaurant ✨ Bad Santa for for the 21+ crowd at Oscura ✨ Crafts at Bat City Comic Professionals ✨Snowman Soup at Loving Hands Thrift Store ✨ and more!!


20. Riverwalk Holiday of the Arts

Saturday and Sunday, December 16th and 17th from 10 AM to 5 PM
Bradenton Riverwalk: 3rd Avenue West, Bradenton, FL

Discover artistic wonders at the annual Bradenton Riverwalk Holiday of the Arts Festival! This vibrant celebration of art and colors invites you to explore the holiday season surrounded by creativity and brilliance.

Featuring over 100 artists from Florida and all over the United States, this festival transforms the Riverwalk into an outdoor gallery of stunning and handmade art. There will be a diverse range of art including paintings, photography, sculptures, metalwork, digital arts, jewelry, glass, ceramics, woodworking, mixed-media, fiber art, and more. This will be a treasure trove of artistic wonders.

Admission is FREE, making it the ideal opportunity for a weekend of exploration and enjoyment.


There you have it – our Top 20 Cool Things to Do in Bradenton this December! Mark your calendars and bookmark this page, so you don’t miss a thing. Looking for even more exciting events? We update our Event Calendar every day, so make sure you check it out and visit often!

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One thought on “Get Off The Couch, Bradenton! 20 Cool Things To Do In December

  • Rose Marie Goody 3 months ago

    Where is the golf cart parade that usually is out at the East end of Bradenton, and what dates?

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