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Top 10 Things to Do in Lakeland + Polk County in February

Monthly Top 10 February

Although February is the month of LOVE, our Top 10 list of fun things to do in Lakeland & Polk County covers everything from 5k races to BBQ to music to Mardi Gras and more. If you’re searching for things to do near you this weekend, start here!

We are excited to help you find family-friendly events and activities to add to your calendar in 2024. Beginning in January and ramping up through February, March & April, our calendar and website are overflowing with all the fun things to do in Lakeland, so this is our Top 10 list to help you make sure the “can’t miss” events are on your calendar. If you enjoy one of these events, be sure to let the venue know that you heard about it from Lakeland Mom.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day as a Family

Valentine’s Day is all about LOVE and what better way to show your kiddos the love than with some quality time together! We’ve got a list of events including a Valentine’s Day Market + Block Party in Downtown Lakeland, Outdoor Movie on the Promenade, Daddy/Daughter Dances, plus ideas for family activities around town.

Valentine’s Events are happening throughout February, not just on the 14th. Take a peek now for anything that requires an advance ticket purchase!

Head to Downtown Lakeland for the Valentine Night Market on Saturday, February 10 from 5-9pm. Great for date night, girls’ night or family night out! Downtown retail shops will be open late, and Kentucky Ave will be filled with 100+ food vendors, artisans, crafters, live music and more! Find great gifts for your valentines. Plus, enjoy adult beverages and a roaming cupid for valentine selfies!

Downtown Lakeland Night Market February.2024

Go on a Date Night

We know plenty of parents who don’t go out on Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find another night to have a Date Night in Lakeland, Winter Haven, or somewhere in Polk County.

Check out our Date Night Guide for a list of ideas for fun dates, romantic dates, day dates, local nightlife, and more.

Pick Strawberries

How great is it that we live right next door to the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World – Plant City! That means we have an abundance of U-Pick Strawberry farms within an hour’s drive. Strawberry picking is a GREAT family activity to do with kids. The berries grow in raised beds on the ground (unless they are hydroponic) so they are easy for kids to reach.

About 1/2 of the farms on our U Pick Strawberry List are open for the season. Others will not open until commercial picking ends, typically in late February or early March. Click here to see our list of U-Pick Strawberry Farms in Lakeland, Plant City, & Across Central Florida.

Plant City Strawberries

Pig out at a BBQ Festival

January kicked off the BBQ Festival season in Polk County! From January – April there are 5 different local barbeque competitions.

Lakeland Pigfest is the last weekend in January and there are two big BBQ and food festival events in February – Smoke OFF the Water in Winter Haven, and Ribs on the Ridge in Haines City. See a list of all of Polk County’s BBQ Events.

Celebrate Mardi Gras

Celebrate Mardi Gras right here in Polk County!

Friday, February 2 @ 6-9pmFirst Friday in Downtown Lakeland is Mardi Gras themed. Enjoy food, drinks, beads, and more along Kentucky Ave and Munn Park!

February 9 – 10Lake Wales Mardi Gras is back for its annual family-friendly celebration. Since 1984, the annual Mardi Gras parade and festival has entertained thousands of residents and visitors in Lake Wales with floats, beads, live music, food and spirits. Lake Wales Mardi Gras draws estimated crowds of 20,000 people to Lake Wales over the 2-day event. Lake Wales Mardi Gras is one of the largest events of its kind outside of New Orleans!

The Festival takes place around the shores of Lake Wailes and includes live music, children’s activities, local food vendors, beer and wine sales, and activities for the entire family. The parade boasts dozens of floats from the local Mardi Gras Krewes, media personalities, County Commissioners and the Polk County Sheriff Dept. including Sheriff Grady Judd.

Annual 5k Glow Run – Friday @ 6pm
Mardi Gras Festival – Friday @ 5-11pm & Saturday 11am-11pm
Mardi Gras Parade – Saturday @ 3pm

Run the Rotary Twilight 5k

Rotary Twilight 5K Lakeland FL

Join the Rotary Clubs of Lakeland for a scenic evening run around Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland, Florida on Friday, February 9. The Rotary 5k Twilight Run benefits Common Ground Playground – a park where children of varying abilities can explore and discover with imaginative play experiences. The five Rotary Clubs of Lakeland have worked together to support this park since its inception and proceeds from this annual race support the ongoing maintenance.

Race day packet pick up, finish line and awards ceremony will be at Publix Charities Park next to Common Ground Playground on Buckingham Avenue. Walkers are welcome. Stay after the race for food and festivities!

Interested in other 5k races happening this spring? See a full list of upcoming Fun Runs + 5k Races near you.

Enjoy Breakfast at the Flipping for Charities Pancake Festival

Love breakfast food? And supporting local non-profits that serve children? You won’t want to miss Flipping for Charities – Lakeland’s Pancake Festival. Head to Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on Saturday, February 10 anytime between 7:30 am and 1:30 pm for delicious pancakes and sausage, served up by leaders in our community. Tickets are $10/adult, $5/child (2-12)

Advanced Purchase: Purchase 1 adult ticket for $10 and receive 1 child ticket for free.

Flipping for Charities Lakeland Pancake Festival Feb.2024 1

Geek Out at SyFy Bartow

This annual event in Downtown Bartow is a FREE family-friendly outdoor street fair type science fiction convention, which includes a huge movie/television themed car show, food trucks, 100’s of vendors, music and lots of costumed characters. Even if you don’t dress up, this is a fun event just to walk around and see people’s costumes and check out all of the movie and tv themed displays. Mark your calendar for SyFy Bartow on Saturday, February 17 and the kick-off party on Friday night at Bartow’s Friday Fest.

Celebrate Black History Month at the Black History Festival

Join the City of Lakeland to celebrate Black History Month at the annual Black History Festival in Jackson Park on Saturday, February 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be artisan vendors, food trucks, kids’ activities, and more for families to enjoy.

Many forms of entertainment will be on the mobile stage, from dance to spoken word. Inside the Coleman-Bush building, the City will be highlighting the history of the building and neighborhood, including the namesakes of the building and Park. With support from the Lakeland History & Culture Center and the Coleman-Bush Boosters, the City is excited to share a dynamic display and interactive touchscreen experience to immerse yourself in some of the pioneers in Lakeland’s Black community. This is a free event open to the public, and there is something for all ages.

Create a masterpiece at After School Art at the Polk Museum of Art

Join the Polk Museum of Art for a new lesson each week using different mediums and learning about the elements of art. After Schoool Art Classes are designed for children ages 5 – 12 and a parent/caregiver, they are free for Museum Members and only $5/child for non-members. Every Monday from January 29 – March 4 from 4:30pm – 5:30pm.

Check out the Florida State Fair + Florida Strawberry Festival

The Florida State Fair is filled with entertainment for the whole family! Most activities are included with gate admission, making the state fair the best value for your budget. All You Can Ride armbands start at only $20. February 8 – 19, 2024

Love strawberries, live music, fair food, and fun rides? The Florida Strawberry Festival begins February 29 and runs through March 10 in Plant City, FL.

More great events and things to do in February

There are WAY more than 10 great events this month, so we’re just going to list a few more right here.

♥ L.B. Brown Heritage Festival Bartow is February 10-11

♥ Head to the Plant City Airport on February 10 for Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Disney’s Descendants: The Musical at Theatre Winter Haven select dates from Feb 15 – 25

BIG: The Musical at Lakeland Community Theatre select dates from Feb 16 – Mar 3

♥ The Lake Wales Art Festival is February 24 – 25

Detroit Tigers Spring Training – games begin on February 24 and run through March 26

Mustangs & Mustangs Legends Havin’ Fun Car Show is Saturday, February 24, from 8 am to 4 pm.

♥ Sign up for Family Friendly 5K Races and Kids Fun Runs

♥ Fill in your spring calendar with Lakeland’s Favorite Spring Events

♥ Sign up for FREE Preschool Passes for SeaWorld & Busch Gardens

♥ Visit the Lakeland Farmers Market or another Farmers Market in Polk County

♥ Doing any spring cleaning? Donate items to be reused for other families in our community – Where to Donate Gently Used Toys, Clothing, Household Items, and more

Happy February!

Be sure you’re signed up for our weekly fun-letter to get all of our Spring & Easter info delivered straight to your inbox so you don’t miss anything {including our popular Summer Camp Guide coming out in late February / early March}.

100+ Things to Do with Kids

Check out our Ultimate List of Things to Do with Kids in Lakeland + Polk County to find indoor fun, outdoor fun, free things to do, seasonal activities, and more.