The Christmas season tends to be filled with festive joy and wonder, no matter where you are.
It’s a time for surrounding yourself with loved ones and creating special memories that will last a lifetime.
But sometimes it feels as if the holiday season flies by before we even get around to planning those memorable Christmas outings.
A Virginia Christmas is full of fun options to consider when it comes time to make your to-do list this holiday season. For my money, it’s one of the best places to spend Christmas in the USA.
From catching It’s A Wonderful Life at the Barter Theatre in historic Abingdon to driving around viewing the wackiest Christmas lights in Richmond, the holidays in Virginia offer something for everyone.
Read on for our guide to 10 great places to celebrate Christmas in Virginia, with a variety of holiday traditions and memories just waiting to be made!
Places to Celebrate Christmas in Virginia Guide
- Barter Theatre (Abingdon VA)
- The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights (Bristol VA)
- Busch Gardens Christmas Town (Williamsburg VA)
- Dickens of a Christmas (Roanoke VA)
- GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (Richmond VA)
- WinterFest at Kings Dominion (Doswell VA)
- Richmond Tacky Lights Tour (Richmond VA)
- Joe’s Trees (Newport VA)
- Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg VA)
- The Omni Homestead Resort (Hot Springs VA)
1. Barter Theatre
127 W Main St, Abingdon VA • 276-628-3991
This Christmas season, why not enjoy a classic holiday production in Abingdon’s historic downtown theatre?
The Barter Theatre opened during the Great Depression in 1933, with its motto of “With vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh!”
Proclaiming that theatre was for everyone to enjoy, the venue allowed patrons to barter a ticket for a show with something of similar value. Hence the name.
While they still celebrate this tradition with “Barter Days” in early summer, Christmas at the Barter Theatre is a great time to visit.
Their 2022 holiday productions will include the beloved classic It’s A Wonderful Life (Nov 12-Dec 29) and the more kid-friendly All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth (Nov 29- Dec 23).
Visit this popular Christmas town in VA for your chance to take part in this beloved holiday tradition.
2. The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights
151 Speedway Blvd, Bristol VA • 866-451-4158
The Bristol Motor Speedway has definitely seen more than its fair share of flashing lights and crowds.
But the Bristol Motor Speedway Christmas Lights is one of the most unique Christmas events we’ve ever seen.
The annual Bristol Speedway in Lights— a truly extravagant Christmas light show in Virginia– draws thousands of visitors to the racetrack every year around the holidays.
It features 3 million lights strung all around the arena, including on the speedway (which is known as “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile”) itself.
Not only does this event create magical memories, but it’s also a chance to give back this holiday season and support the Bristol Speedway Children’s Charity.
3. Busch Gardens Christmas Town
1 Busch Gardens Blvd, Williamsburg VA • 757-229-4386
Busch Gardens bills itself as “The World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park.” So it makes sense that Busch Gardens’ Christmas celebration should be well worth a visit.
The annual Busch Gardens Christmas Town features extravagant holiday light displays, with over 10 million twinkling Christmas lights.
Guests can also make a visit to Santa’s Workshop and take a ride on the Christmas Town Express, the Christmas train that travels around the park.
Other fun Busch Gardens attractions include an array of adrenaline-pumping rides, tasty restaurants, and loads of stores perfect for Christmas shopping.
Ranked among North America’s largest holiday displays, Busch Gardens Williamsburg Christmas Town is is open for fun from November into January.
4. Dickens of a Christmas
Downtown Roanoke VA • 540-342-2028
Now celebrating its 40th year, Dickens of a Christmas will be returning to Downtown Roanoke VA for the 2022 Christmas season.
Spread out over the course of 3 weekends, Dickens of a Christmas takes place on Fridays in December, with different holiday activities filling the chilly evenings.
There will be a Christmas tree lighting on December 2 to kick off the seasonal festival, which will include live performances.
On December 9, you won’t want to miss the City of Roanoke Christmas Parade as it winds around the Blue Ridge Mountain Town.
They’ll wrap up the holiday celebration on December 16 with a cute and quirky Pet Costume Contest (including prizes for the best dressed pets) and a fun Kids Zone for the little ones.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Roanoke VA
5. Lewis Ginter GardenFest of Lights
1800 Lakeside Ave, Richmond VA • 804-262-9887
Held at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, the Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights is a magical time for all who come to experience the festive spirit of the season.
The 2022-2023 theme is “Seeds of Light.” Taking inspiration from seeds and fruits around the world, the botanical garden will illuminate the night with more than a half-million colorful lights and themed displays.
Returning this year are beloved favorites like the Kelleher Warming Fire, a 20-foot Christmas tree, model trains in the Kelly Education Center, and student-decorated Christmas trees.
Advance tickets are required for this event, so make sure to purchase them from their website before heading out to this beautiful holiday celebration.
6. Kings Dominion WinterFest
16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell VA • 804-876-5000
This Christmas, visitors can see the Kings Dominion amusement park transformed into a winter wonderland for the annual WinterFest celebration.
During the Kings Dominion WinterFest, you can see a 300-foot tall Christmas tree made from their Eiffel Tower.
Guests can also skate on one of the largest ice-skating rinks in Virginia, as the iconic fountain on International Street is reconstructed for the holiday season.
While you’re there, enjoy one of the many live performances, watch the WinterFest Wonderland Parade, and enjoy some tasty holiday treats!
7. Richmond Tacky Lights Tour
Richmond VA • 804-213-2330
Putting up holiday decorations inside and out is a Christmas tradition for many people around the world.
But Richmond is well-known for their unabashedly tacky VA Christmas lights, many of which go above and beyond what most people are willing to do in terms of Christmas decorations.
Homeowners take part in this tradition by covering their houses with Christmas symbols and vivid Christmas light displays. Two local homes have even been featured (and won!) on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight.
To see these outlandish Christmas lights in Virginia, there are different routes you can drive through at your leisure.
Or you can book a ride on the Discover Richmond Tacky Lights Tour to see all the wild light displays around the area from the comfort of their climate-controlled bus.
8. Joe’s Trees
5110 Cumberland Gap Rd, Newport VA • (540) 544-7303
One of my family’s favorite Christmas traditions is going out and cutting our very own Christmas tree, just like Charlie Brown and the Griswolds.
While there are many excellent Christmas tree farms in Virginia to choose from, Joe’s Trees is a great one to “pick.”
This family-run farm has been passed down through 3 generations, and places high value on creating a space for families to create wonderful memories of their own.
Open from mid-November through Christmas, Joe’s Trees has 9 different evergreens to choose from, ranging from 6 to 15 feet in size. They also have fresh wreaths, hayrides, and a gift shop to visit.
While you’re there, make sure to be on your best behavior, because you may even get a chance to see Santa Claus!
9. Colonial Williamsburg Christmas
101 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg VA • 888-965-7254
A Colonial Williamsburg VA Christmas offers a unique way to celebrate the holiday season, while also learning more about America’s past via their excellent living history attractions.
For three weekends in December, Colonial Williamsburg offers Grand Illumination weekends, where the sky is illuminated with fireworks every night after dark.
Visitors can take a tour of the festively decorated Nelson-Galt House by the Greensprings Garden Club, or dine in one of Williamsburg’s world-class restaurants.
Other events for Christmas at Colonial Williamsburg, include the Celebration of the Yule Log, the Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, and the Lighting of the Cressets, just to name a few.
10. The Omni Homestead Resort
7696 Sam Snead Hwy, Hot Springs VA • 540-839-1766
With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, December is the perfect time for a little getaway to rest and recuperate.
The Omni Homestead Resort is a wonderful option for Virginia getaways, with its charming Christmas decor seemingly around every corner.
Whether you’re looking for winter activities like snow skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating, or wanting warmer indoor experiences around the fireplace, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.
Visit the posh resort during the 2022 holiday season to see the lighting of the Christmas tree or take part in fun family activities such as Bedtime Stories with Santa’s Elves.
While holiday cheer is never low here, you can also raise your spirits with a visit to the luxury spa and salon before hitting the slopes this Christmas. –by Molly Frazier; lead image via Canva