Check Out This List of FREE Holiday Experiences Downtown You Don't Want to Miss.



Model Train Exhibit at Selden Holiday Market, Dec. 4-26 

Downtown's beloved Model Train Exhibit presented by Atlantic Coast S Gaugers is back and has found a new home this holiday season inside Selden Market. The interactive exhibit is fun for everyone! Enjoy the impressive display and visit with our volunteers to learn about the lifelong hobby of model railroading. Hours vary. Click here for details. The Model Train Exhibit is sponsored by Work Program Architects

train exhibit


Holiday Yule Log Bonfire at Town Point Park, Dec. 7 @ Noon-8pm

Town Point Park is transformed into a festive outdoor wonderland featuring a towering Holiday Yule Log Bonfire. Get a photo with Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas, sing along with Standard Time Quartet and receive your own commemorative carol book — free and yours to keep. The 10-foot-tall bonfire ignites at 4pm. There is also a Christmas Marketplace featuring more than 20 local artisans beginning at Noon, along with the Making Spirits Bright Bar and lounge area with holiday-themed cocktails, whiskey tastings and televisions displaying holiday movies and college football.

yule log


Selden Market Holiday Party, Dec. 7 @ 8pm-10pm

Have you seen how gorgeous Selden Market is decorated for the holidays? What a perfect place for a festive evening out for the Selden Market Holiday Party. Put on some festive attire for this very special nighttime market experience and enjoy live music by Big Torrin’s Fusion Groove, karaoke, light hors d’oeuvres, holiday photos with Santa, games and activities from the shops. Of course, there will also be a ton of pop-ups, and you can shop at some of the best small businesses around (Hello free gift wrapping station!). Festive drinks will also be available for purchase.

selden holiday party


Holiday Card Photo Ops Galore!

Just say no to boring staged holiday card photos! Time is ticking for you to get that perfect photo for your best holiday card yet. Here is a quick rundown of some of the most unique and fun spots for you to capture a holiday card picture to wow even your grumpiest aunt!

  • Holiday Decor Galore at Hilton Norfolk The Main
  • Holiday Directional Signage and Christmas Tree at MacArthur Square
  • Peppermint Alley on Market Street
  • The majestic tree inside Monticello Arcade
  • 42-foot-tall giant tree and 26-foot menorah at Town Point Park
  • The Pagoda and Garden Light Fest

photo ops


Governor's School for the Arts Winter Wonderland Art Installation at MacArthur Center

The students in the installation class at GSA spent more than 400 hours creating an art installation made of coffee filters, moss, mesh wiring, LED lights and more, creating a spectacular winter scene like no other. The community initiative is located at MacArthur Center's level 2, next to Crème. 

winter wonderland


It'll Be Snowing in Olde Towne Portsmouth

The charm of Olde Towne Portsmouth during the holiday season is undeniable. But add in some snow and it’s a festive scene right out of the movies. Visit the Middle Street Mall and experience snow no matter the weather. The Snow Wonders light, snow and music show happens on Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30pm and 7pm throughout the holiday season. You can also visit the “Santa Hut” and whisper your wishes to Santa. 

portsmouth snow


Impulse Giant Seesaws and Island of Warmth at MacArthur Center Green

The Impulse participatory artwork features 12 glowing giant seesaws that emit light and sound when you climb aboard. Island of Warmth invites visitors to gather around a large fire made of more than 150 incandescent light bulbs. The electrifying campfire comes to life with music composed by those dancing around it. Downtown Norfolk Council and MacArthur Center are so thrilled to bring this first-to-the-region experience to Downtown.

impulse seesaws