Experience Texas’ Winter Wonder Island in Galveston

Ice Land Returns to the Lineup of Holiday Attractions in 2022

There’s no shortage of holiday destinations in Texas, but historic Galveston Island is the only one where you can experience tropical weather and a 32-mile-coast with traditional Victorian charm, a world-renowned Dickens festival and light shows – all within a close drive from the state’s largest city. It’s no wonder Galveston is the Winter Wonder Island of Texas!

Here are the top reasons Galveston Island is a holiday destination worth traveling to:

Rides to the North Pole

All aboard! Galveston will again welcome the POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride to its lineup of holiday attractions in 2022. 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. 11 through Dec. 23. Click here to learn more.

Holiday in the Gardens at Moody Gardens

Ice Land is back! More than two million pounds of ice will be carved into a colorful world for visitors to Ice Land: A Caribbean Christmas. It’s just one of the fun attractions at Moody Gardens Holiday in the Gardens, taking place Nov. 18 through Jan. 7. 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, pictures with Santa and a family-friendly New Year’s Palooza. For more information, click here.

Christmas Tree Lighting at the Grand Galvez

On Friday, Nov. 25 at 6 p.m., the Grand Galvez continues 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 will perform a medley of variations from the ballet, “The Nutcracker” and the Galveston Symphony Brass Ensemble will perform holiday classics. Click here to learn more.

Galveston’s Official Tree Lighting in Downtown Galveston

Santa will be a special guest at downtown Galveston’s tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. Galveston’s police and fire departments will provide a special escort for the man in red. 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. Click here to learn more.

Live Holiday Entertainment at The Grand 1894 Opera House

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 A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage, The Gatlin Brothers – Country and Christmas, A Christmas Carol and Midtown Men – Holiday Hits. For a schedule, visit www.thegrand.com

Miracle Pop Up Bar at Daiquiri Time Out

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) will host a Miracle Nov. 22 - 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. Click here to learn more.

Holiday Delights at The Bryan Museum

Holiday Delights: A Texas Size Christmas will take place at The Bryan Museum Dec. 2 from 4-7 p.m. Enjoy holiday delights for the whole family. Activities include pictures with and letters to Santa, a petting zoo, an elf hunt, food trucks, crafts, music, free books for kids – and there might be snow! For more information about holiday happenings at The Bryan Museum, click here.

49th Annual Dickens on The Strand

The first weekend in December, Dec. 2-4, the majestic iron-front buildings found in Galveston’s historic downtown district will make the perfect backdrop for the 49th annual Dickens on The Strand. This holiday street festival transforms the area, particularly Strand Street, into the Victorian London of Charles Dickens complete with costumed characters, street performers and vendors, parades, holiday food and drink, Victorian-inspired crafts and more. Attendees are encouraged to join in the fun by dressing in period costumes. Click here to learn more.

Holiday with the Cranes

For a unique holiday experience, join the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council for “Holiday with the Cranes.” This annual birding event will be held Dec. 10-11 as outdoor enthusiasts celebrate the arrival of these large, majestic birds of ancient origin. Events include indoor and outdoor nature activities and presentations combined with the ambiance of historical Galveston Island. Click here to learn more.

Washed Ashore Art Installation

Galveston is partnering with the Washed Ashore Project to offer 21 larger-than-life exhibits to be displayed throughout the island Dec. 10 through March 5. The beautifully designed, giant sealife sculptures are made entirely of marine debris collected from beaches. Visitors can take self-guided tours to discover these works of art. This exhibit marks the first time these sculptures have not been in a centralized location -like a museum or an art gallery- in the U.S.

The Santa Hustle

If you’re a runner and 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. 18 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! Click here to learn more.

For images and B-Roll, browse the Visit Galveston Media Hub.

About Galveston Island

Galveston Island is a historic beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico just 50 miles from Houston. The island is best known as a vacation destination, offering 32 miles of beaches, a variety of family attractions, Texas’ premier cruise port and one of the largest and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country, including several National Historic Landmarks. Galveston Island is the birthplace of Juneteenth and home to popular amusements such as Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, as well as a variety of museums and recreational activities from surfing to birding. For more information on Galveston Island go to www.visitgalveston.com or call 1-888-GAL-ISLE.