Thousands of holiday lights light up the night all throughout Hampton Roads and Richmond this season. From drive-through light shows to fireworks displays, tree lightings and even a tour of homes with tacky lights, there's something for everyone.
Drive-through light shows
2015 Celebration in Lights at Newport News Park
The two-mile drive through Newport News Park features 800,000 lights arranged in holiday and other scenes. This year is the 23rd season of Virginia's first drive-through holiday show. Open 5:30-10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 2, 2016. Admission $12 per car and $60 per bus. Cash, checks and Visa and MasterCard accepted. Advance tickets may be purchased at Newport News Visitors Center. Call 757-926-1400 for more information.
Dominion Garden of Lights 2015 at Norfolk Botanical Garden
Drive through a million lights in a two-mile route at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Open 5:30-10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31. General admission $25 per car Friday through Sunday and $20 Monday through Thursday. Discounts available for garden members, military, Norfolk employees and Food Lion MVP cardholders. Visit norfolkbotanicalgarden.org for details.
McDonald's Holiday Lights at the Beach at the Oceanfront
Features a "12 Days of Christmas" display and a 40-foot tall Christmas tree along the Virginia Beach boardwalk. Entrance is at 2nd Street and Atlantic Avenue. Open 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday through Jan. 2. Cars $15, limos $25, motor coaches $5 and mini buses $25. Military discounts available on Mondays in December. For more information, visit beachstreetusa.com.
Holiday illuminations and tree lightings
Hollydazzle at City Center
Dance, music and street performers, a children's area, food vendors and a holiday market will fill City Center for the free event 3-8 p.m. Dec. 5 before its culmination with the 7:45 p.m. BayPort Credit Union Fountain of Lights Show, featuring fireworks, special effects and the lighting of a 45-foot Christmas tree. Visit nngov.com for more details.
Port Warwick Holiday Tree Lighting
Santa and his elves will arrive by horse and carriage and light the tree in the Pavilion, scheduled to take place in the first 10 minutes of the event, which runs 5-8 p.m. Saturday. Visitors can meet with Santa and take pictures, and performances will take place throughout the event. Free hot pretzels will be available, as well as desserts and hot cider from Port Warwick businesses. Additional food will be available for purchase. For a complete schedule and more information, visit portwarwick.com.
Poquoson Kiwanis Club Tree Lighting
Hosted at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Poquoson City Hall, Santa and his elves will arrive in a fire truck and Poquoson Middle School students will perform music. Mayor W. Eugene Hunt, Jr. will turn on the lights of the city's eastern red cedar Christmas tree, and members of Poquoson High School Key Club will give out candy.
Phoebus Annual Illumination
Second annual event from 5-9 p.m. Dec. 4 features a vendor fair, children's area, performances from Irish dancers and carolers and maybe even a visit from Santa. Tree lighting takes place at 8:30 p.m. Festivities take place on Mallory, Mellen and Hope streets. Visit phoebusvaevents.com or call 757-826-1862 for more information.
Poquoson Lighted Boat and Resort Home Parade
Along with a parade of lighted boats and resort homes, there will be a children's balloon artist, free chili and clam chowder and Christmas carols performed by the Poquoson High School chorus from 6-9 p.m. Dec. 5 at Whitehouse Cove Marina. For more information, contact dockmaster Craig Brown at 757-508-2602 or email@example.com.
Christmas Tree Lighting in Yorktown
Listen to a 7 p.m. performance Dec. 4 of The Fifes and Drums of York Town at the Victory Monument, followed by a Christmas tree lighting at 7:30 p.m. A procession of lights will depart from the Victory Monument to Riverwalk Landing, where there will be music. Santa and Mrs. Claus are scheduled to appear. Free. More information at yorkcounty.gov.
Grand Illumination at Colonial Williamsburg
Celebrate the kickoff of the holiday season at Colonial Williamsburg Dec. 6 with a series of events throughout the day that include live entertainment at 5 p.m. and fireworks at 7 p.m. Event features music from the fifes and drums and children's entertainment. For a complete schedule, visit colonialwilliamsburg.com.
Holly Days Concert and Tree Lighting
Catch a free holiday concert by the Hampton Roads Philharmonic starting at 4 p.m. Dec. 13 and the tree lighting of the largest Holly Tree on the post in Cannon Park at 5:30 p.m., to include a visit from Santa Claus. Fort Monroe Theatre, 42 Tidball Road, Fort Monroe. Contact 757-637-7778 for more information.
Founders Illumination in Virginia Beach
Event from noon-6 p.m. Sunday at Founders Inn and Spa features horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, dancers, puppets and more. At 6 p.m. there will be a reading of "A Christmas Story," followed by the illumination of 100,000 lights at the English Gardens. Free. Refreshments will be sold on-site.
Rockefeller in Ocean View
Presented by the Citizens of Ocean View, the third annual tree lighting event at Ocean View Beach Park also features hot chocolate, Santa, free homemade cookies, music and caroling. 4-6 p.m. Monday. Free.
Grand Illumination at Cape Henry Lighthouse
A tradition for more than 20 years, this event is open to the public, with a $5 donation recommended. 4-7 p.m. Thursday. Holiday light illumination at 5:30 p.m. Cape Henry Lighthouse, 583 Atlantic Ave., Fort Story.
15th Annual Pagoda & Garden LightFest
More than 40,000 lights illuminate the Pagoda and Oriental Garden 5-11 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31. 265 W. Tazewell Street. Free.
Richmond Tacky Lights Tour
A list of area homes compiled every year for 26 years by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, each one on the list has at least 40,000 lights. Visit richmond.com/holiday/tacky-lights/ for the complete list. Several local transportation companies offer tours.
Dominion GardenFest of Lights: H2Whoa!
This year's water-themed show at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden includes half a million lights, hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trains, holiday dinners, a fire pit with s'mores and hot chocolate for sale and family activities. Open 5-10 p.m. nightly Friday through Jan. 11. Closed Christmas Eve and Day. Adults $12, seniors $11, children $8 and children under 3 free. Visit lewisginter.org for details.
Winter celebrations and other events
Parade at 1:30 p.m. is led by Santa and Mrs. Claus and the Fifes and Drums of York Town at Riverwalk Landing in downtown Yorktown. The Polar Express will run during the event, from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 12.
Snow Wonders at the Children's Museum of Virginia
Free outdoor shows feature snow and holiday music and take place at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 26 at the Children's Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth. Closed Christmas Day.
Winter Wonderland at Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center
Holiday activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, crafts, face-painting, treats, performances and Victorian scenes of animated skaters, carolers, an enchanted forest and Santa's workshop. Admission $3 or free for museum members. Runs through Dec. 31. Visit porstmouthartcenter.com for complete schedule.
Macarthur on Ice and Winter Carnival
Skate on the 7,200 square-foot outdoor ice rink or check out the Winter Carnival, featuring nine family-friendly rides that includes a 55-foot LED-lit Ferris wheel. For schedule and prices, visit shopmacarthur.com.