Unique Activities In Richmond That AREN’T All About Christmas

Non-Christmas Activities
Now that Halloween is officially over, Christmas will be everywhere before you know it. And while many of us enjoy the holidays, Christmas can be a bit overwhelming. And for those who don’t celebrate Christmas? Even more so.  While the winter season is truly magical in Virginia for many reasons, it’s nice to know that there are activities that aren’t just about Christmas. In fact, we’ve found a long list of activities and events that you and your family can enjoy from now until the end-of-the-year – without singing a single Christmas carol!

Check out our list of creative, fun and totally family-friendly events, and be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter to see ongoing events and activities in Richmond and the surrounding areas.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Family Day at the White House and Museum of the Confederacy

With special family tours at the White House and the Museum of the Confederacy, you and your family can get a firsthand look at how the Civil War affected soldiers, as well as children and families, both enslaved and free. Enjoy special performances by historical characters and hands-on activities designed to teach about wartime shortages, stresses and everyday events. Open to all ages.

$18 Adult
Family Day is included with museum admission for adults
Children 17 and under are admitted FREE with an adult

Time: Saturday, November 5, 2016, starting at 10:00am

Contact / Venue:
American Civil War Museum
1201 E Clay Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 649-1861


Brunswick Stew and Stout Festival

Nothing says fall quite like Brunswick Stew – and no one does it better than the stewmasters at the 17th Annual Brunswick Stew and Stout Festival. Join stewmasters from around the southeast as they bring their own personal interpretations of this classic Virginia dish to the 17th Street Farmer’s Market in historic Shockoe Bottom. While stewmasters compete for best traditional and most original stews, you can enjoy $1 samples from 11am – 1pm, purchase quarts from 1pm – 4pm and taste some of the finest craft stouts from RVA’s favorite breweries. Enjoy live music, arts and crafts vendors and fun for the whole family.

Cost: Free admission. Food and beverages available for purchase

Time: Saturday, November 5, 2016, 11am – 4 pm

17th Street Farmers’ Market
100 N. 17th Street
Richmond, VA 23219


Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night

If you’re a fan of history, then you won’t want to miss this incredible opportunity at one of our nation’s oldest homes, presented by Preservation Virginia. Spend the day at Bacon’s Castle on Guy Fawkes Day and learn about three famous British rebels through historical re-enactments, house tours, crafts, stories – and best of all, a visit from Robin Hood himself. Famed actor and one of the foremost authorities on Robin Hood history, Tony Rotheram, will portray the famous bandit, providing stories and a medieval weapons demonstration. The event will end with a traditional lighting of the bonfire and Guy Fawkes chant. Hampton Roads Winery will offer wine and craft beer for sale from 2pm – 6pm, but all other activities are included with admission price.

Preservation Virginia Members: Free
General Admission: $8
AAA Members and Military: $7
Senior Citizens: $6
Students: $5
Children Under 6: Free

Time: Saturday, November 5, 2016, 10am – 6:30 pm

Preservation Virginia / Bacon’s Castle
465 Bacon’s Castle Trail
Surry, VA 23883
(757) 357-5976


Oysters, Barbecue…Battlesea!

Spend a day at the beautiful, historic Battlesea villa, a 35-acre oasis built in 1768 by John Banister, Petersburg’s first mayor and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The event features fresh-roasted oysters, a barbecue buffet, local craft beers and fine Virginia wines and live bluegrass music. Relax on the lawn, explore the grounds or enjoy a display of restored classic British cars at the onsite car show. The event is open to all ages and promises a fun day for the whole family.

$40 (advance purchase only)

Saturday, November 5, 2016, 1pm – 4pm
Gates open at noon
Food served 1pm – 3pm

Battersea Foundation
1289 Upper Appomattox Street
Petersburg, VA 23803
(804) 732-9882


Ashland Train Day

Ashland Train Day has become a favorite tradition for many families in the Richmond area. This all-day train festival celebrates Ashland’s railroad history with activities, displays and music at locations that include Ashland Library, the Hanover Arts and Activity Center, the Ashland Train Station, Ashland Coffee and Tea, the Ashland Museum and Red Caboose, and many other local venues. Bring the whole family for a day of music, games, lots of model trains, children’s train rides, food, railroad related vendors, displays and Ashland’s very own train mascots – Cinder and Tender Bear.

Cost: Free

Time: Saturday, November 5, 2016, 10am – 5pm

Ashland Train Day
PO Box 33
Ashland, VA 23005
(804) 412-7288


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Virginia Thanksgiving Festival

If you thought the the first Thanksgiving was hosted by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, think again. The first Thanksgiving was actually held right here in Virginia in 1619 at Berkeley Plantation. Join re-enactors as they portray the historic event, complete with games, family friendly activities, food, vendors, tribal dancers, a corn maze, traditional colonial crafts, music and much more. Take tours of the house, stroll the grounds, and end the day with a Friendship Dance led by The Chickahominy Tribal Dancers. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Festival admission is free
$10/ car donations are requested
$11 house tours (discounted rates for AAA Members, seniors and youth ages 6-16)

Sunday, November 6, 2016
House Tours 9:30am – 4:30 pm
Festival 12pm – 4pm

Virginia Thanksgiving Festival
Berkeley Plantation
12602 Harrison Landing Rd
Charles City, VA 23030
(888) 466-6018 or (804) 829-6018


Friday, November 11 – Sunday, November 13, 2016

Great American Indian Expo

Celebrate Native American month this November at The Great American Indian Expo. Owned and operated by Native Americans, this rich, cultural festival provides an excellent opportunity to learn firsthand about Native American traditions including dancing, drumming, singing, arts, crafts and foods. Featuring a traditional pow-wow, the event brings together artisans from across the country selling unique turquoise, wampum, silver, clothing, rugs, native crafts and more. Enjoy foods like Buffalo Stew, Navajo Tacos, Indian Corn Soup; take part in traditional crafts; or just sit back and enjoy the many drum groups and more than 200 native dancers expected to attend.

$10 Adults
$6 Children

Friday, November 11, 2016, 5pm – 9pm
Saturday, November 12, 2016, 10am – 8pm
Sunday, November 13, 2016, 11am – 6pm
Grand Entries and Parade of Nations:  6pm Friday, 12 noon & 5pm Saturday and 12 noon Sunday.

Contact / Venue:
Richmond International Raceway
600 E Laburnum Ave
Richmond, VA 23222
Contact Kay Oxendine by email or phone at (804) 296-9820 for more event information


Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12, 2016

Virginia Cultural Arts Marketplace

The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen hosts this free event featuring a wide variety of unique, handcrafted giftware from around the Commonwealth. Explore the wares of local and regional artisans including photographers, tailors, basket makers and many more.

Cost: Event and parking are free

Friday, November 11, 2016, 10am – 7pm
Saturday, November 12, 2016, 10am – 5pm

Contact / Venue:
Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen
2880 Mountain Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
(804) 261-ARTS (2787)


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Richmond Cider Celebration

Cider is becoming an increasingly popular beverage – especially in Virginia where we are known for our apples. Join the cider revolution with cider and food from VA cideries and Richmond area chefs at Richmond’s 17th Street Market. Ticket price is $20 and includes cider tastings, live music and educational workshops. Buy tickets here.

Cost: $20

Time: Saturday, November 12, 11am – 4pm

Cider Week Virginia
Visit the website for additional directions and ticket sales.

17th Street Farmers’ Market
100 N. 17th Street
Richmond, VA 23219


HOPS in the PARK at Henricus Historical Park

Held at the historical Citie of Henricus, HOPS in the PARK is a one-of-a-kind, premier harvest festival that celebrates farmers, manufacturers and consumers of the food and drink that comes from right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This event features more than 20 Virginia breweries, meaderies and cideries, as well as local food vendors offering foods inspired by what the original inhabitants of the Citie of Henricus might have enjoyed. Purchase a VIP Pass and you can enjoy a food and drink experience in the tavern and Mount Malady. Or stroll the grounds to see world-class art, talk to re-enactors portraying Sir Thomas Dale and Pocahontas, and sit back and enjoy live music by an open fire. The event is perfect for all ages and benefits the Henricus Historical Park and The Old Dominion Hops Cooperative.

Admission is free
Food and drinks will be available for sale a la carte, or purchase a VIP Pass ($55) to enjoy:

  • VIP Parking
  • Private restrooms
  • Indoor and Outdoor VIP space
  • Special concert from 12 – 3pm with Colin and Caroline
  • Limited edition mug
  • Specialty craft beers and mulled ciders (included in price)
  • Rustic food platter
  • Artisan appetizer buffet

Time: Saturday, November 12, 2016, 12pm – 6pm

HOPS in the PARK

Henricus Historical Park
251 Henricus Park Road
Chester, VA 23836
(804) 748-1611


Sunday, November 13, 2016

2nd Sundays Art and Music Festival in Williamsburg

As Virginia’s only ALMOST Year ‘Round Arts & Street Festival, 2nd Sundays offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the fall festival season even as winter approaches. Stroll the streets of Colonial Williamsburg and take in unique arts, handcrafts and live music in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.  The festival features face painting, crafts projects for both kids and adults, fine folk and contemporary artwork, local authors with books appropriate for all ages and live music and performances.

Cost: Free

Remaining 2016 event dates are:
Sunday, November 13, 2016; 11am – 5pm
Sunday, December 11, 2016; 11am – 5pm

Contact / Venue:
2nd Sundays Art and Music Festival
Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square
420 Prince George St (Blue Talon Bistro’s Address) near Festival Center
Williamsburg, VA 23185


Tuesday, November 15, 2016 and Wednesday, November 16, 2016

“Turkeys on the Radio” presented by On The Air Radio Players

Take your family back in time as you join the audience of this old-fashioned radio show. Enjoy an evening filled with fun and old-time stories from the “golden age of radio” during this hour-long taping featuring live music and sound effects. Sponsored by the Henrico County Recreation and Parks Department.

Cost: Free

Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 7:30pm – 9pm
Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 7:30pm – 9pm

Contact: Henrico Recreation and Parks

Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen
2880 Mountain Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
(804) 501-5859


Thursday, November 17, 2016 – Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fire, Flour and Fork Festival

Described as an event for the “food curious,” the Fire, Flour and Fork Festival takes the idea of a traditional food festival up a notch. This one-of-a kind event takes you into the streets of Richmond where you’ll visit corner bakeries, go behind the doors of 100-year-old purveyors, hear kitchen secrets from some of Richmond (and the country’s) finest chefs and, of course, eat and drink to your heart’s content. Programs are available on an individual event basis. See the complete schedule of events and buy tickets for your desired programs here.

Individual events range from $12 – $130
See a complete list of prices here

Time: Event times vary. See a complete schedule here.

Fire, Flour and Fork
Visit the website to find our times, prices and event locations.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Dan Lornitis, Hypnotist

Experience a truly unique family night with the hilariously funny (but family-friendly!) antics of Dan Lornitis, Hypnotist. Dan makes the audience the star in this amazingly entertaining performance sponsored by the Henrico County Recreation and Parks Department.

Cost: $10
Purchase tickets here.

Time: Friday, November 18, 2016, 7pm

Contact: Henrico Recreation and Parks

Henrico Theater
305 E. Nine Mile Road
Henrico, VA 23075
(804) 652-1460


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Affairs of the Hearth at Henricus Historical Park

Prepare for your own holiday feasts by seeing how 17th-century cooking in the daily life of English soldiers, middle-class colonists and Virginia Indians was done. The event will feature demonstrations of smoking of meat and making of harvest stew and corn cakes at the Virginia Indian site. Historical interpreters will offer demonstrations of how soldiers prepared and ate their meals, while “middle-class cooking” will be featured at the re-created plantation of John and Alice Proctor, offering a look at what a typical autumn feast would have been in the Citie of Henricus.

$6/child (ages 6 – 12)
Henricus Patrons free

Time: Saturday, November 19, 2016, 10am – 5pm

Contact / Venue:
Henricus Historical Park
251 Henricus Park Rd
Chester, VA 23836
(804) 748-1611


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Richmond Symphony’s 10th Annual Come and Play

Do you or your children play an orchestral instrument? Then don’t miss this chance to perform with the Richmond Symphony at the 10th Annual Come & Play event. Musicians of all ages and levels of ability are invited to bring their instruments and play alongside the musicians of the Richmond Symphony under the baton of Associate Conductor Chia-Hsuan Lin. This is the 10th anniversary of Come & Play, so be prepared for a special birthday celebration! Spots are limited, so reserve yours today! Click here for group registration.

Cost: Free (open the to the public, donations accepted)

Sunday, November 20, 2016, 6pm
Rehearsal times for those registered is from 2:30pm – 5pm

The Richmond Symphony
(804) 788-1212

VCU Siegel Center
1200 W Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23284


Thursday, November 24 – Saturday, November 26, 2016

Food and Feasts of Colonial Virginia

(Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum in Yorktown)

Long before electric stoves and refrigerators, food was prepared in clay pots and iron kettles over hot coals and preserved by smoking and salt curing. This Thanksgiving holiday, explore foodways of 17th- and 18th-century Virginia during “Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia,” a three-day event beginning on Thanksgiving Day. Discover how food was gathered, preserved and prepared on land and at sea by Virginia’s English colonists and Powhatan Indians with special events, re-enactments, a documentary and much, much more.

The Jamestown Settlement Cafe will offer a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, offered on a first-com, first-served basis, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, November 24. The dinner menu and prices are available online.

1-Day Ticket Jamestown Settlement:
$17 Adult (13+)
$8 (6-12)
Free for children under 5

1-Day Ticket American Revolution Museum in Yorktown:
$9.75 Adult (13+)
$5.50 (6-12)
Free for children under 5

Combo Tickets for both sites (1-day):
$21.25 Adult (13+)
$10.75 (6-12)
Free for children under 5

Time: 9am – 5pm daily

Contact / Venue:
(757) 253-4838

Jamestown Settlement
2110 Jamestown Road
Route 31 S.
Williamsburg, VA 23185

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
200 Water Street
Route 1020
Yorktown, VA 23690


Friday, November 25 – Sunday, November 27, 2016

39th Annual Model Railroad Show at the Science Museum of Virginia

If you’re looking for fun family events to follow Thanksgiving, then the Virginia Science Museum has just what you’re looking for. At the annual Model Railroad Show at the Science Museum of Virginia, you’ll have the chance to see some of the state’s most unique, as well as traditional, model train displays. Meet Clydesdales horses, watch a blacksmith in action and take a ride on the Teddy Bear Express. Plus, learn how trains work, conduct experiments, check out special demonstrations and enjoy a holiday weekend filled with fun for the whole family. And, of course, the Science Museum of Virginia has amazing exhibits year-round, so be sure to visit their website for a complete list.

$14 Adults
$13 Youth & Seniors
Free for members

Friday, November 25, 2016, 9:30 am – 5 pm
Saturday, November 26, 2016, 9:30 am – 5 pm
Sunday, November 27, 2016, 11:30 am – 5 pm

Contact / Venue:
Science Museum of Virginia
2500 W. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 864-1400


Friday, November 25, 2016 – Monday, January 9, 2017

Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

While this event is a holiday tradition for many in the area, it’s also a beautiful winter event, regardless of how you celebrate the holidays. Featuring more than half-a-million twinkling lights, hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trains, holiday dinners, firepit with s’mores and hot chocolate (for purchase), GardenFest offers ongoing nightly family activities from November 25 until January 9, 2017. This year’s theme, “Living Color,” explores how the world’s kaleidoscope of colors speaks to us, impacts nature and influences culture.

$13 adults
$11 seniors (age 55+)
$8 children (ages 3 – 12)
Free for children under age 3
$7 for garden members
$5 for children on Garden Membership (ages 3 – 18)

Time: 5pm – 10pm nightly (closed December 24 and 25, 2016)

SPECIAL EVENTS during GardenFest:

Grand Illumination
November 25, 2016
4pm – 10pm

Kick off the GardenFest holiday tradition with a countdown to flipping the switch on more than half-a-million twinkling lights. After the illumination, stroll through the Gardens, watch LED hula hoop demonstrations, enjoy hand-crafted botanical decorations, see model trains, enjoy family activities, and much more.


GardenFest for Fidos
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Dogs can enjoy the holiday lights at GardenFest for Fidos! Leashed pets are allowed on these special nights. Regular hours and admission apply.


M&T Bank Lights Up for Reading Night
Monday, December 5, 2016
5pm – 7pm
Join the GardenKeeper, Nutzy & host of holiday character-friends for a special story time. Stories will be read every half-hour and children can participate in a craft to make a literacy-themed holiday garland.  Bring a new or like-new book to donate to CMor’s RVA Book Buggy, which  provides books and helps expand reading programs for children in need in Central Virginia. Sponsors include M&T Bank, Children’s Museum of Richmond and Flying Squirrels’ Go Nuts for Reading Program.

Crafty Wednesdays (every Wednesday during GardenFest)
5pm – 8pm
Families can make a Living Color themed craft with staff and volunteers from 5 – 8 p.m. in the Kelly Education Center, Classroom 1 (across from the train room).  Join CVWMA and Keep Henrico Beautiful  on select nights (Dec. 7, 14, 21) during Crafty Wednesdays. Keep Henrico Beautiful will have do-it-yourself recycling crafts ideas for kids!

Musical Thursdays (every Thursday during GardenFest)
Enjoy acoustic musical performances in the Lora M. Robins Library every Thursday evening during the Dominion GardenFest of Lights. Visit the website to see updated performance schedules.

Contact / Venue:
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
1800 Lakeside Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23228
(804) 262-9887


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Friendship, Trade and Feast at Henricus Historical Park

Join the English and Virginia Indian historical interpreters at Henricus for the autumn harvest feasts and fun that were common to all people in 17th-century Virginia. Visitors will have a chance to be immersed in the cooking, games, songs, and dances that occurred in Colonial Virginia homes between 1611-1622. This event also provides an interpretation of the history of the first Thanksgiving in English America, which actually took place in Virginia in 1619.

$6/child (ages 6 – 12)
Henricus Patrons free

Time: Saturday, November 26, 2016, 10am – 5pm

Contact / Venue:
Henricus Historical Park
251 Henricus Park Rd
Chester, VA 23836
(804) 748-1611


Friday, December 16, 2016

Science After Dark at the Science Museum of Virginia

Science After Dark is a special ongoing event at the Science Museum of Virginia featuring exhibits, live astronomy presentations in The Dome and movies on the largest screen in Virginia – all after regular museum hours. Bring the kids out for a truly unique night of hands-on activities, stargazing on the front lawn with the and all-around family fun.

The next Science After Dark is on December 16, 2016 and promises an evening of science fun, as you build and decorate a city made of cardboard. The Dome will be offering all-live Cosmic Expeditions at 6:30 pm and 7:15 pm, followed by a showing of Toy Story at 8 pm. After the shows, step outside to stargaze through telescopes with the Richmond Astronomical Society.

$10 admission for exhibits and activities
$5 or Dome Pass for Cosmic Expedition or Movie
Free exhibit and activities admission for museum members
Free admission for college students with an ID

Time: Friday, December 16, 2016; 5pm – 9pm

Contact / Venue:
Science Museum of Virginia
2500 W. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 864-1400

Reservations are highly recommended! Call 804.864.1400 to reserve your seats.


Let us know about some of your favorite non-Christmas events coming up in the months of November and December. We would love to add them to our list!