The holiday season is upon us, and there’s no better way to get in the holiday spirit than to view light displays and visit Christmas tree farms. Here are 12 of the top destinations to visit now to maximize your holiday enjoyment.
Location: Round Hill
Snickers Gap Tree Farm is a family-owned choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm situated on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They’ve been growing fir and spruce trees for 43 years. Currently, they have over 36,000 trees in various stages of growth.
“We offer a variety of amenities at the farm, including shaking your tree clean and baling it tight for easy transport, providing you with twine to secure it to your vehicle and drilling your tree to precisely fit ‘stand straight’ type tree stands,” the farm’s website states. It’s open daily both weekdays and weekends.
Evergreen Acres bills itself as the only Christmas tree farm in Prince William County. Those looking for a tree can find one here through Dec. 10. The farm has a wide selection of trees, with about 3,000 white pines between 7 and 11 feet in height and 400 Norway spruces between 7 and 10 feet. Don’t worry about bringing a saw, as the farm has plenty. Admission and hot mulled cider are free. The trees range in price from $110 to $160.
The Dominion Energy Garden of Lights offers a 1-mile walk of showstopping displays. “This holiday season immerse yourself in more than 1.5 million twinkling lights—a magical experience like no other in Coastal Virginia,” the Virginia Tourism Corporation said of the event, which runs through Dec. 31.
As you walk the garden, look for illuminated color-changing trees, the sparkling Conifer Garden, and the historic NATO Tower drenched in lights. The “Mega Tree” (you’ll know it when you see it) is a great place for a holiday selfie. Hot cocoa and holiday treats are available for purchase.
The city of Chesapeake goes all out for the holidays with a drive-thru light display that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your car. The free event is open from 6-9 p.m. through Jan. 1, 2024.
Make sure to also check out the Fa La La Land on either Dec. 9 or 16 from 5-9 p.m. “Walk around this interactive outdoor wonderland while enjoying baby goats in holiday sweaters, carolers, face painting, holiday-themed food trucks, and more,” Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism stated. “Watch live ballerinas on stage and get pictures with our roaming holiday characters, glass man, stilt walker, and Santa.” Parking is free around the municipal center.
Location: Newport News
NlightN—Lights at the Fountain is a strolling state-of-the-art holiday light show that features falling snow. “Delighting all ages, this animated light show plays every half hour and incorporates a 50’ animated holiday tree, 55 pixel-wrapped perimeter trees, a festive soundtrack and holiday decor that surrounds the 5-acre fountain plaza,” Newport News Parks & Recreation stated. The shows run from 5-9 p.m. through Jan. 1, 2024.
Winter Wonderland: The Coleman Nursery Collection offers a nostalgic, holiday-themed visual treat for young and old visitors alike. According to the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, the venue features Christmas trees and lights, ice skaters, children from around the world, sledding, a Victorian chalet, caroling villagers, and more. The collection can be viewed from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through Dec. 21.
The Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden runs through Jan. 7, 2024. “A favorite tradition featuring millions of lights, botanical decoration, model trains, festive dinners, warming fire, hot chocolate and s’mores, and more,” is how the garden describes the event. Visitors get to walk through the gardens, which offer an immersive experience that celebrates nature and the rhythmic seasons of life that connect us all. Winter, summer, spring, and fall are represented by a variety of colored lights, displays, and botanical decorations. Be on the lookout for “Rhythms of Light Uje Wepinasow,” an installation by local artist Kyle Epps. Make sure you order your tickets online because walk-ups aren’t allowed.
The town of Galax stages High Country Lights, a free musical light show featuring more than 200,000 Christmas lights choreographed to the sounds of the season, every night at 6 p.m. from late November to Jan. 1, 2024, at Felts Park. “During the busy time of year, it’s one way of bringing loved ones together to celebrate the season,” the website reads. The light show also features carriage rides, food trucks, visits from Santa, and lots of Instagrammable selfie areas.
Locations: Roanoke County
Explore Park’s Illuminights Winter Walk of Lights showcases an abundance of dazzling holiday cheer through Dec. 30. The half-mile wooded path features more than 650,000 lights. Visitors this year will experience 50,000 new lights and displays, trail enhancements, and family activities. The experience also includes food trucks, marshmallow roasting around a campfire, and a Christmas market where 50+ artisans sell their wares. Tickets are available online or in-person.
The fourth annual Botetourt Chamber of Commerce Tinsel Trail features dozens of trees decorated by local organizations. The trees line the streets of the historic downtown area, including in front of the courthouse, and stay up throughout the month of December. Take a self-guided tour whenever you’d like. On Dec. 15 from 6-8 p.m., hot chocolate will be served along the trail.
The Community Holiday Light Show at Ballou Park runs from 6-9 p.m. nightly through Dec. 23. Admission is $10 per car, with tickets available upon arrival. More than 12,000 people visit the attraction annually. The show is unique in the fact that businesses, organizations, and families build displays in the show. Each builder designates a nonprofit that they decorate their spot for, and each vehicle that drives through receives a ballot to vote on the Best in Show. Winning displays earn money for their designated nonprofits.
Freeman Lights is a walk-through display about a quarter-mile long. The free display is open from 6-9 p.m. through Dec. 30. The two organizers describe it as a “labor of love…something we enjoy doing for the community.”
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