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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 as you prepare to welcome the season!
Here are some events coming up:
Downtown merchants along the Strand and in the Postoffice Street District will stay open later and provide libations for thirsty shoppers on Dec. 17 from 6-9 p.m. Browse through interesting, coastal-inspired gift items including clothing, jewelry, home décor and artwork from a collection of locally owned boutiques and galleries. Galveston’s charming steel-wheeled trolleys will be in service for shoppers to whisk them from one shopping district to the next.
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. On Dec. 17, enjoy Midtown Men – Holiday Hits. Stars from the original Broadway cast of the smash hit musical Jersey Boys will bring comfort and joy to The Grand this holiday season! For ticket information, visit www.thegrand.com.
Cirque Joyeux takes place from Dec. 17 – 30 at Moody Gardens. Watch a team of acrobats and aerialists perform for an enchanting evening of circus, music and comedy with matinee, evening and dinner shows. www.moodygardens.com
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. 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! www.santahustle.com/galveston
All aboard! Galveston welcomes the POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride to its lineup of holiday attractions. Set to the soundtrack of the motion picture, The Polar Express is 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 is open on weekends through Dec. 23. Visit www.galvestonrrmuseum.org.
Moody Gardens Holiday in the Gardens takes place through Jan. 7. Here, visitors can stroll through Ice Land: A Caribbean Christmas, featuring more than 2 million pounds of ice carved into colorful seascapes. Festival of Lights is a mile-long trail of illuminated holiday displays with music and festive food along the way. Other attractions include holiday 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. Visit here for details.
Island shops, galleries, businesses and boutiques are participating in the third annual Galveston Holiday Tree Decorating Contest that takes through Jan.8. 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
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.
Galveston has partnered with the Washed Ashore Project to offer more than 20 larger-than-life exhibits to be displayed throughout the island through March 5. The beautifully designed, giant sea life sculptures are made entirely of marine debris collected from beaches. Visitors can take self-guided tours to discover these works of art. More information at www.visitgalveston.com/washed-ashore.
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.
For a full list of holiday activities in Galveston and media resources, including images and B-Roll, go to www.visitgalveston.com.
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.