There are many charming towns in Virginia that could star in a Hallmark Christmas movie. From the quaint village of Middleburg to the historic town of Winchester, there are towns filled with holiday cheer, festive decorations, and welcoming communities.
Many people think that all Christmas movies star beautiful snow-covered houses on hills overlooking picturesque towns full of twinkling lights, but there are plenty more than just those stereotypes! Here’s a look at several places in Virginia that could be the star of a Hallmark movie this winter.
These charming little towns are perfect for those travelers who want to enjoy a quieter, more laid-back environment away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Let’s start with the tiny town of Middleburg with a population of 826. Middleburg is known as America’s horse and hunt country capital, so it is no wonder the horses are part of the Christmas appeal.
Located a short drive from Washington, D.C., in Loudoun County, Middleburg is the perfect setting for evoking the Hallmark Christmas spirit. The tree lighting, a Christmas parade, shopping, caroling, and so much more make it Hallmark perfect.
The town tree lighting with Christmas carols is scheduled for Friday, December 2.
Christmas in Middleburg is scheduled for the first Saturday in December. It is famous for the annual Christmas in Middleburg parade. Visitors and locals witness a spectacular and unique parade down Main Street with over 150 scarlet-jacketed men in full hunting attire on horseback leading over 40 hounds. Yes, I said hounds, like dog hounds, and it is a sight to behold. Also participating in the parade are vintage horse-drawn carriages, a procession of bagpipers, drummers, bikers, and more.
After the parade, children can head to Santa’s Workshop for animal encounters, crafts, and caroling. At the same time, parents and grandparents indulge in a very merry progressive food and craft beverage experience throughout town. Everyone is sure to feel jolly!
Put on your Santa pants and get ready to jingle all the way down Main Street in Orange, VA, this holiday season! The town transforms into a Hallmark holiday village, and its festivities will make you feel like you’re living inside a Hallmark movie.
From tree lightings to carriage rides through downtown, there is something here for everyone. You can participate in a gingerbread walk or kick up the jolly feeling by caroling under the stars with your family during this magical season.
A massive hit over the holidays is a festive tour of James Madison’s Montpelier adorned with vintage 19th-century holiday decorations.
The entire county gets festive and spreads seasonal joy by participating in the Tacky Lights Tour. This free self-guided tour runs from December 17 through 31. Indulge in a seasonal wine or grab some hot cocoa and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year in Orange, VA.
During the Christmas season, the historic mountain town of Bedford, VA, magically comes alive with holiday spirit and festive activities to celebrate the season. Homes are decorated with lights and wreaths. There are even carriage rides through downtown!
The Flame of Memory 2022 at the National D-Day Memorial honors service members who died on D-Day with 4,415 luminarias, one for each of the service members killed on D-Day who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
A parade through town and numerous arts and craft shows help townspeople and visitors alike celebrate the season. The Festival of Trees is a community activity involving 30 local businesses — each decorates a tree in keeping with the theme of The Sounds of Christmas. The public is welcome to walk through the Festival of Trees at the Bedford Area Welcome Center.
Take a short 20-minute drive for a Holiday Candlelight Tour of Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s cherished hideaway. Step into Christmas past and learn how the Jefferson family and their enslaved workers celebrated Christmas. Tour the villa decorated for the holidays by candlelight.
Few places do Christmas better than Williamsburg — and particularly Colonial Williamsburg, an attraction within Williamsburg proper. Enjoy the many festive Christmas events, such as Talk of the Town: Christmastide Tours, exploring holiday traditions from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Colonial holiday traditions like fife and drum performances, caroling by torchlight, the celebration of the yule log, and interpretive programs set the stage for Christmas in charming Williamsburg.
The Community Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on December 1. Meet up with Father Christmas as he strolls the town visiting various merchants and listen to live holiday music in the town square. Stay after dark for the Lighting of the Cressets on the historic Duke of Gloucester Street and strolling musicians.
The yearly Colonial Christmas celebration lets visitors explore the Jamestown Settlement and meander the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. You can celebrate Christmas and learn about American history at the same time.
A highlight is the Grand Illumination, a celebratory firework, and historic gun-salute display, best viewed from the town green.
Nearby Busch Gardens celebrates the holidays with Christmas Town, featuring over ten million lights glittering in the night as you stroll through European holiday traditions. It is one of the largest light displays in North America. This event runs from November 11 to January 8, 2023.
It is a magical time of year in Ashland. This means lights, decorations, hot chocolate by the fireplace… and did we mention lights? Walk along the picturesque streets filled with twinkling lights as you celebrate the season in this charming town.
But the big event is Light Up The Tracks. The trackside historic district is transformed into a quaint vintage Christmas village. This mile-long spectacular light display is a living holiday postcard train travelers and visitors can enjoy. It is also the backdrop for festive events. Light Up The Tracks runs from November 19, 2022, to January 1, 2023.
Train lovers can ride the Amtrak train with the jolly old elf himself to Williamsburg and spend the day and then return with Santa. Tickets for this event sell out in October, so be sure to call early next year if you want to enjoy this fun trip. Can you imagine the grandchildren’s eyes when they realize Santa is riding the train with them?
Ashland has a delightful Christmas Market throughout the season, and the first weekend in December, it hosts the annual Ashland Christmas Parade.
Harrisonburg is a charming, award-winning historic downtown complete with old-fashioned downtown shops. The town is decorated, and a large town tree twinkles throughout the holiday season. The tree lighting ceremony on the square provides an evening of holiday cheer for the community.
Winter Wonderfest is scheduled for Saturday, December 3, 2022, from 12 to 6 p.m. and includes a sip and stroll, carriage rides, a parade, a cookie tour, and more. It sounds like a Hallmark movie to me!
7. Virginia’s Blue Ridge
The charming mountain towns of Virginia’s Blue Ridge light up during the holidays. The Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia are a beautiful sight during the Christmas season! Snow falls on the mountains, and the twinkling Christmas lights illuminate the night. There is a lot to do in this area throughout the holidays that give you that warm and fuzzy Hallmark happy feeling.
The area is filled with holiday cheer, from decorated trees to picturesque views. Whether you want a relaxing weekend or an action-packed few days, there are plenty of activities for everyone.
Off the Blue Ridge Parkway, enjoy 650,000 dazzling lights and holiday sounds on a wooded walking path at Explore Park’s Illuminights Winter Walk of Lights. New this year are several new light displays, additional lights, and trail enhancements.
The town of Lexington comes alive during the holidays with lights, ornaments, and wreaths. Like in a Hallmark movie, the town has some festive events happening as they celebrate “small-towns, big backyard” Christmas in Lexington and throughout Rockbridge County.
Lexington is a small town in the heart of Virginia’s horse country. The last weekend of November, it kicks off the season with a Candlelight Processional and Tree Lighting delivering Santa to town in a horse-drawn carriage.
Horses are also part of Lexington’s Annual Christmas Parade; “Sounds of the Season” is this year’s theme. The parade goes down Main Street on December 2, with Santa traveling through the historic district on his sleigh. The parade includes floats, emergency vehicles, marching units, and more.
It is no wonder this town was named one of Virginia’s Beautiful Holiday Main Streets by Virginia Tourism Corporation in 2017. We are talking brick sidewalks, walkable downtown decked out for the holidays with wreaths around the street lamps and bright red bows. Decorated storefronts, various performances, and seasonal parades add to the merriment. But the magical light displays take the main stage.
Luminary Nights and the carriage rides at Natural Bridge State Park take you away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Natural Bridge State Park is adorned with festive lighting and awash in holiday spirit for the season.
The illuminated Cedar Creek Trail provides a wonderful after-dark stroll taking you under the Natural Bridge. Or enjoy the park via a horse-drawn carriage ride. Gather with friends and family at the pavilion afterward for roaring fires and refreshments.
Old Town Alexandria in Northern Virginia is a great city that can make a tourist feel like they just stepped into an old-timey Christmas town. Located in the tip of the Northern Virginia region, Alexandria sits on the banks of the Potomac River across from Washington, D.C.
Nestled within a landscape of cobblestone streets with colonial-era architecture, historic Old Town Alexandria is a bustling center of award-winning restaurants, local boutiques, and impressive arts and culture.
While being situated in the mid-Atlantic makes Alexandria a year-round destination, it is during the winter holidays that Old Town shines. The cobblestone King Street feels like you’ve stepped into a Dickens village. Lush garlands, picture-perfect wreaths, and twinkling lights adorn the classic architecture. A 40-foot tree in the town’s market square is showcased with 40,000 twinkling lights.
If you’re in the mood to shop for friends and family, there are dozens of locally owned boutique shops to peruse while you explore Old Town Alexandria. Many restaurants and bakeries offer holiday treats. While in town, don’t miss Ice & Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run, which features an ice rink, food, over a dozen holiday light displays, seasonal music, and much more.
The weekend of December 2 has numerous festivities planned to help you experience holiday magic on the historic streets of Alexandria. Two highlighted events are the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade featuring Scottish clans and Scottie dogs and the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights floating on the Potomac River.
When you visit the quaint towns of Virginia, you most likely will find yourself in one that looks like it could star in a Hallmark Christmas movie.
There are other places that might be a good location for a Hallmark movie: