2023 Hampton Roads Holidays: Get a List of Events, Light Displays, and More!
It’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday season in Hampton Roads!
Check out our neighborhood holiday light map guide here and get a list of holiday events and light displays below.
Chesapeake’s Christmas Bird Count Dec. 14th- Jan. 5th- Held annually by the National Audubon Society, this is the ideal way to see some of the over 200 species of birds flying south for the winter as they migrate across Virginia. Free to participate, this holiday season event is a wonderful way to celebrate nature with family and friends.
Christmas in the Country: Drive through this light display at Triple R Ranch. The event runs from Dec. 1st-23rd and is free of charge.
Community Chrismas Celebration presented byGreat Bridge Baptist Church. 640 Battlefield Boulevard South, Chesapeake, VA 23322. This visually stunning multimedia event is complete with choirs of all generations, live orchestra, live nativity, live animals, a drumline, dancers and so much more. Come and experience the Greatest Story Ever Told.
There will be a use of fast-moving lights, strobe lights, water-based fog and haze with a cast of performers and live animals in the aisles throughout the performance.
11th Annual Chick-Fil-A Christmas Parade: December 2, 2023. The parade staging and lineup area will be in the parking lot area by Petsmart. Entry for all parade participants will be through the Walmart Parking lot via the entrance on Taylor Road. The location of horse staging will be to the left of Funville. The parade will start in front of the former Macy’s location and continue around Ring Road, which circles the mall. The parade will conclude at the former Sears automotive area parking lot. Judging will begin at 7:00 am. The parade will start promptly at 8:00 am.
Deck the Hall:November 23, 2023 to January 2, 2024 from 6 to 9 p.m. nightly. Experience this drive-through light display of holiday themes from the comfort of your car. It’s sure to get you in the holiday spirit!
Fa La La Land:December 9 and 16, 2023, from 5 to 9 p.m. Walk around this interactive outdoor wonderland while enjoying baby goats in holiday sweaters, carolers, face painting, holiday-themed food trucks, and more! View our life size snow globe featuring a live performer and get pictures with our roaming holiday characters, glass man, stilt walker, and Santa! Free parking around City Hall municipal center. Free family outdoor event. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Coliseum Central’s Whimsical Winter Wonderland: presented by Sentara: On November 18 from 12pm-5pm, Coliseum Central is turning the Hampton Coliseum into a Whimsical Winter Wonderland. This FREE, festive celebration will include fun for the whole family. The Sentara Main Stage will feature shows by aerialists, jugglers, and illusionists. Four holiday-themed areas with coordinating backdrops, props and displays will provide ample opportunities for photos. In addition, there will be roaming characters and stilt walkers, a variety of photo booths, face painting, balloon and glitter tattoo artists, and carnival-style games.
Downtown Hampton Lighted Boat Parade: The Hampton River will come to life as a fleet of decorated boats parade past the Downtown Hampton waterfront on December 16th. The parade runs from 6:00-7:30 pm and concludes with an awards ceremony at 8:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public!
Hampton Holly Days Parade: The Hampton Holly Days Parade returns in 2023! Join us along Settlers Landing and surrounding Downtown streets again as the longest-running illuminated holiday parade on the Peninsula continues. Then make plans to stay Downtown all weekend for the NEW Holly Days Market and Holiday Lighting and Block Party. Holiday Lighting and Block Party 5-10 p.m., Dec. 8 in Downtown Hampton.
Holiday Wonder Walk: The Holiday Wonder Walk will be held Dec. 16- 25 nightly from 5-8 p.m. along Hampton’s Waterwalk Trail. There is no admission fee, all activities are free, and parking is free.
Olde Towne Holiday Market & Tree Lighting: November 17th. Enjoy a hometown holiday tree lighting complete with decorations, music, the Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy, Cindy Loo Hoo, the Grinch, Father Christmas, and even a
little snow! Additionally, the Olde Towne shops will be open late and 15 crafters will be selling their wares. There will also be a free Tidewater Winds Quintet concert, strollingHistory Alive carolers, hot cider, prize drawings, and shuttle rides. You can be sure to get in the holiday spirit right here in Olde Towne!
Coleman Collection Nativity Scene: Come visit Monumental United Methodist Church and witness this amazing Nativity Scene for yourself! The Nativity Scene is free to view and will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; and on Sundays from 12:30 – 5 p.m. until December 18th.
Holiday Nights at City Park: New this year! Take a train ride aboard the Pokey Smokey to see the holiday lights! Food venders, an illuminated playground, and holiday activities are also available. Check out some of the Coleman Collection pieces not displayed at the Winter Wonderland exhibit. 3 and over pay $2 for the train ride.
Snow Wonders: Snow will fall from the sky, music will fill the air, and we hope that it brings nostalgic memories of the past. Enjoy this magical holiday experience! Join us on the Middle Street Mall outside the Children’s Museum of Virginia for this free seasonal event every Saturday from November 25th until December 30th.
Winter Wonderland: Winter Wonderland: The Coleman Nursery Collection offers a nostalgic, holiday-themed visual treat for young and old alike. Come visit the animated scenes of Christmas trees and lights, ice skaters, children sledding, little people, children from around the world, a Victorian chalet, caroling villagers and more. The display opens on Friday, November 24th,
Great Hot Cocoa War: Beginning the day of Downtown Norfolk’s Grand Illumination celebration, there will be a magical contest of the hottest and chocolatiest proportions. Downtown Norfolk will rain with marshmallows of fantastical sizes! Get your cup and choose your side. JUST LIKE LAST YEAR – THE CONTEST RUNS FOR A FULL WEEK! Vote online at www.hotcocoawar.com starting at NOON on SAT. 11.18! (voting link will not work until the vote time begins)
A Merry Little Christmas Carol : Nov. 23rd- Dec. 24th. Hampton Roads’ favorite holiday tradition returns with a larger than life production. See Ebenezer Scrooge’s haunting journey unfold with inventive theatricality incorporating traditional holiday music harmonizing to produce a tour de force of laughter, hope, and the magic of the season. Don’t miss this heartwarming tale that reminds us that it is never too late to become our best selves. Beatty Barnes returns to reprise his role as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Norfolk Botanical Garden’s Million Bulb Walk: The Norfolk Botanical Garden’s Million Bulb Walk is back for another year! Reserve tickets online. This event runs from November 10 to December 31st. The Dominion Energy Garden of Lights is a beloved tradition in Norfolk, and this year’s addition of “Barks and Bulbs” is taking the festive experience to a whole new level. Imagine strolling through a winter wonderland of over a million twinkling lights, intricate displays, and illuminated botanical wonders with your furry best friend by your side. It’s an experience that’s bound to make memories that last a lifetime.
Winterfest on the Wisconsin at Nauticus: Nauticus & Battleship Wisconsin. Nauticus’ WinterFest on the Wisconsin returns to the Downtown Norfolk waterfront this holiday season! With more nights and lights to enjoy, you’re bound to be dazzled by this magical winter experience. Bring the whole family!
Celebration in Lights: Virginia’s first drive-through holiday light event, opens for its 31st season on Thanksgiving night (November 23, 2023). Newport News Park will be transformed by over a million individual lights, creating animated holiday and fanciful scenes. This year, admission on weeknights (Monday – Thursday) will be $15 per car, a savings of $3 off the weekend night (Friday – Sunday) rate of $18 per car. Additionally, advance purchase tickets (good any night) can be purchased for $12 at the Newport News Visitor Center at Newport News Park. 13560 Jefferson Ave. Remember that buying tickets in advance is a great way to save money, plus they make great stocking stuffers, employee incentives, teacher gifts, etc. Call 757-888-3333 for details.
Holiday Planetarium Shows: Experience the magic of the holiday season with the Virginia Living Museum’s holiday planetarium shows. Holiday Magic laser show brings your favorite seasonal songs to life or you can unravel the mystery of the Christmas Star in Star Of Wonder. Daytime shows are offered at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Nov. 24 through Dec. 31 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Planetarium shows are $6 plus museum admission and free for museum members. Evening shows are offered at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8-23 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for $8 (and $5 for museum members). Click here for details.
Lights at the Fountain: Lights at the Fountain sets the scene for a relaxing stroll around City Center’s five-acre fountain. Here, the lights and soundtrack from a 42-foot animated tree synchronizes with 55 perimeter trees that circle the fountain in a 16-minute show that plays every half hour, from 5 to 9 p.m. daily Dec. 2 through Jan. 1.
Port Warwick Holiday Tree Lighting: November 25th. Festivities will start at sundown when Santa arrives at the Square in his horse-drawn carriage and marches toward the Pavilion to light the majestic tree. Live entertainment will occur all evening long. Enjoy meet-and-greets, photos with Santa, carriage rides, games, face-painting, and The Balloon Guy. Bring the family and enjoy the spirit of the season! Free and open to all. No reservations required. Held rain or shine. Click here for details.
Santa Paws Pet Photos: $10 Pet Photos with Santa, at White’s Nursery & Garden Center on Saturday, December 2nd. This is a fundraiser benefitting Friends of the Animals at CAS, a 501(c)(3) organization.
Story time with Santa: December 2nd. Join us for holiday fun when Santa Claus comes to The Mariners’ Museum! Grab a spot for this special storytime, presented by The Bronze Door Society, and hear jolly St. Nick share one of his favorite stories while everyone indulges on yummy cookies. Be sure to bring your camera to capture all the magical moments with Santa! This casual, family-friendly event is free with $1 Museum admission. Bring joy to a child this season by donating to our Toys for Tots toy drive. Purchase a toy from our Museum Shop, or bring your own new, unwrapped toy to donate. Click here for required registration.
Weihnachtsmarkt 2023: December 1-2. Join us as we celebrate the 2023 holiday season with an authentic German market in honor of Newport News’ German Sister City of Greifswald, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Sister Cities Newport News is operating the German Christmas Market in conjunction with the City Center owners. Beer and wine sales on site. Click here for details.
Festival of Lights: Welcome in the holidays with the 4th Annual Suffolk Festival of Lights at Sleepy Hole Park! This FREE drive-through holiday light display is sure to put you in the festive spirit! The display is available 5-9 pm on the following dates:
November 24-26, November 30-December 3, December 7-25, December 28-31. For more information about this ongoing event, please contact Suffolk Parks & Recreation at 757.514.7250.
Suffolk Grand Illumination: The 2023 Holiday Season officially begins in Suffolk on Friday, November 17, 2023, with a hometown kickoff. The Grand Illumination Ceremony at Market Park (next to the Seaboard Station Railroad Museum) in Downtown Suffolk will ring in the holidays with the park opening at 6pm. Watch the 32-foot tree light up when the switch is flipped to illuminate Suffolk for the holiday season. Be there as Santa arrives in style, enjoy seasonal music, and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride. Youngsters will be able to participate in various holiday-themed craft activities in heated tents. Be sure to bring along your camera to capture your children’s smiling faces as they whisper their Christmas wishes to Santa Claus.
Suffolk Holiday Parade: View the sights and sounds of the 2023 Suffolk Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 9, 2023, at 7pm. Find the best spot to watch the floats, equestrian units, marching bands, and festive vehicles as they make their way down W. Washington Street and turn up N. Main Street, with the parade route ending at Finney Avenue. The Grandstand will be in front of the old SunTrust Building in the 100 block of N. Main Street. Be sure to grab a seat to catch all the great performances! This year’s theme is Winter Wonderland!
Meet Santa at the Suffolk Visitor Center: Bring the kiddos to meet jolly ol’ St. Nick! Bring your cameras for photos with Santa, at the Suffolk Visitor Center, from 1-4pm. Holiday décor makes this the ideal place to snap a photo with Santa. Free and open to the public.
Lights at the Beach: The magic of BayPort Credit Union Holiday Lights at the Beach, presented by Food Lion, returns to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk Friday, November 17, 2023 – December 31, 2023. Tickets are on sale now.
O Christmas Tea: Care for a spot of tea? Come to the historic Lynnhaven House on Saturday, Dec. 2, and celebrate the holiday season at “O Christmas Tea!” Our popular Dickens classic, late 19th century holiday tea returns this year! Enjoy a specially curated selection of traditional Victorian teas, a menu of tasty treats and a variety of holiday melodies! “O Christmas Tea” will take place in the Lynnhaven Colonial Education Center Two seatings are available (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Tickets are $50 per person and limited seating is available, advanced online registraion highly encouraged.
Planes, Trains and Santa! – November 24, 25, 26. Join us for a festive Thanksgiving weekend at the Military Aviation Museum for our annual “Planes, Trains, and Santa” family event! Each day at 10:00 a.m., weather permitting, Santa arrives at the museum in a vintage airplane (as the reindeer need their rest for the big night!). Don’t miss the opportunity to capture a memorable photo with Santa, admire numerous vintage airplanes, and be astounded by the hangar loaded with trains. In the spirit of giving, Santa and the Marine Corps Reserves will be collecting donations for Toys for Tots, spreading holiday cheer to those in need.
Yule Tours at the Thoroughgood House. Celebrate the season by stepping back in time to experience some favorite colonial Christmas traditions. Costumed guides will escort you by candlelight through the home of Argall II and Susannah Thoroughgood and share stories of the decorations, traditions, foods, and festivities of 18th century coastal Virginia. With live instrumental music provided in the house by members of the Itinerant Band, the interior will come alive with holiday charm. Hear how various members of the household would have experienced the holidays based on their role on the property and status in the community. Event is from 12PM-5PM at the Thoroughgood House. Tickets are $15 for adults and children over 10, $7 for children 2-10 and free for children younger than 2. The Thoroughgood House is located at 1636 Parish Road Virginia Beach, Virginia 23455.
Virginia Beach Holiday Parade at the Beach– On Saturday, December 2 the Holiday Parade at the Beach came alive with almost 90 parade units making their way down Atlantic Avenue in a joyous celebration of the holiday season. Giant balloons, marching bands, lighted floats, equestrian units, fire trucks, performing dance groups, motorcycles, and more joined forces to present a dazzling and entertaining night of fun for all ages! And, best of all, Santa himself made a grand appearance to greet all his loyal fans!
Grand Illumination: December 2, 9, 16 2023. We invite guests to join us as we illuminate the night sky above our beautiful colonial capital. In the 18th century, illuminations — the firing of guns and lighting of fireworks — celebrated major events such as the birthday of a reigning sovereign, military victories, or the arrival of a new colonial governor. Begin the special day by checking out the unique decorations throughout the Historic Area. Then, enjoy musical performances on multiple stages throughout our streets and fireworks displays from the Capitol and the Palace.