For fun-filled, festive ways to ring in the new year, it’s hard to beat the exciting events near Virginia vacation rentals. Take your pick of fireworks over the ski slopes in Wintergreen, a masked ball in Afton, or performing arts, music, and a laser light show in downtown Charlottesville. These and other attractions await you as The Old Dominion offers classic and fresh approaches to New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you want to know where to go in Norfolk or Williamsburg to commemorate the changing of the calendar, dive into this list of eight New Year’s Eve getaways in Virginia for a special day or night to remember.
A family-friendly New Year’s Eve tradition since 1982, First Night Virginia in Charlottesville offers lots of activities on and near the city’s historic downtown mall. Treat your family to live music performances, magic shows, jugglers, fire dancers, and a spectacular laser light show at this lively tribute to the arts. Celebrate the year’s end with neighborhood residents and visitors in an alcohol-free and physically accessible environment. On New Year’s Day, enjoy brunch in The Old Mill Room at Charlottesville’s popular restaurant, The Boar’s Head.
Blue Mountain Brewery and Restaurant in Afton, Virginia, hosts a New Year’s Eve celebration the whole family can enjoy. The evening includes sparkling cider toasts, so kids can raise a glass of something bubbly and legal to ring in the New Year. When hunger strikes your crew on Jan. 1, chow down on a delicious New Year’s Day brunch at the restaurant. Also in Afton, Veritas Winery offers adults wine and hors-d’oeuvres at its New Year’s Eve masked ball. Savor a five-course winemaker’s dinner to usher out the old year and a breakfast just after midnight to ring in the new.
Do you want to know where to go in Wintergreen, Virginia, for a great New Year’s Eve? Head to the Wintergreen Resort, and make reservations for its Treehouse Kids New Year’s Eve Party. Movies, games, popcorn, pizza, ice cream, and party favors keep 4- to 12-year-old partygoers happy until it’s time for everyone to watch the spectacular 22-minute fireworks show over the resort’s ski slopes. Parents can party and make s’mores at the Be Bold Party on the Blue Ridge Terrace, with music, bonfires, games, and beverages. You can skip reservations and take the family to The Edge, where locals hang out and dinner seating is first-come, first-serve. Later in the evening, the restaurant is open only to ages 21 and older for dancing to live rock and blues music.
For an alcohol-free, family fun night in Williamsburg, Virginia, on New Year’s Eve, go to First Night Williamsburg. The city and the College of William & Mary use the holiday to celebrate the performing arts. Children’s shows, jazz, bluegrass, blues performers, singers, and cloggers offer plenty to please varied tastes. The night’s attractions include a breathtaking fireworks display before you return to your Wintergreen vacation rental, ready to begin a great new year.
Get your party hats on for NYE Live at Waterside District in Norfolk. This New Year’s Eve celebration includes food, beverages, the city’s largest midnight balloon drop, confetti cannons, DJs, and bands. One ticket allows admission to various venues, and the accommodations are disability-friendly. While in Norfolk on New Year’s Eve weekend, drive through Dominion Garden of Lights, an amazing display featuring a million lights that illuminate two miles of road through Norfolk Botanical Garden.
6. Newport News
Spend New Year’s Eve in Newport News and during the day, take the family to a daytime New Year’s space-adventure celebration at the Virginia Living Museum. Dress the kids in their favorite space character costumes to meet characters in costumes from space-themed movies, play games, and make crafts. End the day with a leisurely two-mile drive through the Celebration in Lights at Newport News Park. A holiday tradition since 1993, the park comes alive with animated scenes made from more than 800,000 individual lights, 43 arches, and three miles of rope lighting. Purchase tickets at the Newport News Visitor Center at the park entrance.
7. Virginia Beach
“Last Night on the Town” is the way the City of Virginia Beach rings in the new year. Leave your Virginia Beach vacation rental early, because the fun starts at Pembroke Mall in the afternoon with family entertainment, a kids’ countdown, and a balloon drop. More public events continue at Town Center, including live music, a dynamic laser light show, a traditional countdown to midnight, and the Virginia Beach Ball Drop. Your day and evening entertainment, activities, and parking are free, and you can buy food and beverages at the venues.
8. Free Union
In Free Union on New Year’s Eve, visit the Glass House Winery, where the owners make their own brand of handcrafted chocolate. Enjoy the view from the deck, and savor delicious samples of the sweet treats in the tasting room. The next morning, say, “Happy New Year,” to the runners and walkers in Free Union’s annual New Year’s Day 5k race. Register online to run or walk in this fun activity featuring a relatively flat out-and-back 3.1-mile course. The Charlottesville Track Club sponsors this popular event benefiting local charities, and the club asks that participants bring a canned food item or two for the local food bank. Register early to be guaranteed a long-sleeved T-shirt in your size, and note that strollers and dogs are not allowed in the race. Bring the family to watch, or jump start your New Year’s resolution to exercise more at this popular event.
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