Can't-Miss Island Events

Mark your calendars for these can’t-miss island events. We’ve outlined a few of our favorites and listed the most popular events among locals and visitors alike. Feel free to call us at the Inn for specific dates, times, and additional information on any one of these exciting annual festivities.

festival of lights

Festival of Lights

November 11 - January 7, opens at 6:00 p.m.

Brighten up the holidays with a tradition for families and groups alike. A mile-long trail with more than one million lights and lighted scenes take you around the Moody Gardens property with spectacular views  Galveston Bay. Enjoy the area’s only outdoor skating rink, concession areas with hot chocolate and festive food, holiday buffets, live entertainment and more.

sliding down ice

Ice Land

October 7 – November 5, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Moody Gardens takes the holidays to a whole new level of cool! A skilled team of master ice carvers has charted your course for your journey through the rainforests of the world to see monkeys, beautiful birds, incredible butterflies, colorful orchids and so many wonderful creatures. Your hosts on this journey are the spectacular leaf cutter ants carrying Christmas lights and other decorations to a magical place. A giant ice slide takes you from the tree tops through to the forest floor, ancient ruins and rivers edge to prepare for the most joyous time of the year. Also be sure to check out Shivers Ice Bar!

The Pompeyo Family and their Amazing Rescue Dogs 2 photo credit Zan Keith Photography 1024x683

Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner and Show at Moody Gardens Hotel

December 15-25 (Doors open at 6:30pm for holiday buffet and circus performance starts at 7:30pm)

This holiday season, prepare to be astonished and amazed by circus artists from around the world as Moody Gardens Hotel Spa & Convention Center rings in the holidays with Lone Star Circus’ all-new, one-of-a-kind and joyous circus spectacular “Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner & Show.” This original one-hour Christmas spectacular is fun for the entire family and features a stellar cast of international circus and variety performers from all corners of the world. You’ll be astounded by the grace and dexterity of contortionists, the inconceivable feats of acrobats, and the amazing artistry of aerialists.  Witness mesmerizing and electrifying jugglers, endearing antics of four-legged performers, and much more. Be up-close and personal with circus stars! All of this coupled with a sumptuous Holiday Buffet Dinner prepared by renowned Moody Gardens Executive Chef Felipe Gonzalez.

lantern and lights

Lantern & Lights

November 25 - January 2

No trip to Galveston Island is complete without visiting the Historic Downtown, Strand & Seaport. Once known as the "Wall Street of the Southwest", Galveston's famed avenue, The Strand, anchors the historic downtown. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark for its outstanding collection of 19th century architecture, today The Strand is the heart of a vibrant downtown and waterfront offering shopping, dining, museums, entertainment, accommodations and nightlife. Wear your walking shoes, because the 70+block historic downtown has much more to offer beyond The Strand, and it's all within walking distance!

Exterior shot of a red four story building

Art Walks

Ongoing

Taking place every six weeks in the Gallery District, the Galveston ArtWalk supports the local art community by showcasing original exhibits in both art galleries and alternative venues such as nearby boutiques and neighboring cafes. Discover new places to browse, buy, and learn more about art as you explore a historic neighborhood and mingle with other creative types.

Corner view of vintage building

Haunted Galveston

Ongoing

Come nightfall, peek into a more ‘chilling’ side of the island, if you dare! Tour a creaky Victorian mansion with a dark past or a haunted harbour with lingering ghosts. The spooky sights and scary stories are guaranteed to leave you with goosebumps!

Close up of four festive Mardi Gras masks

Mardi Gras

February

If you’re looking for a wild time, grab some beads and hit the beach for Mardi Gras! Galveston, the third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States, boasting elaborate parades, headliner performances, food, and other family-focused festivities.

Two birds with pink feathers standing in a body of water

FeatherFest

April

Join bird watchers, nature photographers and outdoor enthusiasts as thousands of birds take flight from the island each spring during their migration from the Gulf Coast to Central and South America. FeatherFest is the perfect opportunity to see over 2000 species along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail and enjoy 4 days of field trips followed by delightful evening social events and activities.

Four people in dive suits and swimming head gear running on the shore of the ocean

Lone Star Ironman Triathlon

April

The Memorial Hermann IRONMAN 70.3 takes place at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, on Galveston Island, and offers athletes qualifying slots to the IRONMAN World Championship each year. Come cheer on participants as they complete a 1.2-mile saltwater swim in Offats Bayou, a 56-mile bike along the Texas Gulf Coast and a 13.1-mile run through Moody Gardens.

View of front porches of historical homes

Historical Homes Tour

May

Embrace the beauty of the island’s privately owned homes during the annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour. The Galveston Historical Foundation opens its doors to feature homes of all sizes, large and small, where people can dive into Galveston’s architectural history and enjoy lite bites and drinks around town.

Very large and intricate sand castle

Sandcastle Competition

June

Galveston’s East Beach shoreline gives rise to some mind-blowing artwork when the AIA Houston Sandcastle Competition kicks off each year. Over 60 teams have their eyes and shovels set on winning the prestigious Golden Bucket Award and more than 20,000 spectators will be there to watch them carve towering sculptures and creative scenes out of nothing more than wet sand.

Large group of motorcycles lined up

Lone Star Motorcycle Rally

November

Lone Star Rally cruises into the island each November for a weekend of jam packed entertainment for all ages. With juried bike, truck, jeep and classic car shows - and free concerts on two stages -there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy.

Group of four people dressed in Victorian-inspired outfits

Dickens on The Strand

December

For over 40 years, Galveston’s world-famous festival has been held at The Strand National Historic Landmark District. Based on 19th-century Victorian London, it features parades, non-stop entertainment on six stages, strolling carolers, roving musicians, and a host of costumed vendors peddling wares from street stalls and rolling carts - overflowing with holiday food and drink.

Large group of people dressed as Santa Claus

Santa Sightings

December

Throughout the Merry month of december, visitors can spot Santa surfing at Schlitterbahn, taking pictures at The Strand, riding aboard a train at the Railroad Museum and racing along the beachfront with 4,000 others during the Santa Hustle Half Marathon.

Performing arts theater

Holiday Performances

December

The holidays are full of live entertainment and special performances at The Grand 1894 Opera House. Broadway musicals, iconic stars, stand up comedy and lots of live music help to ring in the season each year.  

Moody Garden Pyramids lit up at night

Moody Gardens Festival of Lights

December

Start a new family tradition of exploring the island each holiday season. With close proximity to Galveston's premier seasonal celebrations, the Inn makes for the perfect winter escape! Enjoy ice sculptures, ice skating, snow tubing, train rides and photos with Santa Claus himself at the Moody Gardens Festival of Lights among other events taking place across the island each December.