Lights in Bloom, Selby Gardens

Deck the Halls with Art: Sarasota's December Art Scene

As Sarasota County gears up for the holidays, the arts scene provides a captivating backdrop of creativity and expression. 

Whether you're seeking the perfect holiday gift or simply wish to immerse yourself in the visual delights of the season, Sarasota's art scene offers a myriad of opportunities to celebrate the intersection of art and the holidays. In the enchanting month of December, Sarasota County's art scene comes alive with a flourish of creativity, offering an array of exhibitions, shows, markets and festivals that celebrate the spirit of the season. 

The Ringling Holiday Splendor


The Ringling Museum of Art presents its Holiday Splendor for two nights in December. On Thursday, December 7th and 14th, from 5pm – 8pm, celebrate the giving season and help support the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots (serving Sarasota and Manatee Counties). Local schools will provide musical entertainment and there will be Art Making, as well as a free Holiday Book Market. Children receive a free book of their choice!  

The best part – all of The Ringling's venues will be open for self-touring, including the Museum of Art, Ca' d'Zan, and the Circus Museum. Admission to the event is free with one unwrapped toy per person. Regular admission will apply without a toy donation. Guests are encouraged to shop in the onsite Museum Store, which has a curated selection of unique artworks and crafts created by local artists. 

UTC Holiday Greeting Card Contest:


‘Tis the season for holiday cards! The annual Holiday Greeting Card Contest at Univeristy Town Center is now underway. Discover more than 50 delightful holiday card designs created by students from local elementary, middle, high school and special organizations. 

Explore these festive creations along the east side of the Cattlemen Road corridor (from Buff City Soaps to Natuzzi Italia), and vote for your favorites now through December 31. You can also view the designs in each category here and cast your votes online!

Santa's Gulf Pole Workshop at The Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota gingerbread tradition is back! Santa's Gulf Pole Workshop gets even more wonderful with the unveiling of The Ritz-Carlton’s life-sized gingerbread display. The resort’s pastry team will once again create incredible thematic gingerbread structures using up to 400 lbs. of gingerbread, 300 lbs. of candy and 300 lbs. of chocolate. Step into the lobby as the resort decks the halls for the entire month of December, through January 1, and be mesmerized by one of Ritz-Carlton's most intricate creations. 

Art Ovation's Holiday Art Market

Head to downtown Sarasota on Sunday, December 17th for a swanky art market within the lobby of Art Ovation Hotel. Discover artwork, jewelry, crafts, glass art, ceramics and more at this new annual Holiday Art Mart, from 10am - 4pm. You'll be able to meet over 30 different artists and see the unique giftable items for sale. There will also be holiday-themed beverages during the day to keep the spirits bright. The hotel will be decorated into a festive wonderland to heighten the holiday spirit, so come and enjoy the atmosphere at this free event!

Florida Studio Theatre: Deck the Halls


A brand-new rendition of everything that makes Christmas and Hanukkah in Sarasota special. With all-new songs and sketches, FST's annual holiday tradition, "Deck the Halls," gets audiences ready to celebrate the holidays – Florida style! Think decorated palm trees, swimming in the sea, sand snowmen and more. Families are welcomed to get into the holiday spirit and join in on the fun at this interactive family show downtown! Showtimes run from now until December 24th. 

Selby Gardens: Lights in Bloom

lights in bloom selby gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens transforms its bayfront grounds into a festive wonderland during the holidays for its annual Lights in Bloom event. The open-air holiday light show features more than two million lights illuminating the beautiful botanical gardens and walkways. Don’t miss a holiday photo opportunity, activities, and entertainment.

Lights in Bloom runs from December 8th to January 3rd, 6:30pm – 9pm. You can purchase your tickets online.

The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime: Limelight Market

The indoor indie market combines the beauty of outdoor spaces with the creative energy of Sarasota's artistic community, plus live music, animal adoptions and food truck bites! The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime provides a delightful setting to browse and purchase artworks and wares from 70+ local makers and artists every third Saturday of the month with its Limelight Market. 

On December 16th, from 10 am - 3pm, enjoy guest vendors selling unique holiday-themed items and great Secret Santa gift items in the festive courtyard! You can also browse and shop in The Bazaar every Thursday to Saturday, same hours, if you can't make the Saturday market.

Circus Arts Conservatory: A Brave New Wonderland

circus arts

The Circus Arts Conservatory (CAC) brings an extraordinary holiday spectacle, “A Brave New Wonderland,” to the CAC’s Holiday-Themed Big Top in the East District at UTC. With 45 performances, the show runs the entire month of December, with a finale on December 31. Each show promises a blend of thrilling circus acts, mesmerizing aerial performances and uplifting holiday storytelling. Run away and join the circus here!

The Nokomis Art and Craft Market

Celebrate the approaching end of the year with the Nokomis Art and Craft Market on Saturday, December 16th, from 9:30am – 3pm. Located outside The Cottage Art and Gift Gallery, the Cottage Gang will serve up free coffee, bottled water and cookies and donuts until they're gone. Enjoy the cool Florida weather and find your new favorite artists and crafters while listening to local musicians sing tunes old and new.

This event is a great excuse to do some holiday shopping for yourself, or for your home and garden. Who knows, you may also find the perfect gifts for family and friends too — from great jewelry, soaps, candles, bags, pottery and more.