Dec 6th: RVA Illuminates
You know the holidays are here when downtown Richmond lights up the night during what used to be the Grand Illumination, now called RVA Illuminates. Once the sun has set, Richmonders gather to enjoy a panoramic view of the RVA skyline. The holiday lights click on amid fanfare, fire pits, and hot cider. Arrive before they flip the switch at 6 p.m. and stakeout your spot at the new location for this event: Kanawha Plaza at 801 E. Canal St., on Friday, Dec. 6, at 5:30 p.m. Learn more about the evolution from Grand Illumination to RVA Illuminates: https://www.richmond.com/entertainment/richmond-grand-illumination-is-no-more-now-it-s-rva/article_6182c219-d60a-5d48-9dc4-3fa19200c059.html
Dec 5-8: Bizarre Bazaar
Where can you find forty years of fabulous? Look no further than the Bizarre Bazaar, a marketplace for unique treasures. Shoppers have flocked to the Richmond Raceway for the last forty years to stuff their stockings with distinctive presents. Seasonal gifts and decorative accessories are the draw for Richmonders looking for home and garden gifts, gourmet food, artsy crafts, unique artwork, and homemade goodies. Learn more: www.thebizarrebazaar.com
Dec 7: Dominion Christmas Parade
Bundle up and get downtown – rain or shine – for the 33rd annual Christmas Parade! Where else can you find festive floats, holiday balloons, marching bands, and dance troupes in one spot? Boasting more than 100,000 spectators annually, you’ll need to claim your spot along the parade route that departs from the Science Museum on W. Broad Street and continues east to 7th Street. The fun starts at 10:00 a.m. Learn more: www.richmondparade.org
Dec 13-23: Richmond Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Nothing says Christmas like a Russian Bear, Chinese Dragon, and Mouse King twirling around the classic, young Clara in The Nutcracker. Richmond Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker is a staple of the Carpenter Center’s holiday lineup. Featuring local dancers of all ages, it’s a distinctive event worth celebrating. For an extra holiday treat, join Clara and friends for a seated tea party in CenterStage’s festive Rhythm Hall. (Clara’s tea party is a separate ticketed event). Learn more at www.richmondballet.com
Dec 14: Car Max Tacky Light Run
If you think you can jingle while you jog, consider Car Max’s Tacky Light Run in Midlothian on December 14. It’s a fun and festive run, and all you need are your jogging shoes and some spirited holiday attire. Learn more: www.sportsbackers.org
If it’s tacky lights you’re looking for, Richmond Times Dispatch publishes a list of homes in Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover and Richmond that would make Clark Griswold proud. To make the list, homes must have at least 40,000 lights. You can take your own tour using the RTD map, or James Limousine can do the driving for you.
Learn more: www.richmond.com/holiday/tacky–lights/ or www.jameslimousine.com/tacky–lights–tour.htm. Of course, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens is famous for its holiday extravaganza of lights, a longstanding Richmond tradition featuring over a half million twinkling lights, hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trans, holiday dinners, firepit with s’mores, and hot chocolate. Learn more: www.lewisginter.org
ICE ICE, BABY
Take a break from your holiday shopping and skate your way into the season at one of RVA’s outdoor skating rinks. Picking up some holiday gifts at Stony Point Mall? Then make a point to take a spin on their outdoor ice rink central to all shopping, with quickest access from the Saks Fifth Ave entrance: (http://www.shopstonypoint.com/events/outdoor-skating-rink). Situated right by NorWalls, you can grab some hand rolled ice cream after you skate! For reasons unknown, they’ve closed the ice rinks at West Broad Village as well as RVA On Ice, so the other option besides Stony Point Mall for 2019 ice skating will take you up the I-95 corridor to King’s Dominion. The Winterfest in Doswell offers a “Snow Flake Lake” in front of an Eiffel Tower where you can ice skate for an extra fee in addition to the Winterfest admission price. More on that: www.kingsdominion.com/play/winterfest
A Richmond Christmas would not be complete without a trip to The Jefferson Hotel to admire its historical beauty decked out in holiday style. Whether for Sunday brunch, afternoon tea, or drinks after a trip to the theatre, The Jefferson never disappoints.
No matter how you spend your holidays, we hope you explore a new part of RVA and soak in all it has to offer. Happy Holidays!