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Holiday Festivities are in Full Swing on Galveston Island!
The holiday fun continues on Galveston Island – the Winter Wonder Island of Texas. Mark your calendars for these festive events and enjoy some island time this winter!
If you’re a runner or just like to dress up, you’ll get a kick out of the Santa Hustle, one of Galveston’s wackiest events. More than 5,000 half-marathon and 5K runners are expected to convene in Galveston Dec. 19 for this jolly race where participants are provided Santa attire – including a Santa suit shirt, Santa hat and beard – to wear along their journey. The route is lined with speakers playing holiday tunes and fuel-up stations serving cookies and candy. Yum!
For holiday entertainment, Galveston certainly won’t disappoint. The Grand 1894 Opera House, which is a gem in the island’s historic downtown district, offers no seat further than 70 feet from the stage for its exciting lineup of live holiday shows happening throughout November and December. Here you can catch shows like the Houston City Ballet’s performances of The Nutcracker Dec. 11-12 and the Temptations Dec. 17-18.
More than 40 shops, galleries, businesses and boutiques will participate in the second annual Galveston Holiday Tree Decorating Contest taking place Dec. 11 through Jan.2. This exciting event lets shoppers admire the creatively decorated trees and gives them the opportunity to vote on their favorite entries. The trees also make for great holiday photo-ops! Details can be found at participating businesses and at www.visitgalveston.com/tree.
All aboard! 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 through Dec. 23.
Moody Gardens Holiday in the Gardens takes place 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. New Year’s Palooza also offers an action-packed two-night family event with games, food, DJ, fireworks and other exciting activities for all to enjoy. Holiday hotel packages and Breakfast with Santa events are also available.
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. Miracle will take place through Dec. 29. 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.
With Galveston being home to one of the largest collections of Victorian architecture in the country, it’s not hard for the island to put you in a nostalgic state during the holidays. Many homes in Galveston’s historic neighborhoods are decked out to usher in the holiday season. Two of the island’s grand mansions, the 1892 Bishop’s Palace and the 1895 Moody Mansion, are adorned with elaborately decorated Christmas trees, garlands and festive trimmings. Both are open for daily tours.
Where the Texas Coast begins.
by Mark Wyant
by Visit Galveston
by Visit Galveston