If you're in Richmond, Virginia during the holidays, check out this list of 10 festive activities to do during Christmas.
From Christmas markets to parades and beautiful light displays, there's something for everyone. And the best part? Some of these activities are completely free!
1. Merry Market at Maymont
For the first two weekends in December you can cozy up to a fire pit with a cup of mulled wine and browse hundreds of unique gift items at a local artisan market. There’s also Live music and food trucks.
We ordered from 1115 Mobile Kitchen food truck. We got the loaded fries and vegan chicken sandwich, and it was so good!
$10 per non-member adult
Free for members
Ages 3-16 $5
2. Christmas Parade
This is a Free event where you can kick off the holiday season by watching the Dominion Energy Christmas Parade with a line-up full of colorful floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, dance groups and of course, Santa!
This usually takes place the first Saturday in December starting at the Science Museum around 10am and ending near the Richmond Coliseum. If you want a good seat, I recommend arriving at least 30 minutes before and bringing your own chair. The parade also airs LIVE on WTVR CBS6.
3. Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens - Gardenfest of Lights
This is a Richmond favorite tradition featuring millions of lights, botanical decorations, model trains, a warming fire, hot chocolate and great vibes.
When we went inside the greenhouse, there was even a performance from the VCU choir, which was incredible! Make sure to bring gloves and dress warm.
$7 Ages 3-17
4. Hotel Greene - Winterfreuden
Year round Hotel Greene has mini golf and a lobby bar, but during Christmas they transform into a European Ski Lodge.
The interiors are so cozy with a fireplace, seasonal cocktails, and snacks. We got the mulled wine and hot cider plus the charcuterie board and Brussel sprouts. The drinks were amazing!
Afterwards at $16 per person you can go play mini golf. This isn’t a hatel, it’s a hotel-themed mini golf course and it is so fun putting through a hatel room, bathroom and down hallways. So unique and such a fun thing to do!
It’s walk-in only except weekend brunch, when reservations are required.
5. Bars with Xmas Overlays
One thing Richmond does that I find to be so cool, is that a lot of their bars & restaurants transform into holiday themes.
Emerald Lounge transforms into Sipping’ Santa (Church Hill)
Located in Church Hill, the Emerald Lounge is normally a tiki bar but during Christmas it’s unique theme is tropical xmas with a themed cocktail menu served in matching glassware. We got the Sippin’ Santa & Merry Spritzmas - both were delicious!
Birdies transforms into The Evergreen
Located on Broad street, Birdies in normally a cafe & cocktail bar but during xmas is called the Evergreen.
This is the prettiest xmas overlay in my opinion and we went by for coffee one morning.
We got the matcha latte and cappuccino and both were really nice. Reservations are recommended, but they also accept walk-ins.
Jasper Bar - Miracle on Cary
Located in Carytown, The Jasper is normally hip lounge but during xmas it turns into Miracle where it serves a special themed cocktail menu, served in matching glassware. It has a fun kitschy and nostalgic vibe.
This bar is walk-ins only and the wait times can sometimes be hours. I recommend going there on a Monday around 7:30pm, which is what we did and there wasn’t a line.
Cocktails at most places range from $14-$16 each.
6. Jefferson Hotel Holiday Decor
This is another Free event.
During Xmas, this 1895 hotel is adorned with hundreds of live poinsettias, a real gingerbread house, yards of garland and a 30 foot xmas tree. This is a great place for photos and to feel extremely festive!
7. Holiday House Tours - Fan District & Church Hill
One of my favorite events is the Holiday House Tours. If you are a fan of interiors and xmas decorations, you will love this. You receive a ticket with 10 stops located around the neighborhood. Wait in line and walk through each stop on the tour to see all the unique interiors and decorations.
Both The Fan District and Church Hill did holiday house tours this year on the second weekend in December.
$35 each for The Fan District and
$30 each for Church Hill if purchased online.
If you buy tickets in person they are both $5 more.
8. Yuletides at Agecroft: Christmas Open House
This is another free event.
Agecroft Hall is a Lavish Tudor mansion built in 16th-century England & moved to Richmond in the 1920s.
Normally tours cost $12 for adults, free for kids - but during the Christmas season it’s free. You can experience xmas from three different eras: England in 1640, London in 1860, and Richmond in 1942. Be carried through time with family-friendly crafts, hot drinks, and live entertainment.
9. Xmas Performances
Another great thing to do during xmas time is to head to a Christmas performance. Two of my favorites are the Richmond Symphony’s Let it Snow & A Richmond Big Band Xmas.
Richmond Symphony Let it Snow tickets are $32 each.
At the carpenter theatre, Hear your Richmond Symphony and Chorus perform carols, classics, and holiday favorites, with tons of special guests.
A Richmond Big Band Xmas tickets are $30 each
Located at The Byrd Theatre, ring in the holiday season with Richmond musicians performing Christmas songs in the distinctly American genre of big band jazz. I loved it this one, it was so unique and special.
10. Christmas Holiday High Tea at Blue Atlas
After visiting London many times during Xmas, the thing that feels most festive to me in an Afternoon Tea and luckily Richmond does that too! Every Saturday in December Blue Atlas serves Holiday High Tea.
For $38 per person (reservations recommended) you get savory snacks, sweet treats, scones and your choice of tea.
They also have a completely vegan menu, which is what we ordered. Everything was so delicious & we will for sure be doing this again next year!
11. Driving around to view Xmas decorations
Richmond is known for it’s Tacky Christmas lights and driving around to see them is the best free thing to do during xmas.
There are serval tourism companies that will drive you around to see them or you can go about finding them yourself.
These are some addresses for the best lights:
9606 Asbury Ct
3307 Kensington Ave
3209 Hanover Ave
3330 Hanover Ave
408 S Laurel St
That is it for my list of 11 must-do xmas activities. If you are from Richmond or visited before and know other things to do during xmas, please let me know. As I said before I just moved to Richmond and would love some more recommendations. For the full YouTube video watch here: