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2023 Christmas Season Events and Activities around Reno and Sparks

'Tis the Season for Christmas and Winter Fun

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Enjoy lots of family-friendly events and activities during the Christmas holiday season around Reno and Sparks. Here are some of the top choices. For even more, go to "December 2023 Events and Activities in the Reno Region."

Christmas Day Dining in Reno and Sparks

Lots of people like to treat themselves to eating out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Learn where to indulge yourself.

Christmas Tree Cutting Permits

Going out and cutting your own Christmas tree makes a fun and memorable family outing. Get an inexpensive permit from public lands agencies (BLM or USFS) and other vendors, then head to the nearby forests to find that perfect tree.

Reno's Holiday Lights Festival & Tree Lighting

Friday and Saturday, November 24 - 25, 2023. Friday 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Come enjoy the City of Reno's Christmas Tree Lighting. Shop locally made holiday gifts, relax to the sounds of live music, grab a bite at the food truck plaza and of course enjoy the lights. There's something for everyone in the family at the Holiday Lights Festival. Festivities are free to the public. Downtown Reno at City Plaza, between City Hall and the Truckee River.

Sparks 36th Annual Hometowne Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting

Thursday to Saturday, November 30 to December 2, 2023. Come to Victorian Square on December 2 for the traditional Christmas parade festivities starting at 11 a.m., along with entertainment, photos with Santa, and arts and crafts. The parade starts at 1 p.m. This year's theme is "Dashing Through the Decades!" The tree lighting ceremony will be the night of December 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. In addition to parade and tree lighting festivities, enjoy the 39 North Pole Village holiday festival of lights with a big selection of events and activities. The festival runs from November 30 to December 2, 2023.

Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade, Sparks, Nevada
Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade. Photo © Stan White

Christmas on the Comstock

December 1 - 31, 2023. Festivities include the Believe Again - A Christmas Giveaway shopping spree, two weekends of Magical Christmas Fireworks Shows, the fun-filled Candy Cane Express trains and the evening Train O'Lights, a Christmas concert, Parade of Lights, a saloon crawl, holiday artisan craft fair at St. Mary's Art Center and community celebrations. All events and activities up in Virginia City.

Tuba Christmas at the May Museum

Saturday, December 2, 2023, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuba Christmas is a free, family-friendly concert featuring holiday carols performed by local tuba, baritone, and euphonium players. Sing along to favorites such as Silent Night, Jingle Bells, and more. The May Museum will have festive decorations on display and offer free admission all day long. Attendees can also visit the Sierra Watercolor Art Show and those with little ones can enjoy the free Discovery Room from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Wilbur D. May Museum is inside Rancho San Rafael Regional Park at 1595 N. Sierra St. in Reno.

Magic of Santa Arts and Crafts Faire

Saturday and Sunday, December 2 - 3, 2023. You can get arts and crafts from numerous vendors while supporting local businesses. Find beautiful hand made items from toll painted snowmen and beautiful doll clothes to fine wood work. Admission good for both days is $5 for adults, $4 seniors and students, kids under 16 are free. Get $1 off admission by donating a can of food or new socks. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Free admission 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Location is the Reno Sparks Convention Center, 4590 S. Virginia Street in Reno. Free parking.

Peanutcracker - The Story in a Nutshell

Sunday, December 3, 2023, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Peanutcracker is a shorter, 45-minute narrated version of The Nutcracker that is designed for families with younger children to introduce them to the wonderful world of ballet and the traditional holiday ballet, The Nutcracker. The shortened ballet with its glowing Christmas tree, the Rat King's battle scene, Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy and animated narration has proven to be very popular with audiences of every age. At the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Reno. Visit the website for online tickets.

Reno Jazz Orchestra presents "Holiday Jazz: Music of the Season"

Sunday, December 3, 2023, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Kick off your holiday season with jazz orchestra arrangements of sacred and secular favorites featuring the musicians of the Reno Jazz Orchestra and Reno Youth Jazz Orchestra. Tickets are $35 for adults and $10 for students, available online. The show is at The Theater, 505 Keystone Ave. in Reno.

Siamsa - A Celtic Christmas

Wednesday, December 6, 2023, doors open at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Featuring International Irish dance champions and a cast of the finest dancers, singers, musicians and actors, this show takes you into the magical world of Irish traditions and customs as it searches for the true meaning of Christmas. In the Grand Theatre at the Grand Sierra Resort, 2500 E. 2nd St. in Reno. Tickets available online.

City of Reno Menorah Lighting

Thursday, December 7, 2023, 4:30 p.m. Families and children of all ages are welcome to attend. The event features speeches from dignitaries, a choir performance, the Menorah lighting with candle distribution and blessings, and lively traditional Horah dancing. Food will be provided after the Menorah lighting. The event is free and open to the public. At Reno City Plaza between City Hall and the Truckee River.

"Spirit of the Season" from the Reno Philharmonic

December 8 - 10, 2023. Celebrate the magic and warmth of the holiday season with your favorite festive movie music. Back by popular demand, the Reno Phil Orchestra and Chorus will take the stage for beloved classics and holiday concert must-haves. Sit back and enjoy "Holiday Music from the Movies." At the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. Choose from four showtimes and purchase tickets online.

  • Friday, December 8 at 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, December 9 at 2:00 PM
  • Saturday, December 9 at 7:00 PM
  • Sunday, December 10 at 2:00 PM

Christmas with the Crawfords

December 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. and December 10, 17 at 2 p.m. This riotous camp classic is based on the actual Christmas Eve live radio broadcast from the Crawford family's Brentwood mansion in 1949. Filled with exaggerated silver screen icons, this mash-up musical parody is a loving homage to Hollywood's "Golden Age." Bruka Theatre is at 99 N. Virginia St. in Reno. Tickets are available online.

Holiday Party with Santa at the Washoe County Library

Stop by the library to visit with Santa before he heads off to the North Pole to get ready for Christmas morning deliveries.

  • Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Incline Village Library
  • Friday, December 8, 2023, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Duncan / Traner Community Library
  • Saturday, December 9, 2023, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sierra View Library
  • Wednesday, December 13, 2023, 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Northwest Reno Library
  • Saturday, December 23, 2023, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. South Valleys Library

Reno Santa Crawl

Saturday, December 9, 2023, starting at 8 p.m. The Reno Santa Crawl draws thousands of Santas and Mrs. Santas to the largest event of its kind in the country. Start of the main event is in downtown Reno at the Silver Legacy, with an extra start location at Lead Dog Brewing on E. 4th Street in the Brewery District. The crawl features 41 venues and is a 21+ event. The list of participating bars and restaurants is extensive. Buy a pass, get your Santa on and join the fun. If you like this sort of thing, learn about more crawls from "Beer Crawls in Reno."

Drive Through Holiday Celebration at Washoe Lake State Park

December 8 - 10 and 15 - 17, 2023, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Washoe Lake State Park is hosting its 4th annual drive-through holiday celebration. Campground Loop B will be decorated with lights, holiday scenes, our favorite holiday movie quotes, and more. Vehicle clearance is limited to nine feet, six inches (9'6"). Participants will stay in their vehicles as they drive through the loop. Drivers should be prepared for congested traffic and a long line at the park entrance. Park staff has added an extra weekend to the event to help alleviate wait times. The park entrance fee is $5 per vehicle for Nevada residents and $10 per vehicle for non-Nevada residents. There is no additional charge for this program. We can accept cash, credit cards, and checks.

TOCCATA presents Handel's "Messiah"

Tahoe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus brings its annual production of Handel's "Messiah" to five Reno - Tahoe area locations. Tickets are available at the door 30 minutes prior to the concert, or can be purchased online. General admission is $30 adults, $25 seniors, free for persons under age 23. Preferred seating is $40, $15 for youth/students, $35 for seniors. Premium seating also available. (775) 298-6989.

  • Saturday, December 9, 2023, 3 p.m. - Carson Valley United Methodist Church, Gardnerville
  • Sunday, December 10, 2023, 3 p.m. - Assumption Catholic Church, Truckee
  • Friday, December 15, 2023, 6:30 p.m. - St. Francis Catholic Church, Incline Village
  • Sunday, December 17, 2023, 3 p.m. - St. Theresa's Catholic Church, South Lake Tahoe
  • Saturday, December 23, 2023, 2:30 p.m. - Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Reno

Northern Lights Festival

November 3 through December 31, 2023. This festival of lights features the north Tahoe communities of Incline Village and Crystal Bay. There will be many special activities at various venues during the festival, including holiday concerts, opening day at Diamond Peak ski resort, Tahoe Film Fest and lots more. Note that many activities are adults only. Check the website for a complete schedule of events.

Christmas Lights Displays

Take an evening drive during Christmas season to view some of the Christmas lights displays around the Truckee Meadows. Some people go all-out and create truly spectacular and amazing displays, complete with synchronized lights and music.

Annual Share Your Christmas Drive-By Food Drive

Friday, December 8, 2023, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be four donation drop off locations - Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Governor's Mansion in Carson City, Carson Valley Inn in Minden, Raley's in Fernley. All non-perishable food items are accepted. You can also text the word "SHARE" and then a dollar amount to 50155 to donate directly to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

Hands ON! Second Saturday

Saturday, December 9, 2023. Come to the Nevada Museum of Art for a day of fun family activities and free admission for all. Participate in hands-on art projects, storytelling, live music, tours and more. Projects and stories this month have a "Winter Wonderland" theme. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Nutcracker Ballet at the Grand Sierra Resort

Wednesday and Thursday, December 13 - 14, 2023, 7 p.m. With a cast of the finest talents and a lavish blend of costumes, scenery and outstanding choreography, The Reno Dance Company's extraordinary production creates a magical winter wonderland that mesmerizes children and ballet enthusiasts of all ages. In the Grand Sierra's Grand Theatre. Tickets available online.

The Nutcracker Ballet at the Pioneer Center

Friday through Sunday, December 15 - 17, 2023. A.V.A. Ballet Theatre presents its annual production at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Reno, with music by the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra. Friday's performance is at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. A special Sugar Plum party will be held after the Saturday and Sunday afternoon performances where children can meet the Nutcracker characters. Visit the website to get tickets for the performance you prefer.

High Desert Harmony Chorus presents High Desert Holidays

Saturday, December 16, 2023, 3 p.m. Enjoy holiday choral magic featuring selections such as White Christmas, O Chanukah, O Chanukah, Ring Out the Bells, and more. We look forward to performing at the beautiful new Hug High School Theater in Sparks. We will be joined by HDH's Holiday Guest Chorus, the Hug High School Choir and special guests. At Hug High School, 3530 Sullivan Lane in Sparks. Visit the website to get online tickets.

Reno Wind Symphony: Sounds of the Season

Sunday, December 17, 2023, 3 p.m. Our holiday program will include even more variety than previous seasons, along with featuring two auxiliary groups within the Reno Wind Symphony. One of the featured selections will be the Concert Suite from the Polar Express. The story teaches friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas in an amazing magical adventure to the North Pole on Christmas Eve aboard The Polar Express. Tickets are free, but you must register to attend. At Nightingale Concert Hall, 1335 N. Virginia St. on the UNR campus.

Christmas on Ice

November 22 - December 30, 2023. Glide into the Eldorado Showroom for world-class synchronized skating and freestyle figures skating performed on real ice, alongside a stunning cast of singers and the highest-kicking chorus girls this side of the North Pole. Christmas on Ice is perfect for the entire family. At the Eldorado, 345 N. Virginia St. in Reno. Tickets are available online.

"Christmas in Space" at the Grand Sierra Resort

December 19 - 31, 2023. Hold onto your (space) seats, because this show features an unparalleled cast of acrobats, daredevils, and cirque performers who will leave you mesmerized. At the forefront of entertainment technology, the show utilizes mind-blowing projection mapping and interactive lasers that redefine 'holiday lights.' It's the perfect holiday treat for the whole family. Visit the website for more information and to buy tickets online. The Grand Sierra is at 2500 E. 2nd St. in Reno.

Reno Jazz Orchestra "Holiday Jazz Jubilee"

Sunday, December 18, 2022 at 2 p.m. Swing into the holiday season as the 17-piece Reno Jazz Orchestra presents a selection of seasonal music with a big band sound. The Reno Youth Jazz Orchestra will open the show. At The Theatre, 505 Keystone Ave. in Reno. Tickets are available online..

Winter Break Camps and Activities

December 25, 2023 to January 5, 2024. Winter break activities for children and families around Reno and Sparks include camps and other things to do from several area organizations.

2023 Polar Express on the V&T Railroad

The Polar Express™ for the 2023 Christmas holiday season will visit the North Pole on select dates from November 17 through December 23. The Polar Express™ sells out every year. Get tickets as soon as possible if you want to ensure the best seats, date, and time for your family and/or group. Tickets are available online from the Polar Express website and by phone at 855-724-5102.

Santa Holiday Train Rides

November 24 - 25 and December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 2023. Three departures each day at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Candy Cane Express trains will run on the V&T Railroad up in Virginia City. Get tickets in advance to ensure you get on board - reservations required. Tickets start at $26.

Saturday and Sunday, December 2 - 3, 9 - 10, 16 - 17, 2023. Santa Train rides will be running at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City. You can visit with Santa aboard the train and write a letter to Santa at the "Letters to Santa" table. Buy raffle tickets supporting the Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum to win great prizes. Tickets are $5 for all riders; children under 3 are free.

Christmas Day - Monday, December 25, 2023.

Christmas Tree Recycling

Tuesday, December 26, 2023 through Sunday, January 7, 2024. This program is an excellent way to give your Christmas tree a new purpose while keeping it out of the landfill or letting it be illegally dumped on our public lands and open spaces.

Nevada Chamber Music Festival

Thursday through Sunday, December 28 - 31, 2023. Six concerts in four days featuring Reno Chamber Orchestra musicians and ensembles from around the world. Visit the website for online festival passes and single tickets. Performances at Hall Recital Hall, University Arts Building (UAB), University of Nevada-Reno Campus.

New Year's Eve

Sunday, December 31, 2023. Enjoy lots of parties and fireworks while bringing in 2023.

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