One of the things we look most forward to during the holiday season are the lights. They bring so much visual magic to the season, from amazing professional displays to twinkling bulbs on neighborhood homes.
Here in Richmond, we’re pretty well known for our Christmas lights, and there’s more to our reputation than the Tacky Light Tour. This city is filled with places decked out in sparkling lights…and we’re talking millions of them. Here are just a few of the most talked about light displays that you can (and should) witness during the holiday season in RVA.
Tacky Light Tour
Probably the most well known around here is the Tacky Light Tour. Residents all over Richmond load up their homes with millions of lights, inflatables, and handmade decorations to earn a spot as part of this beloved tradition. From Midlothian, to downtown, to the West End and beyond, you can see as many or as few houses on this self-guided tour as you’d like. But it’s guaranteed to give you all the Christmas feels. Find the guide to the tour at tackyrichmond.com. Homes are lit through the New Year.
Dominion GardenFest of Lights
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is one of Richmond’s most beautiful destinations, but during the holidays its even more spectacular. Every year there’s a different theme for the display, and this year it’s “Bringing Art to Light”. The exhibition reinterprets well-known works of art with sparkling lights. It’s a spectacle you don’t want to miss. Event runs nightly (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) from 5-10 pm through January 7 for the 2018-2019 season. Purchase tickets here.
$11 seniors (age 55+)
$8 children (ages 3 – 12)
Free for children under age 3
$7: Garden members
$5: Child on Garden Membership (ages 3 – 17)
Illuminate Light Show
This drive-through lights show at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell features more than a million dazzling lights in a wide array of displays, from twinkling candy canes and singing Christmas trees to breathtaking light tunnels. To make it even more of a magical experience, all of the lights are synchronized to holiday music that you can play from your car radio. Just tune in and enjoy the ride! Visit the Illuminate Light Show from 5:30 pm-10 pm every night (including holidays) through New Years Eve.
Car admission (1-9 passengers): $25
Limo or mini-bus admission (10-34 passengers): $55
Full-size bus admission (35+ passengers): $100
Admission with valid military ID: $22
Light Up the Tracks
If classic white lights are more your speed, you have to head out to Main Street in Ashland for the holidays. Every year, historic Downtown Ashland lights up homes and businesses along the railroad tracks, as well as Randolph-Macon college with gorgeous twinkling white lights, transforming the town into an old fashioned holiday village. It takes you back to the good old days with elegance, charm, and classic beauty. The town can be seen lit up each holiday season from December 1-January 1.
Downtown Richmond and The James Center
Downtown Richmond is truly a site to see during the holidays and the James Center is the star of the show. Every year they host a Grand Illumination ceremony to start the season and “oohs and ahhs” can be heard all over the city. High rises are outlined in lights and the James Center glitters with their famous reindeer and tree displays. One of our favorite nights of the year is getting dressed up for dinner at Rocketts Landing, seeing the city sparkle over the river, followed by The Nutcracker ballet at the Carpenter Theatre, and capped off with a walk through downtown and the James Center. It doesn’t get any better than that to get you into the holiday spirit.