Holiday Bucket List for Richmond 2017

Holiday Bucket ListNow that Halloween is over and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, the winter holiday frenzy is already in full effect. Of course, not everyone celebrates that holidays in the same way. So we’ve put together the perfect list of holiday bucket list activities for the coming season, including both traditional and non-traditional activities, celebrations, events.

Regardless of how you celebrate the holidays, you’ll find that the Richmond area offers a plentiful array of holiday options—from elaborate Christmas celebrations to simple winter activities that offer you a chance to get out and have fun together as a family. From lights to music to winter carriage rides, there are more than enough ways to make the most of this winter season.

Take a look at our holiday bucket list and, hopefully, you’ll find plenty of ways to create new holiday traditions—or continue ones that you already have. And if there’s a special activity that you and your family do every year that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear about it at!


10. See the Holiday Light Displays

Holiday lights are, personally, one of my favorite things about the holiday season. From the twinkling lights lining neighborhood streets to more elaborate displays, holiday lights symbolize the season. Fortunately, there are a number of magnificent light displays in the Richmond area and beyond. From elaborate displays of twinkling lights to dazzling laser light shows set to holiday music, you’ll find plenty of ways to add some sparkle to your holidays. Start with our list below, but be sure to check out other displays, including 100 Miles of Lights, which lists light shows all the way from Richmond to Virginia Beach.

Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

November 24, 2017 – January 8, 2018
5pm – 10pm nightly (closed December 24 and 25)

The annual GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a beautiful winter event that celebrates a new theme each year. The event features more than half-a-million twinkling lights, hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trains and ongoing nightly family activities perfect for any age group. This year’s theme, “Naturally Ever After” presents Stories in Lights—a fantastical series of displays that represent everything from fairy tales and folklore to time-treasured classics. Explore indoor and outdoor displays, enjoy family activities and take part in special holiday events that highlight tales spanning an array of cultures and times.

Cost: $13/adults; $7/adult Garden members; $11/seniors (55+); $8/child (ages 3-12); $5/child on Garden membership (ages 3-17); children 3 and under are free. Click here to purchase tickets or to see a full list of featured activities throughout the GardenFest celebration.

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


Holiday Lights Merry Mile at the Virginia Beach Boardwalk

November 23, 2017 – December 31, 2017
5:30pm – 10pm (Sunday – Thursday); 5:30pm – 11pm (Friday and Saturday)

Featuring holiday and nautical themes, this light-filled spectacular showcases over 50 of the most popular, hand-picked light displays along the boardwalk and beach. Starting at 2nd Street, you can make your way along the beautiful Virginia Beach boardwalk to see festive fish, jumping dolphins, frolicking porpoises – all in bright, colored lights set against the winter sky. In addition to lights, be sure to catch Santa and his elves, along with a 40-foot tall Christmas tree.

Cost: $5/vehicle (Friday – Sunday and Holidays); $4/vehicle (Monday-Thursday); $2 for military personnel on Military Mondays; $25/motorcoaches. Please note the admission is cash only at the entrance gate located at 2nd Street on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

Location and Contact:
On the boardwalk between 2nd and 34th Streets
Virginia Beach, VA 23451


Holiday Magic Laser Light Shows at the Virginia Living Museum

November 22 – December 31, 2017
Click here for select dates and showtimes

The Virginia Living Museum is proud to present their annual holiday series: Holiday Magic. Featuring a variety of holiday-themed laser light shows, this event is fun for the whole family. Most shows are available with morning and afternoon show times, with select evening showings. Click here for a complete schedule.

Cost: Daytime shows – VLM members free; non-members $4 plus Museum admission; Evening shows – VLM members $3; non-members $6.

Contact and Location:
Virginia Living Museum
524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd.
Newport News, VA 23601
(757) 595-1900


Illuminate Light Show & Santa’s Village

November 17, 2017 – December 31, 2017
5:30pm – 10pm nightly

As Virginia’s largest drive-through holiday light display, Illuminate offers fun for all ages. The entire light display is synchronized to music that you can hear on your radio. After you drive through, be sure to visit Santa’s Village for shopping, games, activities, and, of course, visits with Santa.

Cost: Regular car admission (1-9 passengers) – $25.

Contact and Location:
The Meadow Event Park
13191 Dawn Blvd.
Doswell, VA 23047
(804) 994-2800


9. Visit a Christmas Town

“Christmas Towns” have become popular holiday traditions in many areas. These “towns” are areas that are not just decorated for the holidays but truly transformed into winter wonderlands. Just east of Richmond you’ll find two such “towns” that will transport you to another world, which is sometimes just what we need in the midst of the holiday craziness.

Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Williamsburg

2pm – 10pm
November 24 – 26, 2017; December 1 – 3, 2017;
December 8, 2017 – January 1, 2018 (closed Christmas Day)

The only thing that could make this beloved theme park better is the addition of more than eight MILLION twinkling lights. Celebrate the holiday and winter season at Busch Gardens and enjoy many of your favorite year-round rides, along with special holiday shopping, heartwarming shows, and festive food and drinks. Special events this year include performances by world-champion figure skater, Elvis Stojko, in “’Twas that Night,” as well as visits and photos with Santa and other special guests in the North Pole.

Cost: Click here for regular tickets and event information, or click here for information about discounted Christmas Town tickets (available for a limited time only).

Contact and Location:
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
1 Busch Gardens Blvd.
Williamsburg, VA 23185


Dickens’ Christmas Towne

November 18 – December 31, 2017
Click here for daily schedules and times, including special holiday events.

This incredible Christmas village is nothing short of amazing, making it easy to see why it has become Hampton Roads’ favorite new holiday tradition. Be sure to check out their newest experience called “London Docks,” a 120-foot waterfront maze made entirely of shipping pallets. Plus, you’ll enjoy Once Upon A Time, a new interactive space showcasing a larger-than-life talking book and “bookworm,” along with a giant advent calendar, all-new free activities and games, an elaborate indoor train display, Geoffrey “the talking Christmas Tree,” the Pickwick Puppet Theater, Father Christmas, amazing jugglers, magicians, performers, and more. Best of all, no matter what the weather is outside, at Dickens’ Christmas Towne, it snows every day!

Cost: $5/person; children 2 and under are free. Tickets are available at the door only. Click here for more information.

Contact and Location:
Dickens’ Christmas Towne
Decker Half Moone Center
1 Waterside Drive
Norfolk, VA 23510
(757) 664-1000


8. Watch a Classic Holiday Performance

Some families have a favorite movie they watch together every year, others prefer to see live performances on stage. Whatever your preference, the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without these heartwarming stories and special performances. For example, the Richmond Ballet has presented their breathtaking rendition of the timeless classic, The Nutcracker, for decades, awing audiences and making memories for families from every walk of life. Don’t miss their annual performance at the Carpenter Center, but be sure check out our other favorite holiday performance options below!

A Christmas Carol – A One Man Performance by John Hardy

Friday, December 15, 2017, 7pm

See this beloved Christmas classic like never before. Dickens’ story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future comes to life as a one-man show, performed by John Hardy. Watch as Hardy brings more than 40 characters to life—all on his own.

Cost: $10/adult. Click here to purchase tickets.

Contact and Location:
Henrico Theater
305 E. Nine Mile Road
Highland Springs (Henrico), VA 23075
(804) 652-1460


A Christmas Story: The Musical

November 17 – December 17, 2017
Click here for select dates and showtimes

Join the Four County Players as they present everyone’s favorite Christmas mishaps in A Christmas Story: The Musical. Based on the beloved film, A Christmas Story, the musical shows young Ralphie’s adventures as he strives for his one Christmas wish—a Red Ryder BB gun. Featuring fantastic music, engaging performances, and a storyline for the ages, A Christmas Story is the perfect way to make your own family memories this holiday season.

Contact and Location:
Four County Players
5256 Governor Barbour St.
Barboursville, VA 22923
(540) 832-5355


The Nutcracker Ballet with the Richmond Symphony

December 9 – 23, 2017
Click here to see a complete list of show times.

For years, The Nutcracker has been a favorite holiday tradition for Richmond audiences, and in 2015, this classic ballet got even better with redesigned costumes, exquisite new scenery and brand-new characters. This year’s performance promises to be one of the best yet as the wonder and magic of the season comes alive on stage with dancing sugar plums, life-like dolls, sparkling flowers, snowflakes – and, of course, Clara and her Nutcracker Prince.

Cost: Tickets range between $25 – $125
Order tickets by phone at (800) 514-3849; click here to purchase online; or purchase tickets in person at the Richmond Ballet Box Office (407 East Canal Street), Monday through Friday from 11am to 6pm.

Contact and Location:
Carpenter Theatre
600 E Grace St #400
Richmond, VA 23219
For specific show information, visit The Richmond Ballet online or call (804) 344-0906.

If you can’t make the Richmond show, catch a special performance of The Nutcracker in Norfolk December 1 – 3, 2017. Click here for more information or to order tickets online.

Contact and Location:
Chrysler Hall
215 Saint Pauls Boulevard
Norfolk, Virginia 23510
(757) 664-6464


Star of Wonder: Mystery of the Christmas Star

November 22 – December 31, 2017
Click here for select dates and showtimes

Historians and scientists have long wondered about the Magi, or “wisemen,” who followed a mysterious star which foretold the coming of a king. Over the years, the scientific thinking has changed, archaeology has revealed new clues about the lands in which these events took place, and our understanding of who the Magi might have actually been has grown. Star of Wonder: Mystery of the Christmas Star offers a truly immersive look at the journey of the Magi while examining the latest clues and seeking once more to understand the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem.

Cost: Daytime shows – VLM members free; non-members $4 plus Museum admission; Evening shows – VLM members $3; non-members $6.

Contact and Location:
Virginia Living Museum
524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd.
Newport News, VA 23601
(757) 595-1900


7. Go on a Tacky Lights Tour

There are holiday light displays – and then there are tacky lights. And there are few things Richmond does better during the holiday season than put on a tacky lights show to remember. Featuring private homes throughout Richmond and the surrounding areas, tacky lights tours are available in both guided tour and self-guided tour formats. See dancing Santas, giant glowing snowmen, singing bears, gingerbread houses, and enough lights to satisfy the Clark Griswold in us all.

Self-Guided Tours:
To start your own self-guided tour, visit and enter your city, state or zip code in the search field for a list of houses in your area. Or, see the ever-growing list of Richmond area homes with The Richmond Times Dispatch Tacky Lights guide.

Guided Tours:
Many limousine and car services offer guided tacky lights tours, making it easy for families or groups of friends to head out for a night of lights. Here are a few of the area’s top-rated services for guided tours:

James Limousine

Now offering a “school night tacky lights tour” especially for little ones who need to get to bed on time! Visit them here to learn more.

Toll Free: (888) 522-1540
Richmond / Newsport News / Williamsburg: (804) 273-1540
Charlottesville: (434) 218-0158


Richmond Limousine

Tours are available from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve, with special two-hour economy tours offered both early evening and late evening.

Toll Free: (855) 804-5466
Richmond: (804) 266-2800
Williamsburg & Charlottesville: (757) 645-0308


Anytime Limousines

Tours run from the end of November through the first week of January and include full gratuities, as well as ice and bottled waters, tour route customized to pick-up address, Sirius/ XM radio, TVs and DVD, and professional, courteous drivers.

Fredericksburg: (540) 412-9025 or (540) 710-5466
Culpeper: (540) 547-9025
Manassas: (703) 791-5466
Richmond: (804) 279-0909


6. Take Family and Friends Caroling

While it’s always nice to hear holiday music on the radio, there’s nothing quite like going out with friends and family to do a little singing for ourselves. Caroling not only provides a chance to be with others for songs and fellowship, but it’s a great way to spread holiday joy to the world around us. Fortunately, Richmond and nearby areas offer a number of unique caroling events perfect for creating holiday traditions.

Candlelight Festival of Lessons and Carols

December 10, 2017, 5pm and 8pm

Join the University of Richmond’s Department of Music and the Chaplaincy for the 44th annual Candlelight Festival of Lessons and Carols. Held in the University Chapel, the Schola Cantorum and Women’s Chorale will present both modern and traditional carols and anthems in the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols that was first held at King’s College in Cambridge, England in 1918. The service ends with the congregations joining in on “Silent Night” and lighting candles.

Cost: Free

Contact and Location:
University of Richmond Chaplaincy
Cannon Memorial Chapel
36 Wilton Way
Richmond, VA 23173


Caroling at the Courthouse

December 11-13 and 18-20, 2017, 6pm – 6:45pm

Join in the fun of a Colonial Christmas at Colonial Williamsburg. Celebrate with traditional holiday songs sung in front of the Courthouse on selects evenings in December.

Contact and Location:
Colonial Williamsburg
101 Visitor Center Drive
Williamsburg, VA 23185


Caroling Tuesdays at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

November 24, 2017 – January 8, 2018, Every Tuesday; 6:30pm – 8pm

Celebrate the holiday season at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens with caroling in the gardens every Tuesday night during the GardenFest of Lights.

Cost: Caroling is included in regular GardenFest of Light admission $13/adults; $7/adult Garden members; $11/seniors (55+); $8/child (ages 3-12); $5/child on Garden membership (ages 3-17); children 3 and under are free.

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


Church Hill Candlelight Walk and Caroling

Friday, December 8, 2017, 7:15pm – 8:35pm

This time-honored tradition begins at Jefferson park in Union Hill with a candlelight walk, bagpipes, and drummers. The walk will take participants to historic St. John’s Church where the congregation will then join the walk at Patrick Henry Park. From there, proceed down gaslit streets to historic Libby Hill overlooking the James River and see the city lit up for the holidays. Here, the crowd can join in on holiday caroling and a visit from Santa. This event is free and open to all!

Cost: Free 

Contact and Location:
The Church Hill Association of Virginia
Jefferson Park (7:15pm departure)
N 21st St & Marshall St
Richmond, VA 23223

St. John’s Church (7:35pm departure)
2401 E Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23223


Holiday Concert and Sing-A-Long at the Gristmill

December 16, 2017, 6pm

As part of Wintergreen Resort’s annual holiday festivities, storyteller and folk musician Bill Wellington will present a holiday concert and sing-a-long program in the Gristmill at the Mountain Inn. The show features holiday favorites from a variety of different traditions, as well as original songs that are perfect for families and holiday song lovers of all ages!

Cost: Call (434) 325-2200 for more information.

Contact and Location:
Wintergreen Resort
Route 664
Wintergreen, VA 22958
(434) 325-2200


5. Bundle Up for a Winter Carriage Ride

If you’ve already checked caroling off your holiday bucket list, then chances are you’ve already sung about riding in a one-horse open sleigh (you know the song I’m talking about). So, why not actually do it? Or at least, get as close to it as you can in Virginia. We don’t always have the snow-covered ground conducive to sleighs, but we do have horse drawn carriages…and that’s almost a sleigh, right? One of the most popular places for winter carriage rides is in Colonial Williamsburg. But, be sure to take a look at all the options below, including Richmond and Fredericksburg!

Carriage Rides in Colonial Williamsburg

Year-round (weather dependent)

See one of Virginia’s most historic cities from a new perspective as you ride through the streets of Colonial Williamsburg in an authentic horse-drawn carriage. Carriages are available for up to 9 guests, so grab your friends or family, then sit back and lose yourself in the elegant decorations and festive spirit that make Williamsburg one of the nation’s favorite holiday destinations.

Cost: $20/person
Purchase tickets at the Lumber House Ticket Office (on Duke of Gloucester Street across from Palace Green), or the William Pitt Store (on the corner of Duke of Gloucester Street and Botetourt Street), or online.

Contact and Location:
Colonial Williamsburg
Greenhow Hitching Post
Duke of Gloucester Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185
(877) 671-1754


Carriage Rides at Maymont

While carriage rides are offered in a variety of special packages throughout the year at Maymont (making this spectacular historic estate and gardens even more special), you won’t want to miss their special winter and holiday events, many of which feature rides in a horse-drawn carriage.

Victorian Holiday Package

November 17 – December 31, 2017, Tuesdays – Sundays, 12pm – 5pm

Enjoy a tour of the Dooley Mansion all decked out for the holidays, followed by a private carriage ride through the historic estate and surrounding grounds.

Cost: $15/person
For reservations, call (804) 358-9492 or email the Carriage Collection Manager.

Old-Fashioned Christmas

December 3, 2017, 12pm – 4:30pm

Celebrate the holiday in 19th-century style as Victorian ladies and gentlemen graciously welcome you to the Maymont estate. See the grand Christmas tree, visit the beautifully decorated formal rooms, and witness gifts and games of 1893. Horse-drawn carriage rides will be available, along with visits with St. Nick and Maymont’s Christmas Fairy, food and drink, music, and special activities

Cost: Admission is free; activities are available at $5/person for house tours ($4/members and children age 12 and under); carriage rides are $5/ person ($4/members and children 12 and under).

Contact and Location:
1700 Hampton Street
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 358-7166, ext. 310


Holiday Rides with Olde Towne Carriages

Olde Towne Carriage rides are fun anytime of year. But during the holiday season, they take on an extra charm. Check out the holiday specials available below:

Jingle Bell Rides
Travel down Caroline Street to see holiday store windows, go past Kenmore Plantation, down Washington Avenue, then wind your way past Fredericksburg’s official Christmas Tree. Enjoy a sleigh decked out with “jingle bells,” holiday music, and special holiday goodies.

“Grinch” Rides
Take a ride with Mr. Grinch himself! This 15-minute ride down Caroline Street is perfect for kids of all ages. Mr. Grinch will be a grouch, so if you can get him to cheer up, he might just play his famous music and hand out some special holiday goodies.

Cost: Click here pricing, tickets, dates and times.

Contact and Location:
Olde Towne Carriages
706 Caroline St.
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
(540) 371-0094


4. Discover the Joy of Outdoor Ice Skating

Just because Virginia doesn’t offer weather quite cold enough to keep our ponds and lakes frozen all winter doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the fun of ice skating outdoors during the holiday season. The Richmond area offers a couple of outdoor options, and if you’re planning to travel in the region this holiday season, be sure to check out some of our out-of-town options, as well.

Liberty’s Ice Pavilion in Colonial Williamsburg

November 18, 2017 – February 19, 2018, 10am – 10pm

What could make Colonial Williamsburg even more fun? Ice skates, of course! Celebrate the holidays colonial-style in Williamsburg this winter and be sure to stop by Liberty’s Ice Pavilion to enjoy some time on the ice. Holiday-themed music, including some live performances from local choirs and music ensembles, help to make this a holiday memory you won’t soon forget.

Cost: $12/adult; $10/youth (ages 3-12); children 3 and under are free

Contact and Location:
Colonial Williamsburg
Located on Duke of Gloucester Street between Nassau and Henry Streets
Williamsburg, VA 23185
(877) 671-1754


The Rink at West Broad Village

November 10, 2017 – January 15, 2018
Click here for public skate times and extended holiday hours.

If you’re looking for a place to make winter memories and enjoy some time with family and friends, then the Rink at West Broad Village more than fits the bill. As one of the Richmond area’s favorite new winter destinations, this scenic outdoor rink offers skate rentals, lessons, public skating, private event options, and plenty of restaurants and shops to warm you up after you’re done! Take the family out for a day on the ice and make some memories along the way. Plus, be sure to check out their extended holiday hours, as well as their special events and themed skate nights.

Cost: $10/adults; $8/children (10 and under), $5/skate rentals; $5/skate aid rentals

Contact and Location:
The Rink at West Broad Village
2301 Old Brick Road
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
(804) 221-4242


Shamokin Ice at Wintergreen Resort

Click here for current dates and times of operation.

Wintergreen Resort’s exclusive ice rink is located in the heart of their mountain village. Head to the rink on a day when you’ve had enough of the slopes but still want to enjoy some winter activities, or if you’re just looking for a fun family activity. Shamokin Ice features a 45’ x 90’ outdoor rink perfect for sliding, gliding, and skating your way through the holidays.

Cost: $9/ 90-minute skate session; $3/skate rentals (helmets are also available). Call (434) 325-2100, ext 0, to purchase tickets or stop by any ticket window at the resort.

Contact and Location:
Wintergreen Resort
In Mountain Village, just off of Blue Ridge Terrace
Route 664
Wintergreen, VA 22958
(434) 325-2100


Stony Point on Ice

November 11, 2016 – January 15, 2017
Click here for times

After your holiday shopping is done, there’s still plenty to do at Stony Point Fashion Park—starting with Stony Point on Ice! The rink is located in Triangle Park between Saks Fifth Avenue and Dick’s Sporting Goods and offers hours of fun for the whole family. In addition to regular public skate times, this fun-filled ice rink also offers fun events like Skate with a Super Hero and Disco Night.  Skate guards will be on site for all public skating sessions to lend a helping hand.

Cost: $7/person; $7/skate rentals (includes tax)

Contact and Location:
Stony Point Fashion Park
Between Saks Fifth Avenue and Dick’s Sporting Goods
9200 Stony Point Parkway
Richmond, VA 23235
(804) 560-7467


3. Have an Old-Fashioned Christmas

Virginia boasts one of the richest, and oldest, histories of any state in the nation. Naturally, that means that our holiday traditions and celebrations will be tied to the past in a special way. With historical sites, cities and homes throughout the state, it’s not hard to find a place where you can combine holiday celebrations with the chance to learn more about your own roots as a Virginian. And lucky for us, many of those celebrations are available right here in Richmond, as well as in other nearby cities and towns.

A Colonial Christmas in Jamestown and Yorktown

December 1-31, 2017, 9am – 5pm

See what holidays were like in the 17th and 18th-centuries with “A Colonial Christmas” at the Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown. In Jamestown, you’ll enjoy special tours and interpretive programs throughout the season, with a special visit from the mischievous “Lord of Misrule” December 23-31. Visit re-creations of ships, colonial homes and Powhatan Indian villages; watch demonstrations of typical holiday and winter activities, including holiday customs, food preservation and hunting techniques; and enjoy living history at its finest.

At the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown, hear accounts of Christmas and winter in military encampments during the American Revolution and witness holiday preparations on a Revolution-period farm.

Combo ticket to both museums: $23/adults; $12/ children (age 6-12); children under 6 are free
Jamestown Settlement only: $17/adults; $8.00/children (age 6-12); children under 6 are free
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown only: $12/adults; $7/children (age 6-12); children under 6 are free

Contact and Location:
Jamestown Settlement
2110 Jamestown Road
Route 31 S.
Williamsburg, VA 23185

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


A Colonial Christmas at Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown

December 9-10, 2016
10am – 9:30pm (December 9) and 12pm – 5pm (December 10)

Visit the historic home of Patrick Henry, the American patriot best known for his “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech. For the holiday season, Scotchtown will host two holiday events. On December 9, enjoy holiday house tours and a Boxwood Wreath Workshop from 10am – 5pm, followed by Candlelight Holiday House tours from 5pm – 9:30pm. On December 10, join in for holiday house tours and holiday festivities from 12pm – 5pm. Scotchtown will be decorated with traditional colonial decorations, and will feature festive tours, colonial dancing, and plenty of holiday treats, including Martha Washington’s cake, gingerbread cookies, and hot cider.

Cost: $10/general admission; $9/AAA members, military and seniors (60+); $7/students; children under 6 and Preservation Virginia members are free. House tours are included with admission; Boxwood Wreaths Workshops are an additional $8.

Contact and Location:
Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown
16120 Chiswell Lane
Beaverdam, VA 23015
(804) 227-3500


Three Centuries of Virginia Christmas at Henricus Historical Park

December 9, 2017, 12pm – 5pm

Join Henricus interpreters as they demonstrate how English Christmas traditions changed during the reigns of various leaders throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Demonstrations, activities, and reenactments will be available representing the reigns of King James I (1621), King George III (1776) and Queen Victoria (1864).

Cost: $8/adult; $6/children (ages 3-12); children 2 and under are free; $1 discount for military; Henricus members are free.

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

Victorian Holidays at Maymont

November 17, 2017 – December 31, 2017

For six weeks leading up to Christmas and through the end of December, you can experience a traditional Victorian Christmas—much like it would have been when the Dooley family built the estate that would later become our beloved Maymont. Make family memories as you tour the house with its beautiful decorations and enjoy an ongoing series of themed events that celebrate the holiday season. Special events include:

  • Maymont Mansion Holiday Tours
  • Wreath and Traditional Holiday Decoration Workshops
  • The “Old-Fashioned Christmas” Celebration
  • Nick’s Christmas Party
  • Maymont by Moonlight
  • Winter Mini-Camp

Cost: General admission to Maymont is free, but click here to see special event costs, dates, times, and more.

Contact and Location:
1700 Hampton Street (Historic estate entrance)
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 358-7166


Yuletides at Agecroft: A Christmas Open House

December 10, 2017,  12:30pm – 5pm

Travel through the centuries to experience Christmas in England in 1640, in London in 1860, and in Richmond in 1942. These eras represent just some of the phases of Agecroft Hall—a home originally built in England in the 15th century, but later deconstructed and rebuilt in Richmond in the mid-1920s. At this lively Christmas celebration, Charles Dickens will do a reading from his classic A Christmas Carol; Father Christmas will be ready to hear Christmas requests; characters from England during the time of Dickens will be available for games and decorating; and The Williamsburg Waites will showcase Victorian carols and dances. Inside the house, you can meet the family and servants that lived at Agecroft in Elizabethan England; see a Christmas party held in support of service men and women during World War II; and hear Pamela Bomboy telling stories of that period. Special guests include Signora Bella with daring acrobatics, The Young Midlothian Singers, and The More or Less Morris Dancers.

Cost: $8/adults; $7/seniors (65+); $5/full-time students; children 5 and under and military personnel are free; $1 discounts are available for AAA members. Click here to register for the event.

Contact and Location:
Agecroft Hall
4305 Sulgrave Road
Richmond, Virginia 23221
(804) 353-4241


2. Find the City’s Best Hot Chocolate

Holiday traditions don’t have to be elaborate, time-consuming or expensive. Some holiday traditions can be as simple as enjoying a warm cup of chocolate together as a family. The following shops and restaurants in Richmond are known for their delicious hot chocolate. If you haven’t tried them out yet, then be sure to add them to your holiday bucket list!

Can Can Brasserie

This French restaurant in Carytown serves up chocolate-y goodness that Style Weekly called “dessert in a cup” when they named it the best hot chocolate in Richmond in 2012.

3120 W Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23221


The Sefton Coffee Co.

The secret to this Richmond area coffee house’s perfectly blended hot chocolate is the fact that they use house-made flavorings—nothing artificial.

24 North 8th Street
Richmond, 23219


Lamplighter Coffee Roasters

It’s no wonder that a place that makes some of the city’s best coffee would also have hot chocolate mastered, as well. Be sure to try it for yourself next time you’re near one of their three great locations.

26 N Morris Street
Richmond, VA 23220

116 South Addison Street
Richmond, VA 23220

1719 Summit Avenue
Richmond, VA 23230


Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream

If you find yourself on the Southside, then you won’t want to miss hot chocolate at Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream…better yet, stop by after sledding at Forest Hill Park!

3600 Forest Hill Avenue
Richmond, VA 23225


1. Visit the “Legendary Santa”

November 24 – December 24, 2017
Click here for dates and times

Santa can be found in many places throughout the Richmond area—but there’s only one “real” Santa and Richmond families have been visiting him for generations. In fact, since 1936, the Legendary Santa has been a holiday tradition. Originally, Santa could be found at Miller and Rhoads Department Store in downtown Richmond. Families would dress up in their holiday best and travel from all over the state for the chance to visit him, often taking time to dine in the Tea Room while they waited. Today, the Legendary Santa makes his holiday home at the Children’s Museum of Richmond on Broad Street where he and his faithful elves and the Snow Queen are available for visits. Be sure to check out all of the special events available this holiday season and don’t miss your chance to take part of a Richmond tradition that has spanned more than 80 years.

Cost: To see a complete list of times, events, and photo package prices, visit The Legendary Santa at The Children’s Museum of Richmond.

Contact and Location:
Children’s Museum of Richmond – Central
2626 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 474-7062


Anna Strock
Anna has spent the last 18 years writing, directing creative projects, and trying to be the best mom possible to her three girls. When she's not exploring Richmond for the latest and greatest resources, offerings, and activities, she can be found daydreaming on travel blogs, drinking too much coffee, and running kids to endless activities.