With all of the Halloween decorations stored away until next season, it’s time to look ahead toward Christmas. From traditional drive-through light displays to the out-of-this world illuminations at the region’s local gardens and zoos, light lovers will be able to experience a variety of unique festive creations across the state. If you’re looking to fill your weekends with holiday light displays this winter, these are the places you need to check out before the new year.
November 19-January 2, 5-10 p.m.
If you’re looking to make lasting holiday memories, take a trip to Cameron Run’s festive winter wonderland. Decked out in lights, the park transforms each year into an over-the-top photo op. From the ice skating rink to the new giant holiday light bulbs, everyone will be in awe as they run around the grounds. Cameron Run Regional Park: 4001 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria; $9.19
November 19-January 2, times vary
Busch Gardens during the holiday season is a must-see for your winter bucket list. One of the largest light displays in the country, displaying more than 10 million lights, you’ll find glimmering displays around every corner. Busch Gardens: 1 Busch Gardens Blvd., Williamsburg; $39.99-$59.99
November 20-January 9
As you enter the gates of Kings Dominion, get ready to be transported to the North Pole. The amusement park will be beautifully decorated in millions of shimmering lights, as its iconic Eiffel Tower and fountain transform into a 300-foot-tall Christmas tree and ice skating rink. As you take in the dazzling displays, enjoy carriage rides around the park, hop on the rides after dark, decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, and much more. Kings Dominion: 16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell; $23-$37
November 22-January 9, 4-10 p.m.
When you flip the switch at Richmond’s Botanical Garden, it comes to life. Follow the millions of lights that line the paths and light up the trees as you search for the lighted flowers, butterflies, and peacocks on the grounds. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: 1800 Lakeside Ave., Richmond; $5-$14
November 26-January 1, 5:30 p.m.
Head to the mountains for a one-of-a-kind holiday light celebration. Grab your glass of wine and pick the perfect seat as the vineyard illuminates over 10,000 vines each night. Those looking for a special night under the lights can attend the vineyard’s Chef’s Table four-course dinners throughout December. Bluemont Vineyard: 18755 Foggy Bottom Rd., Bluemont
December 10-January 1, 6-8 p.m.
Forget the traditional holiday light display and instead check out the amazing creations made by local artists. Start off the evening with a tour of the center’s indoor exhibit “Along for the Ride,” then grab a cup of warm apple cider as you brave the cold to wander through the outdoor light sculptures. Franklin Park Arts Center: 36441 Blueridge View Ln., Purcellville; $3
Through January 2, 4:30-9 p.m.
At this unique light display, the animals have taken over. As you explore one of NoVA’s favorite zoos, visitors get an up-close look at the life-like animal light sculptures, which include a giraffe, pandas, flamingo, and much more. Roer’s Zoofari: 1228 Hunter Mill Rd., Vienna; $22-$66
Through January 2, 5-9:30 p.m.
Looking to walk through a winter wonderland? This one-mile walk around the Norfolk Botanical Garden gives you all the festive views minus the seasonal chill. Guests will be able to walk under giant light-strand trees, past the gingerbread village, and through the candy cane forest for a magical night of fun (and photos). Norfolk Botanical Garden: 6700 Azalea Garden Rd., Norfolk; $10-$25
Through January 2, times vary
Enjoy the twinkling holiday lights from the comfort and warmth of your car. Just pack up the family and drive the 2.5-mile trail of glowing bulbs for a magical evening of holiday festivities. Bull Run Regional Park: 7700 Bull Run Dr., Centreville; $30-$40 per vehicle
Through January 2, times vary
Head to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to see the garden like never before. Follow the path as you weave between the trees and displays that light up the grounds and reflect off the pond. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct., Vienna; $5-$18
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