Ask Lauren: The very best RVA holiday weekend

This weekend holds all of the ingredients for creating the very best RVA holiday weekend.

Normally, we spend our days asking Lauren dozens of dining questions–she’s kind of like our RVA dining oracle. But seeing as this weekend is one of her most favorites of the year, we thought we’d do something a little different and ask her how to create Richmond’s very best holiday weekend.

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Everything starts with the Grand Illumination, which begins right at 5:55 PM. You’ll want to head downtown immediately after work if you don’t want to miss those James Center reindeers lighting up. Remember to carpool as parking will be at a premium, and the less vehicles in your group the better.

After the Illumination, or the Grand Ill as I call it, head up the hill to hit up Lemaire’s happy hour—nothing says holly jolly like Instagraming in front of that larger than life christmas tree. Next, you’re going to want to get some Zs under your belt because Saturday is gonna be a doozie.

Happy hour at Lemaire

  • 5:00 – 7:00 PM
  • $5 Virginia Chardonnay and Virginia Cabernet Franc, $2 Domestic beers, $4 Craft beers
  • Friday’s cocktail deal is $5 Manhattans and Cosmos
  • For $20, choose three appetizers from the bar menu


The Dominion Christmas Parade starts at 10:00 AM. Which, depending on your stage in life, may or may not be super early. You’re bound to have a buddy who both 1) lives in walking distance of the parade and 2) is into hosting people for a light breakfast. Plan on a 9:00 AM1 meetup so you can power up on hot beverages and morning bites. After you see Santa Claus cruise down Broad Street and one of the giant balloons inevitably burst on a low-hanging stoplight, head over to one of your favorite Fan brunch spots, because you’re going to need some fuel for the…all mighty BIZARRE BAZAAR!

A few pro tips to keep in my mind for a successful Biz Baz experience:

  1. Make sure you’ve got a water bottle, cross body bag for hands free shopping, and a good attitude.
  2. Pace yourself on the dip samples. Long day + too many sour cream and mayonnaise creations = a vommie mess.
  3. Once you’re home, review all your fantastic prizes, and then head over to Fresca for their half-off pizza deal on Saturday night. You gotta purchase a beverage, but there are plenty of great beer and wine options, including the Barboursville Cabernet Sauvignon.


On Sunday head to the Valentine Richmond History Center as your starting point for Court End Christmas. Ten historic sites in downtown Richmond open their doors for FREE, so you can experience all of the great history we have in Richmond with some holiday magic sprinkled on top. They’ve got free carriage rides, carolers, gift shops, and even a shuttle to get you from place to place if you overdid the dip samples at the Biz Baz the day before.

Once you get your historical fill, head up to Church Hill for a late lunch at Proper Pie and maybe some dessert at WPA Bakery, because it’s the holidays and you deserve it.

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  1. Augh even earlier / totally not a big deal because you’ve already been up for hours. Life: it’s a helluva drug. 
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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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