Cheer on the Pier, Santa Brunch, Cirque Joyeux Noel Holidays Island Style

Here’s a look at what is happening in Galveston this holiday season:

Cheer on the Pier!

December 16th, and 23rd (times vary)

Spend Saturdays in December at the Pleasure Pier with Santa! Families can watch holiday movies and enjoy fun festivities and rides. Activities at Santa’s Workshop are from 12 noon-4pm and include photos with Santa, letters to Santa, and cookie decorating. Holiday movies will take place from 7-9pm. Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is located at 25th St. and Seawall Blvd. For more info go to

Sunday Brunch with Santa at Hotel Galvez

December 17th, 24th (11am-2pm)

Hotel Galvez’ famous Sunday brunch will be full of cheer this holiday season with visits from Santa. Children are invited to visit with Santa to share their Christmas wish list. Advance reservations are recommended. For more information and to make a reservation, call (409)765-7721. Admission is adults $42.99, children $26.99, and seniors $37.99. Hotel Galvez is located at 2024 Seawall Blvd. For more info go to


Santa on The Strand and other Santa Sightings

December 16th, and 23rd (1-4pm)

Visitors to Downtown Galveston can take part in free festivities held at Saengerfest Park this December. Santa will make a special appearance and take photos with children in front of the Downtown Christmas tree. Be sure to also catch island-wide Santa Sightings throughout the season including photos with Santa at Moody Gardens daily December 15th-23rd, Santa at The Grand 1894 Opera House November 25th, Breakfast with Santa at Rainforest Café December 16th and 23rd, and Breakfast with Santa at The San Luis Resort Blake’s Bistro December 17th. For more info go to

Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner & Show at Moody Gardens Hotel

December 15th-25th (7:45pm)

Experience the magnificent and the impossible at Moody Gardens this holiday season! The show features a stellar cast of international performers from all over the world and includes amazing acrobatics, mesmerizing illusions, hilarious comedy, and more. This year’s holiday show features all-new acts including The Pompeyo Family and their amazing rescue dogs featured on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Tickets to the show include a holiday buffet dinner, and admission to Festival of Lights. Moody Gardens Convention Center is located at 7 Hope Blvd. Admission starts at $39 for children and $59 for adults. For tickets go to

Santa Train at the Galveston Railroad Museum

December 16th (10am-2pm)

Santa is coming to town aboard the Galveston Railroad Museum’s Harborside Express train! Bring your wish list to visit with Santa, stroll through the museum’s Garden of Steam and enjoy festive holiday lights, decorations, and crafts. For more info, Galveston Railroad Museum is located at 2602 Santa Fe Place, Downtown Galveston, Admission is $12 adults (ages 13+); $5 train rides (ages 2+).

Santa Hustle Half Marathon & 5K

December 17th (8am)

Runners will have a “jolly good time” at the annual Santa Hustle! This wacky event will feature thousands of “Santas” along the gorgeous Gulf waters for a half marathon and 5K race. All event participants will receive a Santa suit long sleeve t-shirt, a free Santa hat, and beard to wear while running, and will be able to stop at cookie and candy stations along their routes. For more info go to

Christmas Day Brunch at Hotel Galvez

December 25th (10:30am-6:30pm)

Hotel Galvez is widely known for its Sunday Brunch, but the hotel brunch on Christmas Day is an even grander affair. The hotel features all the traditional entrees along with special features created by the executive chef. Advance reservations are required and must be made directly with the hotel by calling (409)765.7721. Reservations will be accepted beginning Tuesday, November 28th. Hotel Galvez is located at 2024 Seawall Blvd. For more info or tickets go to Tickets are $42.99 for adults, $26.99 for children, and $37.99 seniors.

“Ice Land” at Moody Gardens

Through January 7th (10am-11pm daily)

This holiday season, Moody Gardens will be home to the coolest experience on the Gulf Coast, where visitors can explore a 28,000-square-foot “ice land” with a new Rainforest Holiday theme for 2017. Professional ice carvers will use 2 million pounds of ice to create this amazing exhibit featuring majestic rainforest themed ice sculptures, slides, and even a Shivers Ice Bar serving cool libations for adults. Moody Gardens is located at 1 Hope Blvd. For more info go to Tickets are $26.95 for adults, $21.95 for seniors, and $21.95 for children.

Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens

Through January 7th (6-11pm nightly)

Brighten up the wintery season at the 16th annual Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens. Here, guests can enjoy the largest holiday lighting event on the Gulf Coast, featuring a mile-long trail of more than 100 sound-enhanced animated light displays. Visitors to the festival can also go ice-skating at the Moody Gardens outdoor ice rink or snow tubing on the Arctic Ice Slide. Moody Gardens is located at 1 Hope Blvd. For more info go to Tickets are $10.95.

Holiday Performances at The Grand 1894 Opera House

Through January 13th (varies)

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Grand 1894 Opera House is located at 2020 Postoffice St. in Galveston’s historic Downtown Cultural Arts District. Tickets are available by contacting The Grand’s box office at (409)765-1894, (800)821-1894, or go to Performances include:

  • December 15th (3pm and 8pm) – The Texas Tenors: Deep in the Heart of Christmas
  • December 16th (8pm) – Jerry Jeff Walker
  • January 13th (8pm) – “The Official Blues Brothers Revue”

Downtown Lanterns & Lights

Through January 2nd (varies)

Downtown Lanterns and Lights will feature a magical display of Christmas trees and other artisan made pieces as they illuminate Saengerfest Park. The park will also feature an interactive photo frame and a giant snow globe that visitors can enter for family photos. The snow globe will be available November 25th-26th and December 9th, 16th, and 23rd. For more info go to Admission is free. Saengerfest Park is located at 23rd and Strand St., Downtown Galveston.

Holiday Shopping Amid the Victorian Charm of Galveston’s Historic Downtown

Through December 24th (varies)

Nothing says holiday like the Victorian charm of Galveston’s 36-block Downtown Historic Strand District. Kick off your holiday shopping amid the district’s charming Victorian architecture for unique gift options at the many boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and other novelty stores. Some festive favorites include Christmas on the Strand, Hendley Market, Eighteen Seventy-One, Visker and Scriveners, and more. Admission is free. Go to for info.