Free Christmas and holiday activities, events, and shows in Reno include Christmas parades, concerts of holiday music, museums, holiday lights, Christmas fun at the library, and more.
Free Christmas & Holiday Events, Concerts, and Shows
Sparks Hometowne Christmas Celebration - December 7 and 8. Sparks Hometowne Christmas kicks off with the annual tree lighting ceremony on Friday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will be at the Saint Mary's Amphitheater in Victorian Square. On Saturday, the annual Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade, beginning at 1 p.m., will travel east to west along Victorian Avenue. Parade Grand Marshal, the Coca Cola Bear, will be escorted by United States Marines to gather toys for the Toys for Tots organization. Parade seating for people with disabilities will be available on the northeast corner of 10th & Victorian Avenue. Other activities include arts and crafts vendors and visits with Santa at the Glendale Schoolhouse from noon to 2 p.m. For more information, call (775) 353-2291.
Holiday Fun at the Washoe County Library - Various dates in December. Check my article and the Washoe County Library website for dates and locations of holiday events and activities like Christmas story times, visits from Santa, free holiday movies, and more. For more information, call (775) 327-8300.
Christmas on the Comstock Parade of Lights - December 1. Gather along C Street, Virginia City's main drag, for an evening showcase of holiday lights glowing on everything from trucks to bikes. The parade starts at 5 p.m.
Celebrating the Season - Sierra Watercolor Society Winter Art Show and Sale at the May Museum - November 21 through December 18. This is a free exhibit, with artists displaying original watercolors depicting the holiday and winter season. Show is open during normal museum hours (Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The May Museum is located in Reno's Rancho San Rafael Regional Park.
Tuba Christmas Concert at the May Museum - December 8. Come to the Wilbur D. May Museum for the annual Tuba Christmas Concert at 3 p.m. This free family-friendly event features holiday carols arranged in four-part harmony and performed by local tuba, baritone, and euphonium players. Sip hot cocoa and cider and nibble cookies. Try a holiday scavenger hunt in the museum collection to win a prize. Come back the following weekend for the Holiday Gingerbread Festival at the Museum (see below).
hands/ON! on 2nd Saturdays - December 8. This free monthly event at the Nevada Museum of Art features art activities for families, plus free admission to all museum exhibits for everyone. The theme for December is "Light it Up! Neon Nevada," which highlights one of the current exhibits. For more information and to see what else is going on at our outstanding art museum, refer to "Events at the Nevada Museum of Art."
Holiday Gingerbread Festival at the Wilbur D. May Center - December 15. Join the family fun and enter the Holiday Gingerbread House Contest at the May Center in Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. Ribbons and prizes will be awarded in three categories. Proceeds from the contest go to benefit the Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Get entry forms online or at these locations: May Arboretum Office and Wilbur D. May Museum, both at 1595 N. Sierra Street in Rancho San Rafael Park. The entry fee is $10 and forms are due by December 12. Gingerbread houses must be delivered to the Wilbur D. May Museum between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 15. In addition to formal judging, those in attendance can vote for a "People's Choice" award. Winners will be announced at 2 p.m. This event also features holiday musical performances and holiday arts and crafts. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (775) 823-6500.
Carson City's Silver and Snowflake Festival of Lights - December 7 and 8. The event is Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday night's festivities begin on the Capitol grounds with the state tree, a bristlecone pine, and downtown Carson City being lit along with a procession including Santa, Mrs. Claus and the 300 voices of the Carson City 5th Grade Music Students Singing Ensemble. Highlights include ice skating at the Arlington Square Ice Rink and the Carson Nugget serving caramel apples and roasted chestnuts. The Santa parade along Carson Street, from Musser Street to Telegraph Square, starts at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. Following the parade, merchants from around downtown Carson City will roll out their holiday fare at Telegraph Square. Ice skating, a bounce house and winter art contest make the event a day full of old-fashioned Nevada camaraderie and cheer. For more information, call (775) 887-1294.
"Art Angels Community Workshop" by Sierra Watercolor Society - December 15, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Kids can make their own holiday gift of a watercolor painting. This free watercolor workshop is limited to 50 children, ages 6 to 12, and includes all supplies and small-group instruction. Reservations are required - call (775) 785-5961 to register.
"Holidays Around the World" Reno Pops Community Christmas Concert - December 14. Join the Reno Pops Orchestra in a journey around the world to celebrate the holiday season. From traditional Russian carols to South American tongue-twisters untangled by the Reno Latin Branch Choir, and reminiscent numbers rung by the hand bell choir "Tintabulations," there are so many traditions to share. This free concert will be at The Rock Church in Sparks, 4950 Vista Blvd. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and no ticket is needed.
Lights of Tanea - The Biggest Little Christmas Light Show in Reno - November 23 through December 31. The south Reno neighborhood centered on 16180 Tanea Drive hosts a big holiday light show complete with synchronized music. Lights of Tanea collects non-perishable food items for Evelyn Mount's Outreach Program and reusable clothing for Friends of Multiple Sclerosis. The lights are on Sundays through Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. This is a very popular event - please follow the rules so everyone has a good time.