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Check Out These Many And Merry December Things To Do In Reno

Posted by Jeff Sallan on Tuesday, November 26th, 2019 at 2:11pm.

The holiday season means that there are many December things to do in Reno and Sparks. From special events to performances to festivals, there’s no shortage of December events in Reno/Sparks. Keep reading to find out our top picks of December things to do to in Reno and Sparks this year.

December things to do in Reno

Bunny Yoga Class

  • When: Wednesday, Dec. 4–Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
  • Where: Nevada Humane Society, 2825 Longley Lane Ste B, Reno
  • More Information

This donation-based yoga class is perfect for those who are interested in doing yoga while being surrounded by bunny friends. Bring your mat, and optionally bring some rabbit treats! A donation is encouraged for all who want to attend. RSVP to to ensure your spot

Going Too Far: The Limits of Conservation

  • When: Friday, Dec. 6, 2019
  • Where: Nevada Museum of Art, 160 W. Liberty St., Reno
  • More Information

A specialist in firearms preservation, Richard Moll, Chief Conservator at the Autry Museum of the American West, will discuss preservation for both museums and the private collector. The presentation will include an overview of the methods, materials, and ethical considerations when preserving historical objects.

Sparks Annual Hometowne Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade

  • When: Friday, Dec. 6, 2019
  • Where: Victorian Square, Victorian Avenue, Sparks
  • More Information

Christmas. Navidad. Kersfees. Weihnachten. Shengdan. Noel. Sparks is getting a whole lot bigger this holiday season as it celebrates Christmas traditions from all around the world in its Annual Hometowne Christmas Parade. Christmas is different all over the world, whether you’re building a snowman out of snow in Sparks or sand in Australia. Find a tradition to represent on your float and make it a good one. Events include a Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 6, and an Ugly Sweater Run at the Scheels/Marina, Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade, and photos with Santa on Dec. 7.

Pet Photos with Santa Paws

  • When: Friday, Dec. 6, 2019
  • Where: Nevada Humane Society, 2825 Longley Lane Ste B, Reno
  • More Information

Santa Paws is back! Bring your pet to sit on Santa’s lap for a photo this holiday season.  Susan Koppel, owner and photographer at Susan Koppel Photography, will offer digitally retouched images for a donation of $10. Donations for Santa Paws also benefits homeless pets. This unique event takes place on two days: Dec. 6 and Dec. 7. Please be prepared to wait in a line as this is a busy, popular event, and it takes a different amount of time for each animal to get the purrfect photo.

Spirit Of The Season

  • When: Friday, Dec. 6–Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019
  • Where: Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, 100 S. Virginia St., Reno
  • More Information

Gather the family for a holiday tradition. The Reno Phil and conductor Jason Altieri invite you to Spirit of the Season, a classic holiday celebration full of orchestral arrangements, jazzy numbers, traditional holiday tunes, and carols.


Winter Dreams

  • When: Friday, Dec. 6–Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019
  • Where: Sierra Marketplace, Parking lot on intersection of Virginia Street and West Moana Lane in Reno
  • More Information

Unusual, breathtaking and hilarious performers come together in Reno for the first time for “Winter Dreams.”  A perfect blend of modern entertainment and old-world artistry, this show will entertain audiences of all ages. Witness the performer’s extraordinary skills honed by years of dedication and training. Attendees will be welcomed into the show’s whimsical tent and might even become part of the interactive entertainment. Prepare to be amazed by magical disappearances, inspired with magnificent aerial dance, endeared by talented tail-wagging friends, bewildered by physics-defying contortionists, acrobats, and jugglers, entertained by hilarious clowns, and to become wholly emerged into the breathtaking experience of Winter Dreams.

Tuba Christmas Concert

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
  • Where: Wilbur D. May Museum, 1595 N. Sierra St., Reno
  • More Information

Immerse yourself in the sounds of the season at the Wilbur D. May Museum’s annual Tuba Christmas Concert. This free, family-friendly event features holiday carols arranged in four-part harmony and performed by local tuba, baritone, and euphonium players. The Wilbur May Museum will have festive decorations on display and offer free admission all day long. Hot cocoa, cider, and cookies will also be available for purchase. There are more than 250 Tuba Christmas performances scheduled this year around the world, but this is the only event in Northern Nevada! All area tuba, baritone, and euphonium players are invited to participate in the Tuba Christmas Concert. The participant registration fee is $10.

Reno Winter Light Festival

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 7–Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019
  • Where: Reno Riverwalk District, Riverside Drive, Reno
  • More Information

The inaugural, weeklong Reno Winter Light Festival features many free family-friendly events, including a holiday market and craft fair on the City Plaza with food and beverage vendors presented by Wandering Wyld. The festival also features free photos with Santa for children, a tree lighting ceremony with live entertainment, and ice skating. Public art also plays a significant role in the festival. From Dec. 7-14, see the Fish Out of Water art installation at Wingfield Park. Otto, the giant goldfish, will be hanging out over the Truckee River during the day and illuminated at night. At Wingfield Park, see Sonic Dichroic Reeds, which features sound from local birds and insects and has 6-foot reeds made from dichroic glass that sway in the wind and reflect sunlight during the day. At night, they transform into brilliantly lit bouquets. On the ReTRAC near Whitney peak, You Are Here… Elsewhere, will display its lights, video projections, picograms, and geographical coordinates. The festival culminates in a Fire & Ice Show on the City Plaza on Dec. 14  with an ice carving contest, fire dancers, and sculptures.

City of Reno Tree Lighting

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
  • Where: City Plaza, 10 S. Virginia St., Reno
  • More Information

Join the City of Reno for a Tree Lighting celebration at City Plaza. The event begins at noon with a makers/artisan fair, food trucks, and live music. The tree lighting festivities will feature with several different entertaining groups such as the Kennelly Irish Dancers, Gospel Choir, Santa’s Christmas Wonderland, and more. Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, along with City of Reno Council members, will start the official countdown of the tree lighting. The Rink on the Row, located at 6th and Sierra Streets, will also offer free ice skating.

Riverwalk Sip & Shop

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
  • Where: Reno Riverwalk District, Riverside Drive, Reno
  • More Information

Before the City of Reno Tree Lighting, join the Riverwalk District for a Sip and Shop featuring themed wine, mocktails, cocktails, and seasonal sips. Enjoy shopping along the Truckee River and neighboring streets in downtown Reno. Tickets can be purchased in advance or the day of and include a map to the participating locations, a commemorative glass, and a bracelet that allows you to sample food and beverage tastings at any participating merchant. Participants receive one sample at each location.

Reading with Mrs. Claus

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
  • Where: Scheels at Legends, 1200 Scheels Drive, Sparks
  • More Information

Experience a reading every 15 to 20 minutes with Mrs. Claus. This is a free event, and all children in attendance will receive a free book donated by the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra.

V&T Candy Cane Express

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 7–Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, and Saturday, Dec. 14–Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019
  • Where: Virginia & Truckee Railroad Depot, 165 F St., Virginia City
  • More Information

If the children and grandma have been good all year (OK, most of the year), add a little magic to the season and bring them to Virginia City to ride the V&T Candy Cane Express. Steeped in the holiday spirit, this whimsical train has become a cherished local tradition for families of all ages. On the scenic 50-minute journey over the 140-year old V&T railroad route, participants will enjoy hot cocoa or cider, candy canes & cookies, and singalong carols on the festively decorated train. Listen to a reading of 1823 classic “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” and watch little faces light up while riding through the enchanting Candy Cane tunnel. You may even see wild horses along the way! Reservations are recommended, so be sure to book early.

TOCCATA Presents Handel’s “Messiah”

  • When: Sunday, Dec. 8–Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019
  • Where: Various locations around Northern Nevada
  • More Information

The Tahoe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will celebrate the Christmas season with a production of Handel’s Messiah, along with seasonal carols that the audience will be most welcome to join in singing.


WinterFest Reno at Greater Nevada Field

  • When: Monday, Dec. 9–Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019
  • Where: Greater Nevada Field, 250 Evans Ave., Reno
  • More Information

WinterFest offers activities for all ages. Adults and children can ride the Holiday Express Train, a custom narrated journey around the inside of the Stadium, and go on a mission from Reno to the North Pole to deliver Santa’s Naughty and Nice list. Take photos with Santa in Santa’s Village. Enjoy hundreds of thousands of lights and holiday décor, make a craft in Santa’s Workshop, and much more.

39 North Pole Village

  • When: Thursday, Dec. 12–Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019
  • Where: Victorian Square, Victorian Avenue, Sparks
  • More Information

Downtown Sparks will become a sparkling winter wonderland as 39 North Downtown hosts the 5th Annual 39 North Pole Village. This holiday light festival will feature thousands of twinkling lights, holiday shopping booths, great food, fun and holiday cheer.


Reno Jazz Orchestra Presents “Home For The Holidays”

  • When: Friday, Dec. 13–Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019
  • Where: Whitney Peak Hotel Cargo Concert Hall, 255 N. Virginia St., Reno
  • More Information

The spirit of Christmas comes to life as the 17-piece Reno Jazz Orchestra presents “Home for the Holidays.” Headlining the 17-piece orchestra this year are world-renowned trombone soloist Bob McChesney and dynamic entertainer and vocalist Calabria Foti.

AVA Ballet Theatre Presents “The Nutcracker”

  • When: Friday, Dec. 13–Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019
  • Where: Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, 100 S. Virginia St., Reno
  • More Information

The stage at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts will come alive with a sugar plum fairy and dancing mice as A.V.A. Ballet Theatre presents the annual Nutcracker Ballet. A.V.A. Ballet Theatre’s artistic director Alexander Van Alstyne has choreographed an exciting rendition of the famous holiday ballet. The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s moving score conducted by Laura Jackson. Principal dancers who have performed with professional ballet companies such as Ballet West, Kansas City Ballet, and the Diablo Ballet will play the leading roles alongside a large cast of local talent.

Reno Santa Pub Crawl

The largest Santa Pub Crawl in the country attracts thousands of holiday-clad revelers to  Downtown Reno to enjoy good spirits and Yuletide cheer. The event donates all proceeds to local schools.


Holiday Dreams — A Spectacular Holiday Cirque

  • When:Thursday, Dec. 19–Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019
  • Where:Grand Sierra Resort, 2500 E. 2nd St., Reno
  • More Information

Celebrate the magic of the holiday season with this high-energy magical show. Holiday Dreams mixes the time-honored music, decorations, and spirit of the holidays with computer animation and projection mapping, for a modern, up-to-date spin on the classic holiday show.

2019 Great Santa Dash

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019
  • Where: Wingfield Park, 2 S. Arlington Ave., Reno
  • More Information:

The Santa Dash 5k Fun Run is a 5k all-ages Christmas-themed run in downtown Reno. Starting at Wingfield Park, runners dressed in Christmas-themed costumes will race west along the Truckee River, through Idlewild Park, and back. The Fun Run includes a DJ and games for the children, start/finish line celebrations and group photos with the scenic Truckee River in the background.

Winter Solstice Hike

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019
  • Where: Washoe Lake State Park, 4855 Eastlake Blvd, Reno
  • More Information

Join park staff for an evening hike on the longest night of the year. Meet at the Equestrian Area for this easy 2.5-mile hike along the South Loop Equestrian Trail. Participants should dress in layers for the weather, bring a flashlight, and wear sturdy and waterproof hiking shoes.

Nevada Chamber Music Festival

Photo by Stuart Murtland
  • When: Thursday, Dec. 26–Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020
  • Where: Nightingale Concert Hall, 1335 N. Virginia St., Reno
  • More Information

Presented by the Reno Chamber Orchestra, the 15th annual festival features unique concerts showcasing world-class musicians and the best in classical music, culminating with a New Year’s Day celebration. Shows feature soloists and small ensembles, including many of the world’s most renowned classical musicians. Artists include leading players from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic. The festival program presents a diverse and exceptional repertoire.

Cirque Musica Holiday Wishes

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019
  • Where: Nugget Casino Resort, 1100 Nugget Avenue, Sparks
  • More Information

The all-new concert experience Cirque Musica Holiday Wishes brings a holiday story to life in a full theatrical cirque event. Featuring the world-renowned cast of Cirque Musica, the performance includes holiday hits all performed live by a full symphony orchestra. Audiences will be amazed by the acrobats, aerialists, hilarious high jinks, and holiday cheer. The show blends the spellbinding grace and daredevil athleticism of today’s greatest circus performers with the sensory majesty of a symphony orchestra.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Ring in the New Year with downtown Reno’s most explosive tradition—fireworks! Downtown Reno casinos and the City of Reno are teaming up to light up the sky with a special New Year’s Eve Fireworks celebration. Three different rooftops will be used in the show, meaning celebrators will be able to see this spectacular fireworks display from all angles. Hundreds of sparkling pyrotechnics will be shot off for a brilliant display that is sure to make the heart of Reno glow.

5th Annual Great Gatsby NYE & Anniversary Party

  • When: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019
  • Where: The Depot, 325 E. 4th St., Reno
  • More Information

The Depot, the state’s first combined brewery and distillery, is ushering in the New Year with a party of extraordinary glitz and glam. The Great Gatsby will be the theme of the night, and patrons are encouraged to dress in their finest flapper fare. The event is a mix and mingle cocktail party. Champagne will be offered to patrons every hour on the hour. Tickets include a variety of delicious hors d’oeuvres, crafted for this special occasion, and unlimited drinks until the Ball drops.


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