Things to do in America’s Oldest City

275-christmasHistoric City News reminds all St Augustine and St Johns County residents and visitors to use extra care during the next three weeks as Christmas approaches.  Increased traffic, especially at night, and increased pedestrian and pedal-powered use of our narrow, congested streets creates special hazards that you will want to avoid.

Nights of Lights

During the 23rd annual Nights of Lights, St. Augustine glows with holiday magic – from the ground to the rooftops.  Selected by National Geographic in 2011 and 2012 as one of the 10 best holiday lighting displays in the world, St. Augustine’s Night of Lights features millions of tiny white lights that create a magical atmosphere in the Nation’s oldest city. Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a white candle in the window during the Christmas holidays, the spectacular lighting reflects the city’s 451-year history and illuminates the beautiful setting for lasting holiday memories For more information on Nights of Lights and for a list of special tours visit

Tour of Trees

Experience the self-guided tour of the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse to view the spectacular decorations in each room. The tour is free and open to the public from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through January 1. 110 Championship Way, Ponte Vedra Beach 904-543-5105

Dressing of the Palms in Vilano Beach

The Dressing of the Palms along Vilano Beach features palm trees decorated in holiday finery, a celebration of coastal living. The trees showcase the creative talents of residents, artists, businesses, clubs, schools and organizations through December 31. Vilano Rd., St. Augustine 904-540-0402

Monday – Saturday, December 5 – 10

Visions: Ancient and Modern Exhibit

The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach presents this exhibition of fine art and pottery by Worley Faver and Mary Lou Gibson in the Main Gallery through January 5. Admission to the gallery is free. Hours are Monday to Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 50 Executive Way, Ponte Vedra Beach 904-280-0614

Wednesday, December 7

Luminary Night at the St. Augustine Lighthouse

The highlight of the holiday season at the Lighthouse is Luminary Night. Visitors and community members are invited to enter the Lighthouse grounds for a free evening of children’s holiday crafts, warm refreshments, live musical performances, including a string quartet inside the Lighthouse tower, and an up-close look at the museum’s Christmas decor. This is a special evening from 6-9 p.m. the entire family will enjoy. 100 Red Cox Dr., St. Augustine 904-829-0745

Thursday, December 8

Marineland Beach Walk

From 9-10:30 a.m., join a GTM Research Reserve interpretive guide on a free walking tour. Every beach has its own story to tell. Get to know the beach in an entirely new way. You will learn about everything from shore birds to coquina rocks and the flowers blooming along the dunes. The tour begins at the GTM Marineland office on A1A at the southern end of Marineland. Call or visit the website for reservations. 9741 Oceanshore Blvd., St. Augustine 904-823-450

Evenings at Whitney

Francis Putz, distinguished professor of biology at the University of Florida, will be the guest speaker for a lecture titled “Florida’s Coastal Ecosystems and Global Change” presented by Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience.  He will talk about how the natural ecosystems along the coast of Florida are changing rapidly in response to a diversity of local and global ecological, economic, social and political forces. The lecture is free and open to the public. The lecture starts at 7 p.m. at Lohman Auditorium on the Whitney Laboratory campus. 9505 Oceanshore Blvd., St. Augustine 904-461-4000

Thursday – Saturday, December 8 – 10 

Student Portfolio Exhibition at Crisp-Ellert Art Museum

Graduating students at Flagler College will showcase their artwork at the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum. The exhibition, free and open to the public, will open with a reception for the artists on Thursday from 5-8 p.m.  Additionally, the museum will be open on Friday from 10 a.m-4 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The exhibition will include painting, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media, installation and video. 48 Sevilla St., St. Augustine 904-826-8530

Friday, December 9

Holiday Open House

Hosted by City Wellness, this open house features local, handmade and fair trade items by local vendors for all your holiday shopping. The event is from 5-8 p.m. 120 Sea Grove Main St., St. Augustine 904-671-2860

Friday & Saturday, December 9 & 10 

Exhibition of originals from the Matthew J. Cutter Studio

This exhibition at Cutter & Cutter Fine Art in Sawgrass Village features more than 50 creations in oil, acrylic and watercolor that celebrate the popularity and success of one of the gallery’s founders and partners, Matthew J. Cutter. The exhibition is open from 6-10 p.m. both days. Admission is free; RSVP recommended. 333 Village Main St. #640, Ponte Vedra Beach 904-395-3759

Friday – Sunday, December 9 – 11

The Light of Christmas

‘Tis the season for Christmas lights. Join Turning Point at Calvary for its annual Light of Christmas event. Drive through the Christmas light display, then take a stroll through the nativity tent and winter wonderland. This is a free, family friendly event from 6-9 p.m. 3500 S.R. 16, St. Augustine 904-829-9795

Saturday, December 10

Second Saturday – Family Seining at the GTM Research Reserve

Join GTM Research Reserve docents from 8:30-10:30 a.m. to learn how to pull a seine net collecting species of fish, crabs and more. Learn about the animals and their roles in the habitat. Waders and boots will be provided. The program is included with regular admission to the reserve and takes place in the Environmental Education Center. 505 Guana River Rd., Ponte Vedra Beach 904-823-4500

First Coast Arts and Craft Event

This First Coast Arts and Crafts event will be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Mark Lance National Guard Armory. Looking for that special last-minute gift for a family member, friend or co-worker? Join us for a fun-filled day of shopping during our Christmas event. There will be many unique items available for purchase. Admission is free. 190 San Marco Ave., St. Augustine 904-669-5950

Hastings Hometown Christmas Parade & Festivities

The holiday parade, beginning at 10 a.m., and will take place down Main Street in Hastings. Continue the holiday celebration after the parade at the Hastings Library. Activities will include tree decorating, make-your-own ornament, pictures with Santa, live music, sweet treats and much more. Both the parade and festivities are free. 6195 S. Main St., Hastings 904-827-6970

Second Saturday – Pet Walk Pup Crawl

Explore the timeless streets of St. Augustine and hear tales of the city’s rich history while touring with your beloved pets. This free guided walking tour covers several square blocks of the downtown plaza area. All pets must be on leashes and all city ordinances followed. This is a great way to share quality time with man’s best friend while exploring St. Augustine. This one-hour tour departs at 10 a.m. from Tour Saint Augustine. Reservations required. 4 Granada St., St. Augustine 904-825-0087

Fiesta de Avilés

Fiesta de Avilés takes place on Avilés Street, the oldest street in the nation’s oldest city and the heart of St. Augustine’s original art district, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. With live music, art exhibits, dancing, costumes and a special Running of the Bulls, the fiesta is a celebration of St. Augustine’s Spanish heritage. There will be live music on the Avilés Street stage from noon-6 p.m. The annual Running of the Bulls begins at 3 p.m. with a kids race at 3 p.m. and the adult race at 3:30 p.m. This event is a twist on the Spanish custom – in St. Augustine, the people are chased by special guests in “bull” costumes in a sprint down Avilés Street. Everyone is invited to participate, and prizes are offered by the Aviles Street merchants for the winners. Avilés Street, St. Augustine 904-377-0198

6th Annual Firefighter Chili Cookoff

The 6th Annual Firefighter Chili Cookoff is taking place at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre from 2-6 p.m. Admission is free and chili sample tickets are available for a small fee. Proceeds benefit Hurricane Matthew relief efforts. Sample chili made by firefighters from around the state. The event features traditional and alternative chili categories and many family friendly activities. 1340 A1A South, St. Augustine 904-209-0367

Holiday Pop-Up Market

Hosted by Spacecamp Co. and M.C. Pressure, the first ever Holiday Pop-Up Market will offer wares and handmade goods from 5-9 p.m. This event kicks off the holiday shopping season with quality and inspired goods that support local businesses. Gift wrapping, warm beverages and Christmas carols will also be provided. 201 W. King St., St. Augustine 904-479-5514

Castillo Holiday Open House

The Castillo de San Marcos opens its doors to the community for this St. Augustine holiday tradition. This fee free event allows visitors to informally explore the Castillo by lantern light, interacting with staff and volunteers dressed to represent the more than 300 years of Castillo history. Visitors will be able to interact with soldiers, sailors, marines and civilians who served within the Castillo’s walls. The event is from 6-8 p.m. 1 S. Castillo Dr., St. Augustine 904-829-6505

Regatta of Lights

This is an annual holiday parade, hosted by the St. Augustine Yacht Club, of motorized vessels – sailboats, trawlers, shrimp boats and many other vessels all-a-glitter with brilliant lighted displays ranging from patriotic to whimsical. Awards are presented for best theme, most colorful, best in class and best overall. Beginning at 6 p.m., the boats will light up St. Augustine’s Matanzas Bay between the Bridge of Lions and Castillo de San Marcos. 904-824-9725

Sunday, December 11

St. Augustine Maker’s Fest

The St. Augustine Maker’s Fest will be an all-encompassing entertainment event where food, drink and all types of art are celebrated for one festive day. Not only will local artisans showcase their talents and skills, but the community, as well as visitors, can enjoy and purchase these unique works of art. This event is open to people of all ages. It will include plenty of hands-on activities and demonstrations as well as live musical acts and culinary delights. There will be a $1 per person entrance fee and punch cards will be available for purchase for rides and other activities. The event is from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Mark Lance National Guard Armory. 190 San Marco Ave., St. Augustine 904-342-5350


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