Things to do (holiday edition)

Whether you are young or old, the holiday season seems to fill us up with hope and gratitude. To make the holiday spirit just a little bit stronger, we’ve put together a list of several things that we think might make the holidays that much more memorable this year.

‘Tis the season! We are a few days into December, and the holidays are in full swing. Whether this is your first holiday season in town or your 25th, we thought it would be good to give you a few RVA must sees and dos. Here, in no particular order, are some of the best holiday activities and events that will help make the season special.

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1. Lewis Ginter GardenFest of Lights

Like bright, shiny things? Well, Lewis Ginter will have about, oh, I dunno…a HALF-MILLION lights, along with Christmas decorations, trains, family activities, and more! If you have kids or you just want to take that special someone to a fun event, make sure you bundle up (sunglasses are optional).

  • Through January 9, 2012 • Nightly, 5pm – 10pm
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Avenue
  • $11 adults — $10 seniors — $7 children ages 3 – 12 — children under age 3 free — Garden Members $5 — child on Membership (ages 3 – 18) $4 — Member on Member Nights: FREE.

2. RVA on Ice

In just its second year, RVA on Ice has already become a tradition here in Richmond. Mayor Jones pushed hard to have an ice rink downtown last year, and man was it a hit! The rink will be open to the public until January 9th.

  • Wednesdays – Fridays (4pm – 10pm); Saturdays (10am – 10pm); Sundays (10am – 6pm)
  • 6th and Broad streets
  • Admission: $5 General Admission, $4 Military/Seniors 60+, FREE for Children 10 and under, $20 Season Pass (skate rental not included
  • Skate Rental: $5 per visit, $3 Children 10 and under

3. Fruitcake Science

‘Tis the season for fruitcake and what better time to test its ability to conduct electricity, its reaction to gravity, its ability to float or what happens to it when you freeze it?

  • Monday, Dec. 26 – Fri., Dec. 30 • 9:30am – 5pm
  • Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 W. Broad Street
  • Included with regular admittance: $5 – $11, FREE for Museum members

4. Legendary Santa

For the 75th year, Santa will descend down the chimney every day until Christmas Eve. Accompanied by his lovely Snow Queen and helpful elf, Santa will meet and take photographs with all the good little boys and girls. There’s also two special ticketing opportunities to bypass the crowds: both Sunrise and Sunset with Santa.

  • Saturdays and Sundays, Nov 26th – Dec 18: 9am-5pm;
  • Monday, Nov 28 – Friday, Dec 2: 2pm-5pm
  • Monday, Dec 5 – Friday, Dec 9: 11am-5pm
  • Monday, Dec 12 – Friday, Dec 16: 9am-8pm
  • Monday, Dec 19 – Friday, Dec 23: 9am-8pm
  • Christmas Eve – Saturday, Dec 24: 9am-2pm
  • Children’s Museum of Richmond, 2626 W. Broad Street
  • FREE to visit Santa, photo packages are $26.95 – $29.95

5. The Nutcracker

Do we really need to tell you anything about this? Performed to Tchaikovsky’s famous score played live by the Richmond Symphony, this year’s performance of The Nutcracker is a great family event. Entertaining to grandchild and grandparent alike (and everyone in between), the Nutcracker is a Christmas staple. It’s only here for ten days, so make sure you get your tickets

  • December 16 – 26  • various times
  • Carpenter Theatre, 600 E. Grace Street
  • $17 – $127

6. James River Parade of Lights

The James River Parade of Lights has been canceled due to treacherous river conditions, there is no make up date. Read more on Shockoe News.

Every year, boaters dress up their seafaring vessels and parade them through the James River. Running from Richmond to Henricus Historical Park in Chesterfield County, there are several locations where you can watch these illuminated boats.

  • Sat., Dec. 10 • Entertainment at 4:30pm, parade viewing at 6pm
  • Libby Hill, 28th and Franklin streets, and other locations
  • FREE

7. 25th Annual Court End Christmas

If you need a break from the stresses of holiday shopping, might we suggest something a little more relaxing? Nine historic sites in downtown Richmond will open their doors to holiday explorers. Among the sites are the Valentine History Center, The Virginia State Capital, and historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Carriage rides, carolers, living history, live music, kids crafts, gift shops, and more will be available.


photo by Gamma Man

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