Unique Activities In Richmond That AREN’T All About Christmas 2017

Unique Activities In Richmond That AREN’T All About Christmas 2017As much as I love the holidays, I have to admit, I cringe a little every year when all-things-Christmas seem to make an appearance in every store and on every street corner before I’ve even put away the kids’ Halloween costumes. And somehow, every year it seems to happen even earlier than the year before. One thing is for certain: by the time the last morsel of Thanksgiving turkey is gone, we will already be covered in Christmas cheer everywhere we go. So, in the midst of all of the yuletide craziness that comes our way every fall and winter, it’s nice to have some unique activities that aren’t just about Christmas.

Whether you’re looking for fun things to do when the relatives descend for holiday gatherings, you just need a break from holiday preparations, or your family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, you’ll love our list of fun, unique activities and events in the Greater Richmond area. Each of these events offers family fun and entertainment, without centering on Christmas.

Take a look at our list and if there’s a fun, non-holiday-themed event that we might have left off the list, let us know at cs@richmondmom.com.

Thanks and merry…well…we’ll just leave it at happy fall and winter for now!

Quick links
Arts and Crafts
Festivals and Celebrations
Science Presentations and Activities
Theater and Musical Performances


Now – March 31, 2018

Artisan Market of RVA

We promised you non-holiday activities, so while the Artisan Market of RVA isn’t holiday-themed, if you’ve already started your holiday shopping, then this market is a great place to find the perfect gift. Find everything from candles to artwork to fresh home baked goods along with product demonstrations, samples and much more—all from the Richmond area’s finest artisans.

Cost: Free
Time: Saturdays, 9am – 12pm

Contact / Venue:
Chippenham Business Center
221 E. German School Road
Richmond, VA 23224



Friday, November 17- Sunday, November 19, 2017

53rd Annual Craft + Design Show

Hosted by the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, Craft + Design is a museum-quality show that has garnered national accolades and a reputation for showcasing the finest in contemporary crafts. Awards are presented in ceramics, precious metals, glass, wood and recycled materials, contemporary design, innovative use of traditional craft materials and fiber. They also honor artists with the New Artist Award and the Best Booth Design Award. Last year’s Elisabeth Scott Bocock Best in Show Award went to glass artist Sean Donlon. Learn more here.

$10 – $80; Visual Arts Center of Richmond patrons are free.
Click here to get tickets.
Time: See a complete weekend schedule here.

Contact/ Venue:
Event location:
Main Street Station
1500 E Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Contact the Visual Arts Center of Richmond at (804) 353-0094 or email info@visarts.org for more information.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Studio Two Three: RVA Artisan Market

RVA Artisan Market features a selection of RVA artisans, makers and small business owners coming together to display their talents and to support the local community. Find one-of-a-kind treasures and gifts. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Studio Two Three. See a current list of vendors and get updates on the RVA Artisan Market Facebook page.

Cost: Free admission
Time: Saturday, November 25, 2017; 11am – 3pm

Contact / Venue:
Studio Two Three
3300 West Clay Street
Richmond, VA 23230
(804) 254-7302


Friday, November 17- Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pocahontas, Reframed: Native American Storytellers Film Festival

Hosted at the historic Byrd Theater in Carytown, the Pocahontas Reframed: Native American Storytellers Film Festival stems from a passion and desire for indigenous languages, cultures, and societies to thrive. The Festival bring together artists, authors, filmmakers, and actors willing to share, teach, and explain their creativity and history. The Festival includes Native American-affiliated classic and recently released films that have been official selections of world-renowned festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, the South by Southwest Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival.

Cost: Free; click here to reserve seats.
Time: Friday, November 17- Sunday, November 19, 2017
See a daily schedule of films and showtimes here.

Contact / Venue:
The Byrd Theatre
2908 West Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23221
For more information, call (804) 353-9911 or email bradbybrown@gmail.com.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

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 hosted by Enrichmond. Join stewmasters from around the southeast as they bring their own personal interpretations of this classic Virginia dish to historic Shockoe Bottom. Stewmasters will make all of their stews onsite and compete for best traditional and most original stews. In the meantime, you can enjoy samples, purchase quarts, and try some of the finest craft stouts from RVA’s favorite breweries. Enjoy live music, arts and crafts vendors and fun for the whole family. Feel free to bring lawn chairs and well-behaved pets on a leash!

Cost: $1 suggested entry donation to Enrichmond Foundation.
Time: Saturday, November 18, 2017, 11am – 4 pm

Contact / Venue:
1615 E Broad Street (one block from the 17th Street Farmer’s Market)
Richmond, VA 23219
Contact Enrichmond at events@enrichmond.org for more information.


Friday, November 24 – Sunday, November 26, 2017

40th 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, 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 fun-filled weekend with 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.

Cost: $14.50 Adults; $13.50 Youth & Seniors; Free for members
Time: Friday, November 24, 2017; 9:30 am – 5 pm
Saturday, November 25, 2017; 9:30 am – 5 pm
Sunday, November 26, 2017; 11:30 am – 5 pm

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


Friday, November 24, 2017 – Monday, January 8, 2018

Dominion GardenFest of Lights

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, firepits with s’mores and hot chocolate, GardenFest offers ongoing nightly family activities. This year’s theme, Naturally Ever After: Stories in Lights, used artistic light displays to explore everything from fairy tales and folklore to time-treasured classics. Indoor and outdoor displays, family activities and holiday events spotlight tales that span cultures and time, explore natural phenomena, teach life lessons, celebrate the seasons, and ultimately, connect people through plants. Be sure to see the Grand Illumination on November 24, 2017, from 4pm -10pm, or click here and scroll down for a complete list of special events being held throughout GardenFest.

$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)
Click here to get tickets.

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

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


Tuesday(s), November 14 and 21, 2017

Bellycheer: Dining in England 1580-1640

Food or medicine? In a 17th century country house they were often the same thing. The Bellycheer: Dining in England 1580-1640 tour is a celebration of food and dining. Listen to a lively telling of uses of certain everyday foods, food preparation, manners, table etiquette, and customs on annual feast days. After the tour, guided by Tracy Weldon, enjoy refreshments and take home a tasty treat.

Cost: $8 for visitors; $4 for Agecroft Annual Pass holders
Time: Tuesday, November 14 and Tuesday, November 21, 2017; 6pm – 7:30pm

Contact / Venue:
Agecroft Hall
4305 Sulgrave Road
Richmond, VA 23221
(804) 353-4241


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Affairs of the Hearth at Henricus Historical Park

Prepare for your own holiday feasts by seeing how English soldiers, middle-class colonists and Virginia Indians did it in the 17th-century. The event will feature meat smoking demonstrations along with demonstration of how harvest stew and corn cakes were made 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. As a campaign sponsor for Connect Our Kids and Give Big America, Henricus is offering FREE admission to this event for all foster children and their families. Please contact your social services office to receive this coupon.

Cost: $6/ Child (ages 6 – 12); $8/ Adult; Henricus Patrons free
Time: Saturday, November 18, 2017; 10am – 5pm

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


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Friendship, Trade, and Feast at Henricus

Join English and Virginia Indian historical interpreters at Henricus as they re-create the autumn harvest feasts 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, as well as Native American settlements, 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.

Cost: $8/ Adult; $6/ Child (ages 6 – 12); Henricus Patrons free
Time: Saturday, November 25, 2017, 10am – 5pm

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


Friday, December 8, 2017

An Evening with Henry VIII: A First Person Presentation by John White

Agecroft Hall presents John White, a UK based Performance Historian, who will bring Henry VIII to life. The year is 1544 and King Henry, the Eighth of that name, is engaged upon ‘Royal Progress’. His Majesty has halted here, this evening, in order to afford his loyal subjects, the opportunity to have ‘audience’ with their Sovereign Lord and King. The King, during the course of the ‘audience’, will recount the events of his long reign; telling of his wives and his children, and, at the conclusion of the ‘audience’, His Majesty will invite his Loyal subjects to ‘Petition’ him and to ask a question of him on ANY related subject…there may be some surprising answers!

Cost: $12
Time: Friday, December 8, 2017; 7pm

Contact / Venue:
Agecroft Hall
4305 Sulgrave Road
Richmond, VA 23221
(804) 353-4241



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dissecting Science: Getting to Mars

Inspired by the upcoming PBS series Beyond A Year in Space, Dissecting Science: Getting to Mars explores the current work, historical perspective, and the future of, space exploration with a focus on what it will take for humans to get to and sustain life on Mars. The content of the talks and space exploration activities are developed for an adult audience. Join NASA scientists and astronauts for an engaging look into the future, complete with food trucks, a cash bar and space exploration activities.

Cost: Free
NOTE: This event is currently at capacity, but sign up for the waiting list here.
Time: Tuesday, November 14, 2017; 7pm – 9pm

Contact / Venue:
The Community Idea Stations
23 Sesame Street
North Chesterfield, Virginia 23235
(804) 320-1301


Saturday November 18, 2017

LEGO Blitz Build 2017 with Habitat for Humanity

Join the Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity for their annual LEGO build event. Geared towards children ages 5 – 12, the Habitat LEGO build gives community youth and their families a chance to learn about Habitat for Humanity; win prizes; design their own hard hats to take home; and enter the LEGO Home Design and Build Competition. Donations are accepted in lieu of the registration fee, but not required. Examples of donations include, monetary donations; small, gently-used or new tools; gently-used children or young adult books; and coloring books or school supplies. The event will be held at the Greater Richmond ARC. Click here to sign up today!

Cost: $10 for an individual registration or free with a donation (see list above).
Click here to register.
Time: Saturday November 18, 2017; 9:30am – 12pm

Contact / Venue:
The Greater Richmond ARC
3600 Saunders Avenue
Richmond, VA 23227
For more information, call Habitat for Humanity at (804) 232-7001.


Friday, December 17, 2017

Science After Dark: Play Dough Night

What could your kids do with 430 pounds of play dough? Find out at the Science Museum of Virginia’s Science After Dark.  You and your family will learn how to make your own play dough and how to create electrical circuits with Squishy Circuits. Then, at 6:30 pm and 7:15 pm, join Cosmic Expeditions to find out what’s so funny about space with a special guest from the Coalition Theatre. The evening will end with an 8 pm showing of Spaceballs (PG) in the Dome.

Science After Dark is an 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.

$10 general public
$5 or Dome Pass for Cosmic Expedition and/or Movie
Free exhibit and activities admission for museum members
Time: Friday, December 16, 2016; 5pm – 8pm; movie begins at 8pm

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


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Inclusive LEGO and Game Club

Children of all abilities in grades K – 8 are invited for an Inclusive Lego & Game Club hosted by the Autism Society Central Virginia (ASCV). In addition to hanging out and playing LEGOs®, children of all abilities in grades K-8 will have the option to play various board or card games with their peers or with volunteers. The event is held at the ASCV office in downtown Richmond. Click here to learn more or to register. This event is held monthly, so be sure to check the ASCV calendar for more upcoming dates!

Cost: Free
Time: Saturday, November 18, 2017; 10am – 12pm 

Contact / Venue:
ASCV Office
200 S. 3rd Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 257-0192


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sensory Friendly Screening at the Byrd Theatre: Free Birds

Enjoy a sensory friendly movie experience at the Byrd Theatre. Free Birds tells the exciting tale of two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who must put aside their differences and to go back in time and prevent Thanksgiving from happening. To make this screening safe and welcoming for all audiences, the lights will be turned up and sound will be turned down. The event is hosted by the Autism Society Central Virginia.

Cost: $3 (refreshments will also be available for purchase, but those with special dietary needs can bring their own)
Time: Saturday, November 25, 2017; box office opens at 1:30pm and the show starts at 2pm

Contact / Venue:
The Byrd Theatre
2908 West Cary Street
Richmond, VA, 23221
Showtimes: (804) 353-9911
Office: (804) 358-3056 (Please leave a message)



November 11-13, 17-20, and December 1-4, 2017

Legally Blond: The Musical

Join your favorite sorority girl, Elle Woods, as she braves the world of Harvard Law on a quest to win her boyfriend back. With the power to bend and snap, Elle manages to defy convention and expectations as she rises through the ranks of her law school peers, all in the name of love. Based on the novel by Amanda Brown.

Cost: $10 – $25, Click here to get tickets.
November 11-12, 17-19, and December 1-3 at 7:30pm.
November 13, 20, and December 4 at 3pm

Contact / Venue:
Theatre VCU
W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts
922 Park Avenue
Richmond, VA 23284
(804) 828-1514


Thursday, November 16 – Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Crucible

From the witches of early American Salem, to the communists of the 1950s, to the leaks and secret assignations in today’s Washington, D.C.––how do the ethics of the individual relate to the community at-large? These are the central issues of Arthur Miller’s searing drama, The Crucible. Hysteria rips at the very fabric of Salem society in this wrenching condemnation of a famous witch hunt. But Miller is speaking about more than history when he suggests that the actions of one person can send a shockwave through the halls of power. Experience this timeless classic for yourself, live on stage.

Cost: $10 / Adult; $5 / Child; $8/ Seniors and UR staff; UR students are free.
Click here to get tickets.

Thursday, November 16 – Saturday, November 18, 2017; 7:30pm
Sunday, November 19; 2pm

Contact / Venue:
Modlin Center for the Arts
Alice Jepson Theatre
University of Richmond
28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173
(804) 289-8980


Friday, November 17 – Sunday, December 31, 2017

Mary Poppins

See the Tony award-winning, practically perfect musical that tells the tale of the charming Mary Poppins—presented by the Virginia Repertory Theatre. Follow Mary on an enchanting journey through the streets of London in this play based on the classic Disney film and book by P.L. Travers. You’ll have magical adventures, hear supercalifragilistic-expialidocious songs, and see breathtaking rooftop dance numbers. Two special preview shows will be available November 15 and 16.

Cost: $36 – $62, Click here to get tickets.
Time: Click here to see a complete listing of show dates and times.

Contact / Venue:
Virginia Repertory Theatre
November Theatre
114 W Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 282-2620


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Richmond Symphony’s 11th 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 their 11th 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 year, each registration includes a free “Come and Play” t-shirt. Spots are limited, so reserve yours today! Click here for group registration.

Cost: Free (open the to the public, donations accepted)
Time: Sunday, November 19, 2017; 6pm
Rehearsal times for those registered is from 2:30pm – 5pm

Contact / Venue:
Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center
1200 W Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23284
For more information, visit The Richmond Symphony; call (804) 788-1212; or email patronservices@richmondsymphony.com



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.