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Christmas in Galveston

There’s a sleigh full of winter wonder-island holiday events to explore when you spend Christmas in Galveston! From festive light displays and performances to unique holiday attractions like ICE LAND, Galveston is a magical experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Bring your family to the island for a weekend getaway or a full holiday vacation in November or December. Either way, there are events for all ages, and West End beach houses that are guaranteed to be the perfect fit!

Galveston Winter Wonder-Island Events

THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride

Three children holding Golden Tickets whiile sitting on a train seat

November 11 – December 23
Galveston Railroad Museum, 2602 Santa Fe Place

Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, this exciting 1-hour adventure comes to life with a full cast of professional actors & dancers. Climb aboard the POLAR EXPRESS, get your golden tickets punched by the conductor, and enjoy hot chocolate & festive food while participating in a read-along of the classic children’s book. Wear your pj’s and entrust someone special with your golden sleigh bell souvenir at the end of the ride. This popular Christmas in Galveston event sells out quickly, so get your tickets soon!

Holiday in the Gardens at Moody Gardens

November 18 – January 7
1 Hope Blvd

An annual Galveston holiday season tradition, the Festival of Lights is a mile-long walking trail that showcases more than two million tiny bulbs. Explore fun vignettes while strolling along to holiday music around beautiful Moody Gardens. There’s also a concession area with fireside s’mores & other festive foods, and kids of all ages will love the only seasonal ice skating rink on Galveston.

Ice sculpture of grouper and corals from Moody Gardens ICE LAND exhibit in Galveston, Texas

Back for 2022 – ICE Land: A Caribbean Christmas! Frozen ice sculptures showcase the wonders of the underwater universe from Galveston Island through the Gulf of Mexico. 1000’s of lbs of ice are expertly carved to represent colorful tropical fish, eagle rays, Hammerhead sharks and more.

The Grand 1894 Opera House Holiday Season

November 19 – December 17
Historice Downtown Galveston, 2020 Postoffice Street

Our gorgeous historic theatre also happens to be “The Official Opera House of Texas”. Galveston locals and visitors alike love the holiday events & shows that take place in November & December. The 2022 season includes audience favorites like:

Galveston’s East End Historical District’s Victorian Christmas Tour

Friday, December 2, 5:30 p.m.

Listen to carolers and tour several Victorian-era homes bedecked in festive holiday decor during the East End Historical District’s Victorian Christmas Tour. Roaming musicians cover the 58 blocks of this gorgeous district, and ticket holders can tour four exquisite homes. Tickets can be purchased online at the EEHD website.

Dickens on the Strand

December 2 – 4

Travel back in time to the Victorian London of Charles Dickens! A Christmas in Galveston favorite, the Galveston Historical Foundation hosts this family friendly festival, and every year brings new costumes, vendors, and events. New for 2022 – Tiny Tim’s Play Land and Shopkeeper Skills Village. Enjoy live music, parades, and delicious holiday food & drink from street stalls and rolling carts. Or, get some holiday shopping done at the unique vendors that offer Victorian-inspired crafts, gift items, jewelry & more.

#bonusfun: A huge part of the fun at this local favorite is dressing the part! GHF has put together some great costume suggestions for attendees who want to really get into the spirit of the era. Check it out, and then check in to a beachfront vacation rental for a great weekend on the island!

Holiday with the Cranes

Two Red Sandhill Cranes standing in marshlands, in profile

December 10 – 11

Houstonians aren’t the only ones who love spending Christmas in Galveston! Our island is lucky enough to be directly in the migration track of the stunning Sandhill Cranes. They rest their wings and over-winter on the island each year. To celebrate, the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council (GINTC) throws a quirky little holiday event called Holiday with the Cranes each year. Avid birders and casual nature lovers alike will enjoy the indoor & outdoor activities offered over two days. Register early to guarantee your spot in the flock!

Galveston Santa Hustle Half Marathon & 5k

Three people dressed as Santa with sunglasses smiling at that camera during Santa Hustle on Galveston

Sunday, December 18, 7:30 a.m.

Bring your ho-ho-holiday cheer and run off the holiday excess with thousands of other Santas! The route for the Galveston Santa Hustle takes you through the streets of Galveston and along the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico. Festive music, silly holiday costumes, and great swag make it worth dashing through the snow…er…island!

Miracle Pop Up Bar at Daiquiri Time Out

Santa shaped mug holding shaved ice and herbs from Miracle Pop Up Bar

November 22 – December 29
Historic Downtown Galveston, 2701 Market Street

Voted Galveston’s 2022 “Best Bar” and “Best Cocktail Bar”, Daiquiri Time Out (DTO) is one of a handful of bars in the region that take part in this festive nationwide event. A special holiday-themed drink menu, festive glassware, and over-the-top holiday decorations set the scene for this limited time event that’s sure to bring some extra holiday cheer as you celebrate Christmas in Galveston!

#localtip: Daiquiri Time Out is right across the street from Maceo Spice & Import Company. Grab a muffaletta, pick up some unique holiday gifts for the chefs in your life, then head over to DTO for an evening of festive fun!

Christmas in Galveston Tree Lightings

Christmas tree on the front lawn of The Grand Galvez in Galveston, TX

The Grand Galvez Tree Lighting

Friday, November 25, 6:00 p.m.
2024 Seawall Blvd

This annual holiday tradition is an island favorite, with an appearance from Santa Claus and the lighting of the impressive 35-foot Christmas tree on the front lawn of the hotel. Live holiday music from the Galveston Symphony Orchestra‘s Brass Ensemble & an assortment of melody variations from the Galveston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will keep everyone in the holiday spirit.

Downtown Galveston Holiday Tree Lighting

Saturday, November 26, 6:00 p.m.
Saengerfest Park, 2302 Strand Street

Santa Claus is coming to town…escorted in style by Galveston’s police and fire departments during the annual Downtown Galveston Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony. Grab some warm drinks to go from a downtown eatery and join islanders & visitors alike in welcoming the holiday!

#localtip: The November Galveston ArtWalk is happening the same night. Take advantage of extended hours at galleries & boutiques to work on your gift-giving list. Pick up a unique painting, print, sculpture, or other art piece and get to know the talented artists behind the works. Or, just enjoy strolling the arts district and listening to live music.

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