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Roanoke is rich in history and tradition, and Christmas is no exception. Several of these traditions date back 40 plus years! What are you and your families favorite Roanoke holiday traditions?  We’ve listed a few of ours.  Perhaps a few new ideas for you to explore.

Do you and your family have a Roanoke Christmas tradition that you’d suggest we add to this list?  Please email us with your idea and a photo –

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Courtesy Downtown Roanoke Inc.

  1. Downtown Roanoke is transformed into a holiday wonderland the first three Fridays in December. Dickens of A Christmas is a mix of Christmas past, with carriage rides, street performers, and chestnuts roasting. While recent additions, like a snow covered street, winter carnival, and pet parade, render new traditions.   Nearby, you can skate at Elmwood on Ice before the night is over.




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  1. Vote for your favorite tree at Hotel Roanoke’s Fashion for Evergreens, while raising funds for a good cause. Now in it’s 17th year, the event features trees lavishly decorated by over 30 area businesses, competing for your vote. Guests can vote for their favorite tree by making a donation, of any size, to support the United Way.



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  1. Start a new tradition! Experience Roanoke through your tastebuds on a Downtown Food and Cultural tour with Tour Roanoke. If you’ve been wanting to check out Roanoke’s booming brewery scene and explore the newest breweries, then raise your glass and your beer IQ on a Craft Beer Tour. On this fun tour, you’ll journey by bus to 4 local breweries to learn about beer and brewing and of course, enjoy plenty of local brew!




a person wearing a costume

  1. The REAL Santa, visits The History Museum of VA every year, singing songs and telling stories of spreading Christmas kindness. This year, Santa will be singing along in Fantasyland, at the museum’s new home, The O Winston Link Museum beginning November 24th.



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  1. It’s Show Time! Your Roanoke Christmas would be incomplete without seeing The Nutcracker by the Southwest Virginia Ballet. However, if lifesize dolls and royal rats aren’t on your wish list, Roanoke offers dozens of other live performances through Roanoke Symphony OrchestraRoanoke Children’s and Mill Mountain Theaters, The Berglund Center, and local churches.





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  1. Take a stroll through Christmas past on the Old Southwest Parlor Tour. Featuring several maintained and renovated homes in Historic Old Southwest, the Parlor Tour is celebrating it’s 38th anniversary in 2017.







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  1. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a cruise around town in search of the best holiday light displays. Some Roanoker favorites include: Westover and Maiden in Grandin Village, Arlington Rd SW in Grandin Court and The Jones Farm on Back Creek Road in Roanoke County, featuring over 350,000 lights. The Elks Home and Liberty Lake Park in neighboring, Bedford, VA are worth the drive.


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  1. Experience the wonder of the first Christmas by driving through a living nativity at Penn Forest Christian Church or New Covenant Christian Church.   A living nativity includes actors, narration, and live animals.




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  1. Burn some holiday stress and calories at the 8th annual Christmas Eve Fun Run. No t-shirts or timing- just community, cocoa and cookies to share along the Roanoke River Greenway.









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