St. Augustine is known around the world for its first-class light displays, which is just one of our favorite things about the holiday season. Not only is the area beaming with holiday cheer, but there is something for everyone to enjoy throughout November, December, and January. Here are a few of our favorite ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s:
Light Up Night
November 23 – 6:30 p.m.
- St. Augustine’s lights are on from November 23, 2019 – January 31, 2020, this year. If you want to see the opening night ceremony when the lights are officially switched, plan your stay at our beachfront bed and breakfast November 23rd, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The switch is officially flipped on at 6:30 p.m. in front of the gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitucion. This is one of the busiest nights of the year for St. Augustine, so grab a parking space early and enjoy the festivities! Music in the plaza starts at 5:30 p.m. and goes until 8:00 p.m.
Holly Jolly Shopping Spree
November 16 – 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- If you love shopping, mark your calendar for November 16th because of the Holly Jolly Shopping Spree, our favorite shopping expedition of the year! It starts at the Green Trolley station on San Marco, with mocktails and wine tasting. The trolley takes you through St. Augustine’s uptown business district, which has lots of boutiques, jewelers, and antique stores, offering unique gifts for everyone on your list (including yourself!) Tickets include lunch at the Raintree Restaurant, raffles, and discounts throughout the shopping district. Grab some reindeer antlers, a couple of friends, and prepare for a fun day. Tickets are $45.
Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
November 30 – Refreshments at 6:00 p.m. and Tour at 6:30 p.m.
- Over 100 candles are lit throughout the Villa Zorayda, flickering gently as you walk through a docent-guided tour. The 90-minute tour is a great mashup of history and Christmas, with information about the museum’s antiques, collectibles, as well as stunning Christmas decorations. The highlight is a HUGE Christmas tree in the center of the buildings “Court of Lions”, lavishly decorated in red and gold. Tours are throughout November, December and January. Tickets are $21, which includes homemade holiday treats.
Festival of Arts
November 30 -10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. | December 1- 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Over 100 artists come to this outdoor festival – now in its 54th year! This wonderful event benefits the St. Augustine Arts Association. You can find paintings, pottery, jewelry, glassware, sculptures, photography and more. St. Francis Field. $2 donation.
Lighthouse Luminary Night
December 4 – 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
- During the Lighthouse Luminary event, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum is lit with hundreds of luminaries, hanging from trees, lining the walkways, next to the doorways. While you’re there, check out the lighthouse’s beautiful Christmas tree, as it is decorated with ornaments from all over the world, sent in by friends of the museum. The night is free, although monetary and canned good donations are welcome.
St. Augustine Christmas Parade
December 7 – 9:00 a.m.
- Who doesn’t love a parade? Floats, marching bands, and costumed Christmas characters parade through our streets, starting at the Fountain of Youth and ending near the parking garage by way of King Street, making a big loop. The whole parade is about 90 minutes and if you’re a good little boy or girl you might get a candy cane from one of the marchers.
Colonial Nightwatch Parade
December 7 – 7:00 p.m.
- Parades aren’t just for the daytime. The Historic Florida Militia leads a torchlight parade starting at the Castillo de San Marco, then traveling through the city gates and down St. George Street, ending at the Governor’s House. Everyone is invited to join the parade and follow the re-enactors through town. Whenever we’ve gone, all the participants, including those of us not in costume, begin singing a selection of Christmas carols after the muskets go off. If you’ve always wanted to feel like you lived in a Hallmark movie, put on your white knit mittens, grab someone you love, and come out and saunter then sing with us!
December 8 – 12:00-5:00 p.m.
- If Christmas is all about decorations for you, you’ll love this annual walking tour, sponsored by St. Augustine’s Garden Club. Private homes are decorated to the nines with natural beauty, greens, wreaths, and potted plants, all to show off the beautiful homes chosen for the tour. Residents add their own décor, showcasing their holiday collections of ornaments and decorating spectacular Christmas trees. Tickets are $30 and go on sale October 1.
Holiday Regatta of Lights Boat Parade
December 14 – 6:00 p.m.
- Christmas decorations aren’t just for land here in St. Augustine. The Florida boating community puts on the sparkle for the holiday season too! On the second Saturday of December, the boats parade from the fort to the Bridge of Lions, all decked out in wreaths, lights, and Christmas motifs. The city closes the Bridge of Lions to traffic, and people gather on its span to watch the lights reflect off the water. (No, the boats don’t come as far south as the inn–but they’re only a block away!)
Bed and Breakfast Holiday Tour
December 14 & 15 – 1:00-5:00 p.m.
- This is a really personal one for us, because it’s a huge part of our Christmas celebration! There are over 20 bed and breakfasts in St. Augustine, and for the past 25 years, we have all decorated our inns and opened our doors for a two-day walking tour. Each of the inns’ partners with a restaurant in town, so you get a little bit of food or drink at each stop, and a LOT of laughs and fun. We always go ALL OUT for the themes as we’ve dressed as mermaids and fishermen (Coastal Christmas), the Brady Bunch (Christmas in the 70s), and cows and maids a-milking (The 12 Days of Christmas). This year the theme is Christmas movies…what will we dress as next???? Buy a ticket and find out!
St. Augustine Community Chorus Concerts
December 14 – 7:30 p.m. | December 15 – 2:00 p.m.
- St. Augustine’s Community Chorus has been bringing their joy of singing to our town for over 70 years. This Christmastide features John Rutter’s Magnificat with full chorus, chamber orchestra, organ, and the St. Augustine Youth Chorus. This wonderful event also includes choruses from the Messiah. Tickets are $25, with discounts for kids and active military.
The Nutcracker by St. Augustine Ballet
December 21 – 1:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. | December 22 – 1:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
- If visions of sugar plum fairies dance in your head whenever you think of Christmas, grab a seat at the Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College and enjoy the 11th annual Nutcracker performance by the St. Augustine Ballet Dance Company. Tickets range between $25 and $35 per person.
Beach Blast Off
December 31 – 4:00 – 10:00 p.m.
- What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? How about going to the St. Augustine Beach Pier for the music, fun, and fireworks? There is music throughout the evening, and fireworks start at 8:30 p.m. Lots of family-friendly activities too, like face painting and bounce houses. Grab your family and enjoy your Florida getaway with this awesome event!
Snowstorm at the Marin
Every Monday& Wednesday in January – 5:00 p.m.
- It’s snowing…every Monday and Wednesday night at the Marin! Enjoy a snow squall during our daily happy hour, which is the perfect way to get in the mood for our exclusive Nights of Lights trolley tour (also on Monday and Wednesdays–limited to guests who stay two weeknights). In addition, our January special also includes decadent chocolates from Claude’s, along with a coupon for free hot chocolate after the tour. All FREE for guests of the Bayfront Marin House! How’s THAT for starting your New Year off right? Book your amazing Florida getaway this year at the Bayfront Marin House and enjoy everything St. Augustine has to offer this season!