Holiday events

From holiday parades and festivals to craft fairs and tours, these events are family-friendly and sure to fill you with the spirit of the season.

From holiday parades and festivals to craft fairs and tours, these events are family-friendly (for the most part) and sure to fill you with the spirit of the season.

Maymont Mansion Holiday Tours

Sometimes you just want to experience Christmas in 1893.

Date: November 19 through January (closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day)
Time: 12pm to 5pm (tours available every half hour)
Location: Maymont Mansion
Cost: $5 suggested donation

Holiday Craftsman Sale

Scope out (and snatch up) work from some of the area’s best artisans. Includes pieces in pottery, glass, and wood as well as paintings, jewelry, silk scarves, hand knitted items, baskets, folk art, photography and sculpture. A portion of all sales will go to help provide youth art scholarships.

Date: November 20 through December 11
Time: Tuesday through Friday, 11am to 1pm and 5 pm to 7pm; Saturday, 10am to 2pm
Location: Pine Camp Arts and Community Center’s Spotlight Gallery (4901 Old Brook Road)
Cost: Free to browse, but come ready to shop!

Dominion GardenFest of Lights

Just imagine: one of Richmond’s most beautiful spots made EVEN MORE beautiful by over 500,000 lights. This year they’ve got a “Fire & Ice” theme, so you’ll also get to see some pretty sweet ice sculptures on display.

Date: November 26 through January 11 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
Time: 5pm to 10pm
Location: Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens (1800 Lakeside Avenue)
Cost: $10 for adults; $9 for seniors, $6 for kids ages 3 to 12 (members and kids under 3 are free)

The Bizarre Market Holiday Edition

Chains are for squares! Come delight in snuggly, sparkly, functional, repurposed, delicious, and supremely crafty goods created by local artists.

Date: November 27 through December 24
Time: Monday through Thursday, 10am to 6pm; Friday and Sat, 10am to 8pm; Sunday, 12pm to 6pm
Location: Chop Suey Books (2913 W. Cary Street)
Cost: Free to browse, but come ready to shop and support your local craft folk!

Tree Lighting at the Jefferson Hotel

Christmas characters, carols, an appearance from Santa, and the lighting of the Christmas tree in the hotel’s iconic rotunda. That’s about as “Christmas in Richmond” as you can get.

Date: November 29
Time: 5pm
Location: Jefferson Hotel (101 W. Franklin Street)
Cost: Free

5th Annual Holiday Happenings at Historic Tredegar

Enjoy special discounts on all merchandise in their museum store for your holiday shopping. And be sure to stop by on Sunday, December 5 from 1pm to 4pm to celebrate the holidays with music, refreshments, and children’s craft activities.

Date: November 29 through December 5
Time: 9am to 5pm
Location: Historic Tredegar (500 Tredegar Street)
Cost: $8 for adults; $6 for seniors; $2 for kids 6 and older

The Bizarre Bazaar

Check out goods and gifts from exclusive exhibitors selected from the best craft shows in America. You will want to make a day of it with this one.

Date: December 2 through December 5
Time: 10am to 7pm Thursday through Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday
Location: Richmond Raceway Complex (600 E. Laburnum Avenue)
Cost: $7

Capitol Square Tree Lighting

Be there for the lighting of the state Christmas tree in its holiday finest on Capitol Hill.

Date: December 3
Time: 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Location: South Portico of the Capitol
Cost: Free

Governor’s Executive Mansion Open House

See the Governor’s mansion all snazzed up for the holidays.

Date: December 3
Time: 5:30pm to 8pm
Location: Capitol Square
Cost: Free (but please bring a canned item to support the Food Bank)

26th Annual Grand Illumination of James Center

Watch as all of Downtown Richmond lights up AT THE SAME TIME. There will also be live music, free horse and carriage rides, free canal boat rides, a holiday market at the 17th Street Farmers Market, and an open house down at Main Street Station. Busy, busy, busy!

Date: December 3
Time: 6pm to 9pm
Location: 10th and E. Cary streets to the 17th Street Farmers Market
Cost: Free!

Horse & Carriage Rides

Want to fall in love with Richmond during the holidays? Make sure you take the city up on their offer to escort you around town via a free horse and carriage ride.

Date: December 3 and 4 and December 5, 9 through 13
Time: Rides start at 6pm
Location: 13th Street and E. Cary Street (on the 3rd and 4th) and 10th and E. Cary Street (on remaining dates)
Cost: Free!


Ok, it’s not exactly holiday-themed, but it’s to benefit ART 180, a Richmond non-profit that provides free after-school art programs to children — ’tis the season, after all. Expect music from Cherry Bomb (Richmond’s all-female DJ collective) and lots of art for sale.

Date: December 3
Time: 7pm to 11pm
Location: Gallery 5 (200 W. Marshall Street)
Cost: Free admission, but pick something up to benefit a good cause.

Dominion Christmas Parade

Will it be the same without Ukrop’s being involved? You’ll just have to go and find out. We’ll have a separate feature on this one closer to the day of, complete with parking information, routes, and other essential whatnots.

Date: December 4
Time: 10am
Location: Starts at the Science Museum and goes down Broad Street
Cost: Free!

Old-Fashioned Christmas at Maymont

The description on Maymont’s website is to adorable to compete with, so here you go: “Elegant Victorian ladies and gentlemen welcome you to Maymont Mansion to marvel at the grand Christmas tree, the beautifully decorated formal rooms and the traditions enjoyed by the Dooleys and their guests in 1893. Horse-drawn carriage rides, good food and drink, festive music and activities fill everyone with old-fashioned holiday spirit.” See?

Date: December 5
Time: 12pm to 5pm
Location: Maymont Mansion & Carriage House Lawn
Cost: Mansion tours are $7 per person; $5 members; free for children 12 and under. Carriage rides are $5 per person; $3 for children 12 and under

St. Nick’s Christmas Party

Storyteller Pam Bomboy brings the past to life with holiday tales, songs, games — and of course St. Nick will stop by for a visit and to take pictures.

Date: December 5
Time: 1pm to 2pm
Location: Garden Hall at Maymont
Cost: $10 per person

Annual Children’s Holiday Party

Visit with Santa and take part in children’s activities — and make sure to bring a new, unwrapped toy or book to be distributed to the kids serviced by Carver Promise, a non-profit organization that supports and mentors first and second grade students from G.W. Carver Elementary School through high school.

Date: December 5
Time: 3pm to 4:30pm
Location: Jepson Alumni Center (University of Richmond, Westhampton Side of campus)
Cost: Free (but please call 804-287-1229 to register)

37th Annual Candlelight Festival of Lessons and Carols

Seeing University of Richmond’s Cannon Memorial Chapel lit by only candlelight while those in attendance sing “Silent Night” must be done before you die. Simple as that.

Date: December 5
Time: 5pm and 8pm
Location: Cannon Memorial Chapel (University of Richmond, near Tyler Hanes Commons)
Cost: Free

The Montpelier Center for Arts & Education Grand Illumination

Come and celebrate the holiday season by enjoying the music and carols with the Hanover Concert Band and the Abner United Choir. There will be caroling, light refreshments, and an ornament for each family.

Date: December 5
Time: 5:30pm
Location: Montpelier Center Complex (17205 Mountain Road)
Cost: Free

Caroling in Carytown

Take a stroll through Carytown and sing for/with your fellow Richmonders. Carolers will meet at Xtras Cafe before the singing starts to get lyric sheets and afterwards for free hot chocolate and some tasty treats. Make sure to RSVP so they can get a head count.

Date: December 8
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Location: Meet at Xtras Cafe (3322-B West Cary Street)
Cost: Free!

Church Hill Candlelight Walk

The Greater Richmond Pipes and Drums will lead this walk through Church Hill, starting in Jefferson Park and winding its way to E. Grace Street at St. John’s Church where they will be joined by church members attending the Vespers Service. From there the parade route ends at Libby Hill Park overlooking the James River where holiday carols will be sung. Candles will be given out at Jefferson Park and St. John’s Church. Dress warmly. And be prepared for your mind to be blown because it sounds amazing.

Date: December 10
Time: 7:30pm
Location: Starts at Jefferson Park at the corner of Mosby and Princess Anne
Cost: Free

Goochland Farmers Market Holiday Market

Pick up goodies from local artisans and craftspeople, and even have a visit with Santa!

Date: December 11
Time: 10am to 2pm
Location: J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Western Campus (Dickinson Road)
Cost: Free

Holiday Open House: Present Factory

Want to try your hand at DIYing some holiday gifts this year? The folks over at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond will help you out. They’ll even give you some cider while you’re there.

Date: December 11
Time: 12:30pm to 3:30pm
Location: Visual Arts Center of Richmond (1812. W. Main Street)
Cost: Some activities are free, some will have a fee

Fan Holiday House Tour

Tour eight homes around Meadow Park, all decked out for the season.

Date: December 11 and December 12
Time: 1pm to 5pm
Location: Parking available at Retreat Doctors Hospital (2621 Grove Avenue)
Cost: $25 in advance, $30 the day of

18th Annual James River Parade of Lights

Boats decorated with lights, parading up and down the James River. It sounds magnificent!

Date: December 11
Time: 6pm
Location: There are several viewing sites along the parade route, but may we suggest Libby Hill Park (corner of 28th and E. Franklin Streets) or Intermediate Terminal Dock (Dock and Water Streets)?

Church Hill Party

Celebrate the season in one of Richmond’s oldest and most beloved neighborhoods. Includes cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and live music.

Date: December 11
Time: 8pm to 1am
Location: Robinson Theater Community Arts Center (2900 Q Street)
Cost: $50 in advance, $60 the day of

15th Annual Hamganza

Described as “a train wreck you can’t help but watch,” Hamganza promises a 500-pound cross-dresser (that’s Dirt Woman, to you), burlesque dancing, fire juggling, and general debauchery, all to benefit the Central Virginia Food Bank. That’s right. (Note: This one is NOT family-friendly.)

Date: December 11
Time: 9pm
Location: Capital Ale House (623 E. Main Street)
Cost: $10 or a ham

24th Annual Court End Christmas

Enjoy a holiday open house at 10 historic sites downtown (including the Valentine Richmond History Center, St. Paul’s Church, and more), carriage rides, games, and shopping.

Date: December 12
Time: 12pm to 5pm
Location: Valentine Richmond History Center (1015 E. Clay Street)
Cost: Free!

Church Hill Holiday House Tour

Check out some the neighborhoods most beautiful homes showing off their holiday goods. As John Murdern over at Church Hill People’s News puts it, “The houses on this tour offer a look into the way modern families live in these old and historic spaces designed for a different time. Each home offers a special look into the vibrant and modern lifestyles of Church Hill residents.”

Date: December 12
Time: 12pm to 5pm
Location: Contact Tanner Smith at for details
Cost: $15 in advance, $20 the day of

Handmade Holiday

Indie crafters and designers show off their wares for you to see…and buy, of course.

Date: December 12
Time: 11am to 5pm
Location: Plant Zero (0 East 4th St in Richmond’s Manchester District)
Cost: Free, but come to shop

Richmond Nativity Pageant

The Richmond Community Nativity Pageant, which is performed each Christmas season at the Carillon in Byrd Park, is probably the oldest public Christmas tradition in Richmond. The “Nativity” is a live presentation out of doors with a cast and choir of approximately 300 persons, which include many family members, some of whom have been in the annual Nativity Pageant 30, 40 and some 50 plus years.
Date: December 23
Time: 7pm
Location: Carillon at Byrd Park
Cost: Free!

Christmas Day at the VMFA

If you’re looking to switch things up from the typical holiday spent falling asleep in your mother’s living room, the VMFA has hooked you up. And while museum admission is always free, they’re also inviting visitors to check out the museum’s two special exhibitions for free: American Quilts: Selections from the Winterthur Collection and Sally Mann: The Flesh and The Spirit. Thanks, VMFA!

Date: December 25
Time:12pm to 5pm
Location: 200 N. Boulevard
Cost: Free!

Holiday Glitter: Monument Avenue After Dark Walking Tour

Enjoy the lights and glitter of Monument Avenue while it’s still decked out for the holidays.

Date: December 26 and 27
Time: 6pm
Location: Meet at the Lee Monument at Allen Street and Monument Avenue
Cost: $10 (call 804-649-0711 ext. 301 for reservations)

Know of anything that should be added to this list? Leave details in the comments or email us at

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