Christas at the UTC
Holiday light display, courtesy of UTC
Christmas at UTC
Santa Clause in all his glory, courtesy of The Mall at UTC

Winter Adventures at University Town Center

Celebrate the Holidays at UTC and experience fun festivities for the whole family!

November 28, 2022

If you haven't yet been to The Mall at UTC or the surrounding University Town Center district – featuring more than 250 specialty shops and over 80 fast-casual to fine-dining restaurants –there truly is no better time to plan a day or weekend full of shopping, dining and discovery than the holiday season!

Running now through January 2, the University Town Center plays host to Holidays at UTC – showing visitors and locals alike what "winter" in Florida's Gulf Coast is all about. Holiday Happenings run the gamut of movie night showings, ice skating, horse-drawn carriage rides and a fireworks light show every Saturday! 

The Rink at UTC & PopStroke Golf

Overhead nighttime view of PopStroke Golf arena

Lace up your skates for some wintertime fun because a real ice rink is back at UTC, presented by the Tampa Bay Rays! Taking a page out of NYC's Rockefeller Center, The Rink at UTC is festively lit up and welcoming solo skaters, couples and families to enjoy a little winter wonderland escape in the otherwise warm, tropical locale of Gulf Coast Florida. 

The Rink is located in the East District, right next to PopStroke, which is a great follow-up activity to do with friends and family. The brand-new complex consists of two 18-hole putt-putt courses, lawn games, a restaurant, rooftop lounge, outdoor bar, playground and ice cream parlor.  

Open now through January 2, daily. For hours, ticketing, rentals and more information, visit here. 

Photos With Santa & Kona Grill

Cozy fireside bites just outside The Mall, courtesy of Kona Grill

Inside The Mall at UTC, find a wonderful winter display of magic and tradition for an innovative holiday photo experience in Santa's workshop – including Santa Clause himself and his elf entourage as "Santa’s Flight Academy." Your kids can get that memorable photo with Santa before the family heads over to the northeast wing of the mall for lunch or dinner at Kona Grill.

The classic American grill with a Japanese/Hawaiian flair dishes up great steak and fresh seafood – complemented by a standout selection of sushi rolls and margaritas, its scratch-made menu of classic grill dishes with a Kona twist include the Big Island Ribeye, Surf & Turf, Macadamia Nut Chicken and much more!

Find FAQs, photo packages, holiday hours and book your Photos With Santa visit – running now through Christmas Eve! Reservations are limited, but walk-up visits are welcome.

Selva Grill & Holiday Movie Under The Stars 

Courtesy aerial of newly opened Selva Grill

Watch holiday films under the stars from a giant projector. Families and friends of all ages are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy free outdoor showings of holiday classics. Grab a bite beforehand from Selva Grill in the West District at UTC, an award-winning Latin fusion restaurant with artistic dishes, cocktails and a swanky vibe. Afterward, walk right over to the lot near Ford’s Garage (less than a 5-minute walk) and enjoy movie night snacks from the onsite concessions.

Movies are shown only on Saturdays at 7pm. The holiday flick lineup includes: Home Alone 2, The Grinch (with a special appearance by Grinch & Cindy Lou Who), The Santa Clause, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Frozen, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and more!

For more information on Movies Under The Stars and see exactly what films are playing when, visit here. Limited seating is available on a first come, first served basis, so early arrival is suggested.

Spectacular Nightly Light Shows & Saturday Fireworks

Sidewalk light shows and fireworks along Cattlemen, courtesy of UTC

Enjoy the sights, lights and sounds of the season with shows along Cattlemen Road. Holiday shows run every 30 minutes from 6:30pm – 9:30pm. 

Additionally, every evening leading up to Christmas and NYE, the UTC puts on a fantastic fireworks display surrounding the retail haven. After a long day of shopping or night out for dinner at one of the many eateries, stick around for the festive fireworks show – only on Saturdays at 9pm.

Holiday Night Market

Night market aerial, courtesy of UTC

If you haven't gotten your fills from the hundred or so shops and boutiques of UTC already, and looking for more artisan, locally made items, plan your next shopping trip for the nighttime. Every third Thursday of the month, a monthly outdoor market event featuring live music and a great mix of local farmers and makers selling handmade goods, art and more takes place in the West District.

But for the holiday season, the third-Thursday night market will be especially holiday-themed! December's event is bringing all the festive feels with an electric live music performance by NoFilter Band, seasonal sips and sweets, and 40+ local vendors offering fresh produce, handcrafted gifts, jewelry and much more.

Shop, sip and stroll under the stars on December 16, 5pm–9pm. Visit here for more information on the Holiday Night Market. 

Nathan Benderson Park & Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

Walkways to stroll, rollerblade or bike around Nathan Benderson Park's lake

Get your steps in for a scenic stroll around UTC's Nathan Benderson Park, a world-class community park for the public to enjoy. Equipped with bathrooms, a playground, a 400-acre lake and multiple paths around the perimeter of the lake including a 3.5-mile trail. After getting some fresh air and excersie, surprise your loved one or kids by heading to the "Stable" on Cattlemen Road. From there, be picked up in old-time style by your horse-drawn carriage. Rides provided on a first-come, first-served basis

Available Thursdays–Sundays, 6pm-10pm. Closed on Christmas but open on Christmas Eve. Pick up/drop off at the Stable on Cattlemen Rd. $10/passenger

Hannukah Celebration

Find a more fun way to countdown to Hanukkah. Discover an outdoor community celebration on The Green at UTC. The free, family-friendly event will feature games on the lawn, crafts, live music, festive treats including latkes and donuts, face painting and more!

Find more information on Hannukah Celebration at UTC, taking place on Saturday, December 17, 11:30am–2:30pm. 

Area map and key, courtesy of UTC

Ugly Sweater Crawl

At the West District of UTC, near Ethan Allen and Ford's Garage, find many unique holiday exhibits to break up your shopping spree. For one, a festive photo opp includes Ugly Sweater Avenue. On Thursday, December 15, the UTC will host an Ugly Sweater Crawl, in partnership with iHeartRADIO.

So slip into your most hideous holiday sweater on Thursday, December 15 and join the crawl, starting at 6:30pm, which includes fun and festive stops at eateries along Cattlemen and concludes around 8:30pm.