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December 2018 Events and Activities in the Reno Region

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Christmas Events and Activities

Christmas season events, activities, Reno, Nevada, NV Enjoy lots of family-friendly events and activities during the Christmas holiday season around Reno and Sparks.

Reno Ice Skating Rink

Reno ice skating rink, Greater Nevada Field, Nevada, NV The Downtown Reno Ice Rink is located at Greater Nevada Field at 250 Evans Avenue. Free parking is available across the street.

Snow Play Areas

Snow play areas, Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada mountains, Nevada, NV, California, CA When snow covers the Sierra Nevada, the most inexpensive and arguably most fun family outings are to our many nearby snow play areas.

Get Your Own Christmas Tree

Christmas You can get Christmas tree cutting permits from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to go get a tree on nearby public land.

Big events during December, 2018 include...

Sparks Annual Hometowne Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting - Friday and Saturday, November 30 - December 1, 2018. Come to Victorian Square on December 1 for the traditional Christmas parade festivities from 11 a.m. to about 2:30 p.m., along with entertainment, photos with Santa, and arts and crafts. The parade begins at 1 p.m. This year's theme is "Elves Invade the 2018 Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade." Get a picture with Santa and check out the Community Faire with information on how you can give back to your community this holiday season. The tree lighting ceremony will be the night of November 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Event includes live music entertainment.

Spirit of the Season - Saturday and Sunday, December 1 - 2, 2018. The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Dr. Jason Altieri welcome special guests with a variety-style combination of singers, dancers, performers, students, Santa Tappers, Santa Claus and more. Performances at the Pioneer Center will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $16 to $89 and available online. The Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts is in downtown Reno at 100 S. Virginia Street.

Tintabulations Handbell Ensemble - Saturday and Sunday, December 1 - 2, 2018. Tintabulations will be performing handbell music as part of Spirit of the Season at the Pioneer Center. Also during the December 2018 holidays, they will perform at the following venues...

  • December 2 - 7 p.m. - Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 357 Clay St., Reno.
  • December 7 - 7 p.m. - 39 North Victorian Square, 900 Victorian Ave., Sparks.
  • December 8 - 1 p.m. - Churchill County Arts Center, 151 E. Park St., Fallon.
  • December 9 - 10:30 a.m. - Spanish Springs Library, 7100A Pyramid Way, Sparks.
  • December 9 - 3 p.m. - Downtown Reno Library, 301 S. Center St., Reno.
  • December 10 - 7 p.m. - Virginia Street Brewhouse, 211 N. Virginia St., Reno.
  • December 16 - 1 p.m. - Redemption Church, 1600 Snyder Ave., Carson City.
  • December 16 - 7 p.m. - Carson City Community Center, 851 E. Williams St., Carson City.
  • December 17 - 7 p.m. - Great Basin Brewing Co., 5525 S. Virginia St., Reno.

Magic of Santa Arts and Crafts Faire - Saturday and Sunday, December 1 - 2, 2018. This big show is in its 38th year. You can get arts and crafts from over 80 vendors while supporting local businesses. Find beautiful hand made items from toll painted snowmen and beautiful doll clothes to fine wood work. Admission is $4, kids under 12 are free. Get $1 off admission by donating a can of food. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Location is the Reno Livestock Events Center, 1350 N. Wells Avenue.

Light Up The Night Community Christmas Event - Saturday, December 1, 2018, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Light Up The Night is an event open to all families and individuals in Reno-Sparks. The event was created to usher in the Christmas season, and provide a free and fun Christmas event for the Reno / Sparks community. Come and enjoy pony rides, pictures with Santa, Christmas carols, bounce houses, fire pits and s'mores, and more. Canned food donations welcome. The event is at Horizon Church, 2025 E. Prater Way in Sparks.

Midtown Tree Lighting - Saturday, December 1, 2018. The tree lighting party starts at about 5 p.m., and we will light the tree up at 6 p.m. The Midtown Christmas Tree mission is to generate $10,000 for local families in need by selling custom ornaments for display on the tree. Businesses or families can purchase an ornament with a logo or name on it to help decorate the Midtown Reno Christmas Tree. Your donation goes toward making your custom bulb, and all remaining funds from your donation will be distributed by Rotary Club of Reno to benefit local families in need. The party is at Mari Chuy's Mexican Kitchen, 764 S. Virginia St. in Reno.

Polar Express on the V&T Railroad - Trips to the North Pole continue on the V&T Railroad through December 24, 2018. Plan ahead - getting advance tickets is a must for those wanting to ride the Polar Express to the North Pole this holiday season.

City of Reno Annual Tree Lighting - Wednesday, December 5, 2018, 5:30 p.m. Come to downtown City Plaza (between City Hall and the Truckee River) for this free festive event. City dignitaries and others will be on hand to light up the holiday season in Reno. At the conclusion of the event, head over to Greater Nevada Field for free ice skating from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and free train rides in Santa's Village.

RTC Stuff A Bus with Food for the Community - Wednesday and Thursday, December 5 - 6, 2018. The RTC will have a bus at Sam's Club at 4835 Kietzke Lane from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to collect non-perishable food items. Food donations will also be accepted at RTC transit stations Monday, December 3 through Thursday, December 6. Donations will be given to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. Visit the website for a list of suggested food items.

"The Mousehole Family Christmas" at Bruka Theatre - December 7 - 8, 12 - 15, 19 - 22, 2018. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Matinees on December 9 and 16 start at 2 p.m. The show centers around The Mousehole yearly holiday celebration as family gifting is questioned on a whole new level - through the ghosts of Christmas "Presents" and "Consciousness" and the theme of The Twelve Days Of Christmas. Tickets are $18 for students/seniors/military, $20 general admission. Reservations are available through the box office at (775) 323-3221. Tickets (with service fee) are available online.

Cabin Fever Winter Series - starts Monday, December 3, 2018. Bring your 4 to 6 year-olds to learn about nature in the winter at the Wilbur D. May Arboretum in Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. Each session will feature a short lesson, a story, an indoor activity, and a guided outdoor exploration. The cost is $5 donation per session, or $30 for the full series, cash or check only. Each session runs 1 hour, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., and meets in the Ranch House. Parent attendance is required. Contact Katie at (775) 785-4153 to register.

  • Dec 3: Winter Trees
  • Dec 10: A Snowy Owl Story
  • Jan 7: Let's Go On A Color Hunt
  • Jan 14: Arctic Animals
  • Jan 21: The Mitten
  • Jan 28: Snowflakes Are "Sew" Cool
  • Feb 4: Ice is Nice
  • Feb 11: A Winter Adventure Hunt

The Nutcracker Ballet - There will more than one venue performing "The Nutcracker" during the holiday season. From Friday through Sunday, December 7 - 9, 2018, 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.

The Nugget in Sparks and Reno Dance Company will present "The Nutcracker" in the Celebrity Showroom. Performances will be on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, December 15 - 16 and 21 - 23, 2018.

Tahoe Film Fest - Thursday through Sunday, December 6 - 9, 2018. Over 20 films will be shown at various venues around north Lake Tahoe and Truckee. They range from movies by the Coen Brothers to National Geographic. Features include some classics as well. See the full line-up of what is playing when and where at the Tahoe Film Fest schedule.

12 Merry Days of Midtown - Thursday through Friday, December 6 - 21, 2018. The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County is reminding the community to continue to patronize Midtown-area businesses during construction. The promotion encourages shoppers to visit Midtown businesses on weekdays in December and to post about their experiences on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #VirginiaStreetProject. People's publicly visible posts with the hashtag will be entered for a chance to receive a $25 gift card to a theme-of-the-day Midtown business of their choice. Come enjoy these theme days...

  • December 6: Breweries and Tap Houses
  • December 7: Beauty
  • December 10: Cafes and Coffee Shops
  • December 11: Professional Services
  • December 12: Fashion
  • December 13: Restaurants
  • December 14: Body Art
  • December 17: Bling and Shiny Things
  • December 18: Home Improvement and DIY
  • December 19: Bars
  • December 20: Health and Wellness
  • December 21: All Midtown Businesses

Annual Share Your Christmas Drive-By Food Drive - Friday, December 7, 2018, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. KTVN 2 News and other community sponsors will be collecting food donations at 3 different locations - Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Governor's Mansion in Carson City and Carson Valley Inn in Minden. Volunteers will be on hand to unload donations for you.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day - Friday, December 7, 2018. Each year on December 7, Pearl Harbor Survivors, veterans, and visitors from all over the world come together to honor and remember the 2,403 service members and civilians who were killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On August 23, 1994, the United States Congress designated December 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Christmas on the Comstock - Starting on December 1, 2018. Go up to Virginia City for Christmas celebrations that include Candy Cane Express trains, photos with Father Christmas, the Parade of Lights, Christmas craft fair, St. Mary's Art Center Holiday Faire, children's art program, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" at Piper's Opera House, The Grinch Made Me Do It Saloon Crawl and Christmas in the Sierra Concert.

Northern Lights Tahoe - November 29 hrough December 31, 2018. 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, a Santa crawl, opening day at Diamond Peak ski resort, Tahoe Film Fest, holiday craft fair, holiday sing-a-long, and lots more. Note that many activities are adults only. Check the website for a complete schedule of events.

TOCCATA presents "Messiah" - Tahoe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus brings its annual production of Handel's "Messiah" to six 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 students aged 19 to 23 with donations requested. Preferred seating is $40 and $15 for youth/students. (775) 313-9697.

  • Saturday, December 8, 2018, 3 p.m. - Cornerstone Church in Incline Village
  • Sunday, December 9, 2018, 3 p.m. - Montbleu Theater in South Lake Tahoe
  • Saturday, December 15, 2018, 3 p.m. - St. Gall Church in Gardnerville
  • Sunday, December 16, 2018, 3 p.m. - St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Reno
  • Saturday, December 22, 2018, 5 p.m. - Squaw Valley Olympic Village Lodge (special presentation)
  • Thursday, December 27, 2018, 7 p.m. - Heavenly "Holidays Village" in South Lake Tahoe (free 1-hour performance)

Hands ON! Second Saturdays - Saturday, December 8, 2018. 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 and storytelling. The Museum School will be having an open house and the art projects will have a holiday theme. There will be performances of "The Grinch" by In-Tune Tales and you'll be able to meet Santa and friends. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Santa Paws and Cupcake Day - Friday and Saturday, December 7 - 8, 2018. Santa Paws will be available for photos on both days. Bring your pet to sit on Santa's lap for a photo you will cherish this holiday season. Susan Koppel, owner and photographer at Susan Koppel Photography, will be offering digitally retouched images for a donation that benefits homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society. Santa Paws will be available on December 7 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on December 8. Also on Saturday, hundreds of cupcakes in different styles and flavors will be available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Nevada Humane Society, 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Visitors can sample and/or take some home to share with family and friends for a small donation.

Science Saturdays at the National Automobile Museum - Saturday, December 8, 2018. Join in on adventures that are out of this world, with "Seeing through Hubble." Admission is $12 per person for children and adults, which also includes admission to the Museum. For participants age 8 and up. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is required approximately two days before the event. Call the Museum at (775) 333-9300 for more information.

"Noël the Musical" at the Pioneer Center - Friday through Sunday, December 14 - 16, 2018. Noël, a brand new holiday family musical is the touching story of a young girl who is preparing for her starring role in a school Christmas performance, when her Mother disappears. Set in London, as the little girl tries to find her mother, she encounters a diverse group of homeless folk who have lost their way in life. Performances are at 8 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available online.

Reno Santa Pub Crawl - Saturday, December 15, 2018. The Reno Santa Crawl draws thousands of Santas and Mrs. Santas to the largest event of its kind in the country. The main event is in downtown Reno, but there are other related activities during the weekend, like the Santa Ski Day at Mt. Rose. The list of participating bars and restaurants is extensive. Buy a cup, get your Santa on and join the fun. The Reno Santa Crawl supports local schools through DonorsChoose.org. If you like this sort of thing, learn about more crawls from "Beer Crawls in Reno."

Reno Wind Symphony: Holiday Celebration - Saturday and Sunday, December 15 - 16, 2018. Truly one of the highlights of this concert is the recitation of the poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" by KOH Radio personality Ross Mitchell, accompanied by the Reno Wind Symphony. Ross also will be the vocal soloist, once again, on "Grinch that Stole Christmas." Tickets are free, but you must pick them up at MacLean Financial Group or Heritage Bank of Nevada. The Saturday performance is at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. Both will be in the Nightingale Concert Hall, Church Fine Arts Building on campus at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Ugly Sweater Wine Walk - Saturday, December 15, 2018. Join the monthly wine walk from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. when the Riverwalk Merchants Association hosts the popular event along the Truckee River and neighboring streets in downtown Reno. Go to any of the participating merchants with $20 and receive your wine glass and hand stamp (with photo ID), then make the rounds sampling wines at numerous businesses in the area. This is a 21+ event. Pets and strollers are not advised. For more information, call 775-825-WALK(9255).

Grinchmas at the Grove - Saturday, December 15, 2018, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Come enjoy a Whoville holiday feast with whocrafts and roast beast. Share your wishes with Santa. Come in your best jammies and join the Grinch in the Grinchmas Pajama Parade. Seating is limited and advance ticket purchase ($10 per ticket) is required. Event is a benefit for the Children's Cabinet. The Grove is at South Creek, 95 Foothill Road in south Reno.

Monthly Reno Beer Crawl - Saturday, December 22, 2018. This event is in downtown Reno where all of the participating bars, pubs, and restaurants are within walking (or crawling) distance. It costs $5 to participate and you can just show up at one of the start bars - advance tickets not required. Crawling is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Winter Break Camps and Activities - December 24, 2018 to January 11, 2019. Winter break activities for children and families around Reno and Sparks include camps and other things to do from several area organizations.

The Unbelievables Christmas Extravaganza at The Eldorado - November 16, 2018 through January 6, 2019. Featuring "America's Got Talent" semi-finalist Evie Clair and many other great acts from around the globe, this family-friendly show has it all – jaw-dropping magic, breathtaking circus acts, including sand art, magical doves, duo trapeze straps, the Russian bar and local school choirs singing your favorite Christmas carols. Tickets are available online. For more information on show times and tickets call 800-879-8879. The Eldorado is at 345 North Virginia Street in Reno.

Christmas Day - Tuesday, December 25, 2018.

Christmas Tree Recycling - Wednesday, December 26, 2018 through Monday, January 7, 2019. 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 in our open spaces.

Nevada Chamber Music Festival - Thursday through Tuesday, December 27, 2018 - January 1, 2019. The series of concerts will culminate with a New Year's Day brunch at the Renaissance Hotel in Reno. Tickets are available online.

New Year's Eve Parties - Monday, December 31, 2018. Enjoy lots of parties and fireworks while bringing in 2019. There will be celebrations in Reno, Sparks, and up at Lake Tahoe.

New Year's Eve Dining - Monday, December 31, 2018. Here are some dining spots for satisfying your appetite while bringing in the New Year in the Reno / Sparks area.

Snowglobe Music Festival - Saturday through Monday, December 29 - 31, 2018. This frigid festival features hot music from several many bands. It is for all ages and held at Lake Tahoe Community College, One College Drive in South Lake Tahoe. It is best to visit the website for all the information about tickets, attending, nearby facilities, etc. There is a good FAQ that will answer most questions.

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