Naples is a premier summertime destination. From sun and sand to luxury waterfront living to exclusive golf and yachting opportunities, there are few places in the U.S. that rival Naples’ mid-year allure.
But summer isn't the only fun and festive season in this gem of a city along Florida’s Gulf Coast. December is an incredible time to visit Naples, especially with all of the family-friendly events to celebrate the season.
Here are four can’t-miss events that are certain to establish Naples as your go-to holiday destination.
November 29th, 2019 to January 5th, 2020 (except for 12/24, 12/25, and 12/31)
There’s no questioning that Naples Botanical Garden is a shining star in the city’s cultural scene. For the past decade, that star has managed to shine even brighter during the holiday season. Returning for its 10th season, the annual Night Lights in the Garden illuminates the gorgeous floral landscapes that patrons have come to love. The nightly event runs from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and features live music and performances from the Naples Ballet and Opera Naples Youth Chorus. Tickets range from $12 to $30 for adults and $6 to $15 for children under 14 based on Garden membership and time of visit. Children 3 and under are free.
For one of Naples’ more unique holiday traditions, over 70 musicians—most playing tubas or euphoniums—come together at Sugden Plaza on Fifth Avenue South to regale onlookers with the sounds of the season, brass-band style. This free and interactive event runs from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring a chair and their caroling skills to join in on the fun.
December 21st and 22nd, 2019
On the Saturday and Sunday before Christmas, the Naples Zoo and Caribbean Gardens celebrate the start of winter with games, music, and, of course, a visit from Santa Claus himself. Winter Fest runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on both days and is included with regular zoo admission. Make sure to arrive early to watch the animals open special holiday enrichment gifts.
Water is the lifeblood of the Naples community—it comprises 25% of the city’s area. So it's only natural that the City of Naples hosts one of the best holiday boat parades in South Florida. The parade runs from 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and features decorated boats from across the area. There are numerous spots along Naples Bay to catch a glimpse, including Naples Landing, Naples City Dock, and Bayview Park. This year’s theme is Great Christmas Movies, and proceeds from the event benefit the Ricky King Children’s Fund.
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*Image: Naples Botanical Garden