Norfolk Holidays 2019

Experience the Magic of the Holidays Downtown

Make these the most memorable holidays ever with an entire season full of festivities and fun for the whole family.


Selden Market really comes alive during the holidays with six weeks of the best small business shopping in Hampton Roads. Check out new experiences, events, and pop-ups every week with unique gifts from over 100 amazing small businesses including toys, jewelry, apparel, art, home goods, and more. While you're there, check out festive food, seasonal beverages, live music and caroling, free gift wrapping, and more. There's always something happening at Selden Market for the holidays, so be sure to visit often!

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The sound of train whistles fill the air in Selden Market this December when the Atlantic Coast S Gaugers Tidewater Division brings their impressive model train exhibit back to Downtown Norfolk. This traditional holiday experience is free and open to the public and is sure to bring smiles to the faces of both the young and the young-at-heart alike.

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The Children’s Museum of Virginia has never been so festive. From beautiful holiday decorations at the Middle Street mall, to the Snow Wonders light, snow, and music show and the ever-popular Sock Skating, Olde Towne Portsmouth is definitely bringing the holiday cheer. Of course you can drive, but it's just one short ferry ride from Downtown Norfolk! Don't miss the opportunity to jump across the river for a day of family-friendly holiday fun.

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Warm up this winter at the Holiday Yule Log Bonfire & Holiday Marketplace on December 7 from Noon-8pm. Peruse unique and local crafters, warm yourself with seasonal drink options by the giant Yule Log bonfire, sing your favorite carols, say hi to Santa, and enjoy some delicious holiday treats — all along on the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront.

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Step into Christmas magic at Dickens' Christmas Towne this holiday season. This magical holiday village has quickly become a family tradition in Hampton Roads and is packed with family-friendly holiday activities, including a visit with Father Christmas, laughing along with Geoffery the Taking Christmas Tree, and enjoying children's activities like puppet shows, crafts, games, and more. Adults can be sure to check out Dickens after dark and enjoy seasonal drinks, eats, and adult holiday fun. 

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Every year, the holiday season kicks off with the brilliant illumination of the Downtown skyline and the beloved Grand Illumination Parade on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Thousands of spectators come out to the streets of Downtown Norfolk to take in the beauty, magic, and electric holiday spirit on this magical night. This year, the 35th Annual Grand Illumination Parade takes place in Downtown Norfolk on Saturday, November 23 at 7pm. 

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For some alternative holiday cheer and creative local shopping, be sure to visit the NEON District on Saturday, December 14th from Noon to 4pm. Pop by for live music from acoustic musicians, snacks from food trucks, handmade goods and local art. More than 30 creative vendors will have their wares out for all your holiday shopping!

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MacArthur Center kicks off the 15th season of ice skating at the coolest place in town. Whether it’s a family tradition or a first date, the center’s outdoor ice rink is the place to go for fun and exercise this winter. Throughout the season, enjoy public skating sessions, figure skating exhibitions, holiday pop-up bar and more. 

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Combine your love of the the season with your love of play by visiting Impulse, a holiday interactive light and sound experience sure to brighten up cold winter nights in Downtown Norfolk. Twelve giant glowing seesaws emit warm lights and beautiful tonal sounds that change when put into motion by people. By playing on the seesaws, visitors will create an engaging and ever-changing choreography of light and sound. The experience is fun, free, and open to the public — an absolute must-see this holiday season.

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Enjoy the magic of Norfolk's thriving performing arts organizations this holiday season at a variety of holiday performances. Virginia Stage Company's A Christmas Carol, Virginia Symphony Orchestra's Holiday POPS!, Hurrah Players' Hurrah for the Holidays, Governor's School for the Arts' Handel's Messiah, and so much more. See all the holiday shows Norfolk has to offer — we're sure you'll find more than enough to keep you busy this season!

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You'll be walking in a winter wonderland at peppermint alley, Downtown Norfolk's newest holiday must-see. Market Street (between MacArthur Center and Granby Street) will be packed with peppermint fun, featuring whimsical red and white light displays, peppermint art, and maybe even a few surprises throughout the season. Stop by and check out this uniquely Downtown experience.

Holiday Traditions are Made Downtown

There is so much happening Downtown for the holidays — and this list only begins to cover it! Downtown Norfolk and Olde Towne Portsmouth are alive with unique, one-of-a-kind events, activities, and experiences around every corner, and we have everything you need to know gathered for you right here, from events to dining and shopping. Get ready to experience the magic of the holidays Downtown!