Hampton Roads Holiday Guide | 2021

Holidays

(Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – The excitement of the holiday season is building, especially with many traditional local events returning after they were canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With the holidays just around the corner, Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina are gearing up with a series of events aimed at bringing the holiday spirit.

WAVY.com has compiled a list of some of the bigger local events planned for the 2021 holiday season. You can view additional holiday offerings on our Living Local events calendar.

See a holiday event that we missed? Email us at webdesk@wavy.com.

Chesapeake

  • Deck the Hall | Chesapeake City Hall
    • A dazzling winter wonderland is coming to Chesapeake City Hall. Gather your family to experience this drive-thru light display from the comfort of your car.
    • Hours: Thursday, November 25, 2021 through Sunday, January 2, 2021; 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Fees: The event is free and open to the public.
  • Chesapeake Holiday Market Extravaganza | Greenbrier Mall
    • Still need time to finish up your holiday shopping? Join local vendors at the Chesapeake Holiday Market Extravaganza to for unique crafts, giveaways, holiday music, pictures with Santa, and more.
    • Hours: Saturday, November 27, 2021; 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Fees: This event is free and open to the public.
  • Fa La La Land
    • Walk around this outdoor wonderland while enjoying carolers, face paintings, baby goats in holiday sweaters, live snow globe, holiday-themed food trucks, holiday movie characters, and more!
    • Hours: December 11 and December 18 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Chesapeake Rotary Christmas Parade
    • The parade will start on Mt. Pleasant Road and Battlefield Boulevard and wind its way to City Hall. Road closures will start around 4 p.m. and run through 9 p.m. Sponsored by Chesapeake Regional Healthcare. Grand Marshal is Grant Holloway, Olympic medalist.
    • Hours: 6 p.m.
    • More details here.
  • Chick-fil-A Christmas Parade at Chesapeake Square
    • 2021 parade theme is “Christmas Through the Decades.” The parade will start in front of the old theater and continue around Ring Road, which circles the mall. The parade will conclude at the old Sears automotive parking lot.
    • Hours: 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 4. Judging begins at 7:30 a.m.

Elizabeth City

  • Elizabeth City Downtown Illumination | Pasquotank County Courthouse
    • Hundreds gather at the Courthouse (206 E. Main Street) for singing and the “flipping of the switch” to turn on the downtown holiday lights. Festivities continue with caroling through the heart of downtown to the waterfront.
    • Hours: Friday, November 26; 6-8 p.m.
    • Fees: This event is free and open to the public.
  • Lighted Boat Parade | Mariners’ Wharf Park
    • Skiffs, sailboats, and pontoon boats with lights galore and crews of costumed holiday characters circle the waterfront for a cheering audience watching from land with joyful holiday background music.
    • Hours: Friday, December 3; 7 p.m.
    • Fees: This event is free and open to the public.
  • First Friday Christmas ArtWalk | Arts of the Albemarle
    • Enjoy artwork, artist demos, and live music around downtown Elizabeth City as the streets come alive with the monthly ArtWalk celebration! The event will feature Christmas sales, Christmas gifts, and Santa Claus.
    • Location: Arts of the Albemarle, 516 E Main Street
    • Hours: Friday, December 3; 4-8 p.m.
    • Fees: This event is free and open to the public.
  • Christmas Parade | Main Street
    • Elizabeth City trucks, floats, motorcycles, tractors, sleighs, firetrucks, wagons and 4x4s will gather for the Annual Christmas Parade. This year’s theme is “Winter Nights & Holiday Lights”
    • Hours: Saturday, December 4; 5:30 p.m.
    • Fees: This event is free and open to the public.

Gloucester

  • First Annual Winter Lights Celebration | Cape Ann
    • Local businesses throughout Gloucester and Rockport, Essex are getting into the festive spirit by decorating their establishments with twinkling lights and/or creative window displays! Check this link for a brochure you can download.
    • Hours: November 26 – January 2, 2022; 4-10 p.m.
    • Fees: This event is free and open to the public.
  • 2021 Holiday Market | Magnolia Library and Community Center
    • Over 20 Cape Ann vendors will gather to offer their locally made Arts and Crafts, including jewelry, pottery, sculpture, painting, photography, metalwork, woodwork, fiber arts, candles, hand-harvested artisan sea salts, handcrafted soaps, natural body care, and much more.
    • Hours: Sunday, November 28; 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    • Fees: This event is free and open to the public.

Hampton

  • BTG Beats and Brews Holiday Fest | Capstan Bar Brewing Company
    • The BTG Artist Collective and Capstan Brewing company will be hosting a special Friendsgiving event featuring an artist showcase. Come listen to live music from local artists, wear your favorite ugly sweater, and enjoy craft beer.
    • Hours: Saturday, December 18, 2021; 2–10 p.m.
    • Fees: The event is free and open to the public.
  • Holiday Wonder Walk | Waterwalk at Central Park
    • Hampton’s Holiday Wonder Walk is the perfect way to spend a winter evening and celebrate the holidays with family. The lighted path will feature lights and displays showcasing the Hampton Coliseum, Candyland, “Frozen”, and more! This year, the path will also include two stages of holiday entertainment, vendors selling hot food and holiday merchandise, and kids activities. The path begins behind the Hampton Coliseum, and continues to Freeman Drive, crossing over bridges and winding through the woods, all lit for the holidays with a “Sea to the Stars” theme.
    • Hours: December 4-12, 2021; 5–9 p.m.
    • Fees: This event is free and open to the public. There is free parking at the Hampton Coliseum.
  • Holidays in the Sky | Coliseum Central
    • Holidays in the Sky is a laser light, LED and projection experience enjoyed from the comfort of your car. Presented by Sentara. Enjoy a 30-minute laser, projection and LED video wall screen synchronized to play your holiday favorites through your car’s FM radio. Spectators will be comfy-cozy as they watch from the comfort of their vehicle in the Hampton Coliseum parking lot.
    • Dates: November 19 – November 21.
    • Fees: The event is free, but you can register at this link.
  • Lighted Boat Parade | downtown Hampton waterfront
    • Cruise into the holiday spirit at the annual Downtown Hampton Lighted Boat Parade. The parade of illuminated power and sailboats will be visible from anywhere along the Hampton River. Santa will arrive by boat at the Maritime Center at 2:00 p.m. Enjoy live music by Hard Times beginning at 4:00 p.m. Stationery judging of boats will begin at 4:45 p.m. and the Lighted Boat Parade will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the awards ceremony to follow. Hot chocolate, holiday snacks, and adult holiday beverages will be available for purchase inside The Landing Hotel.
    • Hours: December 11 2 to 9 p.m.
    • Fees: This event is free and open to the public.

Nags Head

  • Kites with Lights | Jockey’s Ridge State Park
    • Kites with Lights will feature large 19-to-30-foot kites decorated with holiday cheer. Enjoy the lighting of the Jockey’s Ridge State Park Solar Christmas tree out on the dunes across from Jockey’s ridge Crossing. Warm beverages and holiday treats will also be available across the street at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing.
    • Hours: November 27, 2021, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Fees: The event is free and open to the public.
  • Christmas on the North End | Island Farm
    • Experience a 19th century-style Christmas celebration in the Outer Banks. Tour the farm grounds, enjoy festive decorations, taste hot cider, and devour other holiday treats while gathered around a crackling fire.
    • Hours: Friday, December 3, 2021; 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Fees: $8 per person

Newport News

  • Celebration in Lights | Newport News Park
    • Celebrating in Lights is Virginia’s first drive-through holiday light event. This year marks its 29th season, which kicks off Thanksgiving night. For its 29th year, the event will add new magical trees and upgrade the entrance arch in the Santa’s Enchanted Kingdom area, add candy theme display pieces and upgrade the brightness of the bulbs in the Candyland area, add additional deer display pieces and 3D trees to the deer arch area, and upgrade the rope lighting at the event entrance.
    • Hours: November 25, 2021-January 1, 2022; Open nightly 5:30-10 p.m.
    • Fees: Weeknight admission (Monday-Thursday) $12 per car. Friday-Sunday is $15 per car
  • Holiday Light Stroll | Newport News Park
    • Grab a coat and head over to Newport News Park for this special one night only event! Walk two miles through over 1 million lights. This is a charity event to benefit the Center for Child & Family Services.
    • Hours: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
    • Fees: $13.00 for single admission, $44.00 for 4-person admission. Children under 2 are free. Click here to purchase tickets. This is a “ticketless” event this year. Tickets will be electronic and sent to your email to be scanned at the event for entry.
  • 6th Annual Wonderfest: Holiday Market Place | Scottish Rite Masonic Center
    • Looking for a place to complete your holiday shopping in Newport News? Stop by Wonderfest, a holiday marketplace hosted at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center. The event will feature 54 local vendors and their handcrafted holiday gifts. While you shop, you can also enjoy a fresh burger, hot dog, or French fries from the kitchen in the social hall.
    • Location: 65 Saunders Road
    • Hours: Saturday, December 11, 2021; 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Fees: The event is free and open to the public.
  • Lights at the Fountain | City Center at Oyster Point
    • Lights at the Fountain is a holiday experience of lights, decorations, and magical falling snow set to music around the City Center at Oyster Point five-acre fountain plaza. Delighting all ages is a special ten-minute synchronized light show playing every half hour from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Dec 4, the holiday tree lighting and opening festivities will fill City Center with entertainment, ice sculpting exhibition, seasonal gift vendors, carnival games, food vendors, children’s activities, and more.
    • Location: City Center at Oyster Point fountain plaza
    • Nightly light show: December 4-January 1 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Holiday tree lighting & festivities: December 4 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Fees: Free admission, free parking.
  • ARTech Lights | Brooks Crossing
    • An animated light and sound show displays on the holiday tree at ARTech Lights nightly from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every half hour, with synchronized music and seasonal décor throughout the area. On Dec 10, enjoy special hands-on “techtivities” from 3:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. where children are immersed in a variety of STEM-related activities provided by Jefferson Lab, Newport News Shipbuilding and the Innovation Lab at Brooks Crossing. To go along with the “techtivities” will be food and beverage vendors, a DJ, “silent disco,” a bonfire and a skating rink, which will also be open on Dec 11 & 12.
    • Location: Brooks Crossing
    • Nightly light show: December 4 – January 1 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Festivities: December 10 from 3:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Fees: Free admission, free parking.

Norfolk

  • WinterFest 2021 On The Wisconsin | 1 Waterside Drive
    • Feast your eyes on the region’s only waterfront light festival aboard the Battleship Wisconsin to celebrate WinterFest 2021. The event will feature a holiday light display, live entertainment, and boat parades on the river.
    • Hours: Select dates between Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 – Sunday, Jan. 2, 2021, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Fees: Wednesday-Thursday – $12.50 adult, $10 child, members $9.50 adult, $7 child; Friday-Sunday – $14.50 adult, $12 child; ,embers $12.50 adult, $10 child. Click here to purchase tickets in advance. Tickets purchase at the door will incur an additional $5 fee per ticket, all nights.
    • Hero Nights: First responders (police, firefighter, EMT/paramedics), nurses, and teachers and their families are invited to visit at a discounted ticket price of $9.50 on December 8 and 15.
  • Grand Illumination Celebration and Holiday Kick-off | 1 Waterside Drive
    • Head Downtown to enjoy the most anticipated Norfolk holiday event of the season. The Grand Illumination Celebration will kick-off on November 20 and will include an unveiling of new holiday art installations in the NEON district, marching bands, dancers, and performances by The Rhythm Project and other entertainment by the Virginia Arts Festival. There is no parade again this year, but enjoy plenty of free activities and performances throughout the evening.
    • Hours: Saturday, November 20, 2021; 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Fees: The event is free and open to the public.
  • 7th Annual Great Hot Cocoa War | Downtown Norfolk
    • Downtown Norfolk will rain with marshmallows of fantastical sizes! Get your cup and choose your side. This year’s event begins Saturday, November 20, the same night of the Grand Illumination Celebration, and runs for a full week. A map of participating restaurants will be available at this link on November 19.
    • 4 ounce pours cost $2 each. Stop by participating restaurants to try their special hot cocoa.
    • Voting: Begins at noon on Saturday, November 20. Click here for the voting link. The link will not work until voting begins.
  • Million Bulb Walk | Norfolk Botanical Garden
    • The Million Bulb Walk at Norfolk Botanical Garden returns for 2021. Visitors will enjoy a mile-long path dazzling with lights. Event organizers say this year’s path is brand new and will feature new lighting features, including The Wall of Light that highlights the garden’s NATO Tower.
    • Hours: Nightly November 12 through January 2, 2022 from 5 to 9:30 p.m..
    • Fees: Prices vary. Tickets for the event went on sale on October 1 and can be purchased online. Those wanting to buy tickets in person will be charged an additional $5 walk-up fee.
  • ZooLumination | Virginia Zoo
    • The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk is celebrating the holiday season with its first-ever “zoo drive-thru.” Guests watch 29 massive inflatable animal sculptures come to life accompanied with their own specific audio story.
    • Hours/Fees: Nighttime Weekday (Sun–Thurs), 5 – 9 p.m.: Members: $35 per vehicle, Non-members: $45 per vehicle; Nighttime Weekend (Fri–Sat), 5 – 11 p.m.: Members: $40 per vehicle, Non-members: $50 per vehicle
    • Tickets: Purchase tickets for nighttime drive-thru online, at this link.
  • The Elf on the Shelf | Chrysler Hall
    • Kick off the holiday season with your family in a special way. A Christmas musical that has captured the hearts of many will be live in Norfolk! The Elf on the Shelf: The Musical is a thrilling production of music, dance, and dazzling costumes that the whole family will enjoy. Complete your theatrical experience with a post-show photo opportunity, featuring Santa’s Elves!
    • Hours: Tuesday, November 30, 2021; 6:00PM
    • Fees: Tickets are $29.95 – $84.95
  • Holiday Yule Log Bonfire & Christmas Marketplace | Town Point Park
    • Join the community for a one-day Holiday Market in Town Point Park on the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront. The market will coincide with the Annual Holiday Yule Log Bon Fire and will feature unique and local crafts, Christmas caroling, and a visit from Santa Claus. Hot chocolate, ciders, seasonal craft beer, wine, and other holiday treats will also be available for purchase.
    • Hours: Saturday, December 4, 2021; 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Fees: This event is free and open to the public. Click here to see the event schedule.

Portsmouth

  • Olde Towne Holiday Open House & Crafters’ Market | High Street
    • Enjoy a hometown holiday tree lighting complete with decorations, music, a Sugar Plum fairy, Father Christmas, and even a little snow! Olde Towne’s shops will be open late with an additional 30 crafters & authors selling their wares. Also, catch a free Tidewater Winds quartet concert, strolling colonial carolers, hot cider, prize drawings, and shuttle rides! You can be sure to get in the holiday spirit right here in Olde Towne!
    • Hours: Friday, November 19 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the High Street Corridor. The tree lighting is at 5:30 p.m.
    • Click here for the complete schedule.
  • Winter Wonderland (The Coleman Nursery Collection) | Portsmouth Art Center
    • Winter Wonderland: The Coleman Collection continues to offer a visual treat for all ages, young and old alike who come to visit the animated scenes of ice skaters and children sledding, little people, children from around the world, a Victorian chalet and caroling villagers.
    • Hours: November 26 – December 31, 2021. 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Portsmouth residents can view the Coleman Collection’s Winter Wonderland for free on December 19.
    • Fees: $3 per person. Due to COVID-19, reservations to tour Winter Wonderland are required. Tickets will be available for purchase at https://portsmouthartcenter.com/

Suffolk

  • Grand Illumination | Market Park at Seaboard Station Railroad Museum
    • The 2021 Suffolk Holiday Season begins with a hometown kickoff. This year’s Grand Illumination Ceremony will take place virtually on the City of Suffolk’s YouTube channel. The event will begin with a message from Mayor Michael D. Duman, and will be followed by a performance by a local hand bell choir. The event will conclude with the lighting of the 32-foot holiday tree!
    • Hours: Friday, November 19, 2021 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Holiday Market & Grand Illumination | Bridgeport Suffolk
    • The Plaza at Bridgeport will come alive with holiday cheer with the First Annual Grand Illumination Holiday Market! Includes photos with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, carolers, food & drink vendors, and outdoor shopping! The Bridgeport Suffolk Plaza is located at the 3800 Block of Bridge Road nestled in between the 1400 Bridgeport Way and 1500 Bridgeport Way building.
  • Christmas in Driver | 3156 Kings Highway
    • Photos with Santa! Lights! Music! Craft and food vendors! Holiday Hay Ride! Hot Cocoa! Holiday Treats and more! Visit the Peppermint Path!
    • Hours: Nov 26-Dec 19, 2021; Friday, Saturday, & Sundays only: 5-9 p.m.
    • Fees: Peppermint Path: $10, Photo with Santa: $5, Photo with Santa: $5, Buy all 3: $18
  • Festival of Lights | Sleepy Hole Park
    • Sleepy Hole Park will transform into a magical experience for the holidays! Celebrate by taking a drive through the festive lights!
    • Hours: Nov 26-Dec 30, 2021; daily 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. (except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, & Christmas)
    • Fees: Free and open to the public
  • Suffolk Holiday Parade: “Home for The Holidays” | North Main Street
    • The annual Suffolk Holiday Parade is returning this year with the theme “Home for The Holidays”. The event will feature giant, festive floats, marching bands, local dance groups, and holiday music. The route goes along Washington and Main Streets in Downtown Suffolk.
    • Hours: Thursday, December 11, 2021; 7p.m.
    • Fees: The event is free and open to the public.
Suffolk Holiday Parade (Photo courtesy: City of Suffolk)

Virginia Beach

  • Holiday Lights at the Beach | Virginia Beach Boardwalk
    • Cruise along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk in your car! This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. The nautical themed light display is presented by BayPort Credit Union. WAVY-TV and FOX43 are the exclusive media partners. The event begins at 2nd Street.
    • Hours: November 19, 2021 – January 2, 2022. Sunday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. | Friday-Saturday, 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
    • Fees: $30 general admission. New this year, purchase tickets online in advance for a designated time slot.
  • Holiday Parade at the Beach | Virginia Beach Oceanfront
    • This year’s parade at the Oceanfront will begin at 15th Street and end at 25th Street. Set up some seats and bring your blankets! There’s plenty of room to set up at this fun holiday event. What’s even better is that this parade is FREE and open to the public.
    • Hours: December 4, 2021 from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • The Lights of Christmas | Virginia Beach KOA
    • Witness the magic of the elaborate displays of lights throughout this popular Virginia Beach campground. Sync your radio to your favorite holiday tunes and take in the holiday magic. If you’re looking for the ultimate holiday experience, book a horse and carriage ride. The grand illumination ceremony is November 27, beginning at 5 p.m.
    • Hours: November 12, 2021 – January 2, 2022. Sunday-Thursday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
    • Fees: General admission is $25. Purchase tickets online.
    • Horse and carriage rides open November 27. $20 for adults, $15 for children ages 5-12. 4 years and younger are free.
  • Snowglobe Spectacular | Town Center
    • Amazing snow globes filled with one of a kind artistic, unique, creative, and whimsical Christmas scenes are coming to Town Center! The Fountain Plaza will come alive each weekend in December with dancing ballerinas and elves, violinists, and frosty royal musicians performing live inside Life Size magical snow globes. Santa will also join the fun for COVID-safe photos.
    • At the top of the hour, each night between 6 pm-9 pm, the Holiday Fountain Plaza Tree bursts to life with a mesmerizing dancing light display of sight and sound.
    • Hours: November 26 – December 31
      • Live music is each weekend on the hour after the tree lighting
      • Santa in His Snow Globe Workshop:
        • Friday’s | 6 – 9 p.m.
        • Saturday’s | 4 – 9 p.m.
        • Sunday’s | 6 – 9 p.m.
        • December 21-23 | 6 – 9 p.m.
        • Christmas Eve 4 – 6 p.m.
    • Fees: The event is free and open to the public.

Williamsburg

  • 5th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony | Colonial Williamsburg Merchants Square
    • Ready to light up the town for the holidays? Join us in Merchants Square on Friday, November 26 for the 5th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony! The live tree will be located on DoG Street in front of Danforth Pewter.
    • Hours: November 26, 2021 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Colonial Williamsburg Grand Illumination Weekends
    • The Colonial Williamsburg community is celebrating the holiday season with three Grand Illumination weekends. Yuletide entertainment will include favorite holiday traditions, as well as heartwarming new additions to the festivities. On Friday evening, join the new Procession of the Yule Log and enjoy holiday songs and stories on Market Square. Saturday evening will include a dramatic presentation of an original holiday story, glorious music, and a joyful appearance by Father Christmas, culminating in simultaneous Grand Illumination fireworks displays over the Governor’s Palace and Capitol building.
    • Hours: December 3-5, December 10-12 and December 17-19. The weekend program begins at 6 p.m. on Friday and at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Click here for complete details.
  • Christmas Town at Busch Gardens | Williamsburg
    • The World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park will once again be transformed by the season with over 10 million twinkling lights, one of the largest light displays in North America. Christmas Town™ classics such as Santa’s Workshop, the Christmas Town Express and ‘Twas that Night ice skating show renew holidays traditions, while three NEW heart-warming shows offer a merry surprise for all. Thrilling rides, festive treats and holiday shopping complete the experience with spirited fun for the whole family. Christmas shines brightest at Busch Gardens Christmas Town.
    • Hours: Select dates from November 12, 2021 through January 2, 2022.
    • Fees: You can purchase tickets online.

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