There are so many things to do this year with holiday and Christmas events in St. Augustine ! Book a room at Bayfront Marin House, a waterfront hotel in St. Augustine offering romantic suites, private houses and beach cottages, and explore our list of 12 favorite St. Augustine holiday events to enjoy this November and December.
Nights of Lights Light Up Night
November 20, 5:30pm.
If you want to enjoy the very beginning of Nights of Lights, you’ll want to mark your calendar for the Saturday before Christmas. At 5:30, everyone gathers in the Plaza de la Constitucion (a super easy walk from the Bayfront Marin House) and the mayor flips the switch, turning on the big Christmas tree as well as the lights in all of the city spaces (which includes the space at the Plaza, plus all of the streetlights, as well as the lights at the Lightner Museum). We turn our lights on at that time as well! Nights of Lights goes through the end of January. Free.
November 20, 9am – 4pm
If you’re the type who likes to have all of your Christmas shopping done by December 1, the Holly Jolly Uptown Shopping Spree is perfect for you! Plus, it focuses on the small, locally owned boutiques and shops along San Marco Street. Start the day at Carrerra’s Wine Cellar for drinks and mocktails, then board a trolley where you’ll enjoy photo booths, raffles, and lots of laughs as you meander through St. Augustine’s Uptown. Lunch is included at the Raintree Restaurant. Tickets are required, and a portion of the proceeds goes to a local charity.
November 20 – January 31
While I still think the best way to see the lights is to walk under them, the trolleys are a close second (and really, the first choice if mobility is an issue for you). If you want to take a trolley this year, our best advice is to PLAN IN ADVANCE! (Sorry for the caps–but it really is important enough to shout).
The Old Town Trolley sells advance tickets, which allows you to skip the lines. For extra safety, seating is one row per family–so you’ll have a row all to yourself (and the trolley has plexiglass between the rows as well). That means that there are less tickets available than usual–so get yours now!
November 27 – December 30, 5:30
If you missed Light Up Night, you can enjoy one EVERY night at the Villa Zoryada. Throughout November and December, they do a series of candlelit tours, which include cookies, refreshments, and lighting the big tree. Tickets are required, and sell out fast! Doors open each night at 5:30.
Dates for 2021:
- Saturday, November 27th
- Saturday, December 4th
- Friday, December 10th
- Saturday, December 18th
- Monday, December 20th
- Monday, December 27th
- Tuesday, December 28th
- Thursday, December 30th
December 1, 6-9pm
The St. Augustine Lighthouse is even more beautiful than usual when it’s lit with THOUSANDS of luminaries lining its sidewalks, as well as the porches and grounds of the Keeper’s House. A magical night for pictures, or just for kicking off December. Free.
December 2, 8pm
Okay, it’s not an annual event, but there are lots of people who would like it to be! If you haven’t been to our Amphitheatre, you are missing out–it’s a 4000 seat outdoor venue, located just across the Bridge of Lions on Anastasia Island. Tickets required.
December 4, 9am
There are times that visiting St. Augustine can feel like you’re on a movie set. Our Christmas parade is one of those times! Floats, horses, marching bands, cars, community groups, and a certain red-suited stranger all gather at 9 in the morning at the parking lot for the Mission Nombre de Dios, then travel south on San Marco/Avenida Menendez, turning right on Cathedral Street, at the Plaza. From there, they parade down Cordova Street. Our favorite place to watch the parade is on Cordova, near the Tolomato Cemetery. The parade is typically over a little after 11, and then we’re right across the street from Mojo’s BBQ, so we can grab a quick lunch. Free.
December 4, 7pm
St. Augustine has a long history of being attacked–by the Spanish, by the French, by pirates. Colonial Nightwatch gives you a chance to experience those vulnerable times (without being in any danger yourself, of course!) by joining the Historic Florida Militia at the Castillo de San Marcos (you can walk from the inn–it’s about a 15 minute walk) at 7pm. The costumed reenactors will parade from the fort to the Governor’s House (located in the Plaza de la Constitucion). It’s not scheduled, but the group has been known to break into Christmas songs on arrival. Free.
December 11, 6pm
It’s not just the houses and businesses that get in on the fun for Nights of Lights–it’s our boating friends as well! Beautifully decorated boats start at the Castillo and “parade” through the Matanzas Bay to the Bridge of Lions. Because we’re south of the Bridge of Lions, the boats are not visible from our inn, but it’s just a short walk along the seawall to get a great seat. Free.
December 18-19, 5 – 10pm
Remember the live nativities of your childhood? Head over to the Mission Nombre de Dias for 5 tours and 2 living nativities on December 18 & 19. It is a pretty long walk from the inn (probably at least 40 minutes), so you may want to grab an Uber or drive. Or go to the Raintree Restaurant for dinner, and then just take a 10 minute stroll to walk off dessert. Free.
December 31, 8:30 (Fireworks)
Ring OUT the old year with a block party that goes on all day long December 31 on St. Augustine Beach. Businesses all along A1A Beach Boulevard are participating in the event, with specials, discounts, live music, and more. Fireworks start at 8:30pm–you can see them (they are very small) from the Bayfront Marin House–look to the left of the lighthouse on Anastasia. If you would like a closer vantage point, park anywhere along 16th Street on Anastasia Island, or at St. Johns Ocean Pier Park.