Winter spots around Virginia are the perfect places to enjoy the holidays safely

Drink hot tea and cocoa, skate, sightsee and much more while staying COVID-safe this winter

The holiday season has arrived, with its usual Christmas wreaths and trees, strings of lights and red ribbons adorning the streets. Due to the pandemic, many fun spots around Virginia are upholding their annual winter traditions with great activities while also ensuring that everyone can maintain a safe distance. From outdoor ice skating to Christmas light displays, here are six spots around Virginia guaranteed to make sure everyone has a fun time this holiday season.

Reston Ice Skating

The Reston Town Center in Reston, Virginia is home to an outdoor ice rink, fun for the whole family and open all season long. In addition to the enormous ice rink where people can safely distance themselves while skating, a skate shop accompanies the rink that sells over 500 pairs of skates to the many customers who frequent the store, and skating lessons are offered to all visitors who are novices on the ice. 

“My favorite part about the Reston Town Center is definitely skating,” senior Julia Tan said. “When I go to the ice rink, I know how to skate already, so it’s fun being able to skate with my friends and help others who aren’t so accustomed to the ice.”

The skating pavilion operates from 11 A.M to 10 P.M. seven days a week. The rink admits hundreds of eager skaters excited to either skate for the first time or enjoy some quality time with friends and family, charging $10 for adult admissions and $9 for youth admissions. Its welcoming atmosphere attracts all kinds of visitors, and creates a homey, comforting environment perfect for making memories. 

“I have good memories of going to the Reston Ice Rink with a small group of friends each year,” Tan said. “I would always try to have one day over winter break where I could go skating with my friends. It’s a little tradition I kept going so I could keep in touch with some of my elementary school friends.” 

@dmvfoodieHoliday decor & ice skating are back at RTC. ##dmvfoodies ##dmvfood ##dmvtok ##novatiktok ##northernva ##holidayspirit♬ It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas – Michael Bublé

Bull Run Festival of Lights

Located in Centreville, Virginia, the Bull Run Festival of Lights is a one-of-a-kind experience: visitors can admire all kinds of lights, decorations, and arches from the safety of their own cars. The Festival of Lights has ensured that all of the visitors to their park can stay safe and still experience the beauty and wonder of their impressive assortment of holiday lights and decorations.

“My favorite memory is driving through the [Bull Run Festival of Lights],” senior Cathy Zhang said. “I had never driven through a lights festival before, so it was pretty cool!”

Operating from Nov. 11 to Jan. 2, 2022, Bull Run has done an admirable job of illuminating a 2.5-mile-long path in their park with a glorious display of lights, including a merry-looking Santa light and a series of reindeer lights propped up by poles. Visitors can turn off their headlights, allowing the glow of the lights to guide them across the entire expanse of the park.

“It was so much fun driving with my family through the festival in the winter,” Zhang said. “It really uplifts your mood, being able to celebrate the holidays by enjoying the festive lights and the beautiful exhibitions.”

Teas ‘N You

The holidays are often defined by hot beverages and snacks that warm up cold winter days. Teas ‘N You, a fusion tea house in Vienna, Virginia, offers just that with their recently introduced menu of seasonal specials.

“I tried Teas ‘N You’s pumpkin chai milk tea and I really enjoyed it,” senior Susan Shoberiri said. “They did a good job combining a few different types of flavors while still staying true to the typical flavors of boba.”

Teas ‘N You’s Seasonal Specials menu provides a delicious variety of winter treats for the soul, from hot drinks, such as spiced apple cider, earl grey cream tea and pumpkin spice lattes to sweet pastries, like their earl grey cream puffs and pumpkin spice cream puffs.

“I’m excited to try other seasonal specials in the future,” Shobeiri said. “Teas N’ You is always a great place to go with friends and family during the holidays.”

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor

The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor is a repository for a wide range of holiday activities fun for both families and friends. The Gaylord National Resort caters to all sorts of preferences for winter fun, offering holiday movies to keep children entertained and amazing hotel deals for families to enjoy an affordable and exciting vacation. 

“I enjoyed going to the Gaylord Hotel very much,” senior Alicia Kang said. “Drinking hot chocolate while walking around and enjoying the lights made my trip that much more comforting and nostalgic.” 

One of the biggest holiday spectacles is National Harbor’s annual Nightly Tree Light Show, held right outside the resort for about half an hour. Visitors walking along the boardwalk in the Waterfront District can watch as the iconic 54-foot tree lights up with a gorgeous arrangement of red, white and blue lights.

“The Christmas tree was an incredible display of holiday spirit and hard work. I was really impressed to see how tall this tree was and how it was completely decked with lights,” Kang said.

Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Holding a special place in the hearts of many people who grew up with the theme park, Busch Gardens is home to its own Christmas Town. Set up every year, the Busch Gardens Christmas Town comes to life with an array of glowing lights, Christmas wreaths decking the streets, comforting warm meals and winter shows, ranging from musical performances to Christmas plays.

Busch Gardens goes to great lengths to ensure that every activity they offer caters to the many visitors they welcome each year. Their Christmas shows are a sight to behold, with the audience singing and cheering along with the performers to create a sense of camaraderie, cheer, and unity in the name of the holiday season.

Snickers Gap Tree Farm

Located amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Snickers Gap Tree Farm is a family-owned business near Bluemont, Virginia. They specialize in selling fir and spruce trees, specifically Douglas fir trees and Colorado blue spruce trees, and handcrafted green wreaths. 

Offering over 36,000 trees each year to their customers, the Snickers Gap Tree Farm pulls out all the stops to ensure that their customers have a happy trip buying trees, wreaths, and even purchasing snacks, such as hot dogs, pretzels and hot chocolate to warm themselves up on a cold day.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still many ways to soak in the holiday spirit this year around Virginia.

“Despite COVID, we can all still have fun this holiday season,” Tan said. “The holidays are all about celebrating and appreciating what you have and in the end, what counts is being united and having family and friends to love and cherish.”

This poll has ended.

Which winter spot sounds the most fun to you?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.