Richmond shines brightest during the holiday season. With its mesmerizing holiday light displays and cherished traditions deeply rooted in generations past, there’s an unmistakable magic that transforms the city, making Richmond an incomparable destination for holiday festivities.  While many of these traditions are in no small part thanks to beloved local businesses, we’ve taken the opportunity to pair many of Richmond’s favorites with nearby businesses should you find yourself in need of a bite to eat while out and about enjoying the holidays.


Christmas lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond

Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Through January 7

Experience the magic of the holiday season with millions of sparkling lights, enchanting botanical decorations, and charming holiday trains at this whimsical tradition that’s perfect for all ages. While you can enjoy delicious hot cocoa and s’mores in the garden, make a day or night of it by dining at one of the many nearby local restaurants.


Legendary Santa at The Children’s Museum of Richmond

November 24-December 24

More than 25,000 children have visited Legendary Santa and the Snow Queen since this quintessential Richmond tradition began on the 7th floor of Miller & Rhoads department store in 1936. Continue the magic of the day with a meal at a nearby restaurant.


The James Center alight in downtown Richmond with lit reindeer and buildings

Downtown Richmond

RVA Illuminates

December 1

The official grand illumination of the City of Richmond, this celebration at Kanawha Plaza marks the official lighting of the Richmond skyline. Bask in the newly-lit city post-illumination by enjoying dinner or drinks at a local restaurant downtown.


Santa and the Snow Queen ride in a sleigh at the Dominion Energy Christmas Parade

Dominion Energy Christmas Parade

Dominion Energy Christmas Parade

December 2

A joyful holiday tradition that brings the community together to kick off the holiday season, The Dominion Energy Christmas Parade ignites Broad Street with holiday cheer each year. The parade runs down the length of Broad Street from Arthur Ashe Boulevard to 7th Street, which means that depending on your chosen viewing spot, there are endless opportunities to grab lunch from a local restaurant at the conclusion of the parade.


The Richmond Ballet’s The Nutcracker

December 8-24

A stunning holiday tradition like no other. The Richmond Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker is accompanied by the Richmond Symphony in the equal parts beautiful and historic Carpenter Theatre.


A boat rides down the James River in Richmond adorned in Christmas lights

Richmond Boat Parade of Lights

Richmond Boat Parade of Lights

December 9

Watch the boats of all shapes and sizes make their way down the James River adorned with festive lights, spreading cheer along the way. Richmond’s best-kept holiday secret, The Richmond Boat Parade has steadily been growing in popularity through the years. Grab dinner or drinks at a local restaurant on the James River, but make sure you get there early or make reservations!