Plus, changes for USF football stadium plans.
 
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Today’s Forecast

74º | Sunny | 0% chance of rain | Sunrise: 7:22 a.m. | Sunset: 5:49 p.m. | Tides | Old Tampa Bay | High: 11:16 a.m. + 10:01 p.m. | Low: 2:58 p.m. | Clearwater Beach | High: 6:59 a.m. + 6:21 p.m. | Low: 12:16 p.m.

 
🦌 Rudolph and company need plans
A reindeer walks through the snow. There are others grazing behind it.
Rudolph’s coming — get the carrots ready. | Photo by Annika Thierfeld via Pexels
It’s a strange question, we know, but we’ve been wondering: How would Santa’s reindeer spend Christmas in Tampa Bay?

Before we get started, here’s a fun fact: Science suggests Santa’s reindeer are female, as males do not have their antlers at Christmas time. Let’s plan an itinerary for the girls while the big man does his whole chimney-climbing thing.

🏃 Dasher

Dasher ain’t hangin’ around — she’s hitting the road.

Luckily for her, we came up with 10 day trips from the Tampa Bay area, including outdoor adventures, places awash in small-town charm, and educational retreats. Don’t be late, Dasher, or the sleigh will leave without you.

☄️ Comet

Although Comet may be better off taking a trip out to the Space Coast with Dasher, she still has stargazing + outdoor options in TBAY.

MOSI’s Saunders Planetarium would most likely be her favorite spot, while our parks offer a chance to gaze up and dream about the universe, and our beaches give sunrise + sunset opportunities galore.

💃 Dancer + Prancer

You just know this pair would hit the town.

A nighttime stroll down St. Pete’s Central Avenue would give these two their share of options, as would Ybor City’s Seventh Avenue, or SoHo’s sprawling bar + club scene.

And if they feel like an earlier evening, there’s always our live music venues where they can boogie away.

The sun sets at Redington Shores. There are clouds in the sky and shells in the sand.

The last sight before heading back to the North Pole.

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Photo by TBAYtoday

💖 Cupid

Cupid would have no shortage of romantic choices in TBAY — trust us.

She might spend a Saturday in the sand, or dine in downtown decadence before roaming the Riverwalk. Can reindeer swoon?

🔴 Rudolph

The big dog (metaphorically). The leader of the herd.

Rudolph would be the one in the know, keeping her friends informed about upcoming events, new restaurants + bars, and all the most important news in the Tampa Bay area.

In other words, she would subscribe to the TBAYtoday newsletter, and stay plugged into our Instagram, too.
 
 
Events
 
Monday, Dec. 4
  • Pet Photos with Santa | Monday, Dec. 4 | 5-7 p.m. | 459 Brandon Town Center Dr., Brandon | Free with reservation | Grab a special pic with Mr. Claus and your fur baby.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars | Monday, Dec. 4 | 7 p.m. | Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Dr., Tampa | $26+ | Head downtown to cheer on the Bolts as they take on Dallas.
Tuesday, Dec. 5
  • Tree Lighting | Tuesday, Dec. 5 | 5-7 p.m. | Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement, 355 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg | $0-$10 | Watch the lights go on and bring in some festive cheer as the museum gets ready for the holidays.
  • Introduction to Sewing: Youth Classes | Tuesday, Dec. 5 | 5-7 p.m. | Sew Pinellas, 5601 Haines Rd. N., St. Petersburg | $175 | Sign your kid up for the three-week course where all materials are included — this is the first of three classes.
  • US 103.5 Jingle Y’all | Tuesday, Dec. 5 | 8 p.m. | Seminole Hard Rock, 5223 Orient Rd., Tampa | $60+ | Head to the Hard Rock to listen to country stars including Jake Owen, Chris Janson, and Elle King.
Wednesday, Dec. 6
  • Sci-fi Book Club reads “FLUX” | Wednesday, Dec. 6 | 6:30-7:30 p.m. | Tombolo Books, 2153 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg | Free | Join fellow sci-fi fans to engage with a story that combines the genre with the holiday season.
  • Special Holiday Event: “The Dalí Dozen” | Wednesday, Dec. 6 | 6:30-9 p.m. | The Dalí Museum, 1 Dali Blvd., St. Petersburg | $30-$35 | Tag along to the famous museum to see work by a dozen local artists and enjoy food + drinks.
Click here to have your event featured.
 
SPONSORED
Holiday
 
See Bonnet Springs Park’s first two-week holiday event
christmas lights set against a dark backdrop
Bonnet Springs Park will be hosting dozens of different activities spread across two+ weeks of fun. | Photo via Pexels
Experience love at first light at Bonnet Springs Park’s Light Up BSP, happening nightly Friday, Dec.15-Sunday, Dec. 31.

Enjoy lights, holiday concerts, visits with Santa, seasonal food + drinks, “magic” snow, family-friendly activities + more — plus specially-themed weekend events, including:

Dec. 15-17
  • Friday: All is Bright
  • Saturday: Snowflake Soiree
  • Sunday: Holiday Honky Tonk
Dec. 22-23
  • Friday: Timeless Tidings
  • Saturday: Jingle Bell Rock
Dec. 29-31
  • Friday: Elves Night Off
  • Saturday: Winter Wonderland
  • Sunday: Glow in the Park
Plus, sensory-friendly activities on Dec. 21 + 26.
 
News Notes
 
Development
  • USF’s plan to build a new football stadium is changing. The school ended its design-build contract with Barton Malow and is now on the hunt for a new construction firm to spearhead the project. Officials still hope the stadium — expected to cost ~$340 million — will open for the 2026 season. (Tampa Bay Business Journal).
Open
  • Care for dinner and a show? A new restaurant is open at the Mahaffey Theater (400 First St. S., St. Petersburg). Sonata specializes in coastal + Southern cuisine, and offers a range of drinks and cocktails. The full menu and reservations are available online. (I Love the Burg)
Ranked
  • No. 7. That’s where Riverview ranked among US cities with the highest population growth from 2017 to 2022. The report by SmartAsset says Riverview’s population grew by 26.4% from ~90,000 to ~114,000 in that time. (WFLA)
Announced
  • Comedian Nate Bargatze, dubbed “The Nicest Man in Stand-up” by Atlantic Magazine, is heading to Tampa this week. Bargatze will play two shows at Amalie Arena on Saturday, Dec. 9 — one at 3 p.m. and the other at 7 p.m. Grab tickets. (That’s So Tampa)
Number
  • $1.5 million. That’s how much the Vinik family — owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning — donated to the Florida Aquarium’s $45 million fundraising efforts. The money will go toward the project which includes new sea lion, penguin and puffin habitats, plus a new gallery. (Tampa Bay Times)
Plan Ahead
  • The 20th annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is coming up. Tickets are now on sale for the popular IndyCar Series race (Friday, March 8-Sunday, March 10) and start at $25. There will be 10 races in total alongside exhibits, vendors, and plentiful partying possibilities. (I Love the Burg)
Finance
  • Masterworks is a platform that helps you invest in multi-million dollar art by names like Banksy, Basquiat, and Picasso, for just thousands – not millions. When Masterworks sells a painting, like the 16 it’s already sold, investors can get a return. 6AM City readers can skip the waitlist to join.**
**Investing involves risk and past performance is not indicative of future returns. See important Reg A disclosures and aggregate advisory performance masterworks.com/cd.
 
 
Environment
 
🐆 Do your part for TBAY’s wildlife
A Florida panther looks into the camera. It's a closeup and there is sun shining on the animal's back.
There are ~200 Florida panthers left in the wild. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Our Tampa Bay area is home to several endangered species, including Florida panthers, and of course, manatees. But now is your chance to help — Dec. 4 is globally recognized as World Wildlife Conservation Day.

Not only is it an opportunity to raise awareness about endangered species, but also gives us the chance to contribute, donate, and learn about them.

Here’s a few ways to do your part in the Tampa Bay area:
  • ZooTampa at Lowry Park is a nonprofit zoo whose conservation efforts help local animals like manatees + Florida panthers.
  • Next time you’re at the DMV, grab a Save the Manatee license plate — the funds go directly to the nonprofit, Save the Manatee.
  • Busch Gardens is renowned for its wildlife conservation work, where visitors can learn about + see a range of endangered species.
  • There are a bunch of volunteer opportunities in the Tampa Bay area which work to preserve habitats for endangered species like manatees, turtles, alligators, bears, and bald eagles, including the Tampa Bay Estuary Program + Tampa Bay Waterkeeper. We rounded up some others, too.
 
The Buy
 
A fun and useful gift that’s sure to get the holiday party started: a margarita machine.
 
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The Wrap
 
Patrick Sidwell.jpeg Today’s edition by:
Patrick
From the editor
As a proud USF alum, I cannot wait for the Boca Raton Bowl. After years of pain, it feels like a National Championship game — Go Bulls.
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