It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And while the only “white” we’re likely to see on Christmas is the sand between our toes, that doesn’t mean we’re any less festive during the holidays in Naples. Here, we’ve rounded up our favorite Naples holiday events and traditions you’ll want to make your own.
HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES AT ARTIS—NAPLES
Beginning Nov. 23
There’s something extra fun about getting dressed up and heading to Artis—Naples for a holiday performance. Whether you choose the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, Handel’s Messiah, Dave Koz and Friends’ Christmas Tour or a Holiday Pops concert, you’re sure to leave feeling the holiday spirit. Tickets are available online.
CHRISTMAS ON THIRD
Monday, Nov. 25, 6-9 p.m.
It’s not officially Christmas on Third Street South until the mayor lights the tree in the courtyard at Third and 13th Avenue South. This year’s 42nd annual celebration is filled with festive decorations, music, delicious treats, an appearance from Santa and—best of all—snow! (The “snow” is actually made of soap suds, but that doesn’t make it any less magical.) The snowfall continues every night for the following week.
CHRISTMAS AT HISTORIC PALM COTTAGE
Naples’ oldest house, Historic Palm Cottage, was built in 1895, and it’s been decking the halls ever since. Plan a visit to see its elegant holiday decor and take a tour, Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. Reservations are recommended; call (239) 261-8164.
The celebrations kick up a notch during its Ten Days of Christmas (Dec. 10-14 and 17-21, 4-7 p.m.) with daily holiday performances and free admission for all.
DESIGN DISTRICT HOLIDAY STROLL
Dec. 5, 4-8 p.m.
Take a walking tour of the Naples Design District and get a head start on your holiday shopping at several locally owned home decor and gift shops. Sample a different cocktail at each stop and enter to win great prizes. Plus, each shop will donate a portion of proceeds to a different local charity.
Fifth Avenue South is going all out for the holidays this year, beginning with an official tree lighting in Sugden Plaza on Friday, Dec. 6. Also on the agenda: a live nativity scene, a performance by international pop tenor and flamenco guitarist Ghaleb, “snow,” a visit from Santa, and even ice skating with skate rentals available.
New this year: Sit down to a festive feast that won’t soon be forgotten—the table is 1,600 feet long and spans more than five blocks down the center of Fifth Avenue South. Several Fifth Avenue restaurants will participate (Vergina, Sails, Caffe Milano, La Trattoria, Bice, Cafe Molto, The French, Osteria Tulia and Ocean Prime), each with its own unique menu and tablescape design. Prizes will be awarded based on best table decor, and you can vote for your favorite by sharing a picture of it on social media using #ChristmasinNaples and tagging the restaurant.
Interested in a seat at the long table for dinner? Reservations must be made with the individual restaurant at which you’d like to dine.
TEDDY BEAR TEA AT THE RITZ-CARLTON
Dec. 7-22, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
This special tradition is a must for little ones. Fluffy, oversized teddy bears and aromatic teas fill the Lobby Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort. A storyteller reads favorite children’s tales while young guests enjoy hot chocolate, sweet treats and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. While they’re there, a visit to the 12-foot-tall gingerbread house is, of course, a must!
The event is $95 per person, and dates sell out every year, so be sure to make reservations early by calling (239) 598-6644.
NIGHT LIGHTS IN THE GARDEN
Nov. 29-Dec. 23, 26-30 and Jan. 1-5, 6-9 p.m.
One of our best-loved holiday traditions is Night Lights at Naples Botanical Garden. Thousands of lights illuminate the garden, with gourmet treats and entertainment throughout, including performances by Opera Naples and Naples Ballet on select nights. Tickets are available online.
CHRISTMAS BOAT PARADE
Dec. 14, 6:15-8:30 p.m.
Naples’ Christmas boat parade is a favorite tradition among visitors and locals alike. Nab a viewing spot at Naples City Dock, Bayview Park or one of several waterfront restaurants (The Boathouse, The Dock, Riverwalk, Pinchers or Kelly’s Fish House) and watch the boats sail by, decked out in festive Christmas lights.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN VICTORIA PARK
Shh… this one is a locals’ favorite. The Victoria Park neighborhood, located off of Airport-Pulling Road in Naples, is as festive as they come. Each holiday season, parades of cars drive through to marvel at the houses done up in true Clark Griswold style. Best of all: It’s free.
DON’T MISS THIS!
Introducing our Naples Holiday Sourcebook—
everything you need for entertaining in or going out this holiday season
in Southwest Florida.