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Family Time in Richmond, Va.

by Felicity Long

Dec 13, 2017

© Visit Richmond VA

Destinations / North America

Richmond, Va., isn’t afraid of winter. In fact, the city is going all out to attract families during the holiday season with everything from eye-popping decoration displays and sparkling light shows to live entertainment, costumed parades and a whole menu of family fun. Best of all, local hotels get into the act with deals and special activities for young guests.


Church Hill (Broad St) Richmond, VA

Photo: Visit Richmond VA


Join runners and walkers along a 6k course that wends past the city’s self-proclaimed tackiest holiday light displays, for example, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. The CarMax Tacky Light Run will take you past dozens of homes in the Walton Park neighborhood that proudly went over the top with the more-is-more holiday lights.


Holiday fun among the lights at Richmond's James Center

Photo: Visit Richmond VA

Participants get a Santa Tracker bib, admission to the North Pole, a hat and ornament along with a finisher medal. You can register online to participate at $40 for adults and $25 for children under 18. Young children in strollers can participate for free and do not have to register.


Then head over to the James River 25th Annual Parade of Lights, also Dec. 9 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The free event features decorated boats that float along the James River, and families can watch the fun from viewing sites at various locations, including Libby Hill Park, Osborne Park and Boat Landing, Dutch Gap Boat Landing and Henricus Historical Park.


On Sunday, Dec. 10, you can take part in the city’s 31st annual Court End Christmas from noon to 5 p.m. Every year, nine historic sites in downtown open for free for the day, and festivities include carriage rides, living history re-enactments, live music, crafts for kids and carolers.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Fest Richmond, VA

Photo: Visit Richmond VA

To keep little legs from getting overtired, a free shuttle will circulate throughout the sites, which include such high-profile attractions as the American Civil War Museum & White House of Confederacy, the Virginia State Capital, the John Marshall House and the Valentine/Wickham House.


The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s annual Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights brightens up the night with more than a half million twinkling lights, handcrafted botanical decorations, model trains, holiday dinners, a firepit with s’mores and hot chocolate and a menu of nightly family activities. The exhibit runs through Jan. 8, 2018, and costs $13 for adults, $11 for seniors and $8 for children aged 3 to 12.


Maymont Christmas Richmond, VA

Maymont Christmas. Photo: Visit Richmond VA

Another Richmond classic is the Victorian Holidays at Maymont Mansion, through Dec. 31. The fun includes holiday decorations and kid-friendly Holiday Tours, St. Nick’s Christmas Party — complete with visits from Santa — wreath-making classes and a Deck the Halls workshop.


To celebrate the holiday season, the newly renovated 5-star, 5-diamond Jefferson Hotel will showcase its annual holiday display with poinsettias, twinkling lights and dozens of toy soldiers throughout the hotel’s public spaces. Also on hand will be a massive gingerbread display, featuring pounds of gingerbread, royal icing and colorful candy. Topping it all off will be the Music at Midday concert series, highlighting the talents of local musicians.

Jefferson Hotel Holiday Grand Staircase in Richmond.

Jefferson Hotel Holiday Grand Staircase in Richmond. Photo: Visit Richmond VA


A Holidays at The Jefferson Package, including accommodations in a renovated grand premier room and free valet parking, is valid through Jan. 7, 2018, excluding Dec. 30 and 31 and subject to availability. The package is priced from $275 per room, per night.


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