Where to Find the Holiday Spirit in Reno-Tahoe Territory
The joy of the holiday season is easy to find in December especially with celebrations in the Reno-Tahoe Territory making it feel like the magic of Christmas has come to life. Outdoor recreational events, mountain resort happenings, parades of lights, fireworks, artisan fairs, cheerful train rides, crawls and other events throughout the region are centered around the spirit of the season. Here’s a roundup of many of the holiday events in Reno-Tahoe Territory.
Train O’ Lights, Virginia City’s Christmas on the Comstock | Virginia Truckee Railroad 2020
Heavenly Holidays in South Lake Tahoe
There’s nothing more picturesque than the snow-covered mountains above Lake Tahoe for the holidays and Heavenly Holidays brings it to life with several events for families in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Catch the daily tree lightings through December at 5:30 p.m. and relive that feeling of seeing the tree light up over and over again. At Heavenly Village, Tahoe’s Breakfast with Santa takes place each Saturday before Christmas Dec. 4, 11 and 18 from 8 – 10 a.m. For the grown-up kids, the Tahoe Santa Run/Walk takes place Dec. 11 throughout the Village and shops with proceeds supporting the local food pantry.
Magic comes to the ice rink with Disney Characters in the Heavenly Village, Saturdays in December and daily from Dec. 26 – 30 from 3 – 6 p.m. See Beaty and the Beast, Dec. 26; Anna, Elsa and Olaf of “Frozen,” Dec. 27; Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, Dec. 28; Woody and Buzz of “Toy Story,” Dec. 29; and JJ from Coco Melon & Paw Patrol, Dec. 30. Local ice sculptors vying for bragging rights and a $500 donation to a charity of choice compete Dec. 27 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Family-friendly festivities continue Dec. 27 – 31 with a Tahoe South Ferris Wheel affording lake views during the day and the twinkling lights and Christmas trees at night. Stuff-A-Bear, where kids can build their own teddy bear, is available near the fountain in the village from Dec. 27 – 31 at 1 p.m.
More South Lake Tahoe holiday events can be found here.
Homestead Holidays in Carson City
Head to the state capital for Homestead Holidays, Dec. 10 – 12 at Silver Saddle Ranch in Carson City, Nevada. The festive weekend celebration includes photos with Santa, live music, a Christmas craft market, food, drinks and a lot of holiday cheer.
Celebrate the season as Carson City lights its newly decorated downtown and State Capitol Grounds Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. during the Silver & Snowflakes Festival of Lights. The evening festivities feature free electric carriage rides, a performance by Carson City’s fifth grade classes, cookies, hot cocoa and coffee with Santa photo ops and more.
For families looking for another train experience, take a ride on the Santa Train from the Nevada State Railroad Museum, weekends in December through Dec. 19. Visit Santa Claus, write a letter and enjoy a candy cane on the ride.
For more holiday events in Carson City, visit online.
Northern Lights in North Lake Tahoe
The annual Northern Lights Festival returns this year to North Lake Tahoe through Dec. 31. The month-long celebration includes more than 20 family-friendly events for visitors to enjoy. From brunch with Santa to a Santa pub crawl, shopping nights and a Toys for Tots party, there’s plenty of fun-filled activities to invoke the holiday spirit. Dec. 9 enjoy great gifts and refreshments at the Artist Reception and Holiday Boutique at Mountain Workspace. Dec. 9 is also opening day for Diamond Peak Ski Resort. Those 21 and older can take part in the Santa Pub Crawl, Dec. 11 at participating bars around Incline Village. A holiday lighting contest ensures the proper festive environment for all to enjoy.
Get details online.
Christmas on the Comstock
Virginia City, Nevada will lift spirits and have visitors believing again in the Christmas magic with two weekends of events and a whole month of holiday fun for the entire family during Christmas on the Comstock. Virginia City is a picture-perfect living vintage Christmas postcard. Take a step back to simpler times as the town transforms with holiday lights, local shops decorated to the hilt and cheery folks welcoming visitors to town all month long.
Festivities include the Believe Again Christmas Challenge shopping spree worth $500, two weekends of Magical Christmas Fireworks Shows, the fun-filled Candy Cane Express and the evening Train O’Lights, a Christmas play, two weekends of Parade of Lights, a saloon crawl, holiday artisan craft fair at St. Mary’s Art Center and community celebrations.
Holiday Cheer in Reno-Sparks
The cities of Reno and Sparks, Nevada offer up memory making events and new traditions. Holiday shows are one way to spend time with loved ones enjoying the spirit of the holidays. Check out Santa’s Christmas Wonderland at the ROW, Reno Philharmonic’s Spirit of the Season, the Nutcracker presented by AVA Ballet Theatre, to name a few.
Downtown Sparks hosts the annual Hometowne Christmas Celebration complete with a parade, light displays, entertainment, Santa and all the delicious warm drinks and treats. Festivities kick off with the 39 North Pole in downtown Sparks’ Victorian Square Dec. 2 featuring crafts and holiday treats followed by a tree lighting and the parade.
For a full list of holiday events and shows, visit online.
Christmas in Carson Valley
The communities of Carson Valley are the perfect place for that hometown Christmas feel. Head to Gardnerville Dec. 2 for the Christmas Kickoff at Heritage Park. In addition to dancers, caroling, hot drinks and treats, a fireworks display will light up the night sky. The following day, Dec. 3, Minden’s annual Gazebo Lighting takes place at 5 p.m. with live music, fire pits, s’mores and more.
The historic town of Genoa begins the celebration Dec. 3 with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting at 5:30 p.m. Then throughout the weekend, enjoy breakfast with Santa, shopping and an Artisan Holiday Faire, a perfect opportunity to get those unique and special gifts.
Carson Valley’s holiday activities continue with a Parade of Lights Dec. 4, a Cowboy Country Christmas Dec. 11 in Genoa and the 12th annual Santa Crawl in Gardnerville on Dec. 11.
For more holiday events in Carson Valley, visit online.