Everyone has traditions they look forward to each holiday season. Virginia's 100 Miles of Lights is a major one, but here are 9 more. Are they among your favorites? If not, give them a try this year and perhaps you'll have a new one to look forward to.
What events does your family enjoy during the holiday season? Leave a kind comment to share and give ideas to others.
--- CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATIONS AT MOUNT VERNON | MOUNT VERNON ---
Every year, Mount Vernon holds a special holiday celebration to get you in the holiday spirit. The Christmas Illumination include a huge firework show over the Potomac River on Friday and Saturday night, as well as a dazzling wintry lights display including a lantern lit historic area and colorful lights throughout the Upper Garden and Greenhouse. Visitors can also tour the mansion to learn about historic holiday celebrations as well as shop the 18th century Winter Market for one-of-a-kind gifts!
--- DOMINION CHRISTMAS PARADE | RICHMOND ---
Nearly 100 entries that include emergency response vehicles, giant balloons, marching bands, floats, athletes, celebrities, dance troupes and more draw a crowd of more than 100,000 to Broad Street year after year. Held the first Saturday in December.
--- ANNUAL CAMPAGNA CENTER SCOTTISH CHRISTMAS WALK | ALEXANDRIA ---
photo credit: Cameron Davidson
Alexandria was established by Scottish merchants in 1749 and the annual Christmas Walk pays homage to that rich history with the only parade of its kind in Virginia: a kilted one. The first Saturday of December always welcomes dozens of Scottish clans descending upon Old Town in their best plaids and armed with bagpipes. It's a tradition that has frequently landed on the Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 Events list.
--- THE ROANOKE TIMES DICKENS OF A CHRISTMAS | ROANOKE ---
The first three Fridays of December are dedicated to family festivities at Dickens of a Christmas. Centered in the historic Roanoke market, this event features carriage rides, chestnuts roasting on an open fire (well, roasted chestnuts anyway), and plenty of merriment to go around.
--- GRAND ILLUMINATION | COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG ---
Gun fire and fireworks were the celebratory actions one would experience during the 18th century. If you're in Colonial Williamsburg, what else would you expect? Join in a night of revelry with musical performances and three locations of beautiful fireworks. Grand Illumination occurs the first Sunday of December annually.
--- KINGS DOMINION WINTERFEST | DOSWELL ---
Kings Dominion goes all out for the holidays, decorating with millions of sparkling lights, plenty of performances and tasty holiday treats and drinks. The Eiffel Tower is transformed into a 300-foot Christmas tree and International Street becomes a huge ice skating rink! On top of that, you will find plenty of local artisan shops to find the perfect gift as well as the brand new Winter Wonderland Parade featuring decked-out floats and fun performances to get you in the holiday spirit.
--- BAYPORT CREDIT UNION HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT THE BEACH | VIRGINIA BEACH ---
photo credit: Alexander Smith
How does driving the boardwalk at Virginia Beach sound? Pretty cool, huh? Even cooler to drive it at night with light displays surrounding you. See dolphins appearing to jump from the tide, enormous sandcastles, and even wise men making their way to the star. Load up the car/van/minibus/motorcoach and come on down. There are special price nights, military nights, and more. The boardwalk will be lit from November 19, 2021 through January 2, 2022.
--- CHRISTMASTIDE AT JAMESTOWN SETTLEMENT | JAMESTOWN ---
What does a 17th century Christmas look like? Head to Jamestown Settlement to find out just how different today's celebrations are from settlers' time. A variety of daily tours, interpretations, music, and special opportunities will entertain and educate families from December 18 -31, 2021. Be sure to seek out the Lord of Misrule, a mischievous character indeed.
--- BUSCH GARDENS CHRISTMAS TOWN | WILLIAMSBURG ---
photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg
You won't find anything that compares to Busch Gardens when it's transformed into Christmas Town. The jolly ol' elf, Santa, is one of the best (from this mom's point of view), and the themed areas are great fun. Millions of lights paired with the top-notch shows Busch Gardens is known for equals a night your family won't soon forget. Do get the signature peppermint hot chocolate, too!
--- DOMINION GARDENFEST OF LIGHTS AT LEWIS GINTER BOTANICAL GARDEN | RICHMOND ---
photo credit: Don Williamson
More than 30 acres of lit displays and botanical creations make for a delightful walk through a merry wonderland. The centerpiece, however, is the Conservatory. Beautifully lit and housing indoor displays, it's not to be missed. Seek out the firepits and make yourself a s'more. Hot chocolate is available, too!