Victorian charm, lighting festivals, Charles Dickens, rides to the North Pole.

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.

Galveston is bringing exciting events to its holiday lineup this year with the return of the Polar Express Train Ride offering rides to the North Pole from the Galveston Railroad Museum.

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

Rides to the North Pole

All aboard! Galveston will welcome the Polar Express Train Ride to its lineup of holiday attractions in 2021. 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. 18 through Dec. 23. Visit www.galvestonrrmuseum.org.

Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens Holiday in the Gardens takes place Nov. 20 through Jan. 2. Here, 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 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.

Live Holiday Entertainment

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 Jason Williams in Blood and Holly, The Official Blues Brothers Revue, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and The Temptations. Also, be sure to check out Moody Gardens’ Cirque Joyeux Holiday Show Dec 17 – 30 as a team of acrobats, aerialists, cats and more perform for an enchanting evening of circus, music and comedy with matinee, evening and dinner shows.

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) is one of five Texas locations to host a Miracle. DTO is an uber-cool bar in downtown Galveston.

Miracle will take place Nov. 23 – 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 Holiday Tree Decorating Contest

More than 40 shops, galleries, businesses and boutiques will participate in the second annual Galveston Holiday Tree Decorating Contest taking place from Nov. 30- Jan. 3. 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 visitgalveston.com/tree

Festivities at The Bryan Museum

A special family-friendly benefit event will take place at The Bryan Museum Dec. 2. Country music legend Clay Walker and his charity, Band Against M.S., will perform an intimate concert. Proceeds will go toward raising awareness for the preservation of Texas history and the fight against Multiple Sclerosis – two causes near and dear to Walker’s heart. The performance will also feature a Christmas tree lighting and an opportunity for a VIP experience that will include an acoustic set and a question-and-answer session with Walker. On Dec. 12, The Bryan Museum presents Holiday Delights: A Storybook Christmas. The fourth annual community event is free to the public, including admission to the museum and storybook readings. Food trucks, a Christmas Market and ornament-making round out this event. For more information about holiday happenings at The Bryan Museum, visit thebryanmuseum.org.

Dickens on The Strand

The first weekend in December, Dec. 3-5, the majestic iron-front buildings found in Galveston’s historic downtown district will make the perfect backdrop for the 48th 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. galvestonhistory.org.

Victorian Charm

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 – especially on the East End Historical District’s Victorian Christmas Homes Tour. The tour will take place Dec. 3. This event allows you to tour through several of the district’s private historic homes as they are decked in traditional holiday décor. And, if you’re not in town that weekend, the 1895 Moody Mansion museum is open for tours daily and is also dressed up for the holidays with festive trimmings and elaborately adorned Christmas trees throughout the home.

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. 11-12 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 arts and ambiance of historical Galveston Island. galvestonnaturetourism.org.

The Santa Hustle

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. 19 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.  santahustle.com/galveston

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location