Nov 28, 2022 - Things to Do

Richmond holiday event 2022 cheat sheet

Christmas lighting display downtown at James Center. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Christmas lighting display downtown at James Center. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The turkey is gone. Football has been watched. And hopefully your family has returned home.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the holiday season has begun — and a lot of the big-deal events are starting this week.

Here's a quick rundown of the can't-miss events to get you started on the festive cheer.

Happening this week and weekend:

🎄RVA Illuminates, formerly known as the Grand Illumination, is Friday.

  • The event that lights up most of the downtown skyline begins at 4pm at Kanawha Plaza.
  • Richmond chief administrative officer Lincoln Saunders will flip the switch at 6pm, and the city will begin a new tradition at 7:15pm: a free plaza screening of the film "Elf."
  • Attendees are invited to bring a blanket and chair for the free event.

🌟 Shockoe Illuminates at 17th Street Market.

  • Coinciding with the Grand Illumination (which, of course, is what we'll always call it), 12-ish blocks away in Shockoe Bottom, there will be holiday carolers, food trucks and more festive lights.

🥁 Dominion Energy Christmas Parade is Saturday.

  • Richmond is packing all the festive fun into one weekend with the Christmas Parade beginning at 10am.
  • The route is east down Broad from the Science Museum to Seventh and Marshall, and attendees can line up anywhere.


⛲️ Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights started just before Thanksgiving and is now nightly (save Christmas and Christmas Eve) through Jan. 8, from 4-10pm.

  • There are more than 1 million lights, and this year's theme is "Seeds of Light."
  • Advance tickets are required and priced based on peak and off-peak nights, starting at $8 for kids and $17 for adults.

🩰 Richmond Ballet's "The Nutcracker" at the Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Energy Center is a holiday tradition for generations of Richmonders.

🎅 Tacky lights tours — for more than 30 years, the Times-Dispatch has verified and compiled a list of every house with aggressive Christmas lights and decor. Find it here.

Save the dates:

🛳 Parade of Lights at Rocketts Landing is Saturday, Dec. 10 at 4:45pm.

  • Richmond boaters light up their boats and sail (boat?) from Rocketts to Osborne Landing, or from The Boathouse to The Lily Pad, however you prefer to think about nautical distance.

🌍 Elegba Folklore Society's Capital City Kwanzaa Festival is Friday, Dec. 30 from 5-11pm.

  • Organizers say it's one of the largest Kwanzaa celebrations on the East Coast with performances, kids activities and an African market. Location and ticket information was not available at press time.

Don't worry, we're just getting started with our holiday coverage. We've got holiday bars, lights, gifts and more to come.


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