Renowned displays include a re-counted nativity scene, a digital Christmas tree, a toy factory, the Nutcrackers, and Christmas displays. Aside from the Festival of Lights, you will also see other attractions like the fireside s’mores and evening cruises. You can also watch Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in the 4D theater.
Festival Dates (2023-24)
The Festival of Lights happens every year, but dates do vary. This year, the event will take place from the 18th of November 2023 through the 6th of January 2024.
Where It’s Located and How to Get There
Moody Gardens hosts the event every year. The area is located at 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston, TX.
If you’re from Houston, you need to take I-45 South then exit 61st Street. You have to turn right on 61st Street to Seawall Boulevard. Turn right on Seawall Boulevard to 81st Street. After turning right on 81st Street to Jones Road, you need to turn left on Hope Boulevard. Follow the signs to Moody Gardens.
If you’re in Texas, you can also check out these other breathtaking lights festivals:
The Festival of Lights usually runs from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. regularly and up to 10:00 p.m. on Value Days. Regular attractions at Moody Gardens open at 10:00 a.m. regularly.
Cost to Visit the Festival
Here are the details for the 2023 Festival of Lights Galveston’s ticket prices:
Value Day Pass: Adults – $95; Kids and Seniors – $75. Holiday Pass: Adults -$65; Kids and Seniors – $45.
For more details and information, visit the festival’s official website.
Weather and What to Wear
Galveston has short, windy and cool winters and long, oppressive and hot summers. Summer lasts for 4 months, from the 28th of May to the 27th of September. Winter lasts for 3 months, from the 3rd of December to the 2nd of March.
Since the Festival of Lights is held during the cold season, you need to wear layers when you visit Moody Gardens. Wear a base layer, a jacket, boots, socks, a warm hat, and a coat.
Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby
From lavish beds and breakfasts to RV parks, vacation rentals, luxury resorts, and hotels, Galveston boasts a wide range of lodgings for every preference and budget. If you’re planning to spend a few days in Galveston to enjoy the festival and explore the area, consider booking a room in one of these hotels.
Moody Gardens Hotel
Moody Gardens Hotel is known for its helpful amenities and its romantic environment. The rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen television, and free Wi-Fi.
Moody Gardens Hotel also offers a concierge, room service, on-site restaurant, pool, and free parking. The hotel is a perfect destination for tourists due to its proximity to some of the most popular attractions in Galveston, like the 61st Street Fishing Pier and Galveston Naval Museum.
Lost Bayou Guesthouse
Lost Bayou Guesthouse is a Colonial-styled bed and breakfast with 5 spacious bedrooms. With the inn’s large windows, tall ceilings, and hardwood floors, Lost Bayou Guesthouse offers a feeling of warmth, comfort, and openness.
It is located close to the beach, museums, cruise terminals, downtown Historic District and other attractions like the Bishop’s Palace and Pleasure Pier.
Casa Del Mar Beachfront Suites
Casa del Mar is perfect for weekend getaways. All suites are fully furnished and have a living area with a studio kitchen and a private balcony where you can enjoy the picturesque view.
The hotel also offers a small private room with junior bunks for kids 10 and under, queen size bed, and a queen sofa sleeper. Casa del Mar has 2 tropical pools, laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi, a trellised BBQ area as well as catering and conference facilities perfect for corporate retreats, family reunions, and small groups.
Hilton Galveston Island Resort
Hilton Galveston Island Resort is one of the best destinations for travelers due to its proximity to fishing piers, family entertainment, shopping, and restaurants. The guest rooms offer either a stunning view of the Gulf of Mexico or a private balcony.
There are also suites with upgraded amenities, complimentary breakfast, and exclusive Executive Lounge access. Hilton Galveston Island Resort has 13 meeting spaces for company retreats and corporate meetings.
Restaurants near the Galveston Festival of Lights
Moody Gardens offers a lot of beverage and food options at its outdoor and indoor concession areas as well as restaurants. Here’s where you can eat when you are attending the festival.
Café in the Park
Café in the Park can be found on the 1st floor of Moody Gardens Hotel. It offers a good menu for dinner, breakfast, and lunch. Weekend specials are also offered. Guests can enjoy special breakfast buffets with a waffle bar and made-to-order omelets. You can also enjoy a cup of STARBUCKS coffee here.
Coastal Grill Seafood
Coastal Grill Seafood is located on the picturesque Galveston Strand. It offers wraps, tacos, seafood dishes, steaks, and burgers. Coastal Grill Seafood also offers a wide range of delicious pasta dishes.
Mosquito Café offers a wide range of homemade, eclectic food that you can enjoy in a relaxing atmosphere. It is located at 628 14th St., Galveston, Texas.
After perusing the chalkboard specials and menu, guests can place their orders, choose a table and wait for the food to arrive. The staff delivers the food, napkins, beverage, and silverware and takes dessert orders as well.
Benno’s Cajun Seafood
If you’re looking for a casual beachfront ambiance and local seafood, consider visiting Benno’s Cajun Seafood. It serves a wide range of Cajun golden fried or grilled entrées and delicious crawfish, hot-boiled shrimp, and crabs.
Shearn’s Seafood & Prime Steaks
If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, consider visiting Shearn’s Seafood & Prime Steaks. Aside from serving a wide range of flavorful steaks and seafood dishes, the restaurant also offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and Moody Gardens Pyramids.
Shearn’s Seafood & Prime Steaks is available for wedding parties, social events, and corporate dining. The restaurant’s wine list consists of a wide range of international and domestic varieties.
Sharky’s Tavern offers scrumptious Napoli-style pizzas, live music, and a sports bar. The pies are baked in a wood-fired oven for around 90 seconds at 900⁰.
Sharky’s Tavern uses homemade doughs, mozzarella, sauces, and Mozzarella de Bufala to make flavorful pieces. They also source local products and ingredients and local vendors.
More Things to Do in the Area
Aside from the Festival of Lights, you can enjoy the other attractions in Moody Gardens as well. The Aquarium Pyramid is among the largest pyramids in the region. It holds a wide range of marine animals and species of fish.
The Discovery Pyramid offers science-oriented activities and exhibits, while the Rainforest Pyramid contains reptiles, animals, birds, tropical plants, butterflies, and rainforest animals like two-toed sloths and monkeys.
Consider visiting Palm Beach as well. The white sand beach has a splash pad play and water park for kids, a lazy river, freshwater lagoons, tower slides, ziplines, hot tub, and tower slides. Moody Gardens has an MG 3D Theater that contains the biggest screen in Texas. There’s also a golf course, convention center, and hotel. Here are other things that you can do in Galveston.
Stewart Beach is a family-friendly beach with restrooms and showers, concessions, snack bars, playground, volleyball courts and umbrella, and chair rentals. There are lifeguards as well.
The Strand is home to Victorian-era buildings and numerous cafés, antique stores, galleries, and restaurants. It is a great place for some shopping, dining, and sightseeing. The Strand also has antiquated candy stores where you can see taffy-making shows.
The 1,130′-long pier is home to colorful structures and roller coasters. The Pleasure Pier also offers fun activities, games, and rides for all ages. There’s an on-site restaurant as well. The pier is open every day so that you can enjoy the attractions with your kids anytime.
Bishop’s Palace boasts a castle-like façade complete with sculpted granite, sandstone, limestone, sculpted granite, towers, and turrets. The grandiose interior displays intricately carved woodwork, fine furnishings, high ceilings, and fireplaces.
Texas Seaport Museum
The Texas Seaport Museum houses Elissa, a 3-masted barque. It’s among the oldest sailing ships today. The museum also offers a glimpse of Port of Galveston’s history and a computer database that contains the names of immigrants who passed through Galveston’s shores. They also offer harbor tours. You can buy the Seaport Package that offers access to the Elissa, museum, and harbor tours for $20 per adult.
The Ocean Star offers a mesmerizing insight into the gas and oil industries through 3 floors of fascinating exhibits and interactive displays. The museum is also available for corporate conferences, dinners, weddings, family reunions, and luncheons. Overnight Camp is offered on the 4th Sunday or 4th Friday for each month.
- Where can I park when visiting the Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens?
- Moody Gardens offers on-site parking, and during the Festival of Lights, a parking fee is typically charged. However, occasionally, they may offer special promotions that include free parking.
- Is smoking allowed during the Festival of Lights?
- Smoking is prohibited within the indoor areas and certain outdoor areas of Moody Gardens. Designated smoking areas are provided, so visitors are encouraged to use those spaces if they wish to smoke.
- Can I bring my pet to the Festival of Lights?
- While pets are beloved family members, they are not permitted inside Moody Gardens during the Festival of Lights. Service animals, on the other hand, that are trained to assist individuals with disabilities are welcomed.
- How should I dress for the Festival of Lights?
- Since it’s an outdoor event, it’s advisable to wear comfortable walking shoes and attire suitable for the weather conditions. Bring along a jacket or sweater during the cooler evenings.
- Is the Festival of Lights accessible for individuals with mobility challenges?
- Yes, Moody Gardens and the Festival of Lights are wheelchair and stroller friendly. Wheelchair rentals are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Are outside food and drinks allowed during the Festival of Lights?
- Outside food and beverages are not permitted at the Festival. However, Moody Gardens offers various dining options for guests, ranging from snacks to full-service meals.
- Are there any additional activities or attractions during the Festival of Lights?
- Absolutely! Aside from the magnificent light displays, Moody Gardens often features ice skating, 3D films, and other festive activities during the festival period. Some of these may require separate tickets or fees.
- What time does the Festival of Lights begin and end?
- The Festival of Lights typically starts in the evening, with exact times varying each year. It’s best to check the Moody Gardens website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date timings.