FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN RENO

December Family-Friendly Activities in Reno, Sparks, and Beyond

We are sharing December Family-Friendly Activities in Reno, Sparks, and Beyond. If you’re a mom, dad, or caregiver and you’re looking for the ultimate guide to Nevada, Nevada Moms is the spot.

We are the #1 family guide to Nevada experiences and activities. From upcoming events, kid-friendly activities, local businesses to check out, and more – you don’t want to miss it.

By local moms for local families.

Don’t forget to bookmark our website and follow along with us on Instagram @northernnevadamoms and Facebook @northernnevadamoms. As always thank you for supporting our locally owned and operated small business.

ONGOING ACTIVITIES IN OUR AREA

Northern Nevada has something to offer year-round!  You can check out any of these family-friendly activities on the days you aren’t looking for a specific event to attend:

Looking for local discounts for Nevada Moms readers to enjoy? Check all of our active offers and promo codes over here.

december events

WHERE TO TAKE PHOTOS WITH SANTA (CLICK HERE!)

For a complete list of spots to take photos with Santa, please visit the link above. Our team at Nevada Moms has been keeping an eye out for photos with Santa all around town, and we’re sharing all of the details.

THE ULTIMATE LIST OF CHRISTMAS LIGHT HOTSPOTS (CLICK HERE)

Our ultimate list of Christmas light hotspots won’t let you down! Grab some hot cocoa and enjoy some amazing Christmas lights!

ICE SKATING RINKS IN NORTHERN NEVADA (CLICK HERE)

Ice Skating is the perfect winter activity. It’s perfect for a girl’s night, date night, or family night. Luckily we have a few different locations to choose from.

DECEMBER FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN RENO

RENO

SANTA’S CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND 

Date: November 23 – Dec 26, 2021

Location: Eldorado Resort Casino

Santa’s Christmas Wonderland will be in the Eldorado Showroom from November 23 to December 26. This is a delightful and enchanting show that’s complete with glittering costumes, a dazzling cast, your favorite Christmas songs, and the highest kicking Chorus Girls this side of the North Pole.

MIDTOWN HOLIDAY PARTY & TREE LIGHTING

Date: Dec. 2 from 5:30-7:30pm

 Location: 445 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89501

The Annual Holiday Party & Tree Lighting at Living Stones parking lot is BACK! Get into the holiday spirit and come on down to the Living Stones Parking Lot from 5:30-7:30pm for the FREE event.

Check out local food and bar trucks, live music, holiday shopping, Santa, photo booth, and more! Do not miss out on this fun-filled event.

SPIRIT OF THE SEASON

Date: December 3 – December 5

Location: Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, 100 S Virginia St. Reno, NV

Gather the family for a true holiday tradition. The Reno Phil, Reno Phil Chorus, and conductor Jason Altieri invite you to the Spirit of the Season, a classic holiday celebration full of orchestral arrangements, jazzy numbers, traditional holiday tunes, and carols. Choose from four showtimes wrapped in fantasy and fun for the whole family!

ZOO LIGHTS AT SIERRA NEVADA ZOO

Date: December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 31

Location: Sierra Nevada Zoo

$12 for adults., $8 for kids 3 to 12. Kids 3 and under are FREE, and $9 for active military/veterans.

Come see the Zoo lit up for the Holidays. There will special opportunity to have your picture taken with Santa ($5) and kids will get a special holiday cookie to decorate. There will be free hot chocolate and hot cider to sip as you stroll the grounds. This event is Weather dependant.

JEFF DUNHAM

Date: December 4

Location: Reno Event Center

Jeff Dunham and his delightfully irreverent cohorts, Peanut, Walter, José Jalapeño, Bubba J., and Achmed the Dead Terrorist, have filled arenas across the U.S. and the world with their multiple blockbuster tours.

SIAMSA: A CELTIC CHRISTMAS

Date: December 8

Location: Grand Sierra Resort

An enchanting holiday musical for the entire family! Featuring stunning Dance and Music, SIAMSA tells the story of three young orphans searching for the “Candle in the Window” – the light that represents the true meaning of Christmas.

AVA BALLET THEATRE PRESENTS THE NUTCRACKER

Date: December 10 – 12

Location: Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, 100 S. Virginia St., Reno, NV

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 the annual Nutcracker Ballet. Artistic director Alexander Van Alstyne has choreographed an exciting rendition of the popular holiday ballet and the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s moving score. Laura Jackson will be conducting the orchestra.

SANTA AND PETS AT FAMILY FIRST CHIROPRACTIC

Date: December 11, 2-5pm

Reservations: Not required

Cost: Free

Come visit Santa! Photos with Santa, activities for the kids, Christmas mocktails, doggy and kitty snuggles, and holiday cheer. The Nevada Humane Society is bringing pets to enjoy and even possibly adopt!

HANDS ON! SECOND SATURDAY

Date: Second Saturday of each month, 10am – 4pm 

Location: Nevada Museum of Art, 160 West Liberty, Reno, Nevada 89501

Cost: Free

This monthly event is free for the community and is fun for the entire family.  Enjoy hands-on art activities, a tour of the museum, live performances, and more.  Head to nevadaart.org To find a full schedule and upcoming themes for Hands ON! Second Saturday.

TODDLER TIME AT GALENA CREEK

Date: December 15 at 10am

Location: Galena Creek Visitor Center, 18250 Mount Rose Highway, Reno, NV

Every third Thursday of the month, join us at 12:00pm for knee-high nature education that includes stories, activities, crafts, and outdoor exploration. $5 Suggested Donation. Please call ahead to confirm!

HOLIDAY DREAMS

Date: December 18 – January 1

Location: Grand Sierra Resort

Celebrate the magic of the holiday season with a high-energy magical show for the whole family! Holiday Dreams is a unique holiday-themed show with a fresh approach, taking the time-honored elements of the holidays – like the music, decorations, and spirit of Christmas – and mixing them with computer animation and projection mapping, for a modern, up-to-date spin on the classic holiday show.

SPARKS

parades in sparks

​​SPARKS HOMETOWNE CHRISTMAS

Date: December 2nd – December 4th

Location: Victorian Square

Event Schedule:

Thursday, December 2: 39 North Pole: Light Displays, entertainment, and outdoor bazaar. 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Friday, December 3: Tree Lighting Ceremony, 6:30-7:00 p.m., 39 North Pole, 4pm-9pm.

Saturday, December 4: 39 North Pole, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade in Victorian Square: 1pm.-2:30 pm.

ANNUAL TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY

Date: Dec. 3 at 6:30pm

Location: Downtown Sparks Victorian Square

The annual tree lighting ceremony will be held the night before the parade, from 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. next to the large gazebo on the corner of Victorian Avenue and Victorian Plaza Circle.

The ceremony will include live music. Mayor Ed Lawson will flip the switch to light the city’s permanent living Christmas tree, blue spruce.

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT

Date: Dec. 4 from 5-8pm

Location: Horizon Church, 2025 East Prater Way, Sparks, NV

Light up the night is an event open to all families and individuals in reno-sparks. The event was created to usher in the Christmas season and provide a free & fun Christmas event for the Reno-Sparks community.

READING WITH MRS. CLAUS

Date: December 11 from 11am-2pm

Location: Scheels, 1200 Scheels Dr, Sparks, NV

Come read a book with Mrs. Claus at SCHEELS! United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra is aiding SCHEELS in giving every kiddo a brand-new age-appropriate book (while supplies last) to take home and enjoy this holiday season!

RED NOSE 5K 

Date: December 11, 8am

Location: Summit Mall (Reno Running Co)

The Red Nose 5k returns in 2021! On December 11th, dust off your favorite red suit or finest nose and horns for a 5K FUN RUN from our Summit Store. Finishers will receive a limited edition Red Nose 5K ornament and the top three men and women will earn special prizes courtesy of Brooks!

3RD THURSDAYS

Date: December 16 from 4-9pm (third Thursday of every month)

Location: Victorian Square

This includes good food, cold drinks, live entertainment, crafts, chef demos, movies on the big screen and all the art you can handle! Downtown Sparks is the place to be this and every 3rd Thursday of the month, all year round!

MAKER FAMILY MEET-UP

Date: Every Thursday from 3:30-5:30pm

Location: The Generator, 2450 Oddie Blvd Sparks, NV 89431

Drop-in every Thursday afternoon from 3:30-5:30 for the Maker Family Meetup! This is a pay-what-you-can drop-in art experience for kids and their families. Each week will be a different art activity as well as fun art activation stations for your child(ren) to explore! This is a fun, hands-on, and lowkey place for kids to express their creativity and check out our maker space.

CARSON CITY

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ TRAIN RIDE

Date: Nov. 19 – Dec. 24

Location: V&T Railway Eastgate Depot, 4650 Eastgate Siding Road, Carson City

Hop aboard the Polar Express and enjoy the train ride.  This is an interactive event the entire family is sure to love. Purchase tickets NOW as this sells out quickly.

SILVER & SNOWFLAKES FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Date: December 3rd, 5:30pm

Location: 101 N Carson Street Carson City, NV 89701

This event brings many visitors to the downtown core of Carson City NV to celebrate the annual tree lighting of the state and city Christmas trees.

SANTA TRAIN | NV STATE RAILROAD MUSEUM

Date: December 4 & 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19 / 10am – 3pm, train runs every 30 minutes

Location: 2180 South Carson Street Carson City, NV 89701

Visit with Santa Claus and receive a candy cane aboard the train.

Write a letter to Santa at the “Letters to Santa” table.$5.00 per person, children 2 and under sitting on a lap are FREE

Storytime with Mrs. Claus & Santa

Date: December 5 and December 19 at 5:00pm

Location: Carson Mall

Each child receives a cookie, small present, and cup to take home with hot chocolate. The seating starts at 4:30pm. RSVP online at Carson Mall Facebook.

HOMESTEAD HOLIDAYS

Date: December 10 – 12th / 5:00pm – 8:00pm

Location: 4901 Carson River Road Carson City, NV 89701

Enjoy this family-friendly event including photos with Santa, live music, wagon rides, Christmas craft market, food, decorations & lights, drink tent, and More!

WASHOE LAKE TRAIL OF LIGHTS – DRIVE-THRU

Date: Thursday, December 9 through Sunday, December 12, from 5-8 p.m. This program will run for four nights (12/9-12/12 from 5-8 p.m.).

Location: Washoe Lake State Park, NV

$5 per car for Nevada residents or $10 for nonresidents. Join us for our 2nd Annual Drive-Through Holiday celebration! Campground Loop B will be decorated with lights, snowmen, movie quotes, and more! Participants will stay in their vehicles as they drive through the loop. Listen to your favorite music as you drive through the campground looking at the decorations.
**Important update: Vehicle clearance is nine feet, six inches (9’6″), including the antenna. Vehicles taller than 9’6″ will not make it through the decorated loop.

Carson Valley

GARDNERVILLE CHRISTMAS KICKOFF

Date: December 2 @ 4:30

Location: Heritage Park, Gardnerville, NV

The Town of Gardnerville’s Holiday Kickoff begins December 2 at 4:30 at Heritage Park.  There will be caroling, local dancers, hot cider and cobbler, and FIREWORKS!

Live Entertainment includes: All About Dance Kids, Dance Workshop Kids, Sierra Lutheran High School Choir.

GENOA CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING

Date: December 3rd

Location: Corner of Main and Nixon Street

Caroling begins at 5:30 at Genoa Church, Tree lighting at 6:30 at the corner of Main and Nixon Street.

GAZEBO LIGHTING AT MINDEN PARK

Date: December 3, 5pm-7pm

Location: Minden Park, 1610 Esmeralda Ave. Minden, NV

There will be firepits and s’mores, and cookies from CVI.  Kids – Bring a canned food item to exchange for a goodie bag. Douglas High School Jazz Band will be performing.  Santa comes at 6:00 to light the Gazebo.

breakfast with santa

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA IN GENOA

Date: December 4, 8:30am-11:45am

Location: Genoa Town Hall, 2287 Main Street Genoa, NV

Enjoy pancakes, sausage, orange juice and coffee, and visit with Santa! Children 4 and under are free. Three seatings – 8:30, 9:45, and 11:30 AM. Buy tickets in advance for Breakfast with Santa at GenoaNV.org or by calling 775-782-8696.

TWO DAYS OF HOLIDAY SHOPPING AT EDDY STREET VINTAGE MARKET

Date: December 4, 10am-4pm

Location: Eddy Street Vintage Market, 1235 Eddy Street Gardnerville, NV

Come and shop on Sunday.  Eddy Street will be packed with the perfect gifts for everyone on your list.

PARADE OF LIGHTS

Date: December, 5pm-8pm

Location: Minden Park, 1610 Esmeralda Ave. Minden, NV

Come out and watch Carson Valley’s 25th Annual Parade of Lights.  The Silver Anniversary theme is “The Magical Carson Valley.”

See the wonderfully decorated floats with their dazzling lights as they make their way along Highway 395 from Gilman Avenue to Minden Park.  It’s a great way to kick off the holidays with friends and family!

A COWBOY COUNTRY CHRISTMAS

Date: December 11th, 6-8:30pm

Location: Genoa Town Hall, 2287 Main Street Genoa, NV 89411

The Genoa Cowboy Country Christmas concert features classic Christmas music and more by the talented musician’s Cowboy Steve and Buddy Emmer.

CHRISTMAS AT THE CABIN

Date: December 16-19

Location: Eddy Street Vintage Market

Pop-up Sale at Eddy Street Vintage Market

WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA

Date: December 18, 9am – 11am

Location: See details

Remember and Honor our veterans through the laying of Remembrance Wreaths on the graves of our country’s fallen heroes, and by saying the name of each and every veteran aloud.

This is a nationwide event.  There will be two locations here in Carson Valley:  Garden Cemetery (235 Veterans headstones) and Eastside Memorial Park (380 Veterans headstones.)

CARSON VALLEY POPS ORCHESTRA WINTER CONCERT

Date: December 18, 6pm-8pm

Location: CVIC Hall, 1602 Esmeralda Ave, Minden, NV 89423

Doors open at 6:00.  Concert at 7:00. Get your FREE tickets IN ADVANCE at gadZooks!

NEW YEAR’S EVE CANDLELIGHT LABYRINTH WALK

Date: December 31, 6pm-9pm

Location: Heritage Park, 1447 Courthouse Alley Gardnerville, NV 89410

The 8th Annual New Year’s Eve Candlelight Labyrinth Walk is located at Heritage Park Gardens, 1461 Ezell Street, Gardnerville. Fire pits, hot cocoa and cider, and friends and family will keep you warm.

VIRGINIA CITY

CHRISTMAS ON THE COMSTOCK

Date: December 1 – December 31

Location: Virginia City

Virginia City celebrates all month long! Festivities include the Believe Again Christmas Challenge shopping spree worth $1,000, two weekends of Magical Christmas Fireworks Shows, the fun-filled Candy Cane Express and the evening Train O’Lights, a Christmas play, Parade of Lights, a saloon crawl, holiday artisan craft fair at St. Mary’s Art Center and community celebrations.

Candy Cane Express Virginia City

V&T CANDY CANE EXPRESS

Date: Nov. 26 – Dec. 19

Location: Virginia & Truckee Railroad Depot, 165 F Street, Virginia City, Nevada.

Purchase tickets in advance, this sells out every year!  Enjoy a 45-minute journey over the original 150-year old V&T railroad route, you will enjoy hot cocoa or cider, candy canes & cookies, on the festively decorated train. Watch little faces light up while riding through the enchanting Candy Cane tunnel.

Listen to a reading of 1823 classic “T’was the Night Before Christmas”, and you may even see wild horses along the way.

ELECTRIC HOLIDAY TRAIN OF LIGHTS

Date: Nov. 26, 27 & Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18

Location: Virginia & Truckee Railroad Depot, 165 F Street, Virginia City, Nevada.

Thousands of LED lights will decorate the V&T’s historic Pullman passenger cars as they travel along the gorgeously lit 2.5 mile route to Santa’s Village at Gold Hill.

You will be served hot chocolate or cider along with cookies as you travel along, listening to songs of the season and taking in the beautifully lit Christmas scenes along the way. A gift bag and light stick will be presented to every passenger.

ELKO

FESTIVAL OF TREES

Date: December 1 – December 4

Location: Elko Conference Center

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN

As you enjoy the holiday season, we recommend planning ahead as things can get crowded!

What events and activities are you looking forward to attending with your family this month?

Have travel plans to the Las Vegas area? Check out upcoming events in Southern Nevada for the month of December.

What other November family-friendly activities in Reno are you most excited about?

Did we miss your event or activity? Comment below to be added!

Co-Founder

Kacey Queen is a co-founder of Nevada Moms

Kacey received her bachelor's in Psychology while cheering for the University of Oregon. They moved to Reno in 2014 and have loved it ever since. She is a dedicated homeschooling mother to her three children.

She serves on the hospital board for Northern Nevada Health Systems and is passionate about her community.

Kacey loves exploring with her family and finding family-friendly events and activities! A few of her favorite things include family adventures, traveling, working out, coffee, and dessert!