WinterWalkofLights-FairfaxCounty__CREDIT NOVA Parks

12 Ways To Celebrate the Holidays in Northern Virginia

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There’s something magical about the holidays in Northern Virginia as historic towns and centuries-old homes come to life with the holiday spirit of the season.

History, culture and the holidays all collide to make the season even more special for the entire family.

Grab your calendar and plan to attend a few of the annual holiday traditions you’ll find this season in Virginia’s Cultural Region.

While you are there be sure to enjoy these things to do in Arlington.

Psst, I saved the best for last so make sure you check out the last suggestion!

12 Ways To Celebrate The Holidays in Northern Virginia

Historic Occoquan - Christmas Tree Lighting
(c)Historic Occoquan

Historic Occoquan

HolidayFest & Tree Lighting Event – Experience a true small town holiday celebration with firepits, marshmallow roasting, carolers, hot chocolate, and of course the annual tree lighting. For this holiday celebration Santa Claus arrives by boat too.

WinterWalkofLights-FairfaxCounty__CREDIT NOVA Parks
(c)NOVA Parks

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens’ Winter Walk of Lights

Named the #1 Botanical Garden with “Wow-Factor Winter Transformations” by Fodors, the Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark should be on every family’s to-do list.

Stroll amid hundreds of thousands of LED lights at this 95-acre Fairfax County botanical garden and end your half-mile-long walk by roasting s’mores over the campfire and warming up with hot cocoa. 

(c)Carol Jean Stalun Photography for Visit Alexandria

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

Old Town Alexandria’s historic waterfront shines at sundown as dozens of brightly lit boats cruise along one mile of the Potomac River shoreline.

Enjoy dockside festivities and food vendors starting in the afternoon. 


Horse and rider at the Middleburg Christmas Parade
(c)Dee Dee Hubbard

Christmas in Middleburg

Christmas in Middleburg includes the iconic parade featuring scarlet-jacketed riders on horseback, vintage horse-drawn carriages, and a 1.5-mile procession of floats, drummers, bagpipers, hunt dogs, and farm animals.

Throughout the weekend enjoy a craft fair, carols, breakfast with Santa, and more.

Campagna Center’s Scottish Christmas Walk 

Don’t miss Old Town Alexandria’s most spectacular holiday weekend.

In 1749, the City of Alexandria was established by Scottish merchants. Today, the city continues celebrating its heritage with the iconic Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade.

Santa Playing the Bagpipes
(c)R Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

At the Campagna Center’s iconic Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, dozens of Scottish clans dressed in colorful tartans parade through the streets of Old Town, joined by pipe and drum bands from around the region, as well as terriers and hounds.

The parade, which takes place rain or shine, begins at St. Asaph and Wolfe Streets and concludes at Market Square with a massed band concert. 

Winter Wonderland at Farm Brew Live
(c) Farm Brew Live

Winter Wonderland at Farm Brew Live

Rent your own private igloo and enjoy live music throughout the holiday season at this 10+ acre brewery campus.

Embark on an Old Town Winter Stroll in historic Old Town Alexandria

Take a stroll along King Street’s brick-lined sidewalks beneath twinkling tree lights.

Pass by beloved seasonal delights, like the Market Square holiday tree, and pop into local shops to pick up a gift or grab a hot drink or treat.

Experience the self-guided Holiday Magic Walk.

Reston Holiday Parade with giant gingerbread man inflatable
(c)Reston Holiday Parade

Reston Holiday Parade

The Reston’s holiday parade, tree lighting, sing-a-long celebration happens every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day (aka black Friday) in the Reston Town Center.

Reston begins a day of celebration kicking off with the nationally-ranked holiday parade (perennially a USA Today top ten) and ending
with the tree lighting and singalong with the Reston Chorale.

Train and carriage rides, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, ice skating, shopping, and more festivities round out the day.

It’s sure to be a great time filled with holiday cheer and one you might want to make an annual tradition.

Celebrate Holiday Lights in Loudoun

When you decorate a vineyard you skip the Christmas trees and Bluemont Vineyard strings 15,000 lights across 10,000 vines.

The slopes of the Blue Ridge are carpeted in a glorious golden glow and almost look like the landing pad for a spaceship in a Spielberg movie.

It’s a beautiful holiday light show. The display runs through the end of the year


Old Lucketts Store

In Lucketts, visit the famous Old Lucketts Store for the annual Holiday Open House.

Purchase a ticket online in advance to get access to the special Holiday Design House – a festively decorated 19th Century farmhouse in which all décor and items, from homeware to ornaments to furniture, are for sale.

ChristmasIlluminationsMV-FairfaxCounty__CREDIT Mount Vernon
(c)Mount Vernon

Rippon Lodge Historic Site

Learn about the history of holiday traditions and how people once celebrated this special time of year at Rippon Lodge Historic Site.

Christmas at Mount Vernon

A George Washington Christmas past meets Christmas present at his beloved estate in Fairfax County.

Kick-off the holiday season with wintry holiday light displays and sparkling fireworks overlooking the Potomac River and visit the mansion for candlelit tours and 18th-century holiday traditions throughout December.

Be sure to check out the events calendar for a complete guide to all there is to do at Mount Vernon.

For more information, please visit

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