Virginia Beach Offers Holiday Lights, Ice Skating on the Sand, Holiday Classics, New Year’s Festivities, Wildlife Spotting and More This Holiday Season

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (Dec. 1, 2014) – There’s no need to sacrifice water views for a white Christmas. Virginia Beach combines the best of both worlds for the holidays with its new Oceanfront Ice Park (Now – Feb. 1, 2015) and McDonald’s Holiday Lights at the Beach (Now – Jan. 3, 2015), plus more festivities to brighten the season – from parades and live performances of holiday classics to New Year’s Eve countdowns with unique offerings you can only get at a beach destination –  whale-watching, anyone?

WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND

Usher in the Christmas Season

Welcome the official start of the Christmas season and get a glimpse of old Saint Nicholas himself at the Holiday Parade at the Beach (Dec. 6). The twilight parade promises giant balloons, marching bands, lighted floats, equestrian groups, dance groups and more for a dazzling night of fun! The parade will kick off its march up Atlantic Avenue at 5:30 p.m., beginning at 15th Street. The Founder’s Inn & Spa is always a holiday favorite with the Georgian-style resort’s lit-up English gardens and festivities taking place all month long. The property will host a plethora of fun and whimsical events, such as Christmas Afternoon Tea (Dec. 6-20), Teddy Bear Tea (Dec. 6-23), complete with a new best friend for children to take home, and a Dickens Dinner (Dec. 19) with a retelling of “A Christmas Carol.” Those who prefer to spend the holidays out of the kitchen and with their family may also enjoy the hotel’s three-course holiday Christmas Eve Dinner, complete with all of the trimmings (Dec. 24) and a delicious Christmas Day Brunch (Dec. 25) offering live entertainment, carolers, petting zoo, craft workshop, balloon artistry and a special visit from Santa.  Get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions and work off the holidays treats with the Surf’n Santa 5 Miler (Dec. 20), a twilight race under the holiday lights along the beautiful Virginia Beach boardwalk.  All finishers receive a Santa hat and ornament medal before joining the post-race party with live music from Audio Sauce, Samuel Adams beer and plenty of soup and chowder for runners who need a post-race warm-up.

Revisit Old Classics

The holiday season isn’t truly complete without certain beloved classic stories. This December, Virginia Beach is bringing both ”A Christmas Carol”’ and “The Nutcracker” to life. The Virginia Musical Theatre will once again perform its festive rendition of “A Christmas Carol” (Dec. 5-7) with a contemporary score that captures both the spirit of the holidays and Dickens' classic novel. With more than 30 singers, a full orchestra and elaborate scenery, this timely, uplifting and exhilarating tale for the entire family. Children of all ages can take in the timeless story of The Nutcracker (Dec. 12 -13), performed by Ballet Virginia International,  as Symphonicity, nationally recognized guest artists and the region’s finest dancers tell the tale of Clara and her Nutcracker, as he comes to life and saves her from the evil Rat King and his minions. Waltzing flowers, tiny mice and a delightful Sugar Plum Fairy will make a treasured memory and put the entire family in the holiday mood.

Ring in the New Year

Town Center and Pembroke Mall will once again host their family-friendly New Year’s Eve bash, Last Night on the Town (Dec. 31). Kid-friendly festivities will be held at Pembroke Mall from 2-5 p.m. with entertainment for the whole family, including a puppet show, magician and a countdown just for the little ones. The adult fun will continue throughout the night at the Town Center of Virginia Beach, with live music, a midnight countdown and fireworks to ring in 2015. The Founders Inn & Spa will bid farewell to 2014 with its New Year’s Eve Gala Ball (Dec. 31). The package includes overnight accommodations, an elegant dinner, open bar with champagne toast at midnight and an evening of dancing to a variety of Motown, Big Band and modern hits performed by the 10- Spot band.

WATCHING WINTER WILDLIFE

Virginia Beach boasts several to get up close and personal with the migratory wildlife that frequents the region during the winter months. The Virginia Aquarium will soon launch Whales & Wildlife: A Virginia Aquarium Sea Adventure (Dec. 26 – March 31, 2015), an immersive encounter with some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures. The two-and-a-half hour tours give visitors the chance to catch a glimpse of whales, dolphins, seals and seabirds from the indoor and outdoor boat observation decks. The Back Bay Wildlife Refuge will once again host its popular Winter Tram Tours (Now – March 22, 2015) on select Sundays, taking guests over the Back Bay and through the woods to learn about the area’s history and view the tens of thousands of winter wildfowl, including swans, snow geese and more that make the area their refuge in the winter. In the spirit of coastal holidays, the 12th Annual Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout (Dec. 28-29) will put teams of anglers to the test, with thousands of dollars in prizes at stake, while putting filets to good use! As always, a portion of the contest’s catch will be donated to area food banks and a portion of entree fees will be donated to CHKD and local scholarship funds. To learn more about visiting Virginia Beach during the holidays and the city’s year-round offerings, or to request a complimentary vacation guide, contact the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau by calling 1-800-VA-BEACH.