January is only a few days away, and while you may be tempted to stay indoors and cozy up on the couch, there are plenty of exceptional events and winter getaways in Virginia to keep you busy during the month. Check out the following festivals, special events, and fun-filled vacations suited for all ages happening in the Commonwealth this January.
GardenFest for Fidos at Lewis Ginter—Richmond
Photo Credit: Annie Goldman
Lewis Ginter’s GardenFest continues in the first week of January with GardenFest for Fidos, a pet-friendly winter event. Leashed, well-behaved pets that have current rabies vaccinations are welcome to explore the magic of Lewis Ginter’s evening light show for just $2 per pet (which benefits the Richmond SPCA).
Winchester on the Rocks—Winchester
Dates: January 19–25, 2020
If you’re a fan of fine dining in the Commonwealth, you’ve probably attended a special Virginia Restaurant Week, but if you’re looking to try some extra special Virginia cocktails in 2020, make reservations at a participating restaurant for Winchester on the Rocks. Rather than focus on food, this week-long event puts the spotlight on incredible cocktails. Participating restaurants in Winchester will offer special signature cocktails at $7 each or $5 mocktails for the teetotalers, showing off their bartending skills with a mix of traditional cocktails and experimental libations. Sample a few different options and then vote for your favorite specialty drink; judges will designate the winning restaurants with “People’s Choice” and “Judge’s Choice” awards after the seven-day showdown.
Winter Ice Fest & Mega Block Ice Carving Competition—Leesburg
Date: January 18, 2020
The 7th annual Winter Ice Fest and Mega Block Ice Carving Competition is as free event held at the Village at Leesburg. Eight internationally acclaimed ice carvers compete against one another as they sculpt frozen masterpieces in front of a live audience. The event also includes musical performances, an “iceless” ice skating rink, and interactive games and activities for the whole family. Warm up during the festival in the cozy igloo lounge areas, where you can dine on food and drinks from local Leesburg restaurants.
Free Entry into Virginia’s National Parks—All National Parks in Virginia
Date: January 20, 2020
All National Parks in Virginia will waive their entrance fees on Martin Luther King, Jr. day, allowing you to experience the breathtaking beauty of Virginia’s Great Outdoors without spending a dime!
2019 Winter Wildlife Festival—Virginia Beach
Dates: January 24–26, 2020
Presented with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Winter Wildlife Festival is held at the Princess Anne Recreation Center in Virginia Beach, but there are also several outdoor nature walks and workshops held at nearby parks and wildlife refuges. Bring the kids to see live animals, participate in nature-based workshops, and learn more about the wildlife found in Virginia during the winter months, like harbor seals and migrating birds. Local food trucks will serve up some of Virginia Beach’s best cuisine outside the recreation center, and younger children can participate in kid-friendly activities next door at the Princess Anne Library. January is also prime time for migrating whales to pass the Virginia shores, so book a whale watching boat tour in Virginia Beach to spot these stunning animals up close.
International Wine Festival—Roanoke
Held at Roanoke’s Taubman Museum of Art, the International Wine Festival features 30+ of the best wines from around the world, paired hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and live musical performances. As you sip on an array of sparkling, white, and red varietals, you’ll learn about the wine tasting experience from seasoned wine guides, who will teach you about optimal food pairings, understanding regional wine flavors, and everything else you need to know about the art of wine tasting. Tickets are available ahead of time and include access to the art museum galleries.