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December's Top 15 Things to Do

The weather outside is never too frightful for holiday events in and around Reno! No matter your favorite part of the season, every weekend is overflowing with activities perfect for kids and adults alike. 

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride – Classic characters from the famous children’s book come to life in this holiday train ride out of Carson City. Now through December 23, guests are invited to wear pajamas as the children do in the story on this hour-long trip that includes a reading and reenactment of the tale. Everyone will go home with a souvenir sleigh bell to remember the journey, and you may even get the chance to meet Santa. 

Tahoe Film Fest – Returning to Incline Village for its second year, this year’s Tahoe Film Fest showcases environmental and American independent films alongside special screenings that focus on Hispanic filmmakers and the art of Mexican culture. More than 20 films will be shown December 1-4, with individual and gala tickets available. 

City of Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade – Kick off the holiday season by joining the City of Sparks for a hometown holiday celebration. The official tree lighting ceremony takes place December 2 in Victorian Square, with one lucky raffle winner thanking Santa for a $10,000 grand prize. Before the parade on December 3, a 2-mile Ugly Sweater Run will be a sight to see around Sparks Marina, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting Toys for Tots. 

Christmas on the Comstock – Step back in time this holiday season to Virginia City, where the annual Christmas on the Comstock celebration will transport you to the 19th century. Experience a Victorian-style Christmas on December 3 that will feel like a real-life fairy tale, with all-age festivities including the Parade of Lights, Candy Cane Express train ride, and photos with Father Christmas. 

Christmas Cookie Classes at Mix Cupcake Co. – Learn how to decorate holiday cookies like a pro with Mix Cupcake’s Christmas Cookie Classes, offered the weekends of December 3-4, 9-11, and 16-18. All the ingredients and tools are provided, and you get to take your box of seasonal sugar cookies home with you at the end! 

A Christmas Carol – Opening December 8, Laughing Owl Productions presents this timeless Charles Dickens story adapted for the stage by The Royal Shakespeare Company. A holiday tradition enjoyable for the whole family, advance ticket purchases are recommended as seating will be limited. 

The Nutcracker – Sugar plum fairies and dancing mice await at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, as the A.V.A. Ballet Theatre presents this ageless holiday classic December 9-11. Principal dancers lead a large cast of local talent, with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra performing the score. The weekend matinee shows will feature a Sugar Plum Party afterward as well, where children can meet the characters. 

9th Annual Gingerbread House Competition & Festival – Amateurs and professionals alike are encouraged to enter the 9th Annual Gingerbread Competition and Festival, taking place December 10 at the Wilbur D. May Museum. Ribbons will be awarded in nine different categories, including options for children, groups, and culinary professionals. If construction isn’t your thing, view and vote for your favorite gingerbread houses or enjoy live holiday music performances. santa crawl

Reno Santa Crawl – Thousands of Santas will take over downtown Reno on December 10 for the largest Santa pub crawl in the nation. More than 15,000 revelers will eat, drink, and be merry across 50 bars and lounges, with all proceeds going to local schools in need. Learn the Festive Songs for Crawl Caroling and purchase cups at 

Dorothy in Wonderland – The Musical – Have you ever wondered what might happen if Dorothy, Toto, and the characters of Oz met up with Alice, the Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter? These questions and more are answered by this one-of-a-kind musical that intertwines The Wizard of Oz with Alice in Wonderland. See for yourself what mad adventure takes place December 11-12 and 17-18 at Cargo Concert Hall. 

Elf the Musical – The modern-day Christmas classic made famous by Will Ferrell has been transformed into a live musical that’s fun for the whole family. Join Buddy the Elf as he discovers the true meaning of Christmas through a series of hilarious mishaps that take him from the North Pole to New York City. Shows run at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts December 16-18, with tickets available at 

Great Santa Dash – Hundreds of Santas, as well as other holiday helpers, will take to the streets of Reno on December 17 for the most festive 5K race you have ever seen. Prance, dance, walk or run along the Truckee River and enjoy cocoa and cookie aid stations along the way. The after-party is sure to be ho-ho-hopping, with prizes, refreshments, and a Christmas-themed photo booth. 

Nevada Chamber Music Festival – Showcasing world-class musicians and the best in classical music, this annual event held at Nightingale Concert Hall is comprised of 11 unique concerts December 26-31 that culminate with a New Year’s Eve celebration. Presented by the Reno Chamber Orchestra, the festival will include many of the world’s most renowned classical musicians. 

SnowGlobe Music Festival – Ring in 2017 with the SnowGlobe Music Festival, held at South Lake Tahoe from December 29-31. Bands and DJs accompany a wide range of food and drink vendors, and live winter sports action adds to the excitement. It’ll be cold and snowy, so pack your warmest gear. 

Peppermill Reno New Year’s Eve Party – Celebrate the arrival of 2017 in style at Peppermill Reno’s New Year’s Eve Party, which offers drinks, desserts, and live music all night long. Welcome the New Year with a champagne toast at midnight, and deck yourself out in complimentary party favors. Purchase your tickets now at