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:
- 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.
- Downtown Lanterns and Lights will feature a magical display of Christmas trees and other artisan made pieces as they illuminate Saengerfest Park from Nov. 24 through Jan. 2.
- 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 holiday scenes all sculpted out of—you guessed it—ice. It’s a favorite every year, drawing families to Moody Gardens from November to January.
- Celebrate the holidays with Grand entertainment – presented in Galveston’s magnificent, historic performing arts theatre.
- 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.
Tip: Tag your photos with #GalvestonChristmas, #ItsIslandTime, #LoveGalveston, and #Galveston to be featured in our Holiday Social Center. Download the Official Galveston Island Holiday Brochure here.
Tips for Holiday Cruising from Galveston
If you are cruising this holiday season from Galveston, you should definitely spend a day or two on our Winter Wonder Island before or after your cruise. Read more.
What the Dickens Are You Wearing?
Going Old-Fashioned at Galveston’s Annual “Dickens on the Strand” Festival Read more.
Behind The Scenes: ICE LAND: Rainforest Holiday
Take a behind the scenes look at ICE LAND: Rainforest Holiday with some background, specs and fun facts! Read more.
Hotel Galvez Holiday Lighting Celebration
The Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration begins with the arrival of Santa Claus by horse-drawn carriage, followed by the lighting of the hotel’s 35-foot Christmas tree with a countdown led by Santa Claus and Galveston’s Mayor Pro-Tem Terrilyn Tarlton Shannon. Read more.
Festival of Lights Shines thru January 7
The mile-long Festival of Lights trail with over 100 lighted and animated displays is one of the eight holiday attractions at Moody Gardens for the Holiday Season. Read more.