The 2018 Christmas season is upon us, with a bunch of holiday season events and activities coming to the Reno / Sparks area.

Some of the early December things you may want to check out include performances of “The Nutcracker,” Christmas shows at some of the casinos, free holiday movies and Santa visits at the Washoe County Library, Christmas music performances, and Christmas on the Comstock in Virginia City. There are Santa train rides at the Nevada Railroad Museum in Carson City and on the V&T Railroad in Virginia City.

Thanks to recent storms, there is plenty of snow for you to hit the ski slopes and/or enjoy family fun at our nearby snow play areas. The Downtown Reno Ice Rink at Greater Nevada Field will be open daily throughout the Christmas holidays.

You don’t need a bunch of money to enjoy the season, either. There are plenty of free holiday activities during December and other things to do that are inexpensive. Learn more from “Christmas Events and Activities around Reno and Sparks.”


It’s not necessary to head out to the Christmas tree lots and spend big bucks for a fresh-cut Christmas tree.

Going out to get your own Christmas tree on public land can be a fun family outing and adventure. We have plenty of public land in northern Nevada for this activity, with most of it administered by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Both agencies currently have Christmas tree cutting permits for 2018 available to the public.

You can obtain permits for several types of trees, including various species of pine, cedar, fir, and juniper. Cutting areas are located around Lake Tahoe, in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, and on land administered by the Nevada BLM Carson City District. For more information about obtaining permits and where to get trees, refer to “Christmas Tree Cutting Permits.”

Getting aboard a Santa train is one of the fun family things to do during the Christmas holiday season. Fortunately, we have three such trains in the Reno area and more not too far away (except for Ely, which is a long way from Reno).

The big train attraction is the Polar Express, taking passengers from the Eastgate Depot in Carson City to the North Pole (there’s also a Polar Express in Ely). This one requires getting tickets in advance, which tend to sell out every year. Two other Santa trains, one at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City and the Candy Cane Express in Virginia City, are easier to get on board. The Candy Cane Express, however, is quite popular and getting advance tickets is usually a good idea.

Learn about these train rides and more from “Christmas Holiday Santa Train Rides.” For lots of ideas for fun things to do during the December holiday season, refer to “2018 Christmas Events and Activities around Reno and Sparks.”