2013 holiday events

RVA lights up (literally and figuratively) this time of year.

RVA On Ice

Get your skate on at this fourth annual downtown event that features an ice rink, vendors selling warm tasty things, and some of that good old holiday cheer.

  • When: Through January 20th (various hours)
  • Where: Broad and 6th Streets
  • Cost: $5 adults, $4 Seniors and kids, FREE for kids 10 and under. Skate rentals are available.

Bizarre Market Holiday Tiny Auction

Head to Chop Suey for snuggly, sparkly, functional, repurposed, delicious, and supremely crafty things! The month-long pop-up market is a great place to grab handmade items for a loved one (or for yourself).

  • When: November 29th – December 24th (10:00 AM – 4:00 PM)
  • Where: Chop Suey Books • 2913 W. Cary Street
  • Cost: FREE

Legendary Santa

Santa is totally legend…wait for itDARY! You and the kids can get some one-on-one time with the big man at the Children’s Museum through Christmas Eve.

  • When: November 29th – December 24th (various hours)
  • Where: Children’s Museum of Richmond • 2626 W. Broad Street
  • Cost: FREE

Dominion Gardenfest of Lights

Ever seen more than a half million twinkling lights…at once? No, you say? Head to Lewis Ginter for a ginormous holiday spectacle replete with model trains, holiday dinners, and family activities.

  • When: November 29th – January 13th (closed December 24th & 25th) nightly from 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Where: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden • 1800 Lakeside Avenue
  • Cost: FREE – $11

Carytown Holiday Carriage Rides

Don’t you miss the good old days when the only car alarm you had was the occasional neerggghhhhhfffff from your trusty steed? Relive those golden days with a holiday carriage ride in Carytown. Why walk in a winter wonderland when you can be pulled across it by MAJESTIC HORSES?

  • When: November 30th, December 14th, December 21st
  • Where: Carytown
  • Cost: FREE

Music at Midday at The Jefferson

Throughout December, visitors to The Palm Court and The Rotunda will be able to take in some of the best musical ensembles in the area during the afternoon. Be sure to make reservations by calling 804.649.4672, and also check out The Jefferson’s Holiday Newsletter (PDF).

  • When: December 3rd, 4th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 20th, 30th at 12:00 PM
  • Where: The Jefferson Hotel • 101 W. Franklin Street
  • Cost: FREE, but you should make reservations ASAP by calling 804.649.4672

The Bizarre Bazaar

It’s not bizarre that this mega popular show is still going strong. Now in its 38th year, the Bizarre Bazzar has some of the best gifts each holiday season: accessories for home and garden, cookbooks, fine linens, designer clothing, toys, jewelry, and more!

  • When: December 5th – 9th (10:00 AM – 7:00 PM Thursday – Saturday; 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Sunday)
  • Where: Richmond Raceway Complex • 600 E. Laburnum Avenue
  • Cost: $7

RVA Krampusnacht

Krampus is a demon-like creature part of a centuries-old Europe tradition. Krampus would round up the year’s misbehaved children and carry them off in his wicker basket.

Head to Carytown to watch the first annual Richmond Krampusnacht, a themed walk that begins at The Aquarian Bookstore (around the corner from Martin’s).

  • When: December 6th • 6:00 – 9:00 PM
  • Where: Carytown
  • Cost: FREE

Grand Illumination

Be there to count down the seconds until Santa presses a button and lights up downtown office buildings and the James Center’s Great Tree and reindeer. It’s a fun event for kids and adults alike.

  • When: December 6th • 5:45 – 7:00 PM
  • Where: James Center between 9th – 12th and Clay streets
  • Cost: FREE

Vesper/Candlelight Walk

Following Vespers on December 6th at St. John’s Episcopal Church, the public is invited to gather at the church before taking part in a candlelight walk led by members of the Richmond Bagpipe Corps through the neighborhood. It’s a good way to welcome the holiday season.

  • When: December 6th • 7:00 PM
  • Where: Church Hill
  • Cost: Donations accepted

Dominion Christmas Parade

This is one of RVA’s best holiday events, bringing in over 100,000 spectators each year. With holiday floats, marching bands, and huge helium balloons it’s very easy to see why.

  • When: December 7th • 10:00 AM
  • Where: Stretches from the Science Museum to 7th Stret
  • Cost: FREE

The Fan Holiday House Tour

The Fan has some of the most exquisite late 19th and early 20th century homes in all of Richmond. Take some time and stroll through the historical neighborhood as it’s done up with some holiday flair.

  • When: December 7th and 8th • 1:00 – 6:00 PM
  • Where: Across The Fan
  • Cost: $25

27th Annual Court End Christmas

10 historic downtown sites open their doors for admission and holiday festivities. There’ll be carriage rides, carolers, living history, kids’ crafts, gift shops, and more.

  • When: December 8th • 12:00 PM
  • Where: 10 historic sites located downtown
  • Cost:$20 advance/$25 day of

Yuletides at Agecroft Hall

Experience Christmas from three different eras: England in 1640, London in 1850, and Richmond in 1942. This year’s annual open house will include characters and entertainment, including a Victorian shadow puppet show, among many others.

  • When: December 8th • 12:30 – 5:00 PM
  • Where: Agecroft Hall • 4305 Sulgrave Road
  • Cost: FREE admission

Old-fashioned Christmas at Maymont

Victorian ladies and gentlemen will welcome you into the Dooleys’ home so you can marvel at the grand Christmas tree before looking at gifts and games from 1893. Not only is it a great way to see what the holidays were like over a century ago, it’ll make you appreciate your iPad and Xbox!

  • When: December 8th • 12:00 – 5:00 PM
  • Where: Maymont
  • Cost: $4 – $5 for tours and carriage rides, each

Church Hill Holiday House Tour

Take a peek inside 10 restored homes offering a variety of interiors from classic to contemporary, each decorated for the season.

  • When: December 8th • 12:00 – 5:00 PM
  • Where: Church Hill
  • Cost: $20 advance/$25 day of

Maymont by Moonlight

Costumed Victorian ladies and gentlemen welcome you into the Dooleys’ home to witness the excitement of Christmas in 1893. There’ll also be a horse-drawn carriage under the stars and seasonal refreshments.

  • When: December 13th & 20th • 5:30 – 9:30 PM
  • Where: Maymont
  • Cost: $22 – $28

Christmas on MacArthur

Head to the Northside for some holiday shopping, live music, and a parade. Be sure to bring an unwrapped toy to benefit Toys for Tots.

  • When: December 14th • 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Where: 4000 block of MacArthur
  • Cost: FREE

21st Annual James River Parade of Lights (PDF)

From Libby Hill Park in Richmond, to spots in Henrico and Chesterfield County, watch as illuminated boats parade down the James. Locations offer different viewing times, so make sure you double-check before you head out.

  • When: December 14th • 4:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Where: Along the James River
  • Cost: FREE

The Nutcracker

The holiday classic returns to the Carpenter Theatre in December. Make sure you buy your tickets before it’s sold out!

  • When: December 14th – 23rd
  • Where: Carpenter Theatre • 600 E. Grace Street
  • Cost: Tickets start at $20

Carmax Tacky Light Run

Why not get some exercise while you gawk at some of the region’s tacky lights? The new 6k course shows off Midlothian’s best displays of tacky lights. Bring your smartphone to take photos (and a few selfies) along the route.

  • When: December 14th
  • Where: Midlothian
  • Cost: $40 through November 28th, $45 until December 11, $50 walk-up registration

Richmond Craft Mafia Handmade Holiday Craft Show

They say that once you’re in the mafia, you can never get out. Thankfully, the Craft Mafia is way less scary and way more awesome! Head to their holiday craft show to buy some unique, handmade items you won’t find anywhere else.

  • When: December 14th • 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Where: Dogtown Dance Theatre in Manchester
  • Cost: FREE

Miracle of Christmas

This event is a live re-enactment of the birth of Jesus Christ featuring animals from the Metro Richmond Zoo. The 20 minute pageant will be presented three times each evening (for most evenings).

  • When: December 21st and 22nd (7:00, 7:45, and 8:30 PM shows) and December 23rd (9:00 PM)
  • Where: Metro Richmond Zoo
  • Cost: FREE • attendees encouraged to bring canned goods for FeedMore

Capital City Kwanzaa Festival

This is the largest Kwanzaa festival in all of Virginia and one of the largest on the East Coast. There’ll be performances, workshops, children’s activities, food, and more.

  • When: December 28th • 1:00 – 9:00 PM
  • Where: Showplace Exhibition Center
  • Cost: FREE

Richmond Nativity Pageant

The official Richmond nativity pageant returns for its 82nd year. A cast and choir of approximately 200 will present the 30-minute outdoor pageant.

  • When: December 23rd • 7:00 PM
  • Where: The Carillon
  • Cost: FREE

Holiday Glitter: Monument Avenue After Dark

Monument Avenue has some of the best holidays lights and decorations in the city. The Holiday Glitter walk allows you to take in the glitz with a little history thrown in for good measure.

  • When: December 26th – 27th • 6:00 – 7:30 PM
  • Where: Begins at Lee Monument at Allen and Monument.
  • Cost: $5 – $10

photo by Eli Christman

  • error

    Report an error

Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

There are 3 reader comments. Read them.