There’s a reason we like to call Galveston the “Winter Wonder Island” of Texas. It offers more than 50 days of magical activities from November through January. Don’t believe us? Here are our top ten reasons to make a Christmas pilgrimage to the island:
- Schlitterbahn’s fun doesn’t end with the summer. The heated indoor waterpark celebrates the season with Holiday Splash, offering themed rides like the Snow Globe Float, an indoor light show, an ornament factory, kids’ reindeer games and even the opportunity to go surfing with Santa.
- All aboard to the North Pole! Each year, Santa gives the reindeer a break and rides into the Galveston Railroad Museum on the Santa Train. After disembarking from the decked-out Harborside Express, he spends the day in the depot with his elves.
- The Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration at Hotel Galvez & Spa features the arrival of Santa Claus via horse-drawn carriage, special holiday performances and, of course, the lighting of the hotel’s 35-foot Christmas tree.
- Whether you’re looking for a jewel for a special someone or a zany trinket for a friend, the shops along the Historic Downtown Strand offer a trove of treasures—from antiques and other vintage finds to books, jewelry, culinary treats, home furnishings and clothing—that make holiday shopping a cinch.
- Not every Santa has a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly when he laughs. The fittest St. Nicks come out every year for Santa Hustle, a 5K and half marathon featuring red-suited runners plus cookies, candy, holiday music and Christmas decor all along the route, making it a fun, festive experience for participants and observers alike.
- The famous pyramid at Moody Gardens looks even cooler when it’s decked out for Festival of Lights, one of the largest holiday celebrations in the country, featuring over a million twinklers and 100 animated light and sound displays, plus live entertainment and the area’s only outdoor ice-skating rink.
- It takes 2 million pounds of ice and 30 internationally acclaimed carvers from Harbin, China, to create Ice Land, the colorful frozen world that features Spongebob Squarepants characters, buildings, holiday scenes and even a slide, all sculpted out of—you guessed it—ice. It’s a favorite every year, drawing families to Moody Gardens from November to January.
- Offering everything from pipe-organ concerts to The Nutcracker to seasonal concerts from nationally acclaimed recording artists like Asleep at the Wheel, The Grand 1894 Opera House is the perfect setting for timeless holiday entertainment.
- There’s no place for holiday spirit like Christmas on The Strand, the shop that has kept yuletide cheer alive year-round for over 15 years. Pop inside for stunning gifts by Waterford crystal as well as seasonal treats including nativity sets, ornaments, Santa figurines, festive accessories and home decor, and the island’s largest selection of nutcrackers.
- The charming world of Victorian England comes to life at Dickens on The Strand, an island tradition for over 40 years. The event is packed with parades, costumed carolers, carts overflowing with holiday food and drink, Victorian-inspired crafts and holiday decorations, and lots of live music.
Tip: Tag your photos with #GalvestonChristmas, #ItsIslandTime, #LoveGalveston, and #Galveston to be featured in our Holiday Social Center.
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