Downtown for the Holidays

Take a break from the theme parks and experience some family fun, by visiting Downtown Orlando during your vacation stay. Downtown for the Holidays offers several, FREE holiday events during the month of December.

Take a walk around Lake Eola and take pictures in front of the City’s 72-foot Christmas tree. Bring a blanket and sit on the grounds while watching a holiday movie at the Walt Disney Amphitheater. Eat delicious food at any of Downtown Orlando’s urban restaurants.

December is always a busy month of hustle and bustle, but it is fun to take in the local atmosphere when you get the chance. Downtown Orlando is very vibrant and rich in culture, there is always something to do. During Christmas time, don’t miss out on the holiday fun.

Downtown for the Holidays Events

Every Night Through January 6
Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree Show
Lake Eola Park

Every night at 5:45 p.m.; 6:45 p.m.; 7:45 p.m.; 8:45 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., the Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree comes alive with a synchronized light and music show.

Sunday, November 23, 2014
Jack Kazanzas Star Installation
7:15 a.m. **Assembly of the star will begin at 7:15 a.m. and the raising of the star will take place at approximately 8:45 a.m.**

The raising of the Jack Kazanzas Star will take place on Sunday, November 23. A long-standing tradition in Orlando, the installation of the 600-pound golden star started in the 1950s when two competing department stores, Ivey’s on the east and Dickson and Ives on the west of Orange Avenue, joined together in 1955 to hang the Christmas star between the two. After the department stores had closed, Jack Kazanzas, a lifelong resident of Orlando, raised the funds to replace the original Christmas star in 1984. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer officially proclaimed the star to be named the Jack Kazanzas Christmas Star in 2010 in honor of his passing.

Monday, December 1, 2014
12 Bars of Christmas Holiday Promotion
Thornton Park Main Street District

Hosted by the Thornton Park Main Street District, Orlando residents are encouraged to get in the holiday spirit at the 12 Bars of Christmas event. Twelve participating bars and restaurants in the Thornton Park District will offer holiday drink specials and one signature holiday cocktail from December 1 through December 5, with restaurants and bars including Wildside BBQ Bar & Grill, Mucho Tequila & Tacos, Graffiti Junktion, Stardust Lounge, Cityfish, Island Time, Sonoma Draught House, The Falcon Bar& Gallery, Shari Sushi Lounge, Maxine’s on Shine, Dexter’s and The Abbey. Participants can pick up a promotion card at any of the participating venues and collect stamps with each drink purchase to win prizes. Cost per drink varies. More information available at

December 4
What’s Up Downtown for the Holidays
8:30 a.m.
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

The Downtown Development Board invites you to attend a special holiday edition of What’s Up Downtown on Thursday, December 4. Come see the Russian Ballet Orlando present a scene from “The Nutcracker”, hear the sounds of the season as they are performed by the Mad Cow Theatre, and surprise special guest appearances. In the spirit of giving, we encourage you to bring a gift to benefit the Parramore Annual Toy Drive (for children 6 to 13)! One hour validated parking will be available for those who park in the City Commons Parking Garage (460 Boone Ave.) For more information, and to RSVP, please contact Rose Garlick at or call 407. 246.3789.

Holiday Movie at Lake Eola Park – Fred Claus
7:00 p.m.
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

December 5
Tree Lighting Celebration
5:00 p.m. Festivities begin
6:00 p.m. Tree lighting ceremony
Lake Eola Park

Kickoff the holiday season with Mayor Buddy Dyer at the City of Orlando’s annual Tree Lighting Celebration. The highlight of the free event is the traditional lighting of the City’s 72-foot Christmas tree. The event also includes a Mass Choir performing your Christmas favorites with an audience sing-along, Trinity Lutheran School Christmas Musical, Food Truck Bazaar, gift vendors and the showing of the cartoon version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

December 6
WKMG Local 6 Holiday Concert
6:00 p.m.
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

Hosted by WKMG Local 6 and in support of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Network, the award-winning Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra will hold their 7th annual holiday benefit concert featuring all four FSYO orchestras playing holiday favorites. As part of the event, donations and gifts will be collected for kids in need.

Thursday, December 11, 2014
Thornton 2nd Thursday Wine & Art Walk and Holiday Decoration Contest
6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Glass pick up at Olde Towne Broker
11 North Summerline Avenue

Celebrate the season with the Thornton Park Main Street District during a special holiday edition of the Thornton 2nd Thursday Wine & Art Walk. Guests will enjoy complimentary wine, beer or cocktails at various locations throughout Thornton Park and vote to name a Thornton Park District business as “Best Dressed for the Holidays.” Event tickets are $10 and purchasable the day of the event.

December 12
Holiday Movie at Lake Eola Park – Elf
7:00 p.m.
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

December 13
Violectric Holiday Concert at Lake Eola Park
7:00 p.m.
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

This free concert will feature Violetric, an electric string quintet band with keyboards and drums, playing a mash-up of rock, pop and holiday favorites.

Thursday, December 18, 2014
A Taste of Church Street
5:00 p.m.
55 West Church Street

The Church Street Main Street District invites residents to this free event to experience food and drink specials and other holiday activities along Church Street, including a festive sweater contest.

December 19
Holiday Movie at Lake Eola Park – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
7:00 p.m.
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

December 20
The Nutcracker, performed by the Russian Ballet Orlando
7:30 p.m.
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

Celebrate the holiday season in with The Nutcracker, featuring unforgettable characters, dazzling costumes, onstage blizzards, timeless choreography and Tchaikovsky’s extraordinary arrangement performed live by the Russian Ballet Orlando.

December 21
Ventana Al Jazz
5:00 p.m.
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

Join us for a memorable evening of Christmas music with a Latin Jazz flavor in Downtown Orlando’s signature park, Lake Eola.

December 26
Holiday Movie at Lake Eola Park – A Christmas Story
7:00 p.m.
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

Skip to content