Get in the spirit with holiday events, light displays, and celebrations throughout Virginia's Blue Ridge.
See the amazing Christmas lights and decorations as part of a holiday getaway to Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
There are many special events and celebrations with stunning light displays, including magical walks through the woods, historic properties that are beautifully decorated for the season, and charming main streets and downtown areas offering festive scenes.
Holiday Events & Celebrations
Small Towns, Neighborhoods, Downtowns
The following events and celebrations in Virginia's Blue Ridge serve as wonderful opportunities to see Christmas lights and unique holiday decorations.
Dates: November 20 - December 30
Over 500,000 lights and unique displays along the ½ mile walking path through the woods will provide unforgettable holiday memories at Roanoke County’s Explore Park! The event will also feature a special Christmas market, campfires, and materials for roasting marshmallows.
Note: Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available on the Illuminights website >
Dates: November 23 - January 2
Festival of Trees is an annual holiday event at the Bedford Area Welcome Center, featuring a variety of trees that are decorated by local businesses and organizations. The theme for this year's designs are "A Storybook Christmas" and guests are encouraged to come see the trees and vote for their favorites.
It's $1 per vote for your favorites and all proceeds will go to benefit local charities that have been selected by the participating companies with trees on display.
Dates: November 25 - January 1
The beloved Fashions for Evergreens display at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center is back for an in-person viewing experience this year! It's a magical celebration of the holidays with amazing holiday trees and decorations throughout the hotel & conference center spaces, which make for fantastic family photos.
Cast votes for your favorite trees and help raise money for the United Way of Roanoke Valley.
Dates: November 25 - December 31
Land of Lights is an amazing drive-thru light experience at the Franklin County Recreation Park. You can drive the 1/2 mile loop and enjoy over 50,000 Christmas lights and unique displays with your entire family.
The event is free to attend, but cash donations are accepted.
Date: November 26
The public is invited to gather on the lawn in front of the Franklin County Courthouse in Downtown Rocky Mount to celebrate the lighting of the Franklin County Christmas Tree. The festivities will also include awarding the winners of the Franklin County Parks & Recreation Christmas Card Contest.
Dates: November 28 - December 27
The Buchanan Town Park features a beautiful holiday experience for the town's Festival of Lights. It'll be open nightly with thousands of lights on display, with week nights (Monday - Thursday) offering a walk-thru experience and weekends (Friday - Sunday) being for drive-thru visitors.
Date: December 3
The City of Salem will get its holiday festivities started with its annual Christmas tree lighting at the Salem Farmers Market at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, December 3, which will be followed by the Salem Christmas Parade along Main Street at 6:30 p.m.
It's a great celebration that brings the community together to enjoy the beautiful decorations and holiday cheer along Salem's historic Main Street.
Date: December 3
The Town of Rocky Mount in Franklin County transforms into The North Pole for its popular annual Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas celebration, with shops and business draped in "White Lights" and holiday decorations.
The event also features live music, dancers, and lots of local food & craft vendors.
Dates: December 3, 10, 17
Held the first three Fridays in December, The Roanoke Times Dickens of a Christmas is one of the signature events of the holiday season and has been recognized as one of the best holiday festivals in the Southeast. Downtown Roanoke is decorated for the holiday season and the festival includes a variety of local vendors and special activities, including:
Dates: December 3 - January 1
Historic Fincastle will serve as a beautiful setting for the 2021 First Bank Tinsel Trail, which is brought to you by the Botetourt Chamber of Commerce in partnership with First Bank. Get your camera ready to take pictures of the many Christmas trees decorated by community businesses and organizations in Fincastle and take a leisurely stroll through this charming downtown of Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
There will also be a variety of other activities & events taking place in conjunction with the trail. View Calendar of Tinsel Trail Events >
Dates: December 3-5
Though it’s certainly not the typical “Christmas lights” or festive decorations you would normally associate with the holiday season, the special Flames of Memory display at the National D-Day Memorial is a moving and powerful scene to experience during this time of year. The memorial honors the 4,415 men killed on D-Day with thousands of luminaries that shine in recognition of their sacrifice.
Date: December 8
RIDE Solutions presents its 5th annual Holiday Lights Tour, a fun bicycle ride showcasing some of Roanoke's best holiday lights & decorations! The ride starts at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co+op in Grandin Village and will tour the lights along Arlington Avenue, Westover Avenue, and everything in between, before finishing at Cardinal Bicycle.
The ride will take place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. and then will feature post-ride hot chocolate & smores. It's free to participate but $5 donations are encouraged.
Date: December 10-12 & 17-19
Luminary Nights will be held at Natural Bridge State Park the weekends of December 10-12 and 17-19 and it’s an amazing opportunity to see the bridge and the Cedar Creek Trail with beautiful festive lights.
On Sunday evenings, the park will also offer visitors the opportunity to purchase tickets to enjoy carriage rides along the luminary lined banks of Cedar Creek.
Date: December 10-23 (closed Mondays)
Children and adults alike will have a chance to see and enjoy a fantastic light display and interact with Santa and Mrs. Claus in a one-of-a-kind, socially distanced, drive-thru holiday light experience at Blue Ridge PBS.
Date: December 17-19 & December 31 - January 2
St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Daleville will be hosting O' Holy Bright - a special drive-thru Christmas light display. The display, which features a variety of lights & 3D objects, will be visible from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and is free to the public.
Date: December 24
The lighting of the luminaries on Christmas Eve along Main Street in Buchanan is a treasured annual holiday tradition in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. The 1 gallon plastic jugs that are used as the luminaries have special meaning to the town, which received donations of water and recycled the jugs following the flood of 1985, when the town was left without potable water.
The Chick-fil-A on U.S. 460 in the Bonsack area of Roanoke County has one of the most amazing light displays you'll ever see, featuring over 55,000 holiday lights! Stop by to take a few pictures of the magical lights and enjoy a Peppermint Chip Milkshake while you're at it.
Date: Ongoing through January 3
The family-owned Christmas Farm at 7051 Back Creek Road in Boones Mill has been a favorite holiday light experience for locals for years. The farm is open nightly until 10:00 p.m. and it's free to drive through and see the displays, which showcase a variety of unique scenes and objects, incorporating over 650,000 lights!
One of the best ways to see Christmas lights and decorations during the holiday season is to explore the downtown districts, small towns, and unique neighborhoods in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. The following are fun, walkable areas with seasonal holiday displays and great local businesses full of charm.
There are lots of great areas to explore and experience the holiday spirit of Downtown Roanoke. Dickens of a Christmas is the popular annual holiday festival that takes place the first three Friday evenings in December, and you'll also find festive scenes throughout the Market Square area and other parts of downtown.
Make your way over to Elmwood Park to enjoy some skating at WDBJ7's Elmwood on Ice >
The Town of Fincastle in Botetourt County is full of history and character, featuring restored homes, walkable streets, and a courthouse designed by Thomas Jefferson. As a way to celebrate this year’s holiday season, you can experience the 2021 First Bank Tinsel Trail, showcasing beautiful Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations.
With its scenic location along the James River and nearby proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Town of Buchanan is the perfect small town experience in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
Christmas in Buchanan is a special time, with the festival of lights in Buchanan Town Park, and Main Street decorated with luminaries on Christmas Eve.
Take a walk along Main Street in Downtown Salem to see holiday decorations and visit fun local stores and restaurants. You can also take a stroll through the popular Salem Farmers Market and find lots of unique items from local vendors.
One of our favorite annual events during the holiday season is the popular Salem Gingerbread Festival & Gingerbread House Competition, with the houses on display at the Salem Museum and the festival taking place in Longwood Park.
You can also check out the fun of the Salem Christmas Tree Lighting & Christmas Parade at the Salem Farmers Market and along Main Street.
The Town of Rocky Mount in Franklin County will have special holiday decorations and music to help get you in the spirit of the season. Don't miss the Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas event on December 3 for a wonderful celebration of the season.
A visit to Franklin County, The Moonshine Capital of the World, should certainly include a taste of the local history, so swing by Twin Creeks Distillery and cheers to a hand-crafted holiday cocktail.
You're also encouraged to take part in Franklin County's special Shift the Spend campaign during the holidays - where you pledge at least 20% of your holiday spending will go toward local goods & services in Rocky Mount & Franklin County. You can sign up for the pledge on their website and be entered to win a $500 gift card. Shift the Spend details >
The Town of Vinton will be bringing the holiday spirit to Virginia’s Blue Ridge this year with its 2021 Christmas Parade Past & Present event on December 2.
In addition to the holiday decorations and lights you can see along Grandin Road in Roanoke’s Grandin Village, this is one of the best areas to walk around the neighborhood side streets to see amazing light displays people put up in their front yards and homes! There will also be a special holiday tree at the intersection of Grandin Road & Memorial Avenue that will be decorated by local merchants and community members.
Grandin Road is the main commercial area, but nearby streets like Westover Avenue and Maiden Lane make for great spots to walk around with the pets and kids and snap a few pics of the lights and Christmas decorations.
Grab a warm drink from the Little Green Hive in Grandin Village for sipping while you walk!
Old Southwest Roanoke will be hosting a Festival of Lights display from December 3-31.
Many of the historic homes in the neighborhood will feature holiday light displays and decorations, and it's a great neighborhood for walking, bicycling, or driving. Use this Festival of Lights Interactive Map to find participating houses and locations.
The neighborhood will also host a special gathering at the Gish House in Highland Park on December 22, which will feature a campfire, crafts, snacks, music, games, and an appearance by Santa!
Plan a holiday light road trip and take advantage of this awesome Facebook group that's all about Neighborhood Christmas Light Displays of Salem & Roanoke Area, featuring posts by people who share details about their own Christmas lights & decorations or others in their neighborhood. To help organize things, there is also a special Christmas Lights Google Map with points for all the locations that have been shared in the group. Many of the spots on the Google Map also feature pictures to provide a preview of what you can expect!