The Holidays are on the way and here in Hampton Roads, I’m looking forward to it! The Christmas countdown has long been on and we are officially only 30 days away! With so many happenings, it’s time to start planning your holiday season so get out those planners!
As with most times of the year around here, there is no shortage of things to do! The Holiday Season in Hampton Roads is very exciting and the list below are just some of the many activities happening during this festive time of year!
Whether you are looking for some family fun, want to show out of town visitors how Hampton Roads’ does the holidays, want to get your shop on or are just looking for a way to get festive, there is something here for you to do!
The list below is by no means and exhaustive list of all the happenings but it’s a pretty darn good start to get you in the holiday spirit! So without further ado, here are my top holiday happenings in here HR and in no particular order!
Top 10 To-Do’s
When: Now through December 14 from 4-9pm every night of the week
What: The Million Bulb Walk is a mile long stroll through the lights at the gardens! It’s easily accessible for strollers, wheelchairs, and more while being fun for the entire family!
Why go? The Million Bulb Walk is a beautiful way to enjoy holiday lights of many varieties! The walk is always a popular way to see holiday lights as you have no time constraints to worry about and can move through the lights at your own pace. During the walk, you can also pause to take photos, enjoy social time with your group and take a leisurely stroll through a beautiful section of the gardens.
When: December 15-31 from 5:30-10pm every night of the week
What: Similar to the Million Bulb Walk, the Garden of Lights is a stroll through the beautiful lights at the Botanical Gardens. This lighted stroll is done via car and features many great sights from the comfort of your vehicle. Paying by car is very easy and affordable for those looking for some good ol’ family fun.
Why go? The Garden of Lights is a great experience whether you do so by foot or car. The car option is awesome as the weather gets colder. It’s also a great option for those that may not want to walk the one mile path earlier in the season. The drive through the gardens is breathtakingly beautiful and tall about comfortable and convenient!
When: November 16-January 5 on select dates with various times
What: Busch Gardens has been transformed into the ultimate Christmas Town! From lights to holiday themed shows to experiencing the rides in cooler temps, there is something for everyone to enjoy!
Why go? Busch Gardens is always a fun experience regardless of when you go but the holidays there truly are magical. Many of the rides are open, the shows have all been designed with the holidays in mind and the decorations are beautiful! If you want a true holiday experience, Busch Gardens has it!
When: November 23 at 7:00pm (already past but mark your calendars for right around this time next year)
What: The Downtown Norfolk Grand Illumination parade features bands, music, floats, and of course, Santa! Taking place throughout the downtown area, the parade is a popular and free attraction for all ages!
Why go? The parade is fun for the whole family and it keeps getting better year after year! With options for standing room only, VIP access, bleacher seats and more, the parade is yours to enjoy as you wish! The parade ends with the lighting of the Norfolk skyline and is beloved tradition here in Hampton Roads!
When: December 1 at 5:00pm
What: The gorgeous Cavalier Hotel will be celebrating the upcoming holiday season in style! Meet on the great lawn for the light up ceremony, take photos with Santa and enjoy festivities in the Raleigh Room!
Why go? The Cavalier Hotel is an icon here in Hampton Roads and arguably one of the most beautiful spaces in the area (and beyond if you ask me). Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday in style at this gorgeous hotel!
When: Starts November 23 and ends December 31 on varies dates and times (schedule here)
What: Dickens’ Christmas extravaganza is back for another great year! With special events, many things to see and do, themed nights and more, the event is fun for every age!
Why go? New this year for adults looking to have some holiday cheer, is Dickens’ After Dark! Happening on select Fridays and featuring special events each evening, this new series is sure to be a hit!
7. Holiday Markets
Shopping is a holiday must for many! You can easily get your shop on at these local favorites hosting pop up shops, shop for a cause and more! Also, don’t forget to shop small business Saturday on November 30th!
- Selden Maket Holiday Party
- Neon Holiday Market
- 2019 Fair Trade Festival at O’Connors
- Christmas Open House at 3 Little Black Birds
- Small Business Saturday Lalapalooza at Mrs. Pinkdot
- Sip & Shop at Jollity’s Holiday Open House
- Deep Creek High School Craft Show
8. Visits with Santa
Everyone loves Santa and Hampton Roads offers many ways to get in those family or pet photos! Check out just some of the upcoming events where you can tell the big guy every item on your wishlist!
- Evening with Santa at the Founders Inn
- Breakfast and Photos with Santa at Smartmouth
- Pancakes, Paws and Santa Claws at the Zoo
- Pet Photos with Santa at MacArthur Center
- Brunch with Santa at The Norfolk Yacht Club
- Photos with Santa at MacArthur Center
9. Holiday Shows
The theater scene is feeling festive and there’s many shows happening this holiday season for all you theater lovers! Here’s a few to add to your list:
- Hamilton at Chrysler Hall
- A Christmas Carol at Virginia Stage Company
- The Nutcracker at Chrysler Hall
- A Christmas Concert at Regent University
- Hampton Roads Philharmonic
- A Postmodern Jukebox-A Very Postmodern Christmas
- Swan Lake at the Harrison Opera House
10. Holiday Happy Hours, parties and more!
Here in Hampton Roads, we know how to throw a party! From ugly sweater soirées to sips and shops, we have it all! Check out just some of the upcoming parties that you should add to your calendar!
- tHRive’s Holiday Happy Hour at Brick Anchor Brewhouse
- Back Bay Farmhouse’s Grand Illumination
- Sweater Party at O’Connor’s Brewing Co.
- Merry Little Christmas Tea at the Hunter House Museum
- Holiday Classics: Love Actually at NARO Cinema
- Ugly Christmas Sweater Dinner at Orapax
- Black Friday Insanity at Mermaid Winery
- Sips and Succulents-Holiday Style at The Bold Mariner
Have a great event that I need to add to my holiday happenings list, let me know!
To see other awesome social scenes from the area, check out my posts here.