What you need to know about Friday’s Grand Illumination
You might need sunglasses at night because RVA’s skyline is getting WAY brighter this Friday.
Santa stops by RVA to turn on thousands of downtown lights this Friday night to ring in the holiday season. In addition to the bright spectacles, there will also be music and a toy drive for underprivileged Richmond-area children.
Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s festivities and how to turn it into a lovely night on the town.
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WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN?
At 6:00 PM sharp, Santa Claus will turn on lights lining downtown office buildings as well as the James Center’s Great Tree and Reindeer. Attendees will gather between 9th–12th streets, stretching down Cary Street to watch the city light up.
ANYTHING ELSE GOING ON IN DOWNTOWN THAT NIGHT?
Yep. The Kings of Swing will be the featured performers.
Other entertainment includes:
- The Greater Richmond Children’s Choir
- The American Youth Harp Ensemble
- Characters from The Nutcracker and ’Twas the Night Before Christmas
- Snow Bear
- VCU Trombone Choir
- Singer Patsy Butler
- Virginia Piedmont & Central HO Model Railroad Club
The Poe Museum will also illuminate its grounds at 6:00 PM and offer hot drinks, free food, and Historic Interpreter Debbie Phillips talking about Christmas in the Victorian Era until 9:00 PM.
Greater Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) will collect toys for 170 Richmond-area children. You can bring unwrapped gifts for children ages 0–17 to the collection sleigh located in the Three James Center lobby.
WHAT’S THE WEATHER GOING TO BE?
As of now, rain is likely on Friday evening. Temperatures at 6:00 PM should be in the mid to lower 40s.
WHICH STREETS WILL BE CLOSED?
- 10th Street will be closed between the parking deck to E. Cary Street from 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM.
- The parking lane on E. Cary Street will close at 9:00 AM and remain closed until 12:00 AM on Saturday.
- Expect traffic delays on E. Cary Street from 9th to 12th streets from 5:00 – 9:00 PM as people view the light display.
WHERE SHOULD I PARK?
If you’re feeling lucky, you can try finding on-street parking. But those spaces will probably put you several blocks away from the festivities, so be prepared to do some walking.
$3.00 parking is available at the parking deck on the corner of 10th and Canal streets after 4:00 PM. There are other paid parking decks throughout the area that will likely be open too.
SOUNDS GREAT. WHERE CAN I EAT AFTERWARDS?
Downtown offers many great restaurants:
- 525 at the Berry Burk • 525 E. Grace Street
- Arcadia • 1700 E. Main Street
- Capital Ale House • 621 E. Main Street
- Julep’s • 1719 E. Franklin Street
- Kobi Japanese Steak and Sushi • 19 S. 13th Street
- Lemaire • 101 W. Franklin
- Morton’s The Steakhouse • 111 Virginia Street
- Pasture • 416 E. Grace Street
- Penny Lane Pub • 421 E. Franklin Street
- Rappahannock • 320 E. Grace Street
- Sam Miller’s • 1210 E. Cary Street
- Southern Railway Taphouse • 111 Virginia Street
- Tio Pablo • 1703 E. Franklin Street
- Tobacco Company • 1201 E. Cary Street
- Urban Farmhouse • 1217 E. Cary Street
- Casa del Barco • 320 S. 12th Street
photo by Michael Chronister
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