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Festival of Lights Galveston

The Festival of Lights is among the biggest holiday celebrations in Galveston. The event features more than 1 million lights, holiday train rides, and live concerts.

Festival of Lights Galveston
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There’s also an ice slide and ice skating rink that you can enjoy with your family and friends. You can explore the 1-mile trail adorned with animated displays and sound-enhanced exhibitions.

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

The Festival of Lights happens every year, but dates do vary. Last year, the event was held from the 21st of November through the 2nd of January 2020.

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.

Festival Hours

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

The admission fee is $14 on Value Days and $19 on regular nights. Parking is free. Admission is also free for kids 3 and under.

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. Due to the pandemic, everyone is required to wear a mask as well.

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

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

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
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
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.

Pleasure Pier
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
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.

Ocean Star
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.

Arik Akunis
Arik Akunis

My name is Arik Akunis and I have been in the field of lighting for over the last 20 years, I started my journey in the world of lighting in the lighting niche for events where I first came across a festival of lights and immediately fell in love with it.

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