What to Do During the Holidays in Hampton Roads

November 12, 2018
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Every year the holiday season brings dozens of festive events to the Seven Cities area. Bring the family out and enjoy these light shows, parades, concerts and more. Best of all, lots of them are free.

Million Bulb Walk

The Norfolk Botanical Gardens family-friendly light show offers two full miles of holiday displays to walk through each night from 4pm-9pm.

When: Nov. 9 - Dec. 15

Where: Norfolk Botanical Gardens

6700 Azalea Garden Road, Norfolk, VA

Busch Gardens Christmas Town

One of the biggest holiday displays comes to Busch Gardens as the park gets transformed into a wintery village. Get pictures with Santa and Rudolph and stop by one of the 10 holiday music performances.

When: Nov. 18 - Jan. 5, 2019

Where: Busch Gardens

1 Busch Gardens Boulevard, Williamsburg, VA

Norfolk Grand Illumination Parade

Thousands of spectators will turn out in downtown Norfolk for this year’s “The Lights Are Bright on Broadway” edition of the Norfolk holiday parade, which will include Santa’s sleigh and many more spirited holiday floats.

When: Nov. 17

Where: Near the Waterside Marketplace, Norfolk, VA

Holiday Lights at the Beach

Over 50 specially selected holiday lights displays will shine over 12 blocks of the Virginia Beach boardwalk.

When: Nov. 22 - Dec. 30

Where: Virginia Beach Boardwalk between 8th Street to 22nd Street

Newport News Celebration in Lights

The Celebration in Lights goes into its 26th year with over 350 crafted light displays shining with over one million bulbs. This year though they are also adding snow to make it extra wintry.

When: Nov. 22 - Jan. 1, 2019

Where: Newport News Park

13560 Jefferson Avenue, Newport News, VA

Yorktown Christmas Market on Main

Yorktown’s outdoor market has over 50 vendors selling everything from pieces of art to roasted chestnuts. There will also be a bit of old-time winter flair as the market is opened by the town crier at 10 am followed by a performance of Fife and Drums of Yorktown.  

When: Dec. 1

Where: 301 Main Street, Yorktown, VA

Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade

After the Christmas market, stick around down by the water to see what the boats of the Wormley Creek Marina have in store this year. The show starts around 7 pm and the town encourages people to bring flashlights to help with navigation around town at night.

When: Dec. 1

Where: 331 Water Street, Yorktown, VA

Williamsburg Christmas Parade

This year’s parade has a new date and a new theme. Things will kick off Dec. 1 at 9 am as participants ring in the holiday season with floats and costumes from the areas civic, religious and non-profit organizations inspired by Miracle on 34th Street.

When: Dec. 1

Where: Richmond Road and Brooks Street, Williamsburg, VA

Holiday Parade at the Beach

Thousands of area families turn out to see the 90 balloons, floats, and marching bands parade down Atlantic Avenue to celebrate the holiday season.

When: Dec. 1

Where: Atlantic Avenue at 15th Street, Virginia Beach, VA

Williamsburg Grand Illumination

Inspired by the centuries-old tradition of firing off guns and lighting fireworks in celebration, the Williamsburg illumination will light up the skies in Colonial Williamsburg, accompanied by musical performances on multiple stages.

When: Dec. 2

Where: Historic Williamsburg, VA

Richmond Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic comes to Norfolk. And for those who don’t take their ballet far too seriously, the Sunday matinee will feature four-legged guest stars from the local SPCA performing in the “Pupcracker.”

When: Dec. 7-9

Where: Chrysler Hall

201 Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, VA

Seussical the Musical

The one time Drama Desk Award nominee brings Dr. Seuss’s favorite characters to the stage for the family-friendly performance. No Grinches allowed.

When: Dec. 7-8

Where: Sandler Center for the Performing Arts

201 Market Street, Virginia Beach, VA

Olde Towne Holiday Music Festival

Roving carolers walk from Washington Street to Water Street along with a number of kids activities at the nearby Middle Street Mall.

When: Dec. 8

Where: High Street, Portsmouth, VA

Yorktown Holiday Market

Colonial crafts, ornament making, music and rides on the Polar Express are highlights for kids at the annual holiday market. Then everyone can stick around and march in the Toyland Parade through the Riverwalk Landing alongside the Fifes and Drums of Yorktown.

When: Dec. 8

Where: 331 Water Street, Yorktown, VA

Handel’s Messiah

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus perform a Christmas tradition -- Handel’s telling of the story of the Messiah -- under the direction of JoAnn Falletta.

When: Dec. 15

Where: Harrison Opera House

160 West Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk, VA

Dominion Garden of Lights

For the 24th year, Virginia’s largest botanical garden is transformed into a massive light show where visitors can experience all four seasons in the middle of winter.

When: Dec. 16  - Dec. 31

Where: Norfolk Botanical Gardens

6700 Azalea Garden Road, Norfolk, VA

Virginia Symphony Orchestra: Holiday Pops!

Robert Shoup will lead the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus in a concert of classics and carols that almost certainly have you singing along.

When: Dec. 22

Where: Sandler Center for the Performing Arts

201 Market Street, Virginia Beach, VA