But with the crazy crowds, impossible-to-find parking, and lines, many people choose to avoid the shopping experience on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get in the holiday spirit, though!
There’s plenty to do with your family and friends on that precious day off that’ll be fun for everyone and hopefully won’t be as crowded.
If you’re avoiding the holiday spirit altogether, no worries! There’s stuff to keep you busy that doesn’t involve lights, carols, or Santa.
Get in the holiday spirit!
Holiday Lights at the Beach/Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Take a shining journey into nautical, holiday, and adventure lands – all along the beautiful Virginia Beach boardwalk. Festive fish, jumping dolphins, frolicking porpoises – all in bright, colored lights against the clear night-time sky, are the stars of McDonald’s Holiday Lights at the Beach, presented by LIberty Tax Service. They are joined by Santa, elves, and a 40-foot tall Christmas tree erected on the beach and in the beautiful parks along the Virginia Beach boardwalk.
Cars, $15 nightly, Limos, $25, Motor coaches, $45, Mini buses, $25
Celebration in Lights/Newport News Park
Over 700,000 lights illuminate the beauty of Newport News Park’s forests, fields, and ponds in this, Virginia’s longest running drive-through light event. View multi-colored snowflakes, leaping reindeer, whimsical toys, forest animals, elegant swans and scenes from Virginia’s past portrayed in a kaleidoscope of dazzling color for the holiday season. Over 200 displays, including 70 animated displays, are spread throughout a dozen theme areas, including “Winter Wonderland,” “Forest Friends,” “Battle of the Ironclads,” “Santa’s Enchanted Kingdom” and “Old Man Winter.”
$10 per car; $60 per bus
Dominion Garden of Lights/Norfolk Botanical Garden
Don’t miss Virginia’s favorite holiday tradition. Bring your family and friends to our 21st annual light show extravaganza for a magical holiday experience. During this event, the Garden is transformed into a winter wonderland where you can enjoy a 2-mile drive through a million sparkling lights bringing the four seasons to life.
$25 Per Car
Dickens Christmas Towne/Nauticus in Norfolk
This holiday season, journey through a magical world of Christmas characters, Victorian carolers, sweet treats, shops, games and crafts. Along the way, you can enjoy photos with Father Christmas, a London pub, lively musical performances, an indoor Christmas train display, unique seasonal gifts, strolling carolers and Victorian street scenes.
$5 for adults, $4 for children (4-12), ages 3 and under are free
Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia/Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Victory Center
Instead of shopping, how about some history? At Jamestown Settlement, learn how food was gathered, preserved and prepared by Powhatan Indians and English colonists. At the Yorktown Victory Center, learn about typical Revolutionary War soldiers’ fare and trace the farm’s bounty from field to kitchen.
Save 20% with a combination ticket to both museums is $21.00 for adults and $10.50 for ages 6-12. Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $16.75 for adults and $7.75 for ages 6-12, and to the Yorktown Victory Center, $9.75 for adults and $5.50 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. Free parking.
Planes, Trains, and Santa!/Virginia Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach
The Military Aviation Museum, in association with the Tidewater Division of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), is pleased to announce its 7th-annual model train show! Santa Claus will fly in on Friday, with a meet-and-greet for children of all ages at 11:00 a.m.!
Adults – $12.00, Youth (ages 6-18) – $6.00, Under 6 – Free
Holt Family Lights/The Holt’s Home in Chesapeake
Enjoy this annual Christmas display at the home of Allen and Cattina Holt. Featuring new lights, new characters, new elements, and new surprises. Open rain or snow if possible.
The Rip-Roaring American Holiday Sing-Along/Hennage Auditorium in Colonial Williamsburg
Roll up the carpet and gather around to raise a ruckus! Join Carson Hudson and the Old Cigar Box Band for more music and stories than you can shake a stick at. You’ll experience a fun hour of music from the 17th to the 21st centuries played on a variety of folk instruments. Don’t be surprised if you’re transported back to a simpler time.
Tickets are $8
Winter Wonderland/Portsmouth Art and Culture Center
Celebrate the season with Winter Wonderland, a holiday classic for generations of Hampton Roads visitors and residents which includes scenes from the famed Coleman Collection. From Victorian scenes of animated skaters and carolers to the enchanted forest of bears, deer and Santa’s workshop, the displays are sure to delight visitors of all ages.
Admission to Winter Wonderland is $3.00/person or free for museum members
Christmas Town/Busch Gardens Williamsburg
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.
Click here for tickets and more information
Holiday Magic/Virginia Living Museum in Newport News
Kick off your holiday season at the Virginia Living Museum with “Holiday Magic,” a wonderful new laser program full of classic holiday hits all set with lasers. The whole family will enjoy this delightful show – the most amazing holiday light display you’ll see all season. Recommended for ages 6 and above.
VLM members free, non-members $4 plus Museum admission
Not ready for holiday cheer?
Norfolk Admirals vs. Manchester Monarchs/Norfolk Scope
The Norfolk Admirals are a professional ice hockey team that plays in the ECHL. The Admirals play in Norfolk, Virginia at Scope Arena and are affiliated with the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL.
Click here for tickets and more information
“An Enemy of the People”/Little Theatre of Virginia Beach
Ibsen’s classic play tells the story of Dr. Thomas Stockman, who is hailed as the hero of his town when he champions the development of “the baths,” a health retreat that will put the town on the map and boost the local economy and quality of life for all of its citizens. But when Stockman learns that the springs are poison and will be lethal to those who use them, he advocates closing them down. His friends and even his own brother, who is the Mayor of the town, line up against him, declaring him “an enemy of the people.”
The Improv Riot: The Short Form Improv Show/Push Comedy Theater in Norfolk
All the fun of Whose Line is it Anyway… right here in Downtown Norfolk.
Tickets are $5