Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County is a shopping, dining, and arts haven in winter. Storefronts don holiday trimmings. Wreaths twinkle atop lampposts. Restaurants whip up hearty specialties while seasonal porters, stouts, and toddies keep winter jolly in cocktail bars and tap rooms. W&L, VMI, and SVU invite visitors inside for plays, speakers, art shows, and history exhibits. Don't miss a beat!
For those on Santa's "Nice List," stop by the Lexington Visitor Center and pick up some Downtown Lexington Gift Certificates in denominations of $5, $10, $25 and $50.
Many Lexington merchants will have extended holiday hours ... look for the yellow flags adorning storefronts. This is the perfect time to take advantage of the Love Lexington Lotto — visit participating merchants and be entered to win a Downtown Lexington Shopping Spree.
Fuel up at local eateries before hitting the shops, then reward yourself with a craft beer or creative cocktail after you've crossed everyone off your list. Need a little stretch to work out the kinks of carrying all those bags? Center of Gravity yoga studio has many evening classes and welcomes drop-ins.
From tree lightings and parades to jingle bell runs and breakfasts with Santa in between, Lexington and Rockbridge County bring the magic of the season to the streets.
- December 7-9: A Storyteller's Holiday
- December 8-9: Celebrate Christmas in the Village of Fairfield
- December 8-9: Luminary Nights at Natural Bridge State Park
- December 8-10: Night of Miracles
- December 9: Santa Train - Toys for Tots
- December 9: Caroling in the Caverns
- December 9: Christmas Tree Lighting in the Village of Fairfield
- December 9-10: Holiday Farm Store Open House
- December 9-24: 12 Days of Giveaways at Rocca
- December 12: Christmas at the Jackson's
- December 15-16: Luminary Nights at Natural Bridge State Park
- December 15-17: Shenandoah Ballet presents: The Nutcracker
- December 16: Caroling in the Caverns
- December 16-17: Holiday Farm Store Open House
- December 16: Festival of Gingerbread
- December 17: Paxton House Yuletide Open
- December 20: Annual 4-Piano Holiday Sing-Along at The Krantzes
- December 23: Holiday Farm Store Open House
- December 31: First Night Lexington: New Year's Eve at Robert E. Lee Hotel
- December 31: New Year's Eve Buffet & Party at Natural Bridge Hotel
Extended Holiday Shopping Hours
- Artists in Cahoots: open until 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Earth, Fire and Spirit Pottery: open until 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; Sunday noon until 3 p.m.
- House Mountain Yarn Co.: Tuesday until 8 p.m.; Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until 6 p.m.; and Thursday until 7 p.m.
- Ladles & Linens: open until 5:30 Monday-Wednesday, until 7 Thursday-Saturday, and until 5 Sunday
- Lexington Pet Place: open until 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday
- Pappagallo: open until 5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday
- Urban Farm Girl: open until 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday
- Walkabout Outfitters: open Thursday-Saturday until 7 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day
The outdoor clock at the Robert E. Lee Hotel counts down the hours until New Year’s Eve. At midnight, a twinkling ball will drop from the hotel rooftop to welcome 2018. You can watch the ball drop from Main Street or you can join the celebration inside the hotel.
Music is part of the line-up at Natural Bridge Hotel. On New Year’s Eve, enjoy live music during your dinner buffet in The Colonial Dining Room, and later rock out with Surrender Dorothy in Jefferson Ballroom. The buffet and champagne toast are an annual tradition for many. Packages are available.
Natural Bridge State Park - Virginia's newest state park and the first in Rockbridge County - is hosting its very first First Day Hike on January 1 at 11 a.m.
Cool on Campus: Plays and Exhibitions
Visiting W&L? Swing by the Staniar Gallery in Washington Hall from January 8 to February 7 for The Book of Everyday Instruction by Chloe Bass. The exhibit focuses on such central questions as "how do we know when we're really together?" or "how do we tell a story based on the proximity of two bodies in space?"
BODYTRAFFIC Contemporary Dance Company takes the stage in Keller Theatre at the Lenfest Center for the Arts on January 11. This group is internationally recognized as bridging both new audiences and experienced dance enthusiasts with works by today’s most distinctive choreographic voices such as Kyle Abraham, Hofesh Shechter, Barak Marshall, Richard Siegal, and Victor Quijada.
On January 19, Garth Newel Piano Quartet plays Wilson Concert Hall. Repertoire for this concert consists of Louise Hérritte-Viardot’s Quartet No. 1 in A Major, Op. 9 Im Sommer, Mark Carlson’s Piano Quartet, and the Quartet No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 45 by Gabriel Fauré.
Breweries, Tap Houses, and Cocktail Bars
If the weather outside is frightful, step into a brewery or downtown watering hole for winter beer releases, seasonal craft cocktails, live music, and community cheer.
Great Valley Farm Brewery is our newest craft brewery and open Wednesday through Sunday. Pop in for growler fill specials on Wednesdays and live music every Friday. There's most often food on-site for purchase during those live music Fridays as well.
On Wednesdays, stop by the taproom at Devils Backbone Brewing on Route 11 during its Growler Grab for 64 oz. growler pours. On select Fridays, settle in for live music. Brewery tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays.
Brew Ridge Taps in Lexington hosts its own trivia night on Tuesdays. On Nelson Street, this tap room sells a wide selection of Virginia and U.S. craft brews. Stay fueled with the Parkway Special, a waffle topped with pimiento cheese, tomatoes and bacon. It’s one of several wafflewiches on the menu.
Free wine tastings continue every Friday afternoon, starting at 4:30pm, at Washington Street Purveyors.
Piano players complement the cocktails Wednesday through Sunday at Haywood’s.
Seasonal Updates: Farmers Markets, Museums, and Attractions
In winter the market moves from McClure’s parking lot to Lexington Presbyterian Church from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays (begins November 29). The Rockbridge Farmers Market is closed for the season.
The Virginia Military Institute Museum will be closed December 22 - January 10, and Lee Chapel and Museum will be closed December 24 - January 2. The Stonewall Jackson House is closed in January and February.
On Friday nights in January, February and March, you can catch old-time jams and dancing at Clark's Ole Time Music Center in Raphine.
Local zoos are closed until spring. Carriage rides and ghost tours will resume in warmer months.