Wednesday, December 13, 2023

2023 Reno, Nevada Winter Guide: Holiday Events, Local Shopping, Shows, Christmas Lights, Activities, & More

Snowfall may occur as early as the end of October in Reno. Although winters are typically mild, occasional heavy snowfall can present hazards. Here's a guide with tips and information to help you navigate life in snowy conditions.

Reno is brimming with holiday and seasonal excitement, and neighboring towns like Lake Tahoe, Sparks, Carson City, Truckee, Virginia City, and more are all part of the same festive club, collectively elevating the holiday spirit to its grandest.

Whether you prefer staying in town or venturing out to nearby areas, you'll discover a multitude of activities to enjoy, both near or far.
Distances to Nearby Destinations
*Lake Tahoe - 40 minutes to 1.3 hrs.
*Sparks - just next door
*Carson City - 30 minutes
*Truckee - 45 mins.
*Virginia City - 27 mins.
*Gardnerville - 50 mins.
*Genoa - 45 mins.

Follow these account to stay up to date with the 
latest & greatest in these areas:

At any time during the winter season, you may come across carolers spreading cheer with their lovely voices, neighbors going on all out in decorating for breathtaking Christmas scenes, holiday concerts, restaurants enticing with delectable holiday offerings, fundraisers, craft workshops, pop-up shops, amazing holiday shows, festive marathons, & outdoor adventures like snow tubing and ice skating, among many other festivities.

Below you'll find a curated list of various activities and events - some new, others cherished traditions- in and around Reno to assist in planning for the holidays. 

Apologies for the delayed post; my family and I were hit with a nasty bug. Nevertheless, many of the events listed below are annual occurrences. Feel free to bookmark this post for future reference when planning out your holiday season next year.

Wishing you a Holiday season filled with excitement and joy.

Keep checking back, as I'll be updating this guide regularly with more information.

P.S. Stay connected and catch all the latest updates & tips by following me on Instagram @lovingreno775.

***I am a single individual with a passion for supporting the community.  All opinions expressed here are my own, and I am not affiliated with any of the businesses referenced in this post.  I express to you my heartfelt love and deep appreciation for the wonderful people and experiences that contribute to making Reno the "Biggest Little City."
Unique ornaments from Wilbur D. May gift shop

Maximizing Your Holiday Season: Tips for a Memorable Celebration

*Book events/purchase tickets as soon as possible as many of them sell out fast

*Arrive to events early to avoid traffic/lines + land good parking

*Always check hourly weather to dress appropriately.  Wind speeds higher than 10mph can be biting cold when coupled with low temps., especially for littles.  Did you catch my winter travel guide up top?

*Having extra clothes, an emergency kits- road + first aid, & food in your vehicle all season long can make for a smoother winter.

Wishing you the most joyous holiday season yet. 
Peace, Love, & Respect, Kat

Cookie's with Santa 2021 hosted by Shay Co.

In This Guide:

*Winter Bucket List
*Events with links 
*Nearby Destinations
*Where to see Christmas lights & displays
*Where to go ice Skating
*Where to go Skiing & Snowboarding
*Winter Activities
*Information on "Elf Yourself" - elf generator app activity
*Lists - Places to Shop, Clutter Free Gifts, Experiences, Ceramic Studios, Memberships, Nurseries, Subscriptions, Local Bookstores

I LOVE Everything about this movie.

Winter Bucket List

  1. Build a Snowman
  2. Go Ice Skating
  3. Winter Hike or Snowshoeing
  4. Visit a Christmas Market
  5. Visit a Museum
  6. Bake Holiday Treats
  7. Movie Marathon
  8. Attend a Winter Festival
  9. Try a Winter Sport
  10. Sleigh Ride
  11. Volunteer/Donate
  12. Cozy Night In
  13. Stargazing
  14. Make DIY Winter Decor
  15. Winter Picnic
  16. Polar Plunge
  17. Attend a Winter Workshop
  18. Read a Book
  19. Family Game Night
  20. Enjoy a Festive Drive to Admire Christmas Lights
  21. Holiday Karaoke Songs
  22. Roast Nuts
  23. Snowball Fight
  24. Make Soup
  25. Have a Bonfire
  26. Random Act of Kindness
  27. Make A Snow Fort
  28. Drink Hot Cocoa (make a cocoa bar for events)
  29. Decorate a Gingerbread House/Tree
  30. Cut Paper Snowflakes
  31. Holiday Crafts with Kids
  32. Make an Ornament
  33. Conquer a Puzzle
  34. Family Photos
  35. Fireworks
  36. Christmas Pajamas
  37. Learn an Instrument
  38. Indulge in Local Holiday Offerings


Elevate your family fun with our 3-Year Membership Special! 
Purchase a three-year KidZone Museum membership and score a FREE 2023/2024 ski lift pass at Palisades Tahoe! You'll receive 20% off merchandise, birthday parties, special programs, and more! 
Memberships may only be purchased in-person. 
Please call (530) 587-5437 to confirm availability.

Hurry, while supplies last! Thanks, Palisades Tahoe, for supporting museum families! 

Reno Cake Artist Takes Center Stage on Food Network's 'Holiday Wars'
Watch Peppermill's talented cake artist, Brian Valencia, showcase his skills, along with his team, "The Frostbites," on Food Network's "Holiday Wars." Witness his magic unfold HERE, & stay tuned for the upcoming announcement of who wins the title & lands the grand prize of $25,000.

Brian is available for hire for custom cake commissions.  If you have a vision, he can make it come to life.  He is constantly working his butt off at the Peppermill, baking cakes for all sorts of events and occasions.  Secure him while he's still available-book now if interested.
Follow this Talent on Instagram.  He's a super kind human.

Pie Love

Big shout out to Colton & chef Jason of Silver State Pie Co. for making extraordinary pies.  Seriously, find these humans a.s.a.p. & try out their outrageously delicious sweet & savory pies.

Support Local

Below, I showcase several of our local businesses. 

Why advocate for local businesses? 

They're not just faceless entities; they're our neighbors, friends, and family. Their dedication to their craft results in the creation of high-quality & unique products and services. These businesses contribute diversity, passion, & significant value to our community.

Having had the privilege of meeting numerous inspiring business owners, I can confidently say that they are all remarkable individuals. 

Join the movement—follow, comment, & spread the word about your favorite local businesses to ensure their strength and vitality. Most of them can be found on Instagram.

Feel free to connect with me on the platform if you'd like to share more about your cherished local businesses or experiences.  I'm all about supporting those who are doing their very best to contribute nothing but the best for our community.

For Families 
Northern Nevada Moms
Reno moms generously share insights on all things local throughout the year, covering activities, food, events, businesses, & more. This family resource serves as a guide, highlighting the best of Reno for families.

Information subject to change.  
Please always check in with businesses to confirm details.
A Christmas Story Leg Lamp at Inclined Burgers and Brew in Northwest Reno

-November 10 through December 17: It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play @ Reno Little Theater
-November 11 & 12: 10am-6pm Fleas the Season @ Neil Road Recreation Center
-November 11: 10am-2pm Holiday Family Art Festival @ Lake Mansion
-November 17-19: Jurassic Quest @ Reno-Sparks Convention Center
-November 19: 9am-2pm Holiday Bazaar @ Year-round Riverside Farmer's Market
-November 21- December -30: Christmas on Ice Show @ El Dorado Casino Show Room
-November 23: (8:30am) 25th Annual Scheel's Turkey Trot @ Scheel's, Sparks
-November 23: 5K 9am, 1 mile 9:05am Wobble Before you Gobble Run @ Wingfield Park
-November 24 & 25, December 2, 3, 9, 16, 17, 23, & 24: Candy Cane Express Train @ Virginia City (Sold Out)
-November 24-26: (11am-3pm) Thanksgiving Weekend @ Animal Ark
-November 24- December 31: Full Dome Laser Shows @ Fleischmann Planetarium
-November 25- December 17: Every Saturday & Sunday 11am-5pm Deck the Halls @ Reno Public Market
-November 26 through December 24: Santa's Wonderland (free 4x6 photo with santa, by reservation) @ Cabela's
-November 30- December 10: Tahoe Film Festival Incline Village Cinema
-December 1: (5:30pm) Silver & Snowflakes Festival of Lights @ Nevada State Capitaol Building, Carson City
-December 1-10: A Christmas Story @ The Truckee Community Theater
-December 2 & 3: 9am-5pm & 10am-3pm Magic of Santa Arts & Craft
 Faire @ Reno-Sparks Convention Center
-December 2: (3pm-7pm) Annual South Creek Christmas Festival Hosted by Living Stones Church @ South Creek Shopping Center
-December 2, 9, 16, & 23: (8am-10am) Breakfast with Santa @ Fire & Ice Restaurant, Heavenly Village, South Lake Tahoe
-December 2, 9, & 16: (11am-3pm) Pictures with Santa @ Toys N More
-December 3: 11am-2pm Handmade Holiday Faire @ Urban Roots
-December 5, 7, 10, 14, 16, 21, 29 December Events @ Enchanted Cat Cafe
-December 6: (6pm-9pm) 7th Annual Winter Wonderland (Bites and cocktail benefit @ Atlantis Ballroom
-December 7: (6:30-7:30pm): Candle Pouring Party @ The Waste Less Shop
-December 8 & 9: (4pm-8pm) Festival of Winter Lights @ Lake Tahoe Historical Museum parking lot
-December 8 & 9: (7:30pm) Nevada Gay Men's Chorus presents A Holly Jolly Holiday Spectacular @ Proctor R. Hug HS Theater
-December 9: (10am-3pm) Hi-Dez Holiday Market @ Holland Project
-December 9: (10:30am-1:30pm) Santa Ski Day @ Mt. Rose Ski Resort
-December 9, 10, 16, 17, 22, 23: (11am-3pm) Meet Santa @ Scheel's, Sparks
-December 10: (1pm-3pm) Holiday Card Workshop @ LCDmodern
-December 13 & 14: The Reno Dance Company's The Nutcracker @ GSR
-December 14: 12:30pm-1:30pm The Grinch @ Reno Senior Center (sold out)
-December 15: (6pm-7:30pm) Wreath Decoration Workshop hosted by Abloom Floral Design @ The Paloma, located at The Basement
-December 15 & 16: 5th Annual Christmas Fair @ Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Gymnasium
-December 15-31: Winter Wonders @ Northstar California Resort (about 1 hr. from Reno past Truckee)
-December 16: (12pm-4pm) Winter Walk @ RED Experience District
-December 16: Shay Co Shop Annual Cookie's with the Grinch (12pm-2pm)@ Shay Co Shop, The Basement (sold out)
-December 16: (10am-2pm) The Basement's Maker's Market @ The Basement
-December 16 & 17: (10am-4pm) Christmas Arts & Crafts Show @ GSR Exhibition Hall
-December 17 (12pm-5pm): Cowboy Christmas @ South 40
-December 21: (5pm-7pm) Holiday Sip & Shop @ LCDmodern
-December 31: (5pm Music, 9pm Ball Drop & Fireworks) Heavenly Village New Year's Celebration, South Lake Tahoe
-December 31 (9pm- 2am) 90s New Year's Party @ The Depot
-December 31: (4:30pm-6:30pm) New Year's Fireworks Celebration @ Mt. Rose Ski Resort
Event Descriptions
-November 10 - December 17: 
Reno Little Theater 
Are you a fan of talent and wit? Reno Little Theater has been showcasing plays since 1935.  Every play you attend promises nothing but the best. I personally experienced the phenomenal performance of "How to Survive Your Family During Christmas" last year, despite some references predating my time. The showcased talent was truly outstanding, and the storyline was perfectly attuned to the time period—simple yet resonant with its moral message.
"It's a Wonderful Life - A Live Radio Play is a twist on the classic holiday movie. Set in a radio studio in the 1940s, we meet an actor who plays: George Bailey, a man who's always wanted to leave his small town for bigger and better things. But you know the story - when a financial crisis hits and he contemplates suicide, an angel shows him what the world would be like without him. Chaos ensues as George tries to set things right, with the help of his friends and family. But with the sound effects team in the radio station adding their own unique touch, things don't always go as planned." (Description from website.)

-November 11: 10am-2pm
Holiday Family Art Festival
Lake Mansion Arts & Cultural Center
*holiday themed art stations, 1 free book/child, pictures with Santa, toy drive, exploration on the history of Lake Mansion
*You can usually find TukTuk YumYum at this event

The Lake Mansion stands as a captivating historical gem, playing host to a myriad of engaging workshops and events all year round.
In November, the Lake Mansion hosts its cherished annual Holiday Family Arts Festival. The festivities include holiday-themed craft stations scattered between the main building and its adjacent outdoor space.

Did you know that this building dates back to 1877, making it 146 years old to date?

I feel so fortunate to stroll through such a beautifully preserved vintage building, watching my children enjoy it year after year, especially during the festive holiday season. The mansion's inherent beauty, coupled with its rich history, lends a unique charm to Reno. Keep an eye out for the spectacular Artown event in August—the mansion never fails to provide an extraordinary experience.
-November 11 & 12
Neil Road Recreation Center
-November 17,18,19
Reno-Sparks Convention Center
*My GUIDE for this event

I love taking my kids to this event every year.  More on why we love this event on my Jurassic Quest guide.
-November 18: (7am-12pm)
Reno Public Market
Description from Instagram
"This FRIDAY November 17th, I’m back outside! “MO’s 7th Annual, Drive By Turkey Drop” 7am-12pm brought to you by @sierraeventgroup in partnership with @renopublicmarket (front parking lot).  Your donation helps the less fortunate kids and families here in Northern Nevada.  Have an opportunity to enjoy a home cooked meal this thanksgiving and holiday season. Thanks to the @foodbanknn.

I challenge all of my family, friends, co-workers, business associates, & local business owners of all sizes and levels to share the love and help us out, please…we need the community!

We need the following:
1. Frozen Turkeys (any size, any brand)
2. Canned goods
3. Non perishables
4. Drinks
5. Monetary (cash/check)

(Don’t need to be present to Win)
•wine (must be 21+) ($29.99 value)
•echo dot (Alexa) ($49.99 value)
•Full Lash Set Giveaway ($200 value)
•Honey Bar Giveaways ($200 value)
•Dem_is_Plants Plant Giveaway ($65 value)"

November 19: 9am-2pm
Holiday Bazaar @ Riverside Farmer's Market
Idlewild Park
2055 Idlewild Dr, Reno, NV 89509
*My Instagram reel of this event

The Annual Riverside Farmer's Market Thanksgiving Holiday Bazaar is a celebration not to be missed—a perfect blend of tradition, togetherness, and the spirit of the season.

If you've never been to Idlewild Park, it's one of our top parks that holds so much beauty.  Nestled next to the Truckee River, the park features serene ponds, grassy areas, majestic leaf changing trees, and so much more.  

Discover an array of fantastic local vendors at this event, engage in activities ranging from pie-eating to pie-making contests, enjoy live entertainment, partake in family-friendly activities, seize the opportunity to capture festive moments with Santa, and so much more.

-November 23: 8:30am
*Location: Scheels Sparks

Reno has some amazing races that have become traditions for many locals in Reno because of their fun and rewarding properties. 

Dirty Wookie (Star Wars Theme), Rock Reno, and the Turkey trot are just a few local favorites.  Find out more about our races at Reno Races.

I cannot describe the vibes and energy you get at these events.

So many people from all walks of life come together and race for all sorts of purposes - fundraising, health, fun, community, competition, self-improvement, to support a good cause, to be empowered, to model healthy habits, and so much more.

At the Turkey Trot, participants will trot around Sparks Marina, one of the biggest bodies of water you'll find around Reno, and it just so happens to be right next to the Outlets at Legends, home to Scheels.  

Scheels is the ultimate sporting goods store that has more than just goods.  Inside you'll find a huge Ferris Wheel ($1/person/ride), Fuzziwig's Candy Shop, home to some delicious caramel apples, roller ball, a mini arcade, Ginna's Cafe, & so much more.

After the race, indulge in delicious local coffee at Lighthouse Coffee, situated right on the waterfront. Additionally, check out Everbowl, conveniently located next to the gas station, offering yummy and nourishing acai bowls and smoothies.
Run/Walk Options: 10k times, 2 mile not timed
-November 23: 5K 9am, 1 mile 9:05am

Wingfield Park

2 S Arlington Ave

Reno, NV 89501

(description from website)
"The 5K will kick off at Wingfield Park on Arlington Ave. Participants will head north before turning left onto 1st St. Runners will take 1st St to Riverside Dr. and follow Riverside Dr. to Idlewild Dr. Runners will enter Idlewild Park, run through Idlewild Park before jumping back onto Idlewild Dr. and heading back to the finish line! The 5K course will be well marked with orange cones and signs. The course is flat and will take you through Downtown Reno and Idlewild Park. This event is walker friendly and stroller friendly! 

The 5K will have an aid station with water at mile 1.5.


The 1 Mile will take off at Winfield Park and follow the river path until joining the 5K course and finishing under the arch."

2450 Oddie Blvd, Sparks NV, 894
-November 23 -26:
The Nugget Convention Rooms

"This holiday season, Crafts for Christmas returns to the Nugget Casino Resort with three days of activities, including gift booths + holiday food & drink." (Description from website)

-November 24: (6:30pm)

I LOVE visiting The Shops at Heavenly year-round.  This area is the busiest in all of Lake Tahoe and contains so many vibes, life, charm, & activities.

A few things I love about this area:
ski resort
scenic gondola rides
summer activities (bike course/mountain coaster/mini golf)
(free) live entertainment
lounge + dinner & magic at The Loft
walking distance to Lakeside Beach
and so much more.
-November 24-26: 11am-3pm
Animal Ark

"Not wild about hitting the malls for the annual holiday shopping frenzy after Thanksgiving? Why not spend the weekend at Animal Ark! 

Have family in town? You can enjoy our animals when they are active in late fall’s cooler temperatures. With warm drinks and festive tidings, this event is the perfect family gathering to make memories that will last a lifetime!" 

(Description from website)

-November 24- December 31 
Fleischman Planetarium, UNR
1664 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 89557
I LOVE our fantastic planetarium; despite its modest size, it holds an impressive space exhibit open to the public.  Check out their impressive life size model of our earth and fulfill your dream of driving on another planet by experiencing their captivating space driving simulator game.

They also feature an incredible dome that offers access for all ages during their public screenings. Adult-oriented films typically play later in the day, while kid-oriented films are shown in the mornings.

Bring some coins for the kids to shoot down a spiral wishing well and enjoy exploring one of the most rad and one-of-a-kind science-themed gift shops.

During peak times, you might be required to obtain a permit from the planetarium to display on your windshield.

Stay in the know about special events, including year-round stargazing both outdoors and in their dome, by following them on social media.
-November 24 & 25, December 2, 3, 9, 16, 17, 23, & 24 (Sold Out)
Candy Cane Express Train in Virginia City  (26 minutes from South Reno)
Virginia and Truckee Railroad
166 F St, Virginia City, NV 89440
*Purchase Tickets (Purchase in shop to avoid online charge)

A friendly elf on the Candy Cane Express in Virginia City
The Candy Cane Express is a short & magical 45 minute out-and-back ride to Gold Hill and includes:
-Joyful and kind-hearted North Pole elves
-An elf emcee on the train serenading passengers with carols and sharing Christmas jokes
-Delightful candy canes distributed at the end of the ride
-Choice of hot cocoa or festive apple cider
-A charming goodie bag with cookies, kisses, a pen, and a postcard for Santa (deposit in the mailbox in front of the gift shop)
-A reading of "The Night Before Christmas"
-Breathtaking views of Virginia City
-The ideal setting and atmosphere for a holiday celebration
-A Christmas-themed train
-During the first half of the ride discover Santa's workshop at Gold Hill, where you'll get the chance to witness industrious elves and receive a special message from Santa, who even calls out the names of some lucky children on board
-Explore the gift shop for unique holiday treasures
-If you're fortunate, you might spot wild mustangs or deer

Enjoying views of wild mustangs on the Candy Cane Express Train
Wild Mustangs are always a welcome sight in Virginia City, NV.

V&T puts so much thought and effort into every detail of this event.  Throughout the years, it has become a beloved tradition for many families.

Virginia City is a short and scenic 30 minute trip up the mountains from South Reno and offers unique boutique shopping, tourist attractions, restaurantssaloonsaccommodations, and tours on top of its special themed train rides throughout the year.  

Its signature "Wild West" look and feel, along with its festive and fun nature, attracts so many visitors yearly.  It's one of my favorite places to visit year-round.

Virginia City knows how to celebrate the holidays.  Check out their Christmas on the Comstock activities and events throughout the month and have yourself a merry and jam-packed holiday season.  Visit their Forever Christmas shop, a store that represents its true holiday spirit. 

Have a great BBQ meal at Virginia City Jerky Company (all of their sides are yummy) and grab some kettle corn next door.  Find fudge, ice cream, and caramel apples are just a little ways down at Grandma's Fudge Factory

If you're a cowboy/cowgirl at heart and want the ultimate souvenir, check out Old Time Photos where you get to dress up and have a print out of your "Wild West" self. 

Have children to entertain?  Head to Saw Dust Trails for mining, gallery shooting, old time arcade machines, local Old West souvenirs, a penny press machine, a 5 minute year-round ghost town walk through, and more.

Electric Holiday Train O' Lights (sold out for 2023)

*Electric Holiday Train O' Lights runs in December, along with the Polar Express & Candy Cane Express trains.  (sign up for VC's newsletter to get dibs on tickets as soon as they drop).
*Tickets are by reservation only & book out fast
The Polar Express Train is incredibly popular and sells out instantly. 
*Don't forget to check hourly weather the day of your ride to dress appropriately, especially when traveling with smaller children.
*Snacks are available for purchase at their gift shop

 V&T Railroad gift shop, 2021

November 25- December 17:

Every Saturday & Sunday 11am-5pm
Reno Public Market
299 E Plumb Ln.
Reno, NV 89502
*RPM website

Reno Public Market in Nevada is a bustling hub that blends local businesses, artisans, and diverse culinary delights. 

Beyond commerce, it's a community space hosting live performances and events, fostering a vibrant atmosphere where locals and visitors come together to celebrate Reno's creativity and community spirit.

Visit The Wok for flavorful Filipino cuisine, Batch Cupcakery for daily baked goods catering to all diets, and V's Churro Bar for indulgent mile-high churro sundaes. Don't miss the sweetest cocktails at Honey Bar (they have a drink they serve in an adorable honey bear bottle). For your caffeine fix, head to Main Vein, and discover even more at our super hip and modern market with a diverse array of merchants.

Junkee, our cherished thrift store and vintage shop, has recently moved into the building, and I'm excited to share that Beloved's Bread is set to open soon next door. Their handmade bread and goods are everything. The spacious layout can only mean an epic experience once they open their doors. 
-November 26 through December 24
*LocationCabela's in Verdi (A little ways after Robb Dr. exit on 80W in Reno)
*Free 4x6 photo with Santa 

This Santa is a hit among many moms in Reno.  This store is comparable to Scheel's, but a bit smaller & more on the rustic side. Cabela's has an amazing atmosphere with lots to see and is definitely worth a trip out.  

If you're looking for a fun stop nearby, Boomtown is right next door with an arcade, fun mini golf course, a few small rides, including a fun carousel (slow, but beautiful) & wagon style Ferris wheel (operates on certain days) .  Mel's Diner is next to Boomtown arcade and has cool retro vibes.

Crystal Peak Park is conveniently located in the same area for those seeking a pleasant and brief scenic walk, complete with fishing ponds. Explore more about this park in my post.
-November 30 (5;30pm-7pm): 

"Bring the family for an evening of electric carriage rides, caroling, local dancers, fireworks, and, of course, a visit with Santa!" (description from website)

Gardnerville, a picturesque town, is just a short and scenic one-hour drive from Reno, passing through Carson City. It is host to one of one of my favorite annual events - the Coffin Races - and home to a delightful spot for sweet treats, The Chocolate Shoppe.

For those with an adventurous spirit seeking to explore a new community, Gardnerville comes highly recommended. Its year-round events, stunning scenery, and tight-knit community make it a charming destination worth discovering.

-November 30- December 3: 
-December 1,2, & 3
*My REEL of 2023 celebration on Instagram

39 North Pole Village is an absolute must-see in December, offering an abundance of festive delights. Enjoy a variety of comforting and delicious offerings from rad local businesses, enjoy live local entertainment, and discover craft vendors housed in a heated tent for all your holiday needs.

The event is always decorated with so many Christmas displays, featuring an annual favorite - A Christmas Story, complete with the iconic leg lamp from the movie.

If you time your visit just right, you'll be able to capture memorable photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus against a festive Christmas backdrop. 

The event's location naturally exudes a cozy village ambiance, enhancing the special festive atmosphere. After enjoying all the outdoor fun, consider catching a movie at the Victorian Galaxy Theaters to warm up and complete the experience.

-Arrive early for street parking. Alternatively, the Victorian Square Parking Garage adjacent to the theater offers lots of parking spaces and is conveniently within walking distance of the event. 
-I strongly recommend dressing warm for this event.  This time of the year can get really chilly, especially with high wind speeds.
-For those looking to save money, consider bringing a thermos filled with hot drinks and some food to enhance your experience.
-The parade is very long in duration.  Some people like bringing lawn chairs with them for comfort.  I suggest sitting on the side of the restaurants for easy access to restrooms and food, particularly right next to the MCs, so that you can hear their commentary for the parade.

-December 1-22: 
99 N Virginia St, 
Reno, NV 89501 
"Brüka celebrates the holidays with pure Hollywood camp presenting CHRISTMAS WITH THE CRAWFORDS.  This hilarious cult classic is based on an actual Christmas Eve live radio broadcast from Joan Crawford’s Brentwood mansion in 1949. Filled with exaggerated silver screen icons, this mash-up musical parody is a loving homage to Hollywood’s “Golden Age” and features appearances of Tinsel Town divas such as Judy Garland, Carmen Miranda, Gloria Swanson, Hedda Hopper, Ethel Merman, and the Andrews Sisters. Christmas With The Crawfords is a delightful alternative to the usual saccharine fare offered during the holidays and is guaranteed to make anyone who sees it feel much better about their own family at any time of year."

-December 1: 5:30pm
Silver & Snowflakes Festival of Lights
*Facebook page for the latest updates

This festival is an amazing way to celebrate the holidays, with a tree lighting ceremony at the beautiful capitol building, a cheerful chorus of adorable kids, Mr. & Mrs. Santa, festive lighting, free carriage rides, hot cocoa & cider, and a fun crowd of visitors that all contribute to an amazing holiday scene and atmosphere.  

If you're looking for treats and food for the family, Scoups is conveniently located across the street from the event.  They serve tasty ice cream, sandwiches, soups, hot drinks, kid's meals, and provide excellent service.  It's located in a cute shopping center that has plenty of room for children to play.

*Check hourly weather as this event takes place later in the day where temperatures can be freezing.
*Arrive early to grab a spot in front of the capitol building in front of the steps to watch Carson's adorable 5th graders Carol and light up the event.

-December 2 (9am-5pm) & 3 (10am-3pm)
*Location:  Reno-Sparks Convention, Reno.
*Admission: $5/person, $4/seniors + students, 16 & under free
$1 off if you bring a canned item for food drive
free admission last hour of each day

"The Magic of Santa Craft Faire has been running for 43 consecutive years and just keeps getting better year after year. Fine Arts and Crafts from over 80 crafters. Support your local small family owned businesses and find beautiful hand made items from tole painted snowmen to fine wood work and handcrafts for yourself and the ones you love".

-December 2: 6pm (6pm-9pm)
Atlantis Ballroom
-December 2: (3pm-7pm) 
South Creek Shopping Center
South Creek Weddings and Events

"Lots of great vendors, treats, photo with Santa, photo booth, tree lighting and lots of fun for kids of all ages." (Description from website)

South Creek is home to one of my favorite local culinary gems—South Creek Pizza, renowned for its unique, gourmet pizzas that never fail to impress.

Another must-visit in the area is Squeeze In, a delightful breakfast spot with a vibrant atmosphere. Squeeze In is celebrated for its extensive menu featuring an array of fresh, fun, and delectable omelets, making it a go-to destination for a delightful morning meal.

-December 2, 9, & 16: (11am-3pm) 
4809 Kietzke Ln Suite C, 
Reno, NV 89509

-December 2, 9, 16, & 23: (8am-10am)
Breakfast with Santa (South Lake Tahoe, 1.3 hrs. from Reno)
*Tickets - $20/kids, $30/adults
*Parking Information (see map below on directions to their on site parking garage)

I LOVE this event for its ideal location, meal offerings, & ample time for the whole family to interact with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
Lunch Buffet at Fire & Ice

On a regular day, Fire & Ice Restaurant in Heavenly Village, is an engaging lunch buffet.  

Customers select their ingredients & bring them to the grill to be cooked.

If you're fortunate, catch a lively show from the chef, complete with plates soaring through the air and bowls skillfully landing in bins. 

Fire & Ice never fails to deliver a load of fun! I especially appreciate the inclusion of fresh seafood, such as scallops and mussels, adding an extra layer of delight & value to the dining experience.

Check out the process in my reel here.
About Heavenly Village
If you have not already been to Heavenly Village, it's one of the most popular ski resorts in Lake Tahoe.  It's loaded with so many shops, entertainment, activities, and restaurants that make it an ideal place to visit year-round.  

I stayed at the hotel on their property, Grand Residence, and thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in the middle of so action.

The theater, magic at the loft, scenic gondola ride, live music, wide offerings of food, and short walk to the beach made for the perfect activities during my stay.

Although the village can be a bit more on the pricey end, me and my family still love visiting because of the cozy atmosphere, cool shops & restaurants, priceless views, and many free events offered here throughout the year.   
What You'll Find at Heavenly Village
-Ice skating rink in the winter click link for rates
-Mini golf course in the summer
-Shops and Boutiques including: Village Toy Shop, Patagonia, & Sock City
-Heavenly Village Cinemas 
-Live Entertainment (Base Camp Pizza is a good spot)
-Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop
-Across the street is another plaza, including Raley's, Starbucks, Jamba Juice & more 
-cozy village vibes
-Lakeside Beach is a short 13 minute walk from the village 
(playground and restaurant on the beach)
"P" for parking at Heavenly
-December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 22, & 23: 11am-3pm
Meet Santa, Mrs. Claus, & their elves
*Don't forget your camera

Scheels is a delightful destination any time of the year, and the holiday season adds an extra layer of joy to the experience.

Take a spin on their indoor ferris wheel for just $1 per person, test your skills at the shooting gallery, enjoy some roller ball (don't forget your dollar bills), and explore the mini arcade. 

Be sure to visit their new holiday decor section, savor a bite at Gina's Cafe, and treat yourself to one of my personal favorites—a caramel apple from Fuzziwig's. 

Scheels promises a year-round adventure.

I'd like to emphasize Scheel's significant role in the community. On top of hosting numerous free events, the store generously donates substantial funds to various non-profit organizations, contributing to the betterment of our community.

If you're looking for an outdoor activity nearby, Sparks Marina is a short walk away, where you'll find a nice loop lined with beautiful scenery.  

Stop by one of my favorite local coffee shops, Lighthouse Coffee, found right on the waterfront embedded into the apartments.  There's also a fairly new and fun all abilities playground that's loads of fun for the family, located on the opposite end.
-December 3: 3pm-5pm
*Location: LCDmodern 
Image from website

"Join us for a winter workshop and learn how to make 20” 3D paper bag snowflakes. These simple to create snowflakes are a fun activity and add a big impact to your holiday decor. Every participant will go home with at least 2-3 snowflakes.

All supplies are provided and festive refreshments will be served.

Cost per person: $25.00
Ages: teen +
Class limit: 10"

(description from website)

"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!" (description from website)
-December 3: 11am-2pm 
Urban Roots

Urban Roots farm is non profit teaching farm that aims in empowering the community to grow their own food & live healthy lifestyles, located in Reno.  It's beautifully landscaped and serves as the most charming place for events.  Follow them on Instagram for updates on happenings and community events.

"We have a STACKED lineup of crafters and artists planned for our 3rd Annual Handmade Holiday Faire.  Enjoy hot beverages, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, make-your-own crafts, & shop readymade jewelry, soaps and other gifts from local vendors." 
(description from Instagram)
-December 8: 5pm-8pm
The Club at Rancharra
The Club at Rancharra stands out as one of Reno's most beautiful buildings, situated adjacent to The Village at Rancharra—a modern and stunning boutique shopping center that adds to the city's charm.  If you've never been here before, there's a communal area that connects all of the shops, perfect for hanging out. 

Explore this list of fantastic businesses at the village, featuring Perenn—a personal favorite bakery, the delicious poke bowls at Hinoki Poke, and some of the town's best ice cream at Rolled Mountain Creamery.
-December 8 & 9: (7:30pm)
Procter R. Hug HS Theater
*Tickets $25 (general), $20(Senior), $10(Student with ID)


"The Nevada Gay Men’s Chorus has it all, on stage and in the holiday spirit, as they conjure the magic of the season with traditional favorites from O Come, EmmanuelThe First Noel, and People Look East to modern classics such as Rockin’ around the Christmas TreeSanta Baby, and Joy to the World.  Don’t miss this celebration in song and perfect way to greet the holiday."

-December 8-10: 
Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts
Past Promotional Video 
-December 8, 10, 15, & 17 (5pm-8pm)  
Cost:$5/vehicle for Nevada residents, $10/vehicle non- Nevada residents
Cash, cards, checks accepted
*Facebook for the latest updates
*Visit the Chocolate Nugget Factory (closes 6:30pm everyday) right next to Washoe Lake and pick up some goodies before your holiday drive through. 
*If you're looking for something to do nearby before the event starts, visit beautiful Bower's Mansion (no dogs allowed) or Davis Creek Regional Park for a short and scenic hike
*Listen to your favorite holiday songs as you drive along
*bring your own holiday treats & drinks to complete the experience
-December 9: (All Day)
Mt. Rose Ski Resort
(dress up in a complete Santa outfit and get a lift ticket for $99 at ticketing office)

10:30 – 12:30 NOG Bar at the Totem (Near the top of the Relay)
10:30 am – MASS SANTA SKI DOWN – KC Bowl (10:15 meet Lakeview Load)
1:30 pm Ugly Sweater Contest – TIMBERS 
-December 9: (6:30pm) 
Mountain Music Parlor, a charming vintage house passionately restored by owner Renee, is a musical haven dedicated to sharing the joy of music with the community. 

The concert hall, crafted from wood, boasts excellent ambiance and acoustics. The house is adorned with top-of-the-line instruments, and its gift shop is a treasure trove of year-round gift ideas.

Immerse yourself in the musical experience by taking lessons or joining various jam sessions in genres like ukulele and bluegrass. Mountain Music Parlor offers a truly vibey and enriching musical atmosphere.
-December 9: 10am-6pm 
*Free to public

Hands ON! Second Saturdays
*free admission
*hands-on art activities
*docent-guided tour
*live performances
*“Art Investigators” provides children the opportunity to engage with Museum staff  programs." 

The Nevada Museum of Art enriches our cityscape, offering a stunning venue for artistic exploration and cultural engagement. With its diverse exhibits and thought-provoking collections, the museum serves as a hub that fosters creativity and appreciation for the arts. Whether you're a seasoned art enthusiast or a first-time visitor, the Nevada Museum of Art invites everyone to immerse themselves in the beauty and significance of artistic expression, making it a truly remarkable cornerstone of our community.
The museum not only offers a remarkable year-round indoor space but also boasts a rooftop providing breathtaking views of the city. Additionally, it features a fantastic café serving delicious and wholesome eats and drinks, and an impressive gift shop with handpicked treasures catering to all ages. The on-site theater enhances the cultural experience, showcasing entertaining and educational films throughout the week.


10 am – 6 pm | Free Admission for all Visitors 
10 am – 4 pm | Decorate a Holiday Frame
10 am – 4 pm | Marbled Ornaments
10 am – 4 pm | Watercolor a Card 
10 am – 4 pm | Holiday Figure Drawing 
10:30 am & 1:30 pm | Art Expeditions with Bonnie
11 am & 2 pm | Public Tour (adult focus)
11 am & 12:30 pm | Story Time with Whitney
11:30 am & 1 pm | In-Tune Tales Presents: The Grinch 
11:30 am, 12:15 pm & 1:30 pm | Trio Sonido Sueño
2 pm | Story Time with Whitney 

-December 9: (11am) 
Christmas Cookie Workshop hosted by The Cookie Corner
*Designed for ages 12 & up

I've been following Alayna for a while now and she never ceases to amaze me with her amazing cookie creations and the person she is.  If you've been meaning to learn how to decorate cookies, this will be an amazing opportunity to check it off your bucket list.

Alayna can make magical cookies for any occasion, so make sure to save her info handy when you're looking for something sweet & special for life's celebrations.

Workshop includes:

-6 full size cookies

-All supplies for decorating (icing, sprinkles, tools for decorating, etc. provided)

-Icing practice guides

-Cookie & Icing recipes

-Bakery box to take cookies home

-Goodie/swag bag

-Light snacks provided- Feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks!

-December 9: (8pm)
*Start Location: Silver Legacy Casino


-December 9 & 10:
"A hilarious and heartwarming musical about what happens when the North Pole loses the Christmas Spirit. It’s been years since the Elves and Reindeer have gotten along. The Reindeer egos are high and Elves’ productivity is low. Will a week of vacation help remind the Elves and Reindeer what Christmas is all about." (Description from website.)
-December 9: 10am-3pm
Holland Project

"Our world-famous, annual art + craft holiday market is celebrating nearly 15 years of bringing art, craft, and community together during the holiday season! We are thrilled to grow this event into a neighborhood affair and will be highlighting additional market stops at Tooti Frooti, Radical Cat, and Magpie Coffee. There will be vendors, activities, and specials at each location. We thank you for supporting local artists and makers and for making Hi-Dez such an awesome event year after year." (Description from website)

-December 10: 10am-11am
National Automobile Museum
*Free pictures with Santa with paid admission
*My POST on this amazing museum

The National Automobile Museum is one of my all-time favorite museums. Its charm and remarkable automobile collection are truly captivating. Explore numerous galleries featuring period cars connected by impressive street-like walkways, creating a unique and immersive experience.

If you have the opportunity, make sure to check out their Model T, where you can dress up and capture memorable photos inside the iconic vehicle.
Photo from National Automobile Museum's Website
-December 13 & 18: (7pm)
424 E 4th St, 
Reno, NV 89512
*My REEL of this amazing gem

VIBE, VIBES, VIBES— that's all I can say about this spot. An incredible patio with fireplaces and the cutest dumpling trailer, along with a charming dive bar brimming with character.
"Join us at two holiday workshops with @kristin_inman_art where you will use alcohol inks to hand paint holiday ornaments and a Glass Mug! You’ll have your choice of 4 large glass ornaments or 12 small glass ornaments.

Wednesday, December 13th at 7pm
Monday, December 18th at 7pm

Class sizes are limited. Classes are $40 and includes all supplies needed. Email for info and to sign up! 21+" (Description from Instagram)
-December 14: 12:30pm-1:30pm
The Grinch (sold out)
*Reno Senior Center
*Free to Community
-December 15: (6pm-7:30pm)
The owner of LCDmodern, Linda, is a delightful woman who has a genuine passion for her work. 

Her talent is exceptional, and her vibrant personality, coupled with a fantastic sense of humor, makes visits to her store truly enjoyable. 

Don't just take my word for it—pay a visit to her store, and you'll witness her charm and expertise firsthand.

Her store is filled with so many treasures, including furniture, decor, & unique gifts suited for all ages.

Follow Linda on Instagram, where she posts fun videos of what she has to offer.

P.S. Linda offers so many rad seasonal/holiday experiences & products.

-December 15 & 16: 
34 Reservation Road
Reno Nevada 89502

-December 15-17:
North Tahoe High School
-December 15-17
100 S. Virginia St.
Reno, Nv 89501
-December 15, 21, January 12, 18, 22, 31: 
Voodoo Brewing, South 40, Voodoo Brewing, Black Rabbit Meads, Peavine Taphouse
-December 15-31
*Location: Northstar California Resort (about 1 hr. from Reno past Truckee)
5001 Northstar Dr, 
Truckee, CA 96161
*More winter activities at Northstar
*December 15,16, & 17 - Free Smores @ Village Overlook

Northstar has a new parking reservation system for weekends & peak times.  
Details (check out the full schedule here)

Dec 22nd and 23rd | 5:00- 8:30 
 Visit with Santa on the overlook and photos will be texted to each group and candy cane giveaway 
 Letters to Santa 
 Face Painting on the overlook  
 Hot chocolate 

Dec 24th | 9:00 am - 12:00 pm 
 Selfies with Santa in the village gondola line 

Dec 28, 29, 30, 31st | 3:00 - 6:00 
 Interactive Laser Printing Station with customized branded Winter Wonders swag!

Dec 31st 
 DJ on village stage | afternoon 
 360 video photo booth by the tree and True North | 6:00 - 9:00  
 Face painting on the overlook | 6:00 - 9:00 
 NYE Band on stage - HIP SERVICE | 7:00 - 10:00 pm
 Drone Show | 9:00 PM

Northstar Village stands out as a winter haven, rivaling the charm of Heavenly Village and The Village at Palisades. With its alpine beauty, shopping, dining, and vibrant ski scene, Northstar Village creates an unforgettable winter experience that easily competes with its counterparts. 

I absolutely love the fact that they have family friendly tubing right in the heart of their village. It's a brief tubing course that you walk up yourself, and two lanes conveniently situated side by side ensures a fantastic time. Have a piece of mind knowing smaller ones will be assisted by workers at the top.

In the past, Northstar used to pull out all the stops with food stations in December, and the crazy part was that it was all complimentary. I'm still grateful that they continue to offer s'mores. Truly, all you really need is s'mores and fire pits in life.

Also at the Village, there's an ice skating rink, live music, and a DJ during special events. If you're fortunate, they might even allow you to ride the gondola up to the hotel for free. It's definitely worth inquiring about.

-December 16: (12pm-2pm)
Cookies With The Grinch hosted by Shay Co (SOLD OUT)
50 S Virginia St. 
Reno, NV 89501
*Includes polaroid picture in keepsake ornament, meeting with the Grinch & Grinch cookie kit ($15/person)
*Shay Co Shop website (local, handmade wood toys, kid's clothing, accessories) 
Online ordering available. 
*Cookies provided by The Cookie Corner
Shay Co. Shop
Shay Co has a brick-and-mortar shop at The Basement, a historic building housing various local businesses. 

Within this vibrant space, you can discover a range of offerings, including coffee, Southern comfort food, a barber, crystal shop, bath and body products, a furnishing store, and even an electric bike shop available for both bike purchases and rentals.

The Basement holds a lot of history with the story behind its building and the presence of informational plaques and art that line its walls. It's become one of my favorite places to spend time, offering a diverse and engaging experience.
-December 16: (12pm-4pm) 
2072 Experience Way
Reno, NV 89502

"We will have different vendors stationed throughout our property, all for you to explore on your walk. Stops include a free sleighride, letters to Santa, hot cocoa, a photo booth, plus much more! We will have a free showing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, if you fill up your vendor passport." (description from website)

Num Num Boba and Haus of Beignets are confirmed vendors for this event.

-December 16: (2pm-6pm) 
611 US-395, 
New Washoe City, NV 89704
*My POST on this shop

"We're transforming the iconic Chocolate Nugget into a magical Winter Wonderland! 🌨️🌟
📅 Event Details:

- Store Hours: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
- 🎅 Santa Claus available for pictures from 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
- Free Admission!

📍 Location: Washoe Valley Chocolate Nugget Candy Factory, 611-US 395, New Washoe City, NV 89704

🚚 Enjoy great local food trucks, @bali_express2023 @daddystacosnv @carboncoffeenv. Free games, and an outdoor movie showing courtesy of @staylocal.tahoe Capturing your magical memories @eightyeightstudios photography. 📸"

-December 16:
401 E 4th St, 
Reno, NV 89512
*Part of the proceeds will benefit non-profit Urban Roots

"JINGLE BREWS is near! Get on down to Reno's Brewery District for Christmas Carolers, Santa Claus, and (of course) holiday drinks! Let's not forget all the other incredible things brewing up in our neighborhood from delicious breweries, coffee shops, & restaurants to music, art, and compassionate organizations. Come take part in our Jingle Brews edition of Tour de Brews where ticket holders get exclusive deals on handcrafted drinks from 15+ businesses that call the Brewery District home. Part of the proceeds for this tour will also go to supporting the incredible work of Urban Roots, a Reno-based nonprofit that strives to change the way communities eat and learn through garden-based education!" (Description from Evenbrite)

-December 17: (7pm-9pm)
-December 17: (12pm-5pm)
Cowboy Christmas
Reno, 1445 S Meadows Pkwy, 
Reno, NV 89521, USA
*My reel of South 40
-December 19-31:

This is a festive, circus-style Christmas show complete with holiday-themed costumes and a captivating storyline to tie everything together. My family and I experienced a different rendition of the show, featuring acrobats, couples dancing and swinging from the ceiling, scooters, clowns, and a myriad of other exciting performances. Surprisingly, our 3, 5, and 7-year-olds were entertained, thanks to the show's impressive entertainment value.

During intermission, the bar is open for adult drinks, and you can grab a bite at one of the many restaurants on the same level. Alternatively, head down one level to the non-smoking section for additional food options (such as Johnny Rocket's, Port of Subs, Round Table, & Yogurt Beach) and diverse entertainment choices, including bowling, an arcade, theater, VR, and escape rooms.
-December 21: (5pm-7pm)
907 W Moana Ln, 
Reno, NV 89509
*Pop-up shop: Maple & Co. Boutique, mama & baby boutique
"Join us for last minute shopping, storewide & holiday discounts, giveaways, & festive refreshments." (Description from website)

20% off gifts & decor
40% off all holiday
-December 21: (5pm-9pm)
22 Martin St, 
Reno, NV 89509
*Instagram - 
"Holland Project is proud to present the 2nd Annual Night Market at Craft Wine & Beer. This event is an extension of our Hi Dez Holiday Market, bringing together some of the OG’s you’ve been shopping with for years, in addition to some new faces. It’s a special last-minute chance to pick up something unique, handmade, ethically sourced, perfectly vintage, or really tasty for those on your list and it’s also REALLY FUN! Please join us Thursday, December 21st from 5-9PM for our last big hoorah of the year." (Description from website)

-December 23: (7pm-9:45pm)
299 E Plumb Ln, 
Reno, NV 89502, USA
*My reel of this amazing market
-December 23: (6pm)
315 Spokane Street 
Reno Nevada 89512
*Purchase 1st bingo card

"Join us for our first ever Holiday Drag Bingo Event! 
Enjoy holiday themed cocktails, delicious desserts, raffle & DRAG!!!

Prizes will be awarded for Bingo Game winners! 

Purchase of 1st Bingo Card includes 1 non-alcoholic beverage. 

Cocktails $5
Dessert Items $2

Raffle Tickets 1 for $1 | 6 for $5 | Arms Length for $20

Hosted by the impeccable Shania Taint! 
47th Elected Empress of the Northern Nevada & Lake Tahoe Basin Silver Dollar Court! 

Purchase Your First Bingo Card to Secure Your Spot!
First Card $5
Additional cards (available for purchase at the door) - $2 Each"

-December 23: (2pm-4pm)
12 B St
Virginia City, NV 89440

"Join us at historic Piper’s Opera House for our holiday performance – Mark Twain and Friends Holiday Spectacular.

Come for an evening of Christmas Magic as our Master of Ceremonies the Legendary Mark Twain himself weaves three tales of holiday wonderment for you.

Enjoy the season’s merriment with friends and family, laughter and the whole lot of holiday spirit. There will be music, there will be dance, and there will be hot cocoa." (description from website)

-December 26: (11am-7pm)
Heavenly Village
-December 26-31: 11am-9pm
Ferris Wheel (South Lake Tahoe 1.25 hours from Reno)
Heavenly Village  (base of gondola ride)
*Parking @ Heavenly's garage ($) & parking lot across the street next to Raley's.  See "P" on map below  

-December 31
(South Lake Tahoe, 1.3 hours from Reno)
Gondola ball drop 9pm
Music starts at 5pm
140 Vesta St, 
Reno, NV 89502
"Presented by the Reno Punk Rock Flea Market Nye Party with local bands House Warning, Drought, and The Grimtones." (Description from website)

All Throughout December
Virginia City (25 minutes from Reno)

Decembers in Virginia City:
Tree lighting 
Saloon crawl 
Holiday shopping
Parade of lights
Shows & Plays
Live Music
Decorating Contests
V&T Railway Festive Train rides

If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that Virginia City has my heart.  

It's an amazing spot to visit on a regular day, so imagine how it would be during the holidays.

 North Lake Tahoe, Incline Village
40 minutes from Reno

Incline Village is primarily known for its stunning Sand Harbor, one of the most popular and picturesque beaches on Lake Tahoe. 

However, what many people may not realize is that Incline Village has a vibrant calendar of events throughout the year, including the enchanting Northern Lights Festival. 

The alpine holiday atmosphere in Lake Tahoe is truly special, creating a unique vibe that you must experience during the holidays. Attending an event there is an unforgettable experience—you'll thank me later.

Mountain Music Parlor has an incredible & cozy concert hall with fantastic vibes and beautiful acoustics. 

Rene, the owner of MMP, and her husband have poured their hearts and souls into creating a space that is special for everyone. 

If you have a passion for music, Mountain Music Parlor is the ultimate destination. Immerse yourself in the company of like-minded local musicians and become part of a vibrant and supportive community.

Did I mention that this music shop is housed in the most charming Victorian home?

Christmas Lights & Displays

Reno transforms into a festive wonderland every year with elaborate Christmas decorations & displays.  The spots listed down below are among my most favorite ones to see every year. 

Don't forget to bundle up! You might be tempted to step out of your vehicle to get closer to the holiday magic. Bring along your favorite warm drinks and snacks to complete the experience.

For an added touch of seasonal joy, tune into a Christmas radio station & immerse yourself in the holiday spirit.

My Favorite house in Hidden Valley 7115 Pebble Beach Drive. (They did not participate this 2023).

*I love Hidden Valley's Parade of Lights.  There are so many decorated houses in one area. Check out their archive to see lists of winners from past competitions.

Tip: You can add up to 9 points of interest on Google Maps. Add them all in at one time. 
  • 1ST PLACE – 113 Mia Vista Ct.
  • 2ND PLACE – 4930 West Hidden Valley Dr.
  • 3RD PLACE – 5665 East Hidden Valley Dr.
  • 4TH PLACE –  2308 Tamarisk Dr.
  • 5TH PLACE – 2084 Tamarisk Dr.
  • 6TH PLACE – 3995 Sleepy Hollow Dr.
  • 7TH PLACE – 7704 North Southmoor Cir.
  • 8TH PLACE – 5300 East Hidden Valley Dr.
  • 9TH PLACE – 2445 Tamarisk Dr.
  • 10TH PLACE – 2110 Piping Rock Dr.
  • *Map of Hidden Valley
Please drive cautiously and be vigilant for both children and adults. The neighborhood can be quite dark at night due to the absence of ambient light in the area. Given that this is a popular attraction, the roads can become congested during peak times(weekends leading up to Christmas). At times, I may pull over to the side to allow drivers who are following closely to pass safely.

*Lights of Tanea, located next to the South Valleys Library, used to go all out with elaborate decorations from top to bottom. Despite downsizing and adopting synchronized lighting, a visit here remains a delightful and eagerly anticipated annual tradition for me and my family.

-Impressive Gingerbread house and Whoville cake created by Peppermill's cake artist + Food Network's Holiday Wars contestant, Caked by Brian.  

Find the Whoville cake on display at the Wedding & Events office.  
From the left side of  check- up the elevators as if heading to Biscottis, except turn 2 rights.

-Must see Nightmare before Christmas Themed House with projections:
If I only had time to see one decorated house for the holiday season, it would be this one.  The Britts are the minds behind this beyond impressive whimsy scene.  They the type to travel to conventions for one of a kind decorations for both Halloween & Christmas.

-Synchronized Lights + Projections: 
I love this house because they have custom projections in addition to synchronized lights.  Be sure to catch their Whoville segment.   It's so adorable. 

-Magical Christmas displays at The Freckled Frog
My REEL of this store

-Christmas display at GSR

Ice Skating

Skiing and Snowboarding 

Mt. Rose Ski Buds is an amazing teaching program for children at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe (45 minutes away from S. Reno)


More Winter Activities
*Scenic Gondola Ride at Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe
While this 2.4-mile journey may be a bit pricey (especially when taking it on with bigger groups), I highly recommend experiencing it at least once. Invest in stunning views of Lake Tahoe. Please note that this ride is not suitable for those with a fear of heights, as it ascends to significant heights.

*Scenic Aerial Tram Ride At Palisades in Olympic Valley
I've had the pleasure of enjoying this incredible ride multiple times. It not only offers breathtaking views but also guarantees comfort, thanks to a spacious tram equipped with large viewing windows and ample room to move around. The journey takes you to an Olympic Museum attraction and presents food options, along with summer activities, elevating the overall experience with an extra layer of enjoyment.
Aerial Tram Ride @ Palisade's Ski Resort

*Visit a sustainable tree farm in Apple Hill (2 hrs past South Lake Tahoe).  Many farms host  events and appearances by Santa.
*Purchase fresh cut trees at a local nursery - Moana Nursery & Old Stone House Nursery
*Sparks Family Christmas Trees- Recommended by Andelin Farm, one of Reno's beloved farms. 
*If you're missing fall action, BOA Vista Orchards in Apple Hill (2 hrs. from Reno) is open year-round and offers baked apple goods, BBQ on select days, views, fun kitchen gadgets, and pantry items yearly. 

Don't forget to bring a cooler to stock up on delectable frozen pies & fresh pressed apple cider.  Ice available on site.

BOA Vista is one among many farms at Apple Hill that's a popular destination the whole month of October. 
For more details on Apple Hill, check out my post here

Upload pictures of you and your family into this amazing app and watch yours"elves" transform into hip dancing elves.  

I cannot recommend this activity enough.  It's become a tradition for me and my family.  I remember vividly cracking up the first time me and my family generated ourselves into elves using this app.

Holiday Shopping Spots: Exploring Local Gems for Unique Gifts

A local version of Amazon that provides a platform for people to shop local online and conveniently offers same day deliveries straight to your door.  

This amazing startup company was inspired by the need to help local business owners during a pandemic that stripped them of everything.  

-Follow them on Instagram for the latest updates

Explore a world of musical instruments, lessons, and an array of cool stocking stuffer-worthy items. 

Last year, I purchased a clown whistle, mini ocarina, penny whistles, and a kalimba for myself and my kids.  

Renee, the owner, is incredibly friendly, and the western decor, coupled with folk music playing in the background, creates an atmosphere reminiscent of Frontierland at Disneyland. It's a delightful experience for both music enthusiasts and those seeking unique and whimsical gifts.

I recommend purchasing instruments from here as well, as Renee possesses extensive knowledge about the best brands in the industry.

A really fun place to shop at Mountain Music Parlor

I could easily spend an entire day exploring the many treasures at the Discovery Museum's store. It's loaded with a wide variety of unique toys, gadgets, and everyday items that blend education with fun. Making a purchase from our cherished museum contributes to keeping its doors open for generations to come.

If you haven't visited the museum yet, it's an incredible space for individuals of all ages to learn and expand their horizons. 

For more details on exhibits, events catering to both adults and children, camps, and workshops, check out their website.

***Admission is not required to shop here.
***Free parking 
***Did you know that you can rent out the whole museum for a slumber party?  

One of my go-to spots for purchasing unique gifts from around the world. They offer a diverse selection, including instruments, music, bags, clothes, jewelry, books, figurines, and other cool items for sale.  You can explore the gift shop without having to purchase admission to their museum.

The Wilbur D. May Museum itself is a treasure trove of amazing artifacts from various corners of the globe. Additionally, they regularly host traveling exhibits throughout the year, providing both entertaining and educational experiences.

-My Reel of this store

The Freckled Frog is a charming local shop nestled in Summit Mall in South Reno. Here, you'll discover a delightful array of items, including jewelry, antiques, lotions, soaps, accessories, table settings, holiday decorations, furniture, plates, drinkware, seasonal decor, home accessories, realistic artificial flower arrangements, and much more.

The Freckled Frog stands out as the most whimsical shop I've come across in Reno to date. A visit to this store is an attraction in itself, with spectacular Christmas displays that go beyond expectations.

What makes The Freckled Frog truly special is their ability to transform the scene with every holiday, providing everything needed to infuse magic into your home. Whether it's Christmas or any other occasion, they have the perfect elements to create a magical atmosphere.

Location (Midtown)

739 South Center St.

Reno NV,  89501


This midtown photo lab is truly exceptional. I recently had ten photos printed for an exhibit, and I was thoroughly impressed by the stunning quality of the prints. If you're considering printing photos for DIY gifts, this is the go-to place. Their top-notch quality inks ensure long-lasting prints.

What sets this place apart is not just the quality of their work but also the exceptional service. Despite being busy, the owner, David, and his son managed to squeeze in my prints on the same day I requested them, a level of customer care that sets them apart from other local photo labs that couldn't accommodate me.

For photography enthusiasts, David's printer, similar to the famed red stripe on Canon's "L Series" lenses, signifies a commitment to superior quality. The red stripe on his printer is, in itself, a testament to the exceptional standards upheld here.

Beyond their friendly service, the lab specializes in restoring photos and producing large format prints. A noteworthy difference is that they don't crop photos like commercial print shops such as Walmart and Walgreens often do.

While parking right next to the shop in Midtown can be challenging, I always make the effort to visit this shop for prints because the quality and service are more than worth it. Fortunately, parking becomes quite convenient when you choose to park across the street in a nearby neighborhood.

*Fleischmann Planetarium @ The University of Nevada in Reno
Our planetarium not only features a (free) captivating space exhibit & fun dome theater that plays educational and entertaining films, it also has an incredible store with a diverse array of space-themed items for sale. 

From toys and gadgets to clothing, stuffed animals, and even astronaut food, the store offers an vast collection, including many items perfect for stockings. It's a rad destination for space enthusiasts and anyone looking for unique and cosmic gifts.

*They're currently showing laser shows in their dome for those looking for a rad indoor activity.
(free garage parking in designated marked spaces)

Every Sunday, 9am-1pm
-Location: Idlewild Park
2055 Idlewild Dr, 
Reno, NV 89509
Old location at McKinley Arts Center

Discover the only year-round market in Reno, where you'll encounter so many passionate and talented local farmers and vendors offering fresh food, unique craft items, and essential services. 

Enjoy a lively environment, fostering community connections and a deeper understanding of our local culture.

Over the years, attending this market has been a delightful experience, witnessing not only the growth of my kids but also immersing myself in an amazing community filled with so much richness.

If you're in search of the perfect village-like environment, this is the place for you.

Some rad businesses regulars you'll find at the market:

Lowenkind's heavenly organic, gluten-free cakes are consistently quick to sell out. Additionally, her jams and cooking sugars are equally amazing.
This Pear Tart is something worth living for.

Furniture, Gifts, & Decor

The owner of LCDmodern, Linda, is a delightful woman who has a genuine passion for her work. 

Her talent is exceptional, and her vibrant personality, coupled with a fantastic sense of humor, makes visits to her store truly enjoyable. 

Don't just take my word for it—pay a visit to her store, and you'll witness her charm and expertise firsthand.

Her store is filled with so many treasures, including furniture, decor, and unique gifts suited for all ages.

Follow Linda on Instagram, where she posts fun videos of what she has to offer.

P.S. Linda offers so many rad seasonal/holiday experiences & products.

-Home Means Nevada
*Clothes and accessories with Nevada logos

*Bumblebee Blooms Flower Boutique (downtown Reno) 
Online ordering and delivery available
-Flower arrangements, gift baskets, chocolates, seasonal decor, candles, personal care items, and other items from local vendors, balloons, wines, stuffed animals for every occasion. 
-135 N. Sierra St. Ste. A2
Reno Nevada, 89501
-(775) 348-2799

*National Automobile Museum
-My post on this museum

We are incredibly fortunate to have this museum in our town, and it stands as one of the best. Loaded with rich history, cool cars, and undeniable charm, it has captured my heart—even though I don't consider myself  a big car enthusiast.

The museum's gift shop is a hidden gem, offering out-of-print books, vintage toy cars, kid's toys, adult clothing, dishes, and much more. 

A Few Reasons Why I love this Museum
1. It has an impressive collection of amazing cars, some of which have graced the silver screen.
2. A rad gift shop filled with unique treasures.
3. You can dress-up with their costumes & capture memories in a Model T.
4. Catch a charming short documentary playing in their very own theater
5. Kind and dedicated volunteers play a big role in the succcess of the museum and make every visit enjoyable.
6. Host to amazing holiday events, including one of the biggest and best Halloween trick-or-treating experiences.

*Nevada Museum of Art

The Museum's gift shop has truly evolved over the years, carefully curating a selection of unique, one-of-a-kind items for customers to enjoy.

This multi-level museum, complete with access to the roof, is a sight to behold. Its exhibits are consistently amazing, with some that change periodically to keep things fresh.

I remember purchasing my kid's first watch kit at their gift shop—a charming package containing a cute watch and an instructional booklet neatly tucked into a box. This is just one of the many treasures you'll discover here.

From handmade jewelry, clothing, and bags to puzzles, books, stationery, and more, the gift shop offers an array of one-of-a-kind items waiting to be explored.

***Stay in the loop with sales and event announcements by signing up for their newsletter!
***Enjoy exclusive store discounts (and events) as a valued member. 

Buy Nevada First @ The Reno Town Mall
-A  20,000 square foot building supporting over 250+ local merchants. 

Witnessing the remarkable growth of this store over the years is truly awe-inspiring. Now, it's brimming with an abundance of treasures. I find myself easily spending an entire day here, immersing in the diverse array of items—both edible and non-edible—crafted by our talented locals. If you're lucky, you might even run into some of them, offering you the chance to hear their inspiring stories. 

Local Toy Shops
Learning Toys Express offers a diverse range of fun & educational toys.  For those pressed for time, gift wrapping is included, and online ordering is available.

-Gift Cards: A perfect option for those who want to give the gift of choice.
-Hands-on Toys and Activities: They provide a plentiful selection of interactive toys and 
-Activities designed to stimulate growth and encourage creativity.
-Holiday-Themed Section: Enjoy a themed section dedicated to the holidays, adding a festive touch to your shopping experience.
-Personalize your purchases with names and art, offering a unique and thoughtful touch to anything in their store.

This toy shop, managed by an incredibly helpful owner, is dedicated to assisting customers in finding the perfect gift for any occasion. The store offers a selection of toys aimed at fostering creativity and learning in children. Gift wrapping is available upon request with purchase. Conveniently located next to Yogurt Beach and Eclipse Pizza, the shop provides a welcoming and accessible environment for an enjoyable shopping experience.

Clutter-Free Gifts
Reno has a wealth of offerings beyond tangible gifts, and experience-based gifts present an exciting alternative. Continue reading to discover a rad list of options. Further down, you'll find lists of local shops where you can find these unique gifts.

*Buy a gift card from a comprehensive list of amazing local restaurants 

Gardnerville (45 mins. from South Reno)
-Bordeoux, roka, turtles, truffles, gift baskets, toffee, caramels, printed cookies, holiday- themed treats, chocolate-dipped rice crispies, marshmallows, peppermint barks, ice cream sauces, peanut butter cups, old fashioned peanut brittle, sugar-free, alcohol truffles, and custom orders.
-Made from scratch in house

This shop has the best selection of Christmas-themed goodies & offer custom baskets and orders within the USA.  

The Chocolate Shoppe makes delicious treats from scratch.

Discover our delightful chocolate shop just 15 minutes from South Reno—an absolute local favorite. Additionally, you can find them at Meadowood Mall and a second charming location near Virginia City/Carson City.

Indulge in a tempting selection that includes brittles, a wide assortment of chocolates, fudge, taffy, and hard candy, with options for sugar-free treats. Their gift boxes make the perfect present for any occasion, offering a variety of delectable options.

Stay connected with them Instagram for exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpses of their sweet concoctions and receive timely updates. 

Chocolate Nugget Factory is so charming with the best service.

*Bouchee Confections 
-fine quality chocolates and desserts
-Natalie's chocolate bon bons are works of art and the best thing is that they're equally delectable
-Every December, Natalie offers an advent calendar filled with gourmet bon bons
-Bouchee Confections is one of the only places in Reno that offers high tea service with everything meticulously crafted from scratch.  Must make reservations ahead of time as they book out fast.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate - Crispy Chocolate Cookie Base, Chocolate Almond Sacher Cake, 66% Ecuador Origin Dark Chocolate, Cremeux Milk Chocolate Mousse, Dark Chocolate Glaze.  This is my most favorite dessert in all of Reno that I crave and dream about all the time.  
Strawberry Pistacio - Pistachio Financier, Strawberry Gelee, Mascarpone Vanilla Mousse, Red White Chocolate Glaze.  This is one of my favorites.  Delicate with so many layers of flavors and textures and supreme pistachio flavor.  Another favorite.
Try any of Natalie's Bon Bons.  They're all so delectable.

-My reel of this shop

Another skilled chocolatier in Reno, Phyllis, creates delectable bon bon works of art.  We are truly fortunate to have two incredible and passionate women who dedicate themselves to crafting such unique sweet offerings in our community. Take a delightful journey and treat yourself to the magic that Phyllis and Natalie create.

-Online ordering available (free ground shipping on orders over $75)
-They offer one of a kind handmade Turkish delights and toffee that come neatly wrapped in cute tins that make for the perfect gifts for all occasions.
-high quality bags whole beans & loose leaf teas available for purchase in store

-whole bean coffees & teas 
-merchandise: tumblers, mugs, glass cups
-My reel of this coffee shop

Coffeebar epitomizes the essence of outstanding hospitality, positive vibes, and a commitment to serving soul-warming, high-quality drinks and food. Rooted in principles of sustainability and inclusivity, this establishment stands as a beacon of excellence among coffee shops. Embracing a special community where everyone is welcome, Coffeebar sets the standard for a welcoming and enriching experience.

Locations in Menlo, Reno (McCarran, Roastery, Midtown), Truckee, Olympic Valley, & Redwood City.
Exciting News!!!
Coffeebar curated a special holiday menu of festive holiday treats.  Order ahead of time and pick up at their bakery located next to their coffee shop in Truckee.
Menu from Instagram Pastries made from scratch daily.
Am I the only one crazy about Coffe Bar's 8oz size option?

Pasta Fresca is a cherished local authentic Italian restaurant. Known for crafting all their dishes, including pasta, from scratch, the dedication to quality is obvious.

Paolo and Alex are the fun duo of individuals that can often be found at our year-round Riverside Farmer's Market with smiles on their faces.  They are two among many others that create a welcoming atmosphere every Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm at Idlewild Park.

For those seeking for a dining experience, Pasta Fresca is always ready to serve you at their restaurant located in The Shops at Bartley Ranch.

6135 Lakeside Dr #138,
Reno, NV 89511

Fausta, the heart and soul of MwintSoph, has been a go-to at various farmer's markets throughout the years. A genuinely sweet and generous lady, her warmth and culinary talents have inspired me throughout the years.  

She has watched my children, now aged 5, 7, and 9, grow up and has become an extension of our family. My daughter once exclaimed to her, "You're Everywhere!" reflecting on her incredible work ethic, allowing her to be present at so many different locations. It's worth noting that she manages everything as a one-woman show.

Undeniably one of most skilled bakers and cooks, Fausta can whip up delectable treats or cater events with finesse. Whether you're looking to gift her scrumptious treats or looking for someone to cater a special occasion, she's your woman.

Originating from Ghana in Africa, Fausta's expertise extends to African-style cuisine, showcasing her mastery of spices and diverse flavors.

What sets her apart is her commitment to accommodating different dietary needs. From vegan and vegetarian to gluten-free options, Fausta ensures that everyone can savor her creations.

To experience her culinary delights in person, catch Fausta at the Riverside Farmer's Market at Idlewild Park every Sunday from 9 am to 12 pm.  Discover the magic of Fausta's culinary artistry.

The cherry on top is her pricing – reasonably priced for the quality of goods she delivers.

*Music lessons at our local music shop, Mountain Music Parlor 
-Guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, accordion, harmonica, bluegrass harmony, Celtic flute & bodhran, folk harp, voice, folk dance, ukulele, songwriting, mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, & more. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Renee, the dedicated owner of Mountain Music Parlor, a place born out of her unwavering passion for creating a community hub centered around music – a haven for gathering, learning, and sharing the pure joy of musical expression.

What truly touched me was the inspiring story of the community coming together years ago to organize numerous fundraisers. Their collective efforts fueled Renee's dream of giving the gift of music upon the community. The funds were used to construct purposeful music rooms, establish a stage for performers to unleash their creativity, hire staff, and cultivate a welcoming ambiance.

Mountain Music Parlor thrived until the pandemic struck, resulting in a heartbreaking loss of 90% of its students and 50% of its teachers. As Renee shared this struggle, her pain was evident in both her words and demeanor.

Driven by a deep determination, I am committed to supporting Renee and preserving this invaluable gem.

*Have you ever wanted to learn a string instrument?  Mountain Music Parlor is an amazing place to get your dreams into motion.
* Explore the store's offerings, from instruments and gadgets to songbooks and other delightful items.
* If you're a passionate music teacher, consider joining the team; they're actively seeking dedicated educators.
* Host a jam session in the shop's fantastic back room, available for a minimal fee.
*Host an event at this beautiful venue (up to 50 people)
* Drop by just to say hi—your friendly face is always a welcome sight.

Private Music Lessons with an Amazing Local Musician
(available starting January)

Bijou Bell, a remarkable and versatile musician based in Reno, provides lessons in drumset, vibraphone, percussion, and songwriting.

Her passion for her craft is palpable, and her unique voice has the power to transport you to another world.

Experience the magic she creates by visiting her Instagram page, where you can immerse yourself in the auditory and visual wonders she shares with the world.
*Learn how to make pizza at one of my favorite local pizza joints- South Creek Pizza
*Take a sourdough bread making class led by one of Reno's top bakeries, Perenn (Gift Cards) (Website)
*Axe Throwing @ Reno Axe (gift cards)
*Music lessons at Jampro have been a fantastic experience for my kids. A couple of years ago, they had a lot of fun with their lessons. What sets Jampro apart is their dedicated building, complete with numerous noise-proof rooms. They go the extra mile by organizing performances on a real stage from time to time, allowing students to enhance their stage presence through practice. It's a great place for both learning and honing performance skills.

Lessons JamPro offers

*Sewing lessons at Sierra Sewing, Quilting & Vacuums
*Sewing lessons at A-1 Vacuums & Sewing

*Play Tickets @ The Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts
*Gift Certificates @ Reno Little Theater
*Movie Gift Cards Century Summit Theater, South Reno
*Treetop Adventure in Lake Tahoe (gift card option available on website)
*Escape Rooms - I completed all rooms at Break Through Reno @ GSR Casino and they were all amazing (favorites: The Sorcerer & the fountain of Hope & U-Boat). Other top favorites include rooms at Deadline Escape Games (Freak Show & Dead Silence) & Keystone Escape Games (Blood of the Original & Dragon Alley).

Ceramic Painting  
I've been to all of these studios and they're all great.  My go-to is The Hot Spot (Formerly known as All Fired Up) as they offer a wide variety of crafts in addition to ceramic painting, including pottery painting, candle making, mosaics/sign making, succulent gardens, slime station, and bath bar.  The space is so vibrant and fun, service friendly, and you can't beat its location at the outlets, with a theater across the way, food, and plenty of other attractions nearby.
*The Hot Spot (The Outlets @ Legends, Sparks)
*Color Me Mine (South Reno)


*Moana Nursery (Gift cards South Virginia location) (Custom floral and plant arrangements with delivery)

*The Clean Car -car detailing from one of the most meticulous and hard working individuals in reno
*Timber Ridge Woodworks -Handmade Cutting boards / Charcuterie / Tables / Home Furnishings
*Adornment by Nicole - Handmade Jewelry
*Num Num Boba - Cute plushies, jewelry, reusale boba cups, gift cards, and more
*Prude and Boujee - Premier K Beauty Shop for Skin Care & Sheet Masks. Expertly curated, all-natural products, overseen by a dedicated Nurse Practitioner. 
*Paola's Pixels - Geeky Online Shop of accesories, apparel, stationary, & more
*The Helping Moon - Gemstones & crystals
*Comic Kingdom - comics& cards
*Coffee N' Comics - Magic & Pokemon cards, comics, Funko Pop figures, merch, and more

Local Bookstores
*Grassroots Books (Gift Cards) -they have a HUGE bargain section outdoors that you must see.  There's something for everyone.
*Sundance Books and Music - This book store is housed in a Victorian house that has a beautiful grassy & shaded garden out front.  It's the perfect spot for a good read in the summer.
*Golden Owl Bookmobile - Catch this cute mobile around town that holds the best selection of curated for children.

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