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    Winter Holiday Fun Near Joint Base Langley-Eustis

    Looking for ways to celebrate the winter holiday season? The JBLE and broader Hampton Roads area have tons of family-friendly options! Coastal Virginia doesn’t get much snow, but you can see some fantastic holiday light shows and enjoy winter festivals that are unique to the region.

    Take a look at these area events!

    Winter Holiday Fun Near JBLE

    Newport News/Hampton

    Holiday Light Shows

    Virginia Living Museum’s Holiday Planetarium Shows make the perfect local outing. They will offer two different laser shows. One is set to the music of popular seasonal songs, and the other features the story of the “Christmas Star.” Daytime shows are Friday – Sunday from 24 November to 31 December. They offer evening shows as well between 8 and 23 December.

    You can also view holiday lights in a few different locations around town:

    • Celebration in Lights in Newport News Park: This drive-through holiday light show is open nightly from 23 November through 1 January (per-car admission fee required).
    • Artech Lights Show: This show at Brooks Crossing features beautifully-decorated trees and runs from 2 December – 1 January.
    • Lights at the Fountain: Visit the City Center at Oyster Point to see a show featuring music and lights around this outdoor mall’s giant fountain. It’s open 2 December - 1 January.
    • Holiday Wonder Walk: This event runs nightly from 16 – 25 December along Hampton’s Water Walk Trail. Besides animated displays, there are kid-friendly activities and food. Admission, activities, and parking are all free!

    Holiday light tunnel near JBLEPhoto from Canva

    Holiday Home Tours

    Several historic homes in the area will feature holiday décor during the month of December. 

    • The two mansions-turned-museums at Historic Endview.
    • Newsome House Museum, the renovated 1899 residence of prominent African American attorney J. Thomas Newsome. 
    • Lee Hall Mansion, a historic residence originally built in 1859.

    Finally, City Center at Oyster Point is hosting the only German Christmas market in Coastal Virginia. Weihnactsmarkt, organized by Sister Cities of Newport News, is Friday and Saturday, 1 – 2 December. It will feature local vendors, food, and drinks, including Gluewhein (mulled spiced wine)!

    Homes for Sale or Rent Near Langley AFB

    Other Don’t-Miss Holiday Events in the Hampton Roads Area

    Winterfest on the Wisconsin

    This giant light-filled festival aboard the Battleship Wisconsin, the last battleship built by the U.S. Navy, is a spectacle you don’t want to miss! With over 1 million lights, live kid-friendly entertainment, and food, this is a unique celebration of the season.

    The festival is open select nights between 10 November and 1 January. Advance purchase of tickets is highly recommended, and don’t forget to ask for your military discount! 

    Garden of Lights at Norfolk Botanical Garden

    Take a stroll through the Norfolk Botanical Garden while it’s decked out like you’ve never seen it before! From 10 November to 31 December, the garden is aglow with more than 1.5 million lights. During your visit, you can enjoy snacks from local food trucks and vendors, including Bear House Coffee and Duck Donuts. 

    Buy your tickets online and pay attention to which night you book. Some are Value Nights, during which they offer a military discount if you’re not already a member at the Garden. Also, dogs are welcome during “Bark & Bulbs” Sundays in November!

    santa light in drive through holiday light showPhoto from iStock.com/Bhushan Thakurdwarkar

    Deck the Hall & Fa La La Land

    Visit Chesapeake City Hall to join their holiday festivities. Deck the Hall is their drive-through light show, which is open nightly between 23 November and 2 January. 

    Fa La La Land is a festival that takes place on 9 and 16 December. It features Santa and other holiday characters along with many family-friendly activities, including face-painting, carolers, food, and . . . baby goats in holiday sweaters!

    Holiday Lights at the Beach

    Virgina Beach’s major holiday celebration takes place nightly on their famous boardwalk from 16 November to 1 January. Don’t miss their unique beach-influenced holiday displays featuring surfing Santa, dancing crabs, and festive fish as you drive along the boardwalk listening to the festival’s soundtrack on your vehicle’s radio!

    You must purchase tickets in advance, and the event is very popular, so don’t wait!

    christmas holiday lights and reindeer and gardensPhoto from iStock.com/blanscape

    Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

    If you’re stationed anywhere in the Hampton Roads area, especially if you have kids, you won’t want to miss this incredible festival at Busch Gardens!

    The theme park is transformed into a winter wonderland with massive light displays, Santa’s Workshop, and a collection of holiday shows that feature singing and dancing. Kids can meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, take photos with Sesame Street friends, and tell Santa what they want for Christmas.

    Many of the park’s regular rides and attractions are open during the Christmas Town festival, which runs select nights between 10 November and 7 January.

    Note that entry to Christmas Town is included if you have a 2023 Busch Gardens Military Pass. You can also buy reduced priced tickets for Christmas Town at local base Information, Tickets, and Travel (ITT) offices. 

    Looking for more fun things to do in the JBLE are? Try out these kid-friendly activities, historical sites,  and nature trails!

    If the military is moving you to the Hampton Roads area, grab our free resource below to make your transition easier. 

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    Stephanie Montague


    Stephanie Montague

    Stephanie Montague is the founder of Poppin' Smoke, a website dedicated to helping members of the military community take advantage of their travel-related benefits. She has been traveling and living abroad with her husband since he retired from the Army in 2015. Through Poppin’ Smoke, Stephanie shares everything she and her husband learn about Space-A travel and using military benefits while abroad. Also, through her Facebook group, U.S. Military Retirees and Veterans Living Overseas, Stephanie facilitates a large and growing community of veterans who are interested in living overseas after their military career.

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