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2021 Christmas Events and Activities around Reno and Sparks

'Tis the Season for Christmas and Winter Fun

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Lake Tahoe Area Ski Resorts

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Christmas Tree Cutting Permits

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Reno / Sparks Recreation Guides

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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 2021 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 Annual Holiday Tree Lighting

Wednesday, December 1, 2021, 6 p.m. Join the City of Reno and members of the Reno City Council as we light the official Holiday Tree at Reno City Plaza. Free and open to the public. Afterwards, come downtown during holiday season evenings to enjoy the festive lights.

Sparks Annual Hometowne Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting

Friday and Saturday, December 3 - 4, 2021. Come to Victorian Square on December 4 for the traditional Christmas parade festivities from 1 p.m. to about 2:30 p.m., along with entertainment, photos with Santa, and arts and crafts. This year's theme is "The Art of Christmas." 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 December 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Event includes live music entertainment.

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

"Spirit of the Season" from the Reno Philharmonic

Gather the family for a true holiday tradition. The Reno Phil, Reno Phil Chorus and conductor Jason Altieri invite you to the Spirit of the Season, a classic holiday celebration full of orchestral arrangements, jazzy numbers, traditional holiday tunes and carols. At the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. Choose from four showtimes and purchase tickets online.

  • Friday, December 3, 2021 at 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 2:00 PM
  • Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 7:00 PM
  • Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 2:00 PM

Christmas on the Comstock

December 1 - 31, 2021. Festivities include the Believe Again Christmas Challenge shopping spree worth $1,000, two weekends of Magical Christmas Fireworks Shows, the fun-filled Candy Cane Express trains and the evening Train O'Lights, a Christmas play, Parade of Lights, a saloon crawl, holiday artisan craft fair at St. Mary's Art Center and community celebrations.

39 North Pole Village Holiday Lights Festival

Thursday through Saturday, December 2 - 4, 2021. This year's free event will have more vendors, double the entertainment, and the plaza will be saturated in holiday light displays. The heated vendor tent provides a great opportunity to shop local this holiday season. Santa will also be there for free photos and to listen to Christmas wish lists. At Victorian Square, downtown Sparks. For more info, call (775) 690-2581.

"The Nutcracker" Ballet

Friday through Sunday, December 10 - 12, 2021. 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. Visit the website to get tickets for the performance you prefer.

NorthStar Chamber Players Woodwind Quintet Concert

The popular woodwind quintet will perform favorite holiday classics at several locations and times. Enjoy Christmas carols, selections from The Nutcracker, and other seasonal music. Visit the website for required registration.

  • North Valleys Library - Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Spanish Springs Library - Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • South Valleys Library - Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sierra View Library - Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Incline Village Library - Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Reno Santa Pub Crawl

Saturday, December 11, 2021, starting at 7:30 p.m. 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. The list of participating bars and restaurants is extensive. Buy a pass, get your Santa on and join the fun. The Reno Santa Crawl supports local schools through If you like this sort of thing, learn about more crawls from "Beer Crawls in Reno."

Northern Lights Festival

November 20 through December 31, 2021. 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 10, 2021, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be three donation drop off locations - Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Governor's Mansion in Carson City, Carson Valley Inn in Minden. 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 Saturdays

Saturday, December 11, 2021. 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 will have a holiday theme. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Science Saturdays at the National Automobile Museum

Saturday, December 11, 2021. Join in on adventures that are out of this world. 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.

Reno Wind Symphony: A Holiday Celebration

Saturday and Sunday, December 11 - 12, 2021, 7:30 p.m. Join us for two performances of A Holiday Celebration, featuring some of your favorite holiday tunes. There will also be an old-fashioned Christmas Sing–A–Long so bring your best voice. General admission is $10, $5 for seniors. Students are free with school ID. At UNR's Nightingale Concert Hall, 1335 N. Virginia St. in Reno.

Reno Jazz Orchestra Home for the Holidays 2021

Friday, December 17, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 19, 2021 at 4 p.m. This year's production is a good old-fashioned tribute to the music that we grew up with here in America. The whole family will enjoy over two hours of music and songs that will rekindle the magical memories of being home for the holidays. Proof of covid vaccinations and masks required for entry. At The Theatre, 505 Keystone Ave. in Reno. Tickets are available online.

"Ho, Ho, Ho: The Santa Claus Chronicles" by Reno Little Theater

Friday through Sunday, December 17 - 19, 2021. We start off with a press conference where St. Nick's press secretary will answer questions about the jolly guy. You will also meet the elves Eeny, Meeny, Miney, and Sol who take care of the reindeer and you will also hear from the elves working the gift suggestion hotline. The Santa Claus Chronicles is partnering with Project Sweet Dreams. Project Sweet Dreams Mission is that all children have pajamas so they can have a good night's sleep filled with sweet dreams. Bring a new pair of pajamas. We are accepting all sizes (newborn through adult). Show times are 7 p.m. on December 17, 18, 19 and 2 p.m. on December 18 and 19. Tickets are available online. Located at 147 E. Pueblo St. in Reno.

Santa's Christmas Wonderland at the Eldorado

Through December 26, 2021. This is a delightful and enchanting show that's complete with glittering costumes, a dazzling cast, your favorite Christmas songs and the highest kicking chorus girls this side of the North Pole. The Eldorado is at 345 N. Virginia Street in Reno. Tickets are available online.

Winter Break Camps and Activities

December 17 - 31, 2021. Winter break activities for children and families around Reno and Sparks include camps and other things to do from several area organizations.

2021 Polar Express on the V&T Railroad

The Polar Express™ for the 2021 Christmas holiday season will visit the North Pole on select dates from November 19 through December 24. 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 26, 26 and December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 2021. 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 4 - 5, 11 - 12, 18 - 19, 2021. 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.

New Year's Eve

Friday, December 31, 2021. Enjoy lots of parties and fireworks while bringing in 2022.

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