Christmas and holiday activities, events, and shows in Reno include philharmonic concerts, Christmas tree lights, Christmas celebrations, holiday festivals, special shopping, singing, and ballets. You don't need a lot of money to enjoy family fun during the holidays - there are many free holiday activities around the Reno / Tahoe area.
Holiday Events, Concerts, and Shows
Spirit of the Season - Reno Philharmonic Orchestra - December 1 and 2. A classic celebration. A timeless tradition. A treat for eyes and ears. The Reno Philharmonic welcomes special guest performers Joe Gransden on the trumpet, the Reno Philharmonic Chorus, students from the Reno Philharmonic's "Celebrate Strings" program, J.R. John's Performing Dogs, the Sierra Nevada Children's Choir, Santa Tappers, and Santa Claus himself. Performances are at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. both days. Spirit of the Season traditionally sells out quickly, so please purchase your tickets early. Prices start at $11. Tickets will be available through Pioneer Center Box Office, (775) 686-6600.
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 26th annual Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade, beginning at 1 p.m., will travel east to west along Victorian Avenue. 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. 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.
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).
Choral Christmas Concert at UNR - December 6. University choral groups perform a variety of vocal literature in celebration of the holiday season. Tickets are $5, free for UNR students. The program starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be in the Nightingale Concert Hall, Church Fine Arts Building, on the UNR campus. For more information, call (775) 784-4278.
The Nutcracker at the Pioneer Center - December 7, 8, 9. The stage at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts will be alive with a sugar plum fairy and dancing mice as A.V.A. Ballet Theatre presents its 17th annual Nutcracker Ballet featuring the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra. Performances will be December 7 at 8 p.m., December 8 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday December 9 at 2 p.m. at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Reno. Adult tickets are from $25 to $50. Tickets for children 12 and under and seniors 65 and older are from $20 to $50. For more information call A.V.A. Ballet Theatre at (775) 762-5165 or the Pioneer Center at (775) 686-6600. Box office hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Nutcracker by Peninsula Ballet Theatre of San Mateo - December 8 & 9. The Nutcracker by the Peninsula Ballet Theatre will be performed in the Grand Theatre at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. There will be two shows - 7 p.m. on December 8 and 2 p.m. on December 9. Following the show, audience members will be invited on-stage to meet the dancers. Tickets range from $25 to $50 and can be purchased online or by calling (800) 648-3568.
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.
Reno Santa Pub Crawl - December 15. A variety of Santas, Mrs. Santas, elves, and other holiday beings will take to the streets of downtown Reno for the 2012 edition of the Reno Santa Pub Crawl. This roving party starts at one of several bars and involves dozens of watering holes scattered around the neighborhood. Things get started at 7:30 p.m. - get a crawl map at one of seven official start bars and start drinking at any or all of the participating bars. Participation in the Reno Santa Pub Crawl is free, but you'll have to pay for your drinks. You must be 21 and wearing some variety of Santa suit to participate. This is an adult drinking event and there will be big bouncers checking IDs, so be sure to have yours handy. And don't even think about driving, or letting anyone else in your group get behind the wheel. The Reno Santa Crawl is actually a local charity fundraiser. This year, proceeds go to DonorsChoose.org, in support of local schools.
Brüka Theatre presents Buttcracker IV – Zombie Apocalypse - Buttcracker IV – Zombie Apocalypse brings to Reno a ridiculous holiday comedy playing December 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, and 21 at 8 p.m. This energetic parody is based on the holiday favorite The Nutcracker. It's an eclectic, hilarious and original performance experience laced with Brüka's exciting theatrical. There will be a Sunday matinee performance on December 9 at 2 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Call the Brüka Theatre box office at (775) 323-3221 or buy tickets in person at 99 N. Virginia Street in Reno. Box office hours are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, and 12 noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Tickets are available online and at The Melting Pot Emporium, 1049 S. Virginia Street in Reno. Brüka validates parking at the nearby Parking Gallery on First and Sierra Street.
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