The Palladium Theater

If you love jazz, dance, comedy and culture, check out downtown St. Pete’s award-winning, historic Palladium Theater, home to the main stage Hough Hall and intimate Side Door. Both the Mahaffey and Ruth Eckerd Hall bring acts to this venue in addition to those booked by the Palladium directors under the artistic direction of Paul Wilborn.

Established by a group of arts philanthropists in 1998, The Palladium’s central mission has been to serve all of Tampa Bay as a performing arts center that welcomes everyone and serves the entire community.

In 2007, the Palladium Theater became part of St. Petersburg College. In accepting the property, the College re-committed to the Palladium’s mission of serving all of Tampa Bay, while adding college functions where appropriate. Under the umbrella of St. Petersburg College, the Palladium enjoys support that helps assure the theater’s long-term future as a vital part of the cultural life in Tampa Bay.

With its two venues, the 850-seat Hough Hall, as well as its intimate award-winning 175-seat candlelit listening room, The Side Door, The Palladium fosters artistically and culturally diverse performing arts, educational and film programs that bring artists and audiences together in a first-class professional, affordable setting. Consistently ranked as one of Tampa Bay’s best, most affordable venues for innovative performances and events (classical, jazz, blues, theatre, opera, Celtic, comedy, dance, educational, literary), fundraisers and provides a full-service, affordable rental facility for artists, producers and community organizations.

Giving back is part of the mission. For example, on Feb. 19, Mutts Gone Nuts performance benefits the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. The Palladium nurtures partnerships with established and emerging local artists and cultural organizations that use the theater as a venue and showcases selected programs of St. Petersburg College, giving students opportunities to work intimately with renowned touring professionals as well as with local artists, such as February’s Jazz Festival.

An Artistic History

One of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished builders, the George A. Fuller Construction Company, completed construction of the building in 1925. The company’s namesake building, The Fuller Building was completed in 1902 in New York City – better known today as The Flatiron Building. Other NYC buildings constructed by the company included the Dag Hammarskjöld Library at the United Nations, and Lincoln Center. In Washington, D.C., Fuller built the Supreme Court and Lincoln, as well as the National Cathedral.

The Palladium Theater, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was born in June 1998, when a group of local leaders, headed by Paul Stavros, Bill and Hazel Hough, Mary Wyatt Allen, George Rahdert, and Gus and Frances Stavros, forming The Palladium Theater Inc., took possession of the 73-year-old First Church of Christ, Scientist.  The price, $575,000 covered the building and two parking lots; by today’s prices, the purchase counts as a very good investment. A year after the transfer, the Palladium Theater played host to the Florida Orchestra. It has been presenting music, drama, dance, and virtually every other kind of performance ever since, with an emphasis on showcasing local performers, composers, and writers.

The change from church to theater included some $300,000 of alterations. Seats in the mainstage concert hall, the 850-seat Hough Hall, were removed at the front to allow for a usable stage. The most noticeable changes, however, were the acoustic cloud under the ceiling (that absorbed sound that would otherwise continue upwards into the arched ceiling) and the grid from which the theater’s lighting system is suspended. Other changes included modem sound, light, and electrical systems, a sprinkler system, handicapped access. Installed in the last two years, the concert hall  now boasts a state of the art sound system, making the theater nearly acoustically perfect, The original 1926 Skinner organ remains in the building and is included in selected performances.

The conversion of the downstairs Sunday School room into the Stavros Great Room, a facility still used for meetings, parties, and smaller events, is now the Palladium’s second successful performance venue. The award-wining, 175-seat  “Side Door,” is firmly established as Tampa Bay’s best, most intimate listening room for singer songwriters, jazz, blues, and so much  more.

The hallmarks of the Romanesque Revival style are easy to see. The golden brick Fifth Avenue facade is a little unusual; stucco was much more common. But the terra cotta roof is typical of the style, as are the finely detailed Corinthian capitals that top the limestone pillars across the facade. Climb the front steps and you can see the high vaulted portico and the ceiling’s richly detailed metal chancellors. Inside, you see how well the basilica’s plan works for the Palladium and how well it worked for the church. Aisles flanking the high central space provide efficient circulation and easy access to the theater’s seating.

Most visitors to the Palladium are awed by the exceptionally beautiful tiles created exclusively for and found throughout the building. These tiles were ordered from the workshop of Ernest Batchelder, a renowned artisan who became known worldwide for his arts-and-crafts-style tilework. All of the Palladium’s handcrafted tiles, including the floor tile, were made in Batchelder’s California workrooms and shipped to St. Petersburg.  PN

Upcoming Perfomances:

Visit for more amazing 2017 shows.

February: Laugh your socks off with Upright Citizens’ Brigade (2/17) and get your King on with Chris MacDonald’s Memories of Elvis (2/11).  Laissez le bontemps roulet with Beausoleil (2/18) or get classical on 2/14 with Tampa Bay Symphony or (2/8) with the Palladium Chamber Players.

March: Rock out to The Florida Bjorkestra (3/19) or twist with Chubby Checker & The Wildcats (3/23).  Beatle-lovers will enjoy The McCartney Project (3/16) and sixties fans can get ack with The Yardbirds with Vanilla Fudge (3/5).


If you sign up for Paradise News FREE weekly e-newsletter on the top right of our website, you will be entered into our contest for a pair of tickets for Life on Venus, The Music of Bowie and Bjork (3/19) or The Resurrection of Stevie Ray Vaught: Billy Evanochko (3/30).  

Go to: The Palladium, 253 5th Ave., N, St. Petersburg, 33701; 727-822-3590

Where To Eat & Drink:

Stop by the Hollander Hotel for a pre-theater nosh.

If it’s Thursday, you can enjoy 50% off bottles of wine and a customer appreciation dinner special for $12 that includes soup or salad, entree and a scoop of ice cream after 4pm. Every night is a good time at the alfresco bar and Taproom, where the craft beers flow and the burgers and sandwiches are yummy. Check their website for entertainment, from magic to live music.

The Hollander Hotel, 421 4th Ave. N, St Petersburg, 727.873.7900

Street Parking:

On-street parking between 5th & 7th

Avenues N, from Beach Drive to 2nd Street is designated as Residential Parking Permit zones from 8 am to 8 pm daily with  2-hour parking allowed without a permit.  Permit holders are exempt from the 2-hour parking limit.

Parking Options Convenient to the Palladium:

  • Palladium Lots: Palladium parking is available in the lot across Fifth Avenue from the theater or in the lot adjacent to the theater.
  • Souzou Asian Fusion  (727) 823-4050, 425 Fifth Avenue N., one and a half blocks due west of the Palladium. Ample parking anytime and free valet during restaurant hours for Palladium patrons. Just show your ticket to the Palladium, and enjoy parking at no charge.
  • SP+ Parking  (727) 242-1225 – 350 Third St., N., one block south, then one block west of the Palladium: 350 spaces; garage parking at $1 per hour; payment via debit/credit card; unattended; open 24/7; 20 cameras aid St. Pete staff to monitor security; advance reserved parking available.

Story by Nanette Wiser

Walking On Air- Rick Wallenda Coming to the Sundial

Wallenda will cross the courtyard on a cable no bigger than an index finger without a harness or safety net.  The event, which benefits Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County,is FREE and open to the public.

Prior to the skywalk, enjoy a variety of circus-themed performances beginning at 4 p.m. Many Sundial retailers will participate by donating proceeds to Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, Wallenda will be available for photos in the courtyard with the public.  

At 61, it won’t be his longest or highest feat, but as a third-generation aerialist, it’s a tribute to his family’s profession and grandfather, Karl Wallenda who calmly crossed Georgia’s Tallulah Gorge and Kings Island, both death-defying acts.  An Eckerd College graduate, Rick and his family have deep roots in Florida.

On their website, Rick writes about his experience, and even wrote a book, Skyfall. (Excerpted from

“My sister, Rietta, and I toured as The Great Wallendas until she married. I also married, and my wife Debbie and I continued as The Great Wallendas. We performed our highwire troupe, and a new duo act featuring Debbie as the first and only woman in history to perform an incredible jump from my shoulders to the wire. That record still holds. No other woman has attempted that trick. Debbie and I continued with the duo, and the troupe, but added The Great Wallendas Circus.

“The circus consumed time, and minimized highwire practice. On some occasions The Great Wallendas highwire act remained in the truck sometimes replaced by other Wallenda highwire acts. The main focus of The Great Wallendas Inc became show productions, and eventually attracted the mighty Medinah Shrine Temple as our opening engagement in Chicago for a seventeen day appearance 1995-97.

“During this time I turned my attention to concept shows. As a response to spectators requesting something historical, we fashioned Zirkus Wallenda. Zirkus is a turn of the century show with a story line, and a real snake-oil salesman, Dr. Sauce, selling Wallendas Wonder Tonic. The show successfully toured for several years, and remains on our menu of offerings.

“After the 1998 season I entered Eckerd College, graduating in just three years with a 3.95 GPA, and a B.A. in Creative Writing, and followed that with two years at Vermont College, earning the MFA in Writing.

I now combine my literary degrees with my performing experience, creating and performing concept shows, thrills, and exceeding the limits of tradition. Wallenda Enterprises offers more room for creativity, and expansion into other areas of expression.”  

Story by Nanette Wiser

* The Sundial is located at 153 Second Avenue N in Downtown St Petersburg


Welcome, IndyCar Racing Fans!

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is among the most respected and exciting motorsports events in North America and features a festival-like atmosphere that includes the fastest racing series on the planet, celebrity athletes, live entertainment and interactive activities. Visit for ticket information and details.

Dubbed the “World’s Fastest Spring Break Party,” the race takes place every spring on a challenging temporary street circuit overlooking the scenic waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg. Racing at speeds in excess of 170 mph on the 14-turn, 1.8 mile long street course, drivers circle the Mahaffey Theater and The Dali Museum, then proceed to the runways of Albert Whitted Airport.

The race is part of the Verizon IndyCar Series, the premier open-wheel racing series in the United States and Canada. Launched in 2003, the race marked the advent of a new form of competition among engine manufacturers by having three different engines, which now features Honda, Chevrolet and Mazda to compete for track leadership.

But the Firestone Grand Prix offers so much more than cars and speed; it’s packed with family-friendly fun. The free Fast Friday event in North Straub Park filled with live music, kids’ build-a-racecar tent, food trucks and more will kick off the weekend’s festivities. To add fuel to the good times, free Movies in the Park featuring racing-themed films will take place each night on the north wall of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Friday is chock full of practice sessions, followed by the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 5K foot race. Participants get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience every curve and straightaway of the track as they run, walk or wheel around the waterfront race course.

Practice and qualifying sessions continue on Saturday and the main event, the Verizon IndyCar race, unfolds Sunday.

Spectators also have the opportunity to test their own racing skills at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with racing simulators and a Fan Zone that encourages event-goers to put the pedal to the metal.

Those opting for a luxurious experience with Monaco-like style can take advantage of the prestigious Yacht Club. Specially built private floating docks let spectators view the race from the comfort of a yacht. The slips provide unprecedented vantage points at turns 10 and 11, located directly alongside the race track.

Related Events:

Bright House Speed Zone
Verizon IndyCar Series Fan Village
Beer Gardens
Driver Autograph Sessions
Interactive games & exhibits

St. Petersburg Preservation Walking Tours February/March

Florida winter weather is typically perfect for walking tours and St. Petersburg Preservation’s (SPP) walking tours explore a variety of historic neighborhoods this winter. Tours are offered every Saturday thru April. Tours are free to SPP members and just $10 for non-members. Saturday tours, last approximately two hours and the lunchtime tours last approximately one hour. Tour starting locations vary, depending upon the tour. Tour details, including starting time and location are listed below.

Tour participants see the jewels of St. Pete’s past while learning about the founding of the city and its historic architecture. Tours, times and locations can be verified by checking the SPP website calendar,, or by calling (727) 463-4612.

Friday, February 10 & March 3 – Downtown Lunchtime Tour – starts/ends in front of Mickey’s Café & Organics, 318 Central Ave. Tour begins at noon.

This approximately one hour lunchtime tour is led by SPP President & architectural historian Emily Elwyn. Tour goers will get a chance to see some of the best of the city’s architecture, including landmarks like the 1916 Open Air Post Office and the adjacent 1926 Snell Building & Arcade, while being led by a historian offering a unique perspective on the growth of the ‘Burg. The tour offers a great introduction for visitors to downtown St. Pete, showing how the city’s architecture and sense of place contributes to making St. Pete special!

Saturday, February 11- The Waterfront Tour – starts at the corner of 1st St and 1st Ave. S.E., next to the entrance to the Saturday Morning Market (100 1st St. S.E., St. Petersburg 33701). Tour begins at 10 am.

The waterfront has a great history, ranging from being the site of the fountain of youth to the departure point for the world’s first airline. Tour participants will get to visit the fountain of youth and learn about the history of the city, including the civic visionaries who transformed a working waterfront into one of the largest waterfront park systems in the country. In addition to seeing some of the best of the past tour goers will also have a chance to learn about some of the newest buildings gracing the waterfront and what the city has done to encourage good design in those buildings.

Saturday, February 18– Historic Old Northeast Architectural Bingo Tour – starts from Westminster Presbyterian Church, 126 11th Ave. NE. Tour begins at 10 am.

This fun tour offers participants a chance to learn a bit about architecture while looking for some common and not so common architectural features from the neighborhood’s homes that also appear on the bingo cards. The first to find the features and, as in “regular” bingo, complete the row on the bingo card will be the winner (prizes awarded!). It’s a great tour for the kids but architecture bingo is fun for all ages!  The Old Northeast is a perfect neighborhood for this tour as it is one of the city’s oldest and contains an eclectic mix of architecturally styled homes.

Saturday, February 18 & March 18 – Historic Gulfport – starts at 3 p.m. at the Gulfport Historical Museum, 5301 28th Ave. S., Gulfport, FL. Tour begins at 3 pm.

The Gulfport tour offers a stroll in the “suburbs” of funky and artsy Gulfport. Tour participants will get a look at this former fishing village on Boca Ceiga Bay and its collection of historic commercial and residential structures, including the National Register listed Gulfport Casino. With the introduction of the streetcar connecting it to St. Pete, Gulfport began to grow and to attract tourists in the 1920’s. The tour will be led by Cathy Salustri, a Gulfport local, author and the arts & entertainment editor for Creative Loafing.

Saturday, February 25 & March 25- Westward Ho to Historic Kenwood – starts/ends at Craftsman House Gallery, 2955 Central Ave. St. Petersburg. Tour begins at 10 am  

The tour, led by neighborhood resident guides, is one that young and old can partake to enjoy the feel & character of Historic Kenwood, one of the country’s premier bungalow neighborhoods. Historic Kenwood is a National Register Historic District and is also the city’s first artists enclave district – meaning artists’ studios are now permissible uses within the neighborhood’s historic structures. Tour participants will hear the story about how this traditional neighborhood fell into decline but successfully brought itself back to become one of the city’s most popular & desirable neighborhoods. The tour includes a stop inside one of the neighborhood’s restored bungalows.

Saturday, March 4 – The “Original” Downtown Walking Tour – starts at the corner of 1st St and 1st Ave. S.E., next to the entrance to the Saturday Morning Market (100 1st St. S.E., St. Petersburg 33701). Tour begins at 10 am.

This leisurely stroll explores the “Burg’s central business district and a portion of the St. Petersburg Downtown National Register Historic District. Tour goers will see grand hotels, stately churches, and architectural treasures like the Snell Arcade and the Open Air Post Office while learning the stories behind how the city started (yes, there was an Orange Belt Railroad!) and grew to become one of the country’s leading tourist destinations. The tour will also point out some of the many examples of how historic buildings can be successfully reused today and contribute to keeping St. Pete special.

Saturday, March 11 – Historic Allendale – starts at the Allendale United Methodist Church,3803 Haines Rd. St. Petersburg 33703. Tour starts at 10 am.

It’s Grand Prix weekend and this tour offers a fun alternative to the race.  Allendale is a special neighborhood, with large oak trees shading its red brick streets and lined with large homes with stone veneer. Cade Allen platted the neighborhood in the early 1920′s and was one of the few developers of his time to use stone, quarried from Georgia and North Carolina, to help showcase his homes. The tour will take a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood, allowing participants to enjoy it in all of its spring splendor!

Saturday, March 18 – From Central South Downtown Walking Tour – starts in front of the Crislip Arcade, 641 Central Ave., St. Petersburg 33701. Tour starts at 10 am.

With a boom in new apartment construction, a lot is happening as one travels south of Central Ave. in the ‘Burg. Not all historic is being lost, however, and some of the best of the past is leading the way for the rejuvenation of an often overlooked portion of downtown whether it be the former funeral parlor and YWCA building, now repurposed as Rococo Steak, or the historic Tramor Cafeteria now repurposed as the Hofbrauhaus. The tour will start at the 1926 Crislip Arcade, a beautiful historic downtown arcade that was nearly lost to the demolition ball in 2008.  From the arcade, tour goers will enjoy a leisurely loop stroll taking in the best of the past in downtown south of Central Avenue while getting a better understanding of what makes St. Pete special.

2017 Happy Hour with the Historian Schedule

Happy Hour with the Historian is returning to the St. Petersburg Museum of History in 2017. Check out who is coming and when:

  • January 12 – Lyn Millner: The Allure of Immortality: An American Cult, a Florida Swamp, and a Renegade Prophet
  • March 9 – Craig Pittman: Oh, Florida – America’s Weirdest State
  • May 11 – Lisa Bradbury: Weedon Island’s Sunhaven Studios
  • July 13 – Peter MeinkeAn Evening with Florida’s Poet Laureate
  • September 14 – Bill Leavengood: Doc Webb and His Webb’s City
  • November 9 – Lynn Waddell: Fringe Florida

Doors open at 6:30PM, includes a cash bar provided by Hops & Props.

Admission: $5 suggested donation. SPMoH Members are FREE.

Find out more at

Take A Look at the New St. Petersburg Pier

Take just a minute to take a look at the new St. Petersburg Pier!

Here’s the latest minute-long video – this one on some of the new designs for the new Pier.

There are other “Pier Minutes” with various topics that include branding, the design team, public art and much more. Watch for the new videos, and take “just a minute” each week to be in the know about what the new Pier will have to offer and how plans are progressing. You can view all the “Pier Minutes” here.

They will also be featured on City TV (Bright House channel 641, Verizon channel 20 and WOW channel 15 and streamed at (look for the City TV icon on the home page).

Look for them on the City’s Facebook page and Twitter feeds, and be sure to share with your friends and family.


Fall/Winter 2016

Demolition complete
Pier Approach schematic design complete
Pier Approach Design Development begins
Approve Pier Operator contract

Spring 2017       

Pier – Construction documents and permitting complete
Pier Approach Design Development complete
Pier Approach  – Construction Documents and Permitting to commence
GMP – Guaranteed Maximum Pricing complete and submit to Council for approval
Pier program and tenant selection process begins

Summer 2017

Pier Approach  – Construction documents and permitting
Pier – Groundbreaking; begin Pier construction over water

Fall 2017

Pier Approach – Permitting and GMP complete; commence construction

Fitness Inspiration: Helen Hansen French

On Friday, January 13th at SPC’s Palladium Theater, Helen Hansen French, a beloved St. Petersburg dancer/choreographer, showcases where fitness and passion can take you if your pursue your artistic dream.

Following in the footsteps of last season’s wildly successful performance, BEACON 2017 includes not only vibrant, lively dance works, but also the world premiere of a dance film created by world-renown dancer and BEACON Series co-founder/choreographer/artist Helen Hansen French, in collaboration with more than 25 artists from across all disciplines.

The performance will embody strength, joy, courage, tenacity, resilience and communal celebration. French and BEACON co-founding partner/choreographer/dancer Lauren Ree Slone will offer another evening of virtuosic, thought-provoking dance helping and reflecting the effort towards building a thriving, safe environment for everyone.

French was an Old Northeast St. Petersburg native with a graceful, melodic style and regarded as one of the most accomplished artists in the world of modern dance. She earned her BFA from NYC’s acclaimed Juilliard School and brings fifteen years of dance experience back to St. Pete. A founding member of the St. Petersburg Dance Alliance, she always wanted to write music and dance to it and at age 12, danced in a summer program at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater.

French graduated from the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High and migrated to a modern dance company, dancing with the Buglisi Dance Theater for fifteen years. She’s worked with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre as well as serving as a faculty member at George Mason University, Juilliard and is currently on faculty at St. Petersburg College.

French brings dance off the stage to new audiences, including a fall event hosted by the St. Petersburg Dance Alliance at Green Bench Brewery. Dance on Film, a series of four films, was made by local choreographers like her.

Article by Nanette Wiser

History: St. Bartholomew’s Church Tour

First located on 22nd Avenue S., St Bartholomew’s board & batten Florida Gothic structure was built by a handful of pioneers in 1887.  Though it has been enlarged five times, the original building has been incorporated into the successive structures, and it remains the center of the present sanctuary, 130 years later.

Jerry Knight, a 50-year church member and local historian, leads tours of the historic building on Saturday, January 14th at 11am and again on the second Saturday of February and March.

Jerry recounts the early days of the church and community, the physical move of the church to its present location in the late 1960’s, and construction of the stained glass windows.  There is no charge for the history tour, but participation is limited. To make reservations, call the Church Office at 727-867-7015 or email

Sixteen years before the incorporation of Saint Petersburg as a city, a small group of friends and neighbors met to form an Episcopal Church.  In April, 1887, before the first train arrived and the first building lots were plotted, one of the founding families, Dr. and Mrs. John Abercrombie, donated land for a church and cemetery.  The tiny St. Bartholomew’s congregation solicited donations from family and friends in England and America, presented plays and hosted bazaars, and raised $673 to pay for the materials to build the church.

Even before the building was completed, the church helped found two other local missions referred to as “Disston”, near 49th Street S., and “Bayou”, later called “Chapel of the Holy Spirit”, in what was to become downtown St. Petersburg.  The Disston mission did not survive the year, but Chapel of the Holy Spirit did and it was the precursor to St. Peters Cathedral.

The church was shuttered in 1910, as a majority of the congregation had moved closer to the downtown area, but in 1924, a number of former parishioners met to plan the re-opening of the church.  So successful as this undertaking that the original Church was enlarged to make room for a choir, and a rectory was built at a cost of $7,000.

Sara Hall loaned St. Bartholomew’s the funds to permit construction, and on her death, the debt was cancelled.  Membership fluctuated little until the mid-1940’s when another financial crisis almost shuttered the church again.  After a stormy Vestry meeting, the decision was made not only to keep the church open, but to canvas the members to expand the church again.  The beautiful stained glass windows, the round Rose window and the two flanking Sower windows were gifted during that time.

The congregation grew to its largest in 1959 with 762 communicants, and the building had been enlarged several times to accommodate them.  A decade later, The New Hope Baptist Church offered to purchase the property, and the Vestry elected to sell the grounds and physically move the church, to land with better exposure on 34th Street S.

In 1969, the building was carefully disassembled, moved, and rebuilt, adding insulation and welcomed air conditioning to the structure.  Construction of a parish hall, education building, and an enclosed courtyard followed.

“We are excited to open our church home to the community to explore Pinellas history right here in the Skyway Marina District”, says rector, The Reverend William V. Burkett.

“St. Bartholomew’s embraces the theme – God is Love; Love is Here; All are Welcome, and we look forward to welcoming you to our History Tours”.  PN

Words By Jerry Knight

Wawa Eyeing the Skyway Marina District

The Skyway Marina District will looking to add a Wawa to the list of new businesses opening in 2017. There will be a public meeting on January 3rd at 5 PM in the Desoto Room at the SPC Allstate Campus located at 3200 34th St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33711 to reveal plans for the old Bank of America building located on 34th Street South and 38th Avenue South.

Wawa is a mid-Atlantic chain of convenience store/gas stations. The chain boasts a large fresh food service selection under the Wawa brand, including built-to-order hoagies, freshly brewed coffee, dairy products, breakfast sandwiches, bakery products, and ready-to-eat salads and fruits. Wawa Food Markets carry more than 6,000 items, including Wawa brands as well as national and local products.

The meeting is open to the public and all with questions or who would like more information are encouraged to attend. If you have any questions please contact the Skyway Marina District Office at or call 727-866-2696.

About the Skyway Marina District

The Skyway Marina District is 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization comprised of businesses, property owners, residents and visitors working to promote community interests by supporting and creating a sustainable local economy within the Skyway Marina District of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Holiday Lights in the Gardens

holiday-lights-in-the-gardensNov. 25 to Dec. 31, Nightly, 5:30 – 9:30 pm

Holiday Lights in the Gardens is brighter than ever before. More than one million lights this year add extra sparkle to the holiday season

The Florida Botanical Gardens’ Holiday Lights in the Gardens has grown brighter than ever before, this year featuring more than one million lights. The family-friendly annual event offers visitors the perfect way to experience the magic of the holiday season. Holiday Lights in the Gardens will be held from Friday, Nov. 25 through Saturday, Dec. 31, every evening 5:30 to 9:30 pm. A donation of $4 per person, ages 13 and over, is suggested.

With nearly 70,000 visitors last year, the holiday event continues growing as a perennial favorite for residents and visitors of the Tampa Bay area. Now with more than one million environmentally-friendly LED and laser lights, the gardens are transformed into an even more stunning holiday wonderland filled with favorite seasonal and Florida-style displays around every bend of Pinellas County’s 35-acre botanical treasure.

A wide variety of skilled volunteer entertainers will delight visitors with their talents, including ballet dance troupes, local choral groups, and musicians performing jazz, bluegrass and folk. Visit Santa Claus every night through Dec. 23.

An up-to-date schedule of nightly entertainment is available on the Gardens’ website at, or visitors can call the Holiday Lights hotline at (727) 582-5800 for recorded information. 

View past Holiday Lights at

Parking for the event is free. Visitors with limited mobility can gain easy access by parking at the east entrance of the gardens. Weeknight visitation is encouraged for a more leisurely experience and ample parking.

Florida Botanical Gardens; 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo, alternate entrance at 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo.  Open 7 am until dusk every day, free admission during daylight hours. Information, visit or call (727) 582-2100.