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10 Best Things to do for Christmas in Galveston, Texas

Looking for a beach-inspired Christmas celebration in Texas?

Head over to Galveston Island, the historic seaside town on the Gulf Coast!

Christmas in Galveston, Texas is a special time. The island comes alive with holiday festivals, twinkling lights, and unique events.

And of course, there are the Galveston beaches when you want to soak up the sun!

Also Read: 24 Best Texas Christmas towns to visit now

Christmas in Galveston is great fun
Christmas in Galveston is great fun

Best Things to do for Christmas in Galveston, TX

From festive light displays to holiday markets and more, the coastal town of Galveston comes alive during the holidays.

A variety of holiday festivals take place throughout December, the highlight being Dickens on the Strand!

Here are the best things to do in Galveston at Christmas.

Also Read: 26 Best Things to do in Galveston, Texas

Attend the Dickens on the Strand Festival

One of Galveston’s most popular annual events, Dickens on The Strand is a Victorian-themed festival that celebrates the works of Charles Dickens.

The festival features parades, carolers, performances, vendors selling Victorian-inspired goods, and more!

Held annually on the first full weekend in December, Dickens on The Strand is a must-attend event for anyone who loves all things Christmas. 

Attend in costumes and sing a Christmas carol or two to have more fun at the event.

Moody Gardens Pyramids Galveston Island Texas
Moody Gardens Pyramids Galveston Island Texas

View the Holiday Lights at Moody Gardens 

Moody Gardens is transformed into a winter wonderland during the holidays!

It is home to several unique holiday attractions including the Festival of Lights, an outdoor ice skating rink, the arctic slide, and more holiday events.

The Festival of Lights is a must-see with over one million lights on display throughout the park.

Visitors walk over a mile-long trail through gorgeous lit-up tunnels to see magnificent lighted scenes.

It’s open nightly from mid-November through early January.

Tunnel of light at Moody Garden Christmas festival
Tunnel of light at Moody Garden Christmas festival

Get the chills at Iceland

Also located at Moody Gardens, Iceland is a popular ice festival that’s coming back in 2022 after a long break!

The event features fantastic ice sculptures that will leave you mesmerized.

Visitors can marvel at the intricate details of the sculptures and even take photos with them.

In addition to the sculptures, the Ice Land festival also offers a variety of other activities, including the Shivers Ice Bar and an arctic slide.

Moody Gardens Iceland is one of the best Galveston holiday attractions
Moody Gardens Iceland is one of the best Galveston holiday attractions

Ride the Galveston Polar Express

The Galveston Polar Express train ride is a holiday tradition for many families.

The one-hour ride takes passengers on a magical journey to the North Pole, complete with holiday music, hot chocolate, and a visit from Santa Claus.

The train departs from the historic Galveston Railroad Museum, and passengers are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the museum, and reservations are strongly recommended – especially for popular days such as Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

MOD Coffeehouse Galveston patio at night
MOD Coffeehouse Galveston lights

Check out The Strand all decked out in holiday lights

The Galveston Strand is a historic district that is known for its Victorian-style architecture and Christmas lights.

During the Christmas season, the entire Strand is illuminated with twinkling lights, making it a truly magical place to visit.

Visitors can stroll down the street and admire the brightly decorated buildings, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride to see the sights in style.

The cafes, shops, and boutiques here are perfect for getting gifts, buying kitschy holiday décor, and enjoying festive food.

Also Read: 18 Best Restaurants in Galveston, Texas

Entrance to the Shivers Ice Bar at Moody Gardens Iceland
Entrance to the Shivers Ice Bar at Moody Gardens Iceland

Stroll through the mansions in East End Historic District

The Galveston East End is a wonderful place to see Christmas decorations.

The historic homes and mansions in the neighborhood are decked out with lights, wreaths, and other holiday décor.

The streets are lined with trees that are also adorned with lights and decorations.

It is a beautiful sight to see and get into the holiday spirit.

Make sure to see the popular buildings including the Bryan Museum and Moody Mansion while you’re here.

Christmas snowman in Texas
Christmas snowman in Texas

Run the Santa Hustle Half Marathon

The Santa Hustle Half Marathon is a fun and festive race that takes place on the first Saturday in December.

Participants are encouraged to dress up in their best Santa or Christmas-themed costume for the race.

The course takes runners through downtown Galveston and past many of the city’s most popular attractions.

Participate and enjoy the run amidst lots of holiday cheer!

See the sandhill cranes

Every winter, thousands of sandhill cranes migrate to the Gulf Coast to escape the cold weather.

They can be seen all along the coast, but one of the best places to see them is in Galveston during the Holidays with the Cranes event.

The birds congregate in large flocks on the beach near the West End area.

Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston Texas
Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston Texas

Attend a show at the Grand Opera House

The Grand Opera House is one of Galveston’s most popular attractions, and it’s especially festive during the holidays.

The opera house puts on a variety of shows throughout December, including The Nutcracker, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and more.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.

Enjoy the Christmas Boat Lane Parade on Galveston Bay

One of the most popular holiday events near Galveston is the Christmas Boat Lane Parade.

The parade features boats of all sizes and shapes decorated with lights and Christmas decorations.

It’s a fun and festive event that takes place on the Saturday before Christmas.

You can watch it from several places in the Clear Lake area including the Kemah Boardwalk.

Also Read: 20 Best Things to do at Christmas in Houston

Christmas Holiday Lights boat parade on the Gulf Coast
Christmas Holiday Lights boat parade on the Gulf Coast

There’s no place like Galveston for Christmas!

With its myriad of festive activities and attractions, this coastal town is the perfect place to get into the Christmas spirit.

Whether you’re looking for enchanting light displays, charming horse-drawn carriage rides…

…. or festive markets brimming with locally made goods, you’ll find it all here for Christmas in Galveston, Texas.

Which is your favorite Texas destination for the holiday season?

Let us know below.