2023 Roanoke Christmas Lights and Holiday Decorations

Where to See Christmas Lights and Holiday Decorations in Virginia's Blue Ridge

See the amazing Christmas lights and decorations as part of a holiday getaway to the Roanoke Region in 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.

Here’s a helpful guide to where you can see Christmas lights and holiday decorations this year in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

Holiday Events & Celebrations

Small Towns, Neighborhoods, Downtowns

Holiday Events

The following events and celebrations in Virginia's Blue Ridge serve as wonderful opportunities to see Christmas lights and unique holiday decorations. 

Illuminights - Explore Park 

Dates: November 18 - 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 >

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Bedford Festival of Trees - Bedford Welcome Center 

Bedford Festival of Trees - Bedford Welcome Center

Dates: November 21 - January 5
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 the participating companies with trees on display have selected.

Festival of Trees Facebook Page >

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Fashions for Evergreens - The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center

Fashions for Evergreens - The Hotel Roanoke

Dates: November 24 - January 1
Fashions for Evergreens at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center is a  wonderful holiday tradition, presented in partnership with the United Way of the Roanoke Valley. The event showcases over 25 beautifully decorated trees throughout the hotel & conference center.

It's a great setting for family holiday photos, and you can vote for your favorite trees, which helps raise money for the local chapter of the United Way. The trees are sponsored and decorated by local businesses and organizations.

Fashions for Evergreens Website >

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Land of Lights - Franklin County Recreation Park

Franklin County - Land of Lights

Dates: November 23 - December 25
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.

Land of Lights Info >

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Deck the Rails - Virginia Museum of Transportation

Virginia Museum of Transportation - Roanoke, VA

Dates: November 28 - December 31
Imagine yourself climbing aboard The Polar Express as you explore the railyard at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Downtown Roanoke. The festive holiday trees and holiday decorations throughout the museum will provide great photo opportunities.

Virginia Museum of Transportation Website >

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Salem Christmas Tree Lighting & Parade - Downtown Salem

Santa - Salem VA

Date: December 1
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 1, which will be followed by the Salem Christmas Parade along Main Street at 6:15 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.

Salem Holiday Events >

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Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas - Downtown Rocky Mount 

A red NW train car draped in lights stands behind a photo op with Santa

Date: December 1
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 businesses draped in "White Lights" and holiday decorations.

The event also features live music, dancers, and lots of local food & craft vendors.

Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas Details >

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Dickens of a Christmas - Downtown Roanoke 

City of Roanoke - Christmas Tree

Dates: December 1, 8, 15
Held the first three Fridays in December, The Delta Dental 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:

  • City of Roanoke Christmas Tree Lighting - December 1
  • City of Roanoke Christmas Parade - December 8
  • Pet Costume Contest - December 15

Dickens of a Christmas Website >

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Buchanan Festival of Lights - Buchanan Town Park

Festival of Lights - Buchanan, VA

Dates: December 1 - January 1
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.

Buchanan Festival of Lights Details >

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Botetourt Chamber Tinsel Trail - Historic Fincastle

Fincastle Tinsel Trail - Botetourt County

Dates: December 1 - January 1
Historic Fincastle will serve as a beautiful setting for the 2023 Botetourt Chamber Tinsel Trail, which is presented by First Bank in partnership with the Botetourt Chamber of Commerce. 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.

Tinsel Trail Website >

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Flames of Memory - National D-Day Memorial

Dates: December 1-3
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.

National D-Day Memorial Website >

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Luminary Nights - Natural Bridge State Park

Natural Bridge State Park - Luminary Nights

Date: December 8-10 & 15-17
Luminary Nights will be held at Natural Bridge State Park the weekends of December 8-10 and 15-17 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.

Events at Natural Bridge >

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Santa's Winter Wonderland - Blue Ridge PBS

Date: December 8-23 (Wednesday - Sunday)
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, drive-thru holiday light experience at Blue Ridge PBS.

Blue Ridge PBS >

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2023 Holiday Lights Tours - Grandin Village

Grandin Village - Christmas Lights

Date: December 12 & 18
Two special events offer opportunities to see the fun holiday light displays and decorations in Roanoke's Grandin Village. The 7th annual Holiday Lights Tour group bike ride will take place on December 12, and the ride will begin and end at the Cardinal Bicycle shop in the neighborhood.

There will also be the 8th annual Grandin Holiday Lights Extravaganza on December 18, a group run/walk hosted by RunAbout Sports Roanoke.

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Christmas Eve Luminaries - Town of Buchanan 

Buchanan Christmas Eve Luminaries

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.

Christmas in Buchanan >

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Chick-fil-A Bonsack - Roanoke County

Date: Ongoing
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.

Chick-fil-A Bonsack Christmas Lights >

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Christmas Farm - Boones Mill

Christmas Farm - Boones Mill

Date: Ongoing
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!

Christmas Farm Facebook Page >

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Small Towns, Neighborhoods, Downtowns

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.

Downtown Roanoke 

Downtown Roanoke - Christmas Decorations

There are many 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 >

You can also check out this year’s holiday decorations at the historic Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center and grab a cocktail at their 1882 Lobby Bar.

Downtown Roanoke Website >

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Historic Fincastle 

Historic Fincastle - Christmas

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.

While you’re there, grab a sweet treat at the adorable Pie Shoppe or enjoy something delicious at 1772 on Main & Rooftop, an awesome rooftop bar, and see the decorated trees that are part of the Botetourt Chamber Tinsel Trail.

Historic Fincastle Website >

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Town of Buchanan  

Buchanan - Botetourt County

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 Main Street decorated with luminaries on Christmas Eve, the Festival of Lights in the Buchanan Town Park, and the Festival of Trees on display at the Main Street Library.

Christmas in Buchanan >

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Downtown Salem 

Salem Gingerbread Festival

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.

While you’re downtown, grab a local craft beer from Olde Salem Brewing Company and a famous calzone from Mac & Bob’s. Need a place to stay? Book a room at the beautiful Lofts at Downtown Salem or The Rowland Hotel.

Holiday Events in Salem >

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Town of Rocky Mount 

Rocky Mount LOVE Sign - Christmas Decorations

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 for a wonderful season celebration.

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.

Town of Rocky Mount Website >

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Town of Vinton 

Creative Occasions - Vinton, Virginia

The Town of Vinton will bring the holiday spirit to Virginia’s Blue Ridge this year with its Vinton Christmas Parade on November 30.

A walk along Pollard Street in Vinton includes visiting two of our favorite local spots - Twin Creeks Brewing Company and FarmBurguesa. A Christmas burger and beer? Merry Christmas, indeed!

Town of Vinton Website >

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Grandin Village 

Grandin Village - Christmas Lights

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 are 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 to sip while you walk!

Grandin Village Website >

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Neighborhood Christmas Light Displays 

Christmas Lights & Decorations - Grandin Village, Roanoke

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.

Neighborhood Christmas Lights Facebook Group >

Looking for more holiday experiences in Virginia’s Blue Ridge? Check out our complete guide to this year’s Holiday Events and visit our Holidays section for more helpful resources and information.

Roanoke Valley Spotlight

Get in the spirit with holiday events, light displays, and celebrations throughout Virginia's Blue Ridge.

Check out our local take on the 12 Days of Christmas tradition!

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