Visitors vacationing in Pensacola are guaranteed a white Christmas beyond the destination’s sugar-white sand beaches. The holiday season kicks off in historic Downtown Pensacola with the annual First City Lighting Festival in mid-November with the illumination of 500,000 lights.
Following Black Friday, the Winterfest Elf Parade and Winterfest bring “snow” every night outside the Plaza Wonderland during, a magical holiday festival that takes over downtown Pensacola. From Nov. 16, 2023 - Dec. 24, 2023, guests can stroll the streets, sip hot chocolate and enjoy palm trees glittering with Christmas lights, partake in photo opportunities with Santa Claus and holiday characters like the Grinch. There are several trolley tours and immersive experiences available for the whole family and guests of all ages, including the Polar Express tour where tap dancing servers lead visitors through a trolley-ride of the classic Christmas story. The Cajun Christmas Experience is a great choice for those who like a little history with their Christmas cookies. During this open air trolley ride, a guide shares stories of how they celebrate Christmas in the bayou as guests travel to Pensacola’s Historic Village for a one-of-a-kind holiday experience.
Just steps away from downtown is the Oyster Bay Boutique Hotel, the only Pensacola hotel and event venue overlooking the waterfront of Pensacola Bay. With custom furnishings, artwork and accents, each guest room has a unique experience and identity designed to pay homage to the local artisans and surrounding community. During the holiday season, the hotel hosts a Holiday Market, inviting local vendors and entrepreneurs to showcase and sell their one-of-a-kind art, designs, home goods, and fashion.
Once the holiday happenings are over and you’re ready to ring in the new year, “plunge” your way into the new year. Both the Flora-Bama Lounge and the Pensacola Beach Chamber both host New Year’s Day dips and day parties to ring in the new year.
A beach town turned winter wonderland, throughout the holiday season, there’s always festive cheer in the air in Pensacola, Florida.
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