Tis the season for extravagant light displays and holiday cheer! Check out our list of favorite events and locations during this time of year.

Professional Holiday Light Displays

Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights, Vienna, Nov 13 – Jan 3 

First to open this season, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens lights up for the holidays with over 500,000 lights and displays on a .6 mile outdoor walking trail. Purchase timed entry tickets in advance to ensure you get parking and avoid long lines, though some tickets are available at the door. Pick up a hot chocolate before your walk, then shop at the Snowflake Shoppe for holiday ornaments, flashing jewelry and other goodies. Tickets for adults/children are $13/$8. Opens nightly at 5:30 – 10:00, last admission at 9:15.‚Äč

Busch Gardens Christmas Town, Williamsburg, Nov 27 – Jan 3

Celebrate the spirit of the season at Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town™. Christmas Town brings holiday traditions to life with heartwarming shows, delicious holiday dining and festive shopping opportunities. Experience Christmas traditions from around the world and keep warm with a mug of Busch Gardens' signature hot chocolate. This year, Christmas Town is brighter than ever with more than eight million lights. Of course, no visit would be complete without a stop at the North Pole to see Santa's workshop and meet the jolly old elf-himself. Tickets start at $35 per person for a one day pass OR all Christmas season pass! This is a great deal if you want to visit multiple times this holiday season!

Bull Run Festival of Lights, Bull Run Regional Park, Nov 18 – Jan 3

A perennial favorite, the Bull Run Festival of Lights dazzles with a 2.5 mile drive-through display of holiday and fairytale vignettes. While most of the displays repeat year-to-year, many of the lights were upgraded and brightened in 2014. This is an ideal family activity even for the youngest kids, who stay warm and cozy as you slowly drive through the fun, animated displays.

Weekends get very busy so try to visit on a weekday night when you’ll find fewer cars, no lines, and a $3.00 discount (with coupon). In December, the drive ends at a Holiday Village with rides (brrr), merchandise and activities. Weekday/weekend admission is $15/$20 car. 5:30 – 9:30 weekdays, 5:30 – 10:00 weekends.

Grand Illumination Feast and Festivities, Colonial Williamsburg, Dec 6th 3:30–6:00 pm

For something a little different, gather around a table for a sumptuous supper before experiencing the Grand Illumination Celebration light up the night. The chefs of Colonial Williamsburg have planned a hearty holiday meal as memorable as the evening's main event. As you dine, enjoy live musical performances sure to get you into the holiday spirit. It's a grand way to celebrate the holiday season—the grandest of all! Tickets are $85.95 for adults and $42.95 for children 6-12 years old.

ZooLights, November 27 – January 2 (Except December 24, 25, 31)

With lights starting from 5 pm – 9 pm, join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. ZooLights includes live music performances, rides, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping.

More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. New this year will be a dazzling light show set to music.

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, Alexandria, Dec 5

At sundown on the day of the Scottish Christmas Walk parade, brightly decorated pleasure boats compete as they light up the Potomac River at the historic waterfront in Old Town Alexandria. Stop at the marina before and after the parade to visit the Holiday Festival; and Take a Walk in the Woods at the Torpedo Factory Art Center from 4:00 – 9:00 to enjoy performances by the Alexandria Harmonizers plus gift shopping in open artist studios. Free; parade begins at 5:30.

Local Holiday Light displays

  • East Juniper Street, Sterling

  • Stones Throw Drive, Reston

  • 3308 and 3309 Prosperity Ave, Fairfax

  • Archdale Road in Reston (off Fox Mill)

  • 6226 Stonehunt Place, Clifton, and the surrounding neighborhood (across from Centreville High School on Union Mill Road)