Holiday in the Gardens at Moody Gardens

Things to do in Galveston in December – Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens: Image Credit –

Looking for things to do with kids & friends & family this December? You should consider Galveston!!! 

There are many of vacation spots in Texas, but only historic Galveston Island offers tropical weather, a 32-mile coast with typical Victorian elegance, a world-renowned Dickens festival, and light shows – all within a short drive of the state’s largest metropolis. It’s no surprise that Galveston is known as Texas’ Winter Wonder Island!

There are plenty of reasons to visit Galveston Island throughout the year including the variety of dining options, museums, parks and more. In December, there’s no shortage of holiday cheer in Galveston with tons of activities for the whole family. Just take a look at some of the best holiday and Christmas events taking place on the “Winter Wonder Island” this December!

Fun Things to do in Galveston in December 2021 – Best Events & Activities

1) Polar Express Train Ride

Polar Express at Galveston Railroad Museum

POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at Galveston Railroad Museum – Image Credit:

All ABOARD! Galveston welcomes the POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride to its lineup of holiday attractions in 2021. The Polar Express is theatrically reproduced to immerse passengers in the sights, sounds, and excitement of this iconic children’s tale while being whisked away for a thrilling one-hour ride to meet Santa, set to the music of the film picture. The Galveston Railroad Museum’s POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride consists of six different cars pushed by vintage engines from the museum’s collection.For more information on tickets, click here.

When: The attraction will be open on weekends and select dates Nov. 18 through Dec. 23.

Tickets: Coach Class Value tickets start at $35. Get your Polar Express at Galveston Railroad Museum Tickets today! 


2) Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens, Galveston

Holiday in the Gardens at Moody Gardens

Festival of Lights at Moody Garden – Image Credit:

Visitors can stroll through Festival of Lights, a mile-long trail of illuminated holiday displays, music, festive food and more. Enjoy 2 million lights and lighted scenes themed to holiday music that take you around the Moody Gardens property with spectacular views of the Galveston Bay. Stops along the way include: Star, the Dancing Tree of Light. Enjoy hot chocolate, s’mores, mistletoe and enjoy lots of photo and selfie opportunities. Check out additional details about Moody Gardens Festival of Lights 2021.

When: Festival of Lights is just one part of the Holiday in the Gardens at Moody Gardens that runs from November 20, 2021 to January 2, 2022.


3) Holiday Tree Decorating Contest

Galveston Island Holiday Tree Decorating Contest

Galveston Island Holiday Tree Decorating Contest – Image Credit:

In addition to enhanced holiday decorations in Downtown Galveston, many shops, galleries and boutiques will participate in the second annual Galveston Holiday Tree Decorating Contest. This unique competition lets shoppers admire the creatively decorated trees and gives them the opportunity to vote on their favorite entries. And of course, they also make for great holiday photo-ops!

When: The contest takes place from Dec. 11 through Jan. 2. 

4) Miracle Pop Up Bar at Daiquiri Time Out

Miracle Pop Up Bar at Daiquiri Time Out In Galveston

Image Credit –

Miracle is a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar that serves holiday cocktails in a festive setting. With kitschy holiday décor, professionally-developed cocktails and the nostalgic energy of the best office party you’ve ever been to, Miracle is sure to get even the grouchiest grinch in the holiday spirit. Galveston’s Daiquiri Time Out (DTO) is one of five Texas locations to host a Miracle. DTO is an uber-cool bar in downtown Galveston. The speakeasy serves up imaginative, craft cocktails using fresh-squeezed juice and house-made spirits. While DTO certainly creates a memorable daiquiri, patrons will also enjoy an array of other adult beverages, especially those of the holiday-themed variety.

When & Where: Nov. 23 – Dec. 29 at Miracle Bar – 2701 Market St. Galveston, Texas 77550

5) Santa Hustle 5K, Half Marathon & Kids Dash

Santa Hustle Race at Galveston Island

Santa Hustle Race at Galveston Island – Image Credit:

Work off all of those holiday sweets with the Santa Hustle 5K, Half Marathon and Kids Dash. Santa is bringing the love by bringing some swag. Choose between a Women’s or Unisex Cut Full-Zip and he also gifting each of his hustlers a Santa Beard, Santa Hat, and a Finisher Medal. Get your Santa Race Registration done today! 

When & Where: Sunday, December 19, 2021, at the San Luis Resort


6) The Grand 1984 Opera House Holiday Season

Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston

Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston

The Grand 1894 Opera House is the premier performing arts theatre in the Gulf Coast region and the official Opera House of the State of Texas. Located in the heart of Galveston’s Downtown Cultural Arts District, The Grand presents a year-round performing arts schedule of music, dance, stars of stage and screen, comedy, drama and more.

When: Various events including the Nutcracker, The Temptations, Mavis Staples. More details about The Grand 1894 Opera House schedule


As you can see, there’s a lot of fun, exciting events and activities for everyone in the family on Galveston Island this December. For more information on these and other holiday activities, check out Galveston Island’s Winter Wonder Island blog post. 


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