The Holiday Season is finally here, and there is no better time to share magical moments with the people we love. Here are 7 of our favorite holiday activities in Hampton Roads!
Lights are one of the first things to come to mind when you think of the Holiday season, and Hampton Roads has no shortage of options for spending an evening taking in a dazzling light display with the family. From gardens to beaches and battleships, here are some of the best holiday lights Hampton Roads has to offer:
Where: Nauticus – Norfolk, VA
When: Wed-Thurs 4:30 – 9 PM, Fri-Sat 4:30 – 10 PM, Sun 4:30 – 9 PM
Explore the Battleship Wisconsin as over one million light bulbs light it up. Explore a polar train, catch a show from the grinch, and enjoy holiday snacks are you soak in the battleship at the brightest it’s ever been.
More Info: https://www.winterfestonthewisconsin.com/
The Garden of Lights
Where: Norfolk Botanical Gardens – Norfolk, VA
When: November 11 – January 1, 5-9 PM nightly
A holiday favorite around Hampton Roads, explore the magic of the botanical gardens covered in dazzling lights as you explore this mile-long walking path through the gardens.
Where: Newport News Park – Newport News, VA
When: November 24 – January 1, 5:30-10 PM nightly
Virginia’s first drive-thru light event is still going strong with over a million bulbs and animated displays! This 2-mile drive features over 350 exhibits, 15 arches, and 3 miles of lightbulbs!
Festival of Lights
Where: Sleepy Hole Park – Suffolk, VA
When: November 25 – December 30, 5:30-9:30 PM nightly
FREE Drive-thru light display runs for 1.2 miles and features over 35,000 bulbs! Did we mention it’s free?
Holiday Lights at the Beach
Where: 21st Street, Oceanfront – Virginia Beach, VA
When: November 18 – January 1, Sun-Thurs 5:30-10 PM, Fri-Sat 5:30-11 PM
Listen to a soundtrack of holiday tunes and soak in nautical-themed holiday displays with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop as you drive up the boardwalk. It is highlighted by a Surfing Santa, color-changing archways, light fixtures that pay tribute to the region’s Armed Forces community, and a 40-foot dancing-light Christmas tree!
The Lights of Christmas
Where: KOA Campsite – Virginia Beach, VA
When: November 25 – December 31, Sun-Thurs 5-10 PM, Fri-Sat 5-11 PM
Enjoy a synchronized musical light show all from the comfort of your car! Local vendors and food trucks will also have plenty of holiday snacks for you to enjoy on your ride.
More Info: https://tinyurl.com/KOAHolidayLights
Deck the Hall
Where: Chesapeake City Hall – Chesapeake, VA
When: November 24 – January 2, 6-9 PM nightly
Explore the Chesapeake City Hall grounds lit up in festive lights as you drive around. The lights are FREE to check out.
Pugh Family Light Display
Where: 902 Heydon Court – Chesapeake, VA
When: November 19 – December 25, Sun-Thurs 5:30-9:30 PM, Fri-Sat 5:30-10 PM
Featured on ABC’s Great Christmas Light Fight, this is one of the most incredible home light displays you will ever see. Park the car, tune the radio to 89.7 FM and enjoy the show!
Holt Family Light Display
Where: 705 Tallahassee Drive – Chesapeake, VA
When: November 24 – December 24, Mon-Thurs 5:30-8:30 PM, Fri-Sat 5:30-10 PM, Sun 5:30-9:30 PM
Park your car and enjoy a light show featuring your favorite holiday songs. December 10th and 17th will feature appearances by Santa, Buddy the Elf, The Grinch, and his dog Max!
Hampton Roads has plenty of first-class performance centers if you’re looking to escape the elements but still stay in the holiday spirit. Check out these holiday shows, from plays to musicals and concerts, running all season long:
Sandler Center – Norfolk, VA
When: Shows from December 2-18
Sing along to some of your favorite holiday songs at Jingle Bell Jam, Celebrate Christmas and Holiday Pops! Or enjoy the classic winter ballet The Nutcracker.
More Info: https://www.sandlercenter.org/events
A Christmas Carole
Where: Wells Theatre – Norfolk, VA
When: Shows from November 30 – December 31
The classic, heart-warming tale that always helps remind us of the meaning of the holiday season. Watch as the Virginia Stage Company brings Ebeneezer Scrooge’s haunting journey to life.
More Info: https://www.vastage.org/acc22
Where: Christopher Newport University – Newport News, VA
When: Shows from November 4 – December 20
Check out a variety of holiday performances, including the academy of dance’s Holiday Extravaganza and The Nutcracker Ballet.
More Info: https://www.fergusoncenter.org/events
If you’re looking to get as many holiday activities in one place as possible, a winter festival might be for you! Here are some of the winter festivals and markets popping up across Hampton Roads this holiday season:
Fa La La Land Chesapeake
Where: Chesapeake City Hall – Chesapeake, VA
When: December 10 and 17, 5-9 PM
Explore a winter wonderland and enjoy all kinds of holiday activities like carolers, face painting, a giant slow globe, goats in holiday sweaters, and a visit from Santa!
Miracle at Waterside Dr.
Where: Waterside – Norfolk, VA
When: December 2 – January 1, Wed-Fri 4-11 PM, Sat-Sun 12-11 PM
Take in over-the-top holiday décor, seasonal dishes, and drinks, and sign up for a crafting class or two,
Where: Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center – Portsmouth, VA
When: November 26 – December 31, Wed-Thur 9 AM – 4:30 PM, Fri-Sat 9 AM – 9:00 PM, Sun 9 AM – 4 PM
Browse a multitude of light and holiday displays featuring plenty of animated scenes with busy elves and woodland critters.
The Great Hermitage Holiday
Where: Hermitage Museum – Norfolk, VA
When: December 9, 7-10 PM
Explore the museum while it’s decorated for the holidays and enjoy music and the hot chocolate bar. When you check out the gingerbread display, add a decoration to the holiday tree.
Breakfast with Santa
Sometimes, nothing can make a child happier than the peace of mind of knowing that they got to deliver their list to Santa directly. Add to the magic of the holiday season and bring your child to meet Santa and grab a delicious breakfast at one of the following locations:
The Cavalier Hotel – Virginia Beach, VA
When: December 3, 10, and 17, 10 AM – 2 PM
Founders Inn – Virginia Beach, VA
When: December 3, 10, 17, and 20, 8 AM 10 AM; December 11 and 18, 8 AM – 5 PM
Grey Goose – Hampton, VA
When: December 10, 17, and 24, 9-11 AM
More Info: https://www.greygooserestaurant.com/events
Smithfield Station – Smithfield, VA
When: December 4, 11, and 18, 9 AM – 12 PM
More Info: https://www.genuinesmithfieldva.com/events
Hampton Roads and American history go hand in hand; The Historic Triangle of Virginia offers an immersive look at how the holidays were celebrated when our nation was founded. Here’s how you can soak in some colonial cheer this holiday season:
When: December 3, 10, 17
Enjoy a Yule Log celebration, a colonial holiday parade, and a one-of-a-kind fireworks display on three separate occasions at Colonial Williamsburg.
When: December 18-31, 9 AM – 5 PM
Get a glimpse of 17th and 18th-century yuletide traditions like cooking, caroling, and a colonial band. Take a trip inside the holiday kitchen and watch a meal prepared while learning hunting techniques.
When: December 18-31, 9 AM – 5 PM
Learn first-hand how the continental army prepared for winter and enjoy Christmas carols and musical performances.
Busch Gardens Christmas Towne
Everyone in Hampton Roads knows about the summer thrills Busch Gardens has to offer and the spooky scenes of Hallowscream, but Busch Gardens also gets just as into the season for the Holidays! Check out the winter fun Hampton Roads’ theme park has to offer, featuring over 10 million lights- one of the largest displays in North America, as well as Santa’s Workshop, the Christmas Towne Express, and the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas skating show:
No Holiday season would be complete without a trip to the ice rink for some winter skating. Hampton Roads has plenty of ice time to offer you and the family, from indoor to outdoor, so that you can get the whole winter wonderland experience:
Where: MacArthur Mall Plaza – Norfolk, VA
When: December 25 – January 16, Mon-Thur 4-9 PM, Frid 4-10 PM, Sat 11 AM – 10 PM, Sun 12-7 PM
Take a spin on an outdoor rink in downtown Norfolk surrounded by lights and holiday decorations.
More Info: http://www.maconice.com/
Where: Books Crossing – Newport News, VA
When: December 2 – January 1, 5-9 PM
Enjoy various holiday events, including a silent disco, photo booth, and an animated Christmas tree while you skate the night away.
Liberty Ice Pavillion
Where: Historic Duke of Gloucester St. – Williamsburg, VA
When: November 18 – February 26
An outdoor ice rink in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season while taking a few turns on the ice.