1. Walk the Venetian
Waterway Trail Get your exercise and breathtaking views on the Venetian Waterway Trail. Good access points are under the north (Hatchett Creek) and Venice Avenue bridges. See the entire map at www.vabi.org.
2. Stroll the Avenues on a Third Thursday
On the third Thursday of each month, starting at 5:30 p.m., downtown Venice rolls out the red carpet with live music, food sampling, street entertainers and more. www.venicemainstreet.com.
3. Enjoy “A Christmas Carol” at Venice Theatre
Now in its 11th year at the theatre, this holiday classic is certain to leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s a limited engagement, Dec. 17-19 only. Get your tickets online at www.venicestage.com.
4. Volunteer to Help the Hungry
Many organizations that help the hungry and homeless need help to ensure that no one goes hungry over the holidays. The Salvation Army (941-484-6227), Women’s Resource Center (941-485-9724) and Senior Friendship Centers (941-493-3065) are great places to start.
5. Shop the Farmer's Market
Find luscious organic and locally-grown produce, as well as plenty of handcrafted treasures every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon in the Centennial Park parking lot, downtown Venice.
6. Watch the Annual Holiday Parade
It’s pure Americana—kids in a frenzy and adults watching from a lawn chair line-up as local organizations display their finest floats, gleaming with colorful holiday lights. Nov. 27. 7-9 p.m. www.venicemainstreet.com.
7. Attend the 23rd Annual ArtFest
A juried art show, ArtFest draws visitors from near and far because of its reputation for high quality art from over 150 artists and craftsmen. Tents will line West Venice Ave. for this exciting event that will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 6 and 7.
8. Go Fishing on the Venice Pier
If the chaos of the holiday season is all too much, go fishin’! The Venice Fishing Pier offers 700 feet of pure fishing joy. There is a bait shop and other amenities, but no user fee—and you don’t need a fishing license. Open daily at 6:30 a.m. www.venicefishingpier.com.
9. Play Tennis for Free
There are several hardsurface public tennis courts that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Try the downtown courts on Venice Avenue, the courts on Pinebrook Road, or those in Shamrock Park, off Shamrock Boulevard in South Venice.
10. Watch the Annual Boat Parade
Find a comfy spot along the Intracoastal Waterway, bring a picnic dinner, and watch as boats from dinghies to yachts light up the water. Dec. 4, start time is 6 p.m. venicechristmasboatparade.com.