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 19 - 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 24 - 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.
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.
November 24 - January 1
Similar to the display at The Hotel Roanoke, The Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center also hosts its own Fashions for Evergreens event during the holiday season. The competition features trees designed and decorated by local businesses & organizations, which are beautifully displayed in the hotel foyer.
Dates: November 24 - January 2
Located on the lawn of the Vinton War Memorial in the Town of Vinton, the first ever Parade of Christmas Trees will showcase trees that are donated and decorated by local businesses. There will also be a special appearance by Santa on select dates: December 6, December 10, December 17, and December 22.
Dates: December 1-31
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.
Date: December 2
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 2, 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 2
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 2, 9, 16
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 2-4
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.
Dates: December 2 - 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.
Dates: December 2 - January 1
Historic Fincastle will serve as a beautiful setting for the 2022 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 >
Date: December 9-11 & 16-18
Luminary Nights will be held at Natural Bridge State Park the weekends of December 9-11 and 16-18 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 20
Ride Solutions presents the 6th annual Holiday Lights Tour, a group bicycle ride to enjoy the beautiful holiday lights and decorations along the quaint streets of Roanoke's Grandin Village neighborhood.
The ride begins and ends at Cardinal Bicycle in Grandin and participants are encouraged to dress up in their most festive holiday gear. The event is free but a $5 donation is encouraged, if you're able to contribute.
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.
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.
While you’re there, grab a sweet treat at the adorable Fincastle Cafe or enjoy something delicious at 1772 Rooftop on Main, an awesome rooftop bar, and see the decorated trees that are part of the Fincastle Tinsel Trail.
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 and the Festival of Trees on display at the Main Street Library.
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 2 for a wonderful celebration of the season.
You can also check out the special new Do You Want to Build a Snowman Trail, featuring uniquely decorated snowmen displayed at local businesses from November 25 through December 31.
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.
The Town of Vinton will be bringing the holiday spirit to Virginia’s Blue Ridge this year with its Vinton Christmas Parade on December 1 and celebrating with a new Parade of Christmas Trees at the Vinton War Memorial.
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!
Special Events: Check out the lights & decorations as part of the 2022 Holiday Lights Tour Bicycle Ride on December 20 and RunAbout Sports Grandin Holiday Lights Extravaganza run/walk event on December 19.
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 its special Old Southwest Holiday Parlor Tour of Homes on December 3 & 4.
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!