Strolling the Virginia Beach Boardwalk for Christmas

Winter is associated with a harsh chill that can freeze, but you’ll find yourself warmed by the rich hospitality and the incredible Virginia Beach Christmas Parade, just one of many seasonal events in the area. This parade is a tradition that spans many years, and is a special holiday treat that you and your family will not want to miss.

Christmas Attractions and Events in Virginia Beach

One tradition Virginia Beach celebrates during the yuletide season is the McDonald’s Holiday Lights at the Beach. This event begins on the Sunday before Christmas and is held until Christmas day. Artistically placed twinkling lights illuminate the Virginia Beach boardwalk like a half-million stars. The McDonalds Holiday Lights at the Beach celebration will feature 250 animated displays, including both nautical and traditional themes. Some of the more anticipated displays include Surfing Santa’s Dancing Dolphins and the line of three-story tall Christmas trees that can be found from 2nd to 33rd streets. Enjoy holiday music while you feast your eyes upon the “fanta-sea” of the lights display.

Light up the Town at Towne Center is a night that will be set alight with many Christmas lights and the sounds of music will fill the air. There will be a holiday parade full of vibrant colors that begins as Santa Clause walks down to the Towne Center Plaza. Here, Father Christmas leads the crowd as he illuminates a 30-foot Christmas tree, holiday decorations and office buildings throughout the town. A wonderful laser light show follows this presentation and visitors can enjoy a variety of other events such as face-painting, music, food booths, and can even visit a booth set up by the American Red Cross where patrons are able to sign Christmas cards for active servicemen abroad.

And you can’t forget the Virginia Beach Christmas Parade, known as the Holiday Parade on the Beach. Come see the exciting display of lighted floats, huge balloons, marching bands, performing dance groups, fire trucks, equestrian units and motorcycles as they join forces to create a night of memorable fun. Santa will also make an appearance to meet his adoring fans!

While You’re Here in Virginia Beach for Christmas

Virginia Beach is beautiful year round, and there are many things to do besides enjoying the Christmas Parade. You absolutely must take advantage of the Virginia Beach boardwalk. Located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the boardwalk features hundreds of shops, miniature golf and laser tag arenas, bars, restaurants and fun rides for kids young and old.

While in the area, why not visit Norfolk?  Home of the largest sea port on the East Coast, Norfolk offers a wide variety of entertainment for both day and night enjoyment. Take the family out to visit the Battleship Wisconsin and see what sea life is like for today’s United States Sailor. Afterward, take a short trip right next “door” to the Nauticus, Norfolk’s Maritime Museum. Then head on over to the restaurants of the waterfront to relax and gaze out over the water while enjoying your food.

If you’re not adverse to a bit of a drive, you can always take a day trip up to Colonial Williamsburg. Nestled among the trees about an hour northeast of Virginia Beach, this jewel of American history features a period village, complete with taverns, shops and townsfolk. See the governor’s mansion, browse the gardens and walk the streets of this colonial town. And for the kiddos, Busch Gardens is mere minutes away.

Where to Eat in Virginia Beach

Being a coastal city, Virginia Beach is full of restaurants that serve seafood aplenty; fortunately for the less crustacean inclined, these restaurants offer full menus that also feature beef, chicken and vegetarian choices.

  • Murphy’s Irish Pub serves piping hot pub fare with generous servings, has a full bar with many types of draught beer on tap and features live music on the weekends.
  • Mahi Mah’s, overlooking the beach, offers up fantastic flavor for the fish lover, and has won many local, national and worldwide awards for their food.
  • If you like a little comedy with you dinner, you can’t go wrong with The Funny Bone, providing a full belly and fun time to all patrons.
  • Towne Center at Virginia Beach is home to several well-loved restaurants, such as P.F. Chang’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and many more.

Where to Stay in Virginia Beach for Christmas


  • The LaQuinta Inn and Suites provides a generous sized room and bathroom, room service, a full complimentary breakfast and an indoor heated pool.
  • The Founder’s Inn has a fabulous holiday package, which includes a complimentary breakfast with Santa, sure to delight the young ones.

No matter what your plans in while visiting Virginia Beach during Christmas, whether it be to attend the Virginia Beach Christmas Parade, view the amazing Christmas lights displays or just take in the incredible sights during your stay, you’re guaranteed to find something here to please everyone in your family.

Photos by aaronjwebb.