Winter Village, outdoor ice rink returns in downtown Tampa

It's a holiday tradition that even the pandemic couldn't cancel, but while the annual Winter Village returns Friday, Nov. 20 to downtown Tampa, there will be some changes.

The Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park will feature the usual riverfront 5,000 square-foot ice skating rink and a nightly light show topped with holiday music. 

One of the new safety protocols applies to the popular outdoor ice rink, which will operate at half capacity this year.

Tickets must be purchased online and in advance. Ice skating tickets can be purchased at All skaters are required to wear a mask.

As far as the rest of the Winter village, tickets are not required. The light show will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

READ: Annual Christmas light display at Tampa Chick-fil-A will be scaled back

This year, organizers are adding "The Curtis Hixon Park Choo-Choo" train ride around the park.

The cars will be limited to one family at a time and will be sanitized between rides, according to city officials. It will have 12 seats and three cars.

The ride will make 10-minute loops around the park during the light show from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The guest of honor, Santa Claus, will randomly appear throughout the evening. There will be fewer vendors to allow for social distancing and food merchants will use single-use utensils.