Galveston Island Holiday Festivities Kick Off This Week

Galveston Island, the Winter Wonder Island of Texas, offers holiday fun with several events kicking off in the coming weeks.

Holiday favorites like POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride begin Thursday, Nov. 18 and Moody Gardens Holiday in the Gardens will begin Saturday, Nov. 20 when Santa Claus parachutes to the property to kick off the fun.

Christmas decorations in downtown Galveston

pictured: Downtown Galveston


Galveston will welcome the POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride to its lineup of holiday attractions in 2021. Set to the soundtrack of the motion picture, The Polar Express will be theatrically recreated to immerse passengers in the sights, sounds and intrigue of this classic children’s tale while they are whisked away for a magical one-hour trip to meet Santa. The POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride in Galveston consists of six separate cars pulled by vintage locomotives from the Galveston Railroad Museum’s collection. The attraction will be open on weekends and select dates Nov. 18 through Dec. 23.

The POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at The Galveston Railroad Museum

Moody Gardens Holiday in the Gardens takes place Nov. 20 through Jan. 2. Here, visitors can stroll through Festival of Lights, a mile-long trail of illuminated holiday displays, music, festive food and more. Other attractions include an Arctic Ice Slide, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4D experience, Holiday 3D films, train rides and pictures with Santa.

Holiday Shows

The Grand 1894 Opera House kicks off its holiday programming on Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. with the hilarious Jaston Williams show Blood & Holly. The one-man show features Willliams recounting Christmases from his past. Best known as the co-author and co-star of award-winning plays in the Greater Tuna series, Williams will have audiences in stitches!

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Christmas Tree Lightings
Tree Lighting

Santa will be a special guest at downtown Galveston’s tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. Galveston’s police and fire departments will provide a special escort for the man in red and Galveston Mayor Craig Brown will provide remarks. The tree lighting coincides with Galveston Art Center’s ArtWalk, a community-wide event that takes place every six to eight weeks. During ArtWalk, shops, boutiques and galleries remain open later into the evening and feature live entertainment at several venues throughout the downtown district.

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Tree Lighting

Coming soon are some festive holiday tree lightings that will take place Thanksgiving weekend. On Friday, Nov. 26, the Grand Galvez is reviving its annual Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration to bring in the holiday season with an appearance from Santa Claus and the lighting of the hotel’s 35-foot Christmas tree. The event takes place on the grand palm tree-lined front lawn of the hotel. Following the tree lighting, Galveston Ballet and the Galveston Symphony Brass Ensemble will perform.

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