Virginia December 01, 2015
Here Are The Top 14 Christmas Towns In Virginia. They’re Magical.
When it comes to the holidays, we all have our own special traditions and ways of celebrating. If you’re like my dad, that involves wishing you could hide away in a cabin in the mountains of Virginia until my mother finally puts away the last holiday ornament. If you’re like me, the motto is “the more lights, the better.” With that being said, there are some towns and cities in the state that just know how to do Christmas right. Here are a few of our favorites…
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
As the starting point (or ending point depending which way you’re driving) of the 100 Miles of Lights extravaganza, Richmond offers spectacular light displays throughout the city. From Agecroft Hall to Carytown to the State Capital, the city literally twinkles with holiday cheer. Experience an old fashioned Christmas at Maymont Park, see the Richmond Ballet perform The Nutcracker or stop by The Jefferson Hotel to see the giant gingerbread house and elegant decorations. Or, and this is my personal favorite, head out for the Tacky Lights Tour and see Griswold-like light displays throughout local neighborhoods. Find out everything you need to plan your Richmond Holiday
From historic streets to outdoor adventures, Abingdon brings together the best of Southwest Virginia. And during the holidays, it’s all the things you love about Abingdon- with a little extra sparkle. Check out holiday shows at the historic Barter Theater, shop at the countless local boutiques and galleries, stop by the famous Martha Washington Inn or cozy up to the fire at The Tavern. Find out more about these locations and local events at
It’s not hard to see why Williamsburg would come in #13 on Travel + Leisure Magazine’s national list of Best Towns for the Holidays. Williamsburg is known for its incredible attention to details, beautiful historic representation and ability to make everything just a little more fun. The holiday are no different. From colonial Christmas reenactments to special performances, parades and events, Williamsburg should definitely be on your holiday wish list. And of course, don’t forget Christmas Town at Busch Gardens! Check out all of their upcoming holiday events at
Old Town Alexandria has long been celebrated for its rich history, beautiful streets and quaint waterfront views. And the holidays are no different. There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than to stroll the brick-paved streets of Old Town amidst holiday decorations, a huge selection of shopping options and plenty of dining. For a list of all of the events available throughout the season, visit the events calendar at
Hailed as The Christmas Capital of Virginia, Bedford takes on the holidays with style. Beginning with the Festival of Trees at the Bedford Welcome Center and reaching all the way to the lights spectacular at Liberty Lake Park, Bedford is a town that loves the holidays - and it shows. Take part in the many upcoming events, including the lights at the English Meadows-Elks Home Campus, Centertown Tree Lighting on December 4 and the annual Holiday Parade on Decemeber 5, as well as carriage rides, SantaLand and much more. Visit
Bedford Main Street
to find out more information about these and other events.
Ranked as one of Travel + Leisure Magazine’s "Best Towns for the Holidays,” Charlottesville's normal history and charm are only heightened during the holidays. The Downtown Mall is perfect for holiday outings with a wide variety of shopping, dining and entertainment. And, of course, you won’t want to miss the "Lighting of the Lawn" at the University of Virginia on Thursday, December 3 or Charlottesville’s Grand Illumination on Friday, December 4. For historic Christmas tours, visit Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello or travel to nearby Orange to see James Madison’s Montpelier. For other local events, check out Visit Charlottesville’s
Fredericksburg's historic charm may be at its best during the holiday season - if not its best, then definitely its brightest. Make the most of the season with parades, holiday night walks, special holiday carriage rides and much more. From local shopping and dining to special events and performances, Fredericksburg is never short on holiday cheer. Find out more about upcoming events at
8. Front Royal
Front Royal offers charm and elegance throughout the year, and the holidays are just a good excuse to show it off with even more flair. From holiday parades to special events to local shopping, you won’t be sorry for spending the holidays in Front Royal. Check out their complete listing of upcoming events at
Front Royal Events
and be sure to visit for the Hometown Holiday Christmas Parade this Saturday, December 5.
9. Virginia Beach
Never one to do things halfway, Virginia Beach goes ALL out for the holiday. Go Sailing With Santa at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, check out McDonald’s Holiday Lights on the Beach, shop at the Christmas Market (one of the best Arts & Crafts shows in the nation) and see other displays from the 100 Miles of Lights that stretch from Richmond to Virginia Beach (with stops in Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk and Portsmouth along the way). To view a complete list of events and to get more information about the activities listed above, visit
Christmas in Virginia Beach
If you’re looking for a place that's low on crowds and commercial craziness, but big on holiday spirit, then you need to celebrate “Christmas by the Bay” in the beautiful Northern Neck town of Kilmarnock. Take advantage of the small town festivities throughout the season, including the 37th Annual Kilmarnock Lighted Christmas Parade on December 11 and the Holiday Lighting Contest for both businesses and residential homes. Visit them
to learn more.
As part of the DC Metropolitan Area, Manassas has access to all of the major events in the Washington, D.C. area, but with its own close community, it’s the perfect place to get your holidays started. With special Christmas events happening all month, you can spend the day shopping, enjoying traditional holiday activities or visiting historic homes and buildings. There’s really no way to go wrong! Learn more about upcoming events at
Already one one of the coolest little towns in the Southwestern part of the state, the holiday season just makes Marion that much cooler. Be sure to catch Merry Main Street in downtown on December 3, see Christmas Along the Crooked Road at the historic Lincoln Theatre on December 4 and continue to enjoy lights, shopping with local businesses, holiday cocktails at the General Francis Marion Hotel and other special events throughout the holiday season. Visit the
Town of Marion
to learn more.
Roanoke kicks off the holiday season with their premier annual holiday event, “Dickens of a Christmas,” on December 4, including the City of Roanoke Christmas Tree Lighting, followed by ongoing events in the following weeks. Other Roanoke holiday favorites include ice skating at Elmwood Park, special holiday events at local museums and businesses and the Hotel Roanoke’s classic Victorian-inspired decorations. Visit
to learn more.
14. South Hill
For a true, good ol’ fashioned Southern Christmas, head down to Southside for South Hill’s holiday festivities. Starting with the annual “Tell Santa at the Chamber Depot,” which include free photos with Santa, on December 2, the holiday line-up also includes the Christmas Farmers’ Market on December 5, the annual Christmas Parade on December 6 and special performances like “A Christmas Carol” at the LaCrosse Commerce Center on December 18 & 19. And of course, a visit to South Hill is the perfect way to support local businesses with holiday shopping and dining. Visit the
South Hill Chamber of Commerce
for more details.
Of course, these aren’t the only places in the state that turn the holidays into something magical. Tell us about the towns, cities or events that make your holiday special! Let us know in the comments below.