There's No Place like Vacation for the Holidays

 

Pensacola is Holiday Paradise

You can hit the soft white sand beaches in November, wear shorts in December on a historic tour, and still see Winterfest "snow" every night! Pensacola is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of responsibility at the holidays and focus on sharing cheer and joy with your family.

Pensacola is easy to get to, with nonstop flights from 15 cities across the US, and as a Winterfest guest you will get special deals on our already-reasonable off season hotel rates! Just call one of our partner hotels for details:

Mariott
Downtown
Pensacola

700 East Chase Street
850-439-3330

Hilton
Pensacola
Beach

12 Via de Luna Drive
850-916-2999

Check out some ideas for long and short getaways this season! Thanksgiving Week, Long Weekends in December, Christmas Week

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Thanksgiving Week Getaway

Sunday

After you've checked into you hotel, head on over to Christmas Town! Children can write their letters to Santa Claus, then hop into his sleigh for a personal visit with Santa himself, with professional quality photos available to capture the moment. Take a ride on the Winterfest Express train and grab a cookie or hot chocolate from the life-sized Gingerbread House. And to top off the first day of your vacation, get tickets for the Performance Tour!

Monday

Relax after your busy first day by visiting the beautiful white sands of Pensacola Beach...the weather is mild even in December. Don't forget to bring your shorts or bathing suit! Enjoy dinner at one of Pensacola's fine restaurants.

Tuesday

Take a visit to downtown Pensacola and discover the history and charm of America's oldest settlement. Visit one (or more) of the many museums for some historic and artistic insights into the culture of our city. You can even arrange for a Segway tour around the downtown area!

Wednesday

Get ready for Elf Parade! Costumes can be simple or elaborate, but everyone is welcome to march in the parade. Winners will be announced for Best Ears, Best Costume, Best Stroller, Best Wagon and Best Ugly Sweater, so pick your category and go crazy! You can get your letter to Santa ready to deliver. Meanwhile, spend the day shopping downtown at some of the wonderful boutiques and shops.

Thursday

Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner at one of the fine area restaurants, then kick back for a day of football. Top your day off with a stroll downtown or on the beach.

Friday

Gather with the other elves and some of your favorite Christmas characters for the Pensacola Elf Parade in the early afternoon, and enjoy marching along in a family-friendly, non-commercial kids parade. Parade participants get front row spots to enjoy the Winterfest Opening Ceremony with lots of musical entertainment and realistic "snow", followed by the lighting of the downtown Festival of Lights...and an amazing fireworks display to the music of the Polar Express! All the fun Christmas Town activities will continue throughout the evening.

Saturday

Still more Christmas fun, with Christmas Town activities starting at 11:00, and Mini Tours in the early afternoon. And in the evening, catch the movie "The Polar Express" on the big screen at the historic Saenger Theatre... be sure to wear your pajamas!

Take a Long Weekend in December

November 30 - December 2: Cookie Festival Weekend

Friday

After you've checked into you hotel, head on over to Christmas Town! Children can write their letters to Santa Claus, then hop into his sleigh for a personal visit with Santa himself, with professional quality photos available to capture the moment. Take a ride on the Winterfest Express train and grab a cookie or hot chocolate from the life-sized Gingerbread House. And to top off the first day of your vacation, get tickets for the Performance Tour!

Saturday

Enjoy a morning in downtown Pensacola discovering the history and charm of America's oldest settlement, and grab a drink at a local coffeeshop. Visit one of the many museums for some historic and artistic insights into the culture of our city. Then head back to Christmas town for the Winterfest Cookie Festival. With over 20 professional and home bakers bringing their best cookies for judging, you'll want to join in the tasting...ticketed adults and kids will have the chance to sample the entries and will choose their favorite for a “People’s Choice” award. Children will also be invited to decorate cookies.! Performance tours are also available in the evening, along with all the Christmas Town activities.

Sunday

Sleep in after your busy day yesterday, and enjoy a walk on the sugar-white sands of Pensacola Beach. Still ready for more Christmas fun? Enjoy the Magical Puppet Mini Tour in the early afternoon before heading home.

December 7 - December 9: Christmas Parade Weekend

Friday

After you've checked into you hotel, head on over to Christmas Town! Children can write their letters to Santa Claus, then hop into his sleigh for a personal visit with Santa himself, with professional quality photos available to capture the moment. Take a ride on the Winterfest Express train and grab a cookie or hot chocolate from the life-sized Gingerbread House. There are lots of fun activities you can enjoy. And to top off the first day of your vacation, get tickets for the Performance Tour!

Saturday

Enjoy a morning in downtown Pensacola discovering the history and charm of America's oldest settlement, and grab a drink at a local coffeeshop. Visit one of the many museums for some historic and artistic insights into the culture of our city. Then head back to Christmas town for Hermey and Bumble’s Dental Clinic. Hermey (the elf from the Island of Misfit Toys) wanted to be a dentist at Christmas Town and famously fixed Bumble’s toothache. Dr. Stu Bonnin, pediatric dentist, will use Bumble in a fun and entertaining program highlighting proper tooth care. Also: The Magic of Christmas with the Island of Misfit Toys characters will be entertaining while accepting toys as Christmas gifts for families in need in cooperation with Cumulus Broadcasting. The evening will be a magical experience as the Pensacola Christmas Parade draws a crowd to downtown.

Sunday

Relax and take a walk on the beach in the morning. Then back to Christmas Town for Santa's Lego Workshop, designed for children under age 12. Participants are invited to either bring an original Lego construction from home or construct one at Christmas Town. Children will be divided into two age groups (4 to 7 and 5 to 12). The theme of the Lego contest is “Christmas Ornament.” The ornaments will be placed on a display tree which will remain at Winterfest during the season. Winners will receive a photo with their Lego construction and Santa and will be featured in billboard advertisements throughout the Pensacola area. Or if you'd like an alternative afternoon program, catch the annual holiday "Christmas On The Coast" show presented by the Pensacola Childrens' Chorus or the "Zoo Lights" at the Gulf Breeze Zoo.

December 14 - December 16: Performance Tour Finale Weekend

Friday

After you've checked into you hotel, head on over to Christmas Town! Children can write their letters to Santa Claus, then hop into his sleigh for a personal visit with Santa himself, with professional quality photos available to capture the moment. Take a ride on the Winterfest Express train and grab a cookie or hot chocolate from the life-sized Gingerbread House. There are lots of fun activities you can enjoy. And to top off the first day of your vacation, get tickets for the Performance Tour!

Saturday

Enjoy a morning in downtown Pensacola discovering the history and charm of America's oldest settlement, and grab a drink at a local coffeeshop. Visit one of the many museums for some historic and artistic insights into the culture of our city. Then head back to Christmas town for Santa's Puppy Party! Partnering with the Humane Society and the Hotel for Dogs and Cats, puppies and dogs that are eligible for adoption are brought to Christmas Town where families can choose a special new friend to take home.

Also, you can join the fun at Papa Noel’s Cajun Christmas Party! Papa Noel, the Cajun Santa Claus welcomes children to sit with him in his pirogue. As he reads the “Cajun Night Before Christmas” story to the children, his team of alligators will entertain! Also available for a nominal fee: Cajun-style gumbo for a delicious warm treat. And of course, all the Christmas Town activities will be available, as well as Performance Tours in the evening.

Sunday

Take a morning walk on beautiful Pensacola beach, then round up the gang and return once more to the activities at Christmas Town. Participate in the Gumdrop Christmas Bridge Workshop: The Pensacola Bay Bridge Replacement Project will provide an excellent opportunity to bring the new bridge “alive” by introducing children to the art of bridge building, with a variety of hands-on experiences that incorporate principles of science, history, mathematics, engineering and art. Children will build their own Gum Drop Bridge (using gum drops and toothpicks). Performance Tours are also available in the evening. Another option for the evening: Historic Pensacola Holiday Lantern Tours or Sowell's Holiday Lights.

Christmas Week Getaway

You made it through the whole season, full of parties and shopping and decorating and cleaning and responsibility. When is it time to take a break and celebrate? Christmas Week in Pensacola is full of fun family activities to remind you why it's called the season of light.

Wednesday

After you've checked into you hotel, head on over to Christmas Town! Children can write their letters to Santa Claus, then hop into his sleigh for a personal visit with Santa himself, with professional quality photos available to capture the moment. Take a ride on the Winterfest Express train and grab a cookie or hot chocolate from the life-sized Gingerbread House. There are lots of fun activities you can enjoy. And to top off the first day of your vacation, get tickets for the Polar Express Mini Tour or the Grinch Mini Tour!

Thursday

Enjoy a morning in downtown Pensacola discovering the history and charm of America's oldest settlement, and grab a drink at a local coffeeshop. Visit one of the many museums for some historic and artistic insights into the culture of our city. Then head back to Christmas Town to visit Santa, have a snack, ride the train, or any of the wonderful activities offered. Also available: the Polar Express Mini Tour or the Grinch Mini Tour!

Friday

Head out for a beach day! Our generally mild weather during December is a treat, especially for anyone from "up north"! Christmas Town will be open on Friday evening, with Polar Express Mini Tours and the Grinch Mini Tours available.

Saturday

Time to squeeze in any serious shopping, in Downtown Pensacola or at the Cordova Mall. But take time to relax with your friends and family, and feel free to once again join us at Winterfest's Christmas Town. Is there anything you've missed? Don't forget the Winterfest Express train ride, dancing with Santa's reindeer, and playing in the "snow"! Mini Tours available on Saturday afternoon include Magical Puppet Mini Tours and the Scrooge Mini Tours, followed in the evening by the Polar Express Mini Tours and the Grinch Mini Tours.

Sunday

The Christmas buzz is everywhere, and Christmas Town is the heart of the holiday. With Santa in his sleigh, and all the other wonderful activities available, you and your group can soak up the spirit of the season as Winterfest counts down the final days to Christmas. Mini Tours available on Sunday afternoon include Magical Puppet Mini Tours and the Scrooge Mini Tours, followed in the evening by the Polar Express Mini Tours and the Grinch Mini Tours.

Christmas Eve

Finish any last minute Christmas shopping in the festive boutiques and shops in Downtown Pensacola, while enjoying the lovely Festival of Lights and beautiful decorations along Palafox St. Back at Christmas Town, Santa will still be in his sleigh for last minute visits and photos, and all the festive activities will be available. Magical Puppet Mini Tours and Scrooge Mini Tours will be available in the afternoon, followed by Polar Express Mini Tours in the evening. At 8:00, Winterfest will host the Santa Send-off Party. Six children are recognized for their “Letters to Santa” that best represent the true spirit of Christmas, with the “best” letter writer presented with the bell from Santa’s sleigh and a special “Santa Scholarship” of $500.00. And finally, Santa's sleigh will be pulled out onto Palafox by his team of reindeer to start his magical Christmas Eve journey.

Christmas Day

Still looking for some holiday fun? Head out to the Flora-Bama Christmas Potluck!

First City Christmas Visit First City Christmas to find out about more great holiday events in Downtown Pensacola and the Pensacola Bay area.


Visiting Santa is always free. You can reserve a date and time for $10, which will be applied towards any photo package you purchase
223 S. Palafox Place, 32502Pensacola, Florida
November , 23, 24, 25, 30;
December 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23,
FREEFREE

Winterfest's premier tour features 17 performances along a 60-minute trolley trip through Downtown Pensacola.
223 S. Palafox Place, 32502Pensacola, Florida
 
November $9$16
November 23$18$28
November 24, 30;
December 1
$14$21
December 7$17$26
December 14, 15, $19$35

When you hear the bells ring, you will believe
223 S. Palafox Place, 32502Pensacola, Florida
 
November , 25;
December 8, 17, 18
$5$12
December 19, 20$7$14
December 22$8$16
December 23, $10$20

Handmade delight for kids of all ages
223 S. Palafox Place, 32502Pensacola, Florida
November , 25;
December 8
$5$12
December 21, 22$8$16
December 23, $10$20

Get a blessing from Tiny Tim on Christmas Week
223 S. Palafox Place, 32502Pensacola, Florida
 
December , 22$8$16
December 23, $10$20

Your heart will grow three sizes
223 S. Palafox Place, 32502Pensacola, Florida
 
December , 18$5$12
December 19, 20$7$14
December 22$8$16
December $10$20