Holiday season is in full swing, so there's no need to wait until Christmas to enjoy it all.
From upcoming ugly sweater parties to Santa crawls (and jogs), there's lots to do here in Fort Lauderdale that'll put you in the holiday spirit. And for those looking to dine out on Christmas, we've rounded up a list of restaurants that'll be open for business and whipping up holiday feasts.
Here's where to meet Santa, see holiday lights, feast on seasonal eats, and more.
Dec. 16 Tarpon Bend's Ugly AF Sweater Party
Dust off those ugly holiday sweaters, and party at Tarpon Bend with live music, 2-for-1 drinks until 10 p.m., and an ugly sweater contest with cash prizes and gift card rewards.
5 p.m.; Tarpon Bend in Fort Lauderdale
Dec. 16 Bad Santa Bus Loop
Put on your best Bad Santa outfit, and ride this bus loop stopping at Fort Lauderdale hot spots including Tarpon Bend, Glitch Bar, America's Backyard and more. Admission includes a complimentary drink or appetizer at each venue. Proceeds from this event will benefit local organizations such as Jack and Jill Children's Center and Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Check in at Tilted Kilt Pub in Fort Lauderdale; $35
Dec. 16-18 Garden of Lights
Be enchanted by thousands of lights and decorations as music fills the air of the Flamingo Gardens' Botanical Collection and Historic Wray Home. Holiday snacks and drinks will be available for purchase.
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Flamingo Gardens in Davie; $25
Dec. 17 Santacon Fort Lauderdale 2016
Help turn Las Olas into a river of Santa, and come dressed in your holiday best—Santa suits, elf ears, reindeer horns, and all. Prance around downtown Fort Lauderdale and spread holiday cheer with candy canes, naughty and nice gifts, and props to show off your talents. Santacon will also be collecting donations for Kids in Distress, and participating Santas can bring new toys, sports equipment, school supplies, home goods, gift cards and more.
6 p.m.; Meet at Mangos and end at Bull Market in Fort Lauderdale; free
Dec. 17 Annual Tacky Sweater Party
Break out the tacky sweater and sip on festive cocktails or enjoy live tunes. The wearer of the most outrageous holiday sweater will win a $100 gift card to Brimstone Woodfire Grill.
8 p.m. to midnight; Brimstone Woodfire Grill in Pembroke Pines; free
Dec. 18 Jingle Bell Jog
Jingle all the way down the street at this annual 5K. All runners who sign up will receive a Santa suit costume and jingle bells to tie on their shoe laces, ensuring that the sights and sounds of running Santas serenade Fort Lauderdale streets.
7:30 a.m. (5K start time), 8:30 a.m. (Little Elf Dash); Starts at Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort; $35
Dec. 18 Oceans 234 Brunch with Santa
Enjoy the ocean view at Oceans 234 in Deerfield Beach, and take complimentary family photos with Santa himself, who’ll be visiting the restaurant during brunch.
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Oceans 234 in Deerfield Beach
Dec. 18 Bad Santa Brunch
Bad Santa is coming to Tap 42, and he’ll be handing out shots of Jim Bean Maple! Boozy brunchers can also enjoy bottomless mimosas, bloody marys, and Funky Buddha Floridian for $15, or order hearty items like Chicago-Style Steak & Eggs with creamed spinach, hash browns, and sunny side up eggs.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Tap 42 in Fort Lauderdale
Dec. 19 Santa on the Beach
Don't miss Santa Claus' traditional candy giveaway along Fort Lauderdale Beach.
12:45 p.m.; Fort Lauderdale Beach park; free
Dec. 24 Fort Lauderdale MatzoBall
What's a Jew to do on Christmas? Go out and meet other single Jews! The annual MatzoBall, the nation's leading holiday party for Jewish singles, is coming to Fort Lauderdale's Vibe Las Olas. Mix and mingle with a party hosted by Miami Heat arena host Uptown Dale and music from Y100 DJ Frankie P. (This special event is for those 30 or older only.)
9 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Vibe Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale; $30
Through Dec. 21 Water Taxi's Holiday Lights Tour
See the holiday decor of Fort Lauderdale's most spectacular waterfront homes from aboard the Water Taxi. The annual Holiday Lights Tour gives guests a festive experience complete with seasonal music and a cash bar with holiday drinks. In fact, even the Water Taxi's double-decker Island Discovery boat will be adorned with holiday decorations to get you into the spirit. Now through Dec. 21, holiday tours will depart at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. from Stop 6 at the Fort Lauderdale Hilton Marina Hotel.
Select weekdays, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.; $25 (adult), $10 (child)
Through Dec. 23 Stranahan House's Victorian Christmas
Explore the Stranahan House with its Victorian Christmas decor, and enjoy a holiday lights tour down the New River. Docents will be dressed in costume as they give their tours, and there will be live music and photo opportunities throughout the night. Reserve your tour by calling 954.524.4736.
7 p.m.; Historic Stranahan House and Museum in Fort Lauderdale; $30
Through Dec. 30 Riverfront Cruise's Holiday Booze Cruise
See holiday lights along Millionaire's Row as you enjoy a free beverage from the bar on board. Riverfront Cruise's Holiday Lights & Booze Cruise will take passengers on a tour of the most expensive and lavishly decorated houses in Fort Lauderdale. It departs at 7 p.m. every Friday through the end of December from Las Olas Riverfront Entertainment Complex.
Fridays, 7 p.m.; Las Olas Riverfront in Fort Lauderdale; $25
Through Dec. 31 Symphony of Lights
Gulfstream Park's popular holiday tradition has returned with a symphony of holiday music synchronized to the lights of a 50-foot tree. The Symphony of Lights runs nightly with light shows on the hour and also offers appearances from Santa and Mrs. Claus, toy soldiers, jugglers and stilt walkers every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 24. Train rides will also take children on an express tour around Gulfstream Park on Dec. 16, 17, 23 and 24.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach
Through Jan. 8 Panthers in the Park Ice Skating Rink
Huizenga Plaza in downtown Fort Lauderdale has been transformed into the largest outdoor public ice skating rink in South Florida. Locals can ice skate outdoors at the inaugural Panthers in the Park Ice Skating Rink and also enjoy a captivating holiday light display from Hoffman's Chocolates. The showcase features illuminated sculptures, a 20-foot Christmas tree, and The Sweet Ride food truck offering sweet treats for purchase.
Monday - Thursday, 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m-10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-9 p.m.; Huizenga Plaza in Fort Lauderdale; $13 for a 90-minute session
Dec. 24 Shooters Waterfront
Families dining at Shooters can take photos with Santa every Saturday in December from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m, and the Intracoastal-view restaurant will offer an all-you-can-eat brunch on Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those coming to the restaurant for Christmas Eve dinner can order from the a la carte menu starting at 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Christmas Day.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (brunch buffet), 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (a la carte dinner); Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale
Dec. 24 Feast of the Seven Fishes at Casa D’Angelo
Celebrate Christmas Eve in true Italian style with a Feast of the Seven Fishes at Casa D’Angelo. Chef Angelo Elia’s feast will feature a platter of seafood simply seasoned and marinated with fresh herbs and spices, including baccala, octopus, cuttlefish, lobster, jumbo prawns, scallops and white anchovies. The feast can be served as a single entrée or as a group platter. Prices vary per order. Call 954.564.1234 to reserve.
Casa D’Angelo in Fort Lauderdale; prices vary
Dec. 24 Feast of the Seven Fishes at Piccolo Ristorante
Chef Andres Avayu will present his version of the Italian "Feast of the Seven Fishes" tradition by offering seven delectable seafood dishes: tuna crudo, charred octopus, seared scallops, sauteed razor clams, Italian seafood paella, grilled swordfish, and lemon and herb baked branzino. Each dish will be offered a la carte, or the meal can be enjoyed as a seven-course feast with Italian wine pairings. Call 954.776.8066 to reserve.
5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Piccolo Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale; $8-$16 per dish
Dec. 25 Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits
Head to Burlock Coast for a Christmas Day buffet fit for a king. Buffet options include a breakfast station (until 3 p.m.), salads, charcuterie, raw bar, sushi, dim sum, carving stations with turkey and ham, and entrees including braised lamb shank with cranberry beans. Children can also find mac and cheese, chicken fingers, and other favorites at the Kids Buffet. The dessert station will feature festive holiday treats like White Chocolate Cinnamon Apple Lollipops and Mini Gingerbread Sandwiches.
Noon to 9 p.m.; Burlock Coast at The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale; $95 (adult), $49 (child)
Dec. 25 3030 Ocean
Feast on a three-course, prix fixe menu of seasonal specialities—creamy chestnut soup with duck confit, slow-cooked prime rib with potato gratin and Swank Farm veggies, and white chocolate and quince bread pudding served with eggnog ice cream—or choose from 3030 Ocean's a la carte menu for Christmas dinner. Call 954.765.3129 to reserve.
3030 Ocean at Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale; $65 for prix fixe menu
Dec. 24-25 Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille
Whether you're looking for a special dinner on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, Wild Sea will serve you a prix fixe menu either night. Highlights of the three-course menus include cast-iron escargot in puff pastry, oyster bisque, deconstructed fish and corn chowder, smoked hazelnut-crusted halibut, gingerbread cheesecake, and white chocolate pistachio pound cake. These specials can also be ordered a la carte. Call 954.467.2555 to reserve.
Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale; $75 for prix fixe menu
Dec. 24-25 Indigo Restaurant
On both Christmas Eve and Day, Indigo will be offering a holiday prix fixe menu with choices such as wild mushroom bisque, beef wellington, lobster and rock shrimp Thermidor, gingerbread cheesecake, and holiday desserts like gingerbread cheesecake or white chocolate pistachio pound cake. Call 954.467.0671 to reserve.
5 p.m.; Indigo at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale; $55 for prix fixe menu
Holiday Spa Treatments
St. Somewhere Spa's Spaliday Package
Now through the end of December, spa guests can book a package of four special treatments for $360 (regularly valued at $432). This Spaliday Package includes:
• 50-minute St. Somewhere Swedish Massage for relaxation and pain relief
• 50-minute Vitamin C Facial for anti-aging
• 25-minute Margaritaville Manicure with OPI nail polish, plus a hand and arm massage
• 50-minute Flip Flop Pedicure to get your feet holiday ready
Spa Atlantic at The Atlantic Hotel
Choose from a variety of seasonally inspired spa treatments as part of Spa Atlantic's Holiday Bliss offerings, which are available through Jan. 15.
• Chocolate “Covered” Cranberries package ($139): 75-minute anti-aging treatment where your body is exfoliated and coated in a warm chocolate cranberry mask, followed by a full body massage with cranberry butter cream
• Cranberry Cosmo Facial ($99): 50-minute treatment to purify and balance skin through the natural acids and enzymes of cranberries
• Mistle “Toes” ($50): therapeutic cranberry paraffin pedicure designed to soothe dry skin and achy joints
SiSpa at Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa
The following holiday treatments at SiSpa in Pompano are sure to put you in the holiday spirit:
• Cranberry Orange Body Scrub & Wrap: Enjoy a full-body exfoliation with a cranberry orange scrub; then a detoxifying mud masque, cocoon wrap, and face and scalp massage; finally, a rich cranberry body butter treatment hydrates skin to lock in moisture. ($99 for 50 minutes; $150 for 80 minutes including 25-minute massage)
• Gingerbread Manicure & Pedicure ($89): Treat your hands to a butterscotch effervescent vitamin soak, with chicory root and sweet almond oil for ultimate skin hydration; then, exfoliate with brown sugar polish, leaving behind a fragrance of gingersnap bourbon; and get massaged with warm caramel body milk before polish is applied.
• Aromatherapy enhancement ($10) with holiday scents including peppermint, eucalyptus and dwarf pine
(Image via Facebook/Fort Lauderdale Jingle Bell Jog)