Lewis Ginter Lights

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Get yourself ready for the enchantment and dazzling extravaganza that is Lewis Ginter Lights a festival of lights that transforms a botanical garden into an extraordinary paradise of lights, casting a spell of wonder and magic over Richmond, Virginia.

A mesmerizing display of twinkling trees, captivating lights, bright colors, and wondrous shapes, this Christmas light show is an unmissable celebration of the holiday season.

Lewis Ginter Lights
Festival highlights

About the Festival

As the holiday season unfolds across the land, there is a place where the ordinary transforms into the extraordinary, where the harmony of twinkling lights eases the darkness, and where the spirit of joy and wonder takes the spotlight. Located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia, the Lewis Ginter Lights Festival or the Dominion GardenFest of Lights stands as a lighthouse of Christmas enchantment, gathering families, friends, and light festival enthusiasts alike to experience a world of fairy lights, twinkling paths across the garden, and a holiday dream that can never be forgotten.

Lewis Ginter Lights Dates (2023-2024)

Lewis Ginter Lights will be lighting the Virginia night skies from November 20, 2023 – January 7. 2024 with the Member Preview Weekend taking place on November 17-19, 2023. The festival’s theme for this year is “Rhythms of Nature”. For over a month, this breathtaking festival of lights will take visitors into a realm of enchanting magic, giving families and friends the chance to create wonderful memories to remember forever.

Everyone will certainly have a grand time enjoying the garden’s favorite sights such as the beautifully decorated tree in the Conservatory as well as the eye-catching decorations found in the Library Reading Room. Families and friends can also enjoy the Kelleher Warming Fire where they can enjoy drinks of hot chocolate and more.

Where It’s Located And How to Get There

The festival takes place at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which is located at 1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, Virginia, United States.

The distance it takes between Richmond International Airport (RIC) and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is approximately 18 miles (29 kilometers) by road. However, driving time can vary depending on traffic conditions, but usually, it takes around 25-30 minutes to travel between the airport and the garden. Also, keep in mind that travel times can be affected by factors such as time of day and road conditions.

If you liked Lewis Ginter Lights, you might want to check out these other amazing lights festival:

Wakehurst Glow Wild

China Lights 2023 Nature’s Glow

Need a Flight?

Getting to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Using Public Transportation

One can get to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden through public transportation such as the Route 4 and Route 20 buses. Keep in mind, however, that these buses don’t serve the botanical garden. The nearest they can take you is the “Lakeside and Hilliard Stop” which is a walking distance to the botanical garden.

Here’s a more detailed guide on how to get to the botanical garden through public transportation. 

From Richmond International Airport:

  • Exit the terminal and find the designated airport bus stop.
  • Board the GRTC Route 7 Bus towards Willow Lawn.
  • Transfer to the GRTC Route 20 Bus towards Rocketts Landing.
  • Ride the Route 20 Bus to the “Lakeside and Hilliard” stop, which is a walking distance from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

From Downtown Richmond:

  • Start from any location in downtown Richmond.
  • Find the next GRTC (Greater Richmond Transit Company) bus stop.
  • Catch the GRTC Route 4 Bus towards Rocketts Landing.
  • Stay on the Route 4 Bus until you reach the “Lakeside and Hilliard” stop. 
  • After getting off, walk to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which is a short walk from the bus stop.

Please keep in mind that public transportation schedules can vary and may change from time to time, so it’s highly recommended to check the GRTC website or contact their customer service for the most accurate and up-to-date information before you travel.

The festival can also be reached through trains. For those opting for this mode of transportation, here’s a detailed guide:

Amtrak Train Schedules to Richmond’s Main Street Station:

Silver Service/Palmetto Route (New York to Miami)

  • Amtrak offers Silver Service and Palmetto Routes that connect several cities along the East Coast, which includes Richmond.
  • Remember, however, that trains on this route can vary in frequency and schedule. They generally arrive at Richmond’s Main Street Station at different times throughout the day.

Northeast Regional Route (Boston to Virginia Beach)

  • Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Route can be another option. This route connects several major cities along the Northeast corridor.
  • Trains on this route may also serve Richmond’s Main Street Station.

Carolinian/Piedmont Route (New York to Charlotte)

  • The Carolinian and Piedmont routes connect New York to Charlotte, with Richmond as one of the stops.
  • Schedules may vary depending on a specific train. Trains generally arrive at Richmond’s Main Street Station at various times of the day.

For more information such as specific train numbers, departure times, and travel durations, you can visit Amtrak’s website at www.amtrak.com.

Getting to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Through a Car

Cars can be an efficient mode of transportation to get to the botanical garden. Apart from the smooth and direct journey they offer, cars provide you the flexibility to travel at your own pace.

And car rental services are also readily available for those who don’t have their own cars. The following are some of the car rental services available in Richmond, Virginia:

  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car website: www.enterprise.com Multiple locations throughout Richmond, including at Richmond International Airport. 
  • discovercars Car Rental website: www.discovercars.com Various locations in Richmond, including at Richmond International Airport.
  • National Car Rental website: www.nationalcar.com National is also available at Richmond International Airport.

Keep in mind that before traveling, make sure to have a map, a navigation app, or a GPS device that can help you find the most efficient route to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Additionally, consider checking for any parking fees or other guidelines at the garden’s premises to ensure your visit is smooth and stress-free.

Festival Hours

Running from November 20, 2023, to January 7, 2024 (Closed on Thanksgiving and on December 24 & 25), Lewis Ginter Lights opens its gates from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM, giving you more than enough time to enjoy the breathtaking and awesome light exhibition. As the sun sets, giving way to the night sky, the garden transforms into a starry paradise that delights the senses. 

Cost to Visit The Festival

To immerse yourself in the wonders of Lewis Ginter Lights, you must avail tickets that range from $17 for Adults to $8 for children ages 3-12. Children under the age of 3 enjoy free entry, which is a perfect treat for families with little kids. Additionally, seniors and retired military can purchase tickets for a fee of $14. Members of the botanical garden receive free admission during the light festival, along with other benefits such as discount rates, so becoming a member can be worth giving a try.

CategoryTicket PriceAdditional Information
Adults$17
Children (ages 3-12)$8
Children (under age 3)FreePerfect for families with little kids
Seniors$14
Retired Military$14
Botanical Garden MembersFreeAdditional benefits like discount rates

For more information and updates on pricing, you can visit their website at: www.lewisginter.org

Weather and What to Wear

It can be cold in Richmond during the festival dates, with temperatures ranging from 4 to 13 degrees Celsius. To stay comfortable as you explore the illuminated paradise, it is wise to dress in layers such as a light jacket over a cozy sweater. And to make your whole experience warm and enjoyable, comfortable walking shoes, gloves, and a scarf are highly recommended.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

If you’re looking for the best accommodations near the festival’s area, the following are highly recommended:

The Jefferson Hotel

The opulent Jefferson Hotel is an iconic Richmond landmark that offers world-class amenities.  After enjoying the magical light exhibition, you and your family can indulge in the comfort of this luxurious hotel which is also known for its award-winning restaurants. Wireless high-speed internet is also accessible so you can immediately share your festival photos and experiences online. Additionally, through the hotel’s complimentary transportation, you can easily access shopping malls and entertainment venues in the city.

Quirk Hotel Richmond

This chic hotel is a blend of contemporary design and local artistry. And if you’re an art enthusiast yourself, you can enjoy exhibits of new artists featured at their Quirk Gallery. They also offer free high-speed internet and electric vehicle charging stations. This artistic and modern hotel will definitely be a happy addition to your whole festival experience.

Linden Row Inn

Located in the heart of Richmond, this historic inn offers an intimate and cozy atmosphere. For lovers of literature, it will be a surreal experience to know that the famous short story writer Edgar Allan Poe once spent his childhood in what is now the courtyard of the hotel. It also offers free stay for kids and a high-speed WiFi internet connection. And if you’re a coffee aficionado, it has a coffee shop to satisfy your cravings after an unforgettable experience in the festival.

Hilton Richmond Downtown

A modern hotel with comfortable rooms and world-class amenities that include an indoor pool and an on-site spa, Hilton Richmond Downtown is a 20-minute drive to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. It is also conveniently located near businesses such as the Short Pump Town Center. It also offers free high-speed internet services as well as bicycle tours.

The Commonwealth

A landmark hotel of more than 100 years old, The Commonwealth prides itself in excellent service. It also offers spacious suites which are perfect for large families and big groups of friends. Like the other accommodations mentioned above, The Commonwealth offers free high-speed internet services so you can immediately upload your lovely festival photographs for your friends to see.

What to Eat

The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing

Founded in 1988, the Boathouse not only offers Richmond’s breathtaking waterfront views but also boasts a delectable menu from fresh and pure locally sourced ingredients. A favorite among the locals and travelers, The Boathouse, formerly Sunday’s restaurant, is famous for its sumptuous crab cake recipe. But they are more than that. For starters, you can try their Crispy Calamari or Fried Oysters.

For seafood lovers, they also offer a Chilled Seafood Tray which consists of lobster, jumbo shrimp, raw oysters, and marinated mussels. Their house specialties include Seared Swordfish Steak, Fried Shrimp, Grilled Chicken Florentine, and Whole Maine Lobster, among others. They also offer sandwiches such as the Crab Cake Sandwich, Crispy “Hot” Chicken Sandwich, and Grilled Chicken Ranch Sandwich.

They also have a kids menu which includes Popcorn Shrimp and French Toast Sticks. Overall, The Boathouse offers an unforgettable dining experience.

Perly’s

Perly’s is a Jewish restaurant that can be found in Downtown Richmond. For lovers of Jewish cuisine, Perly’s is a perfect place to dine in after a wondrous experience at the light festival.

This restaurant is known for its traditional Jewish cuisine with a modern twist. For starters, you can try their Jewish Egg Rolls, Meat Knish, and Potato Latkes. Families and groups of friends can also try their Fish Platters which consist of smoked salmon, smoked trout, and smoked bluefish. You can also enjoy their Smoked Turkey and Lebanon Bologna.

Overall, Perly’s is a perfect blend of the traditional and contemporary with the promise of delighting one’s taste buds.

The Lobby Bar

The Lobby Bar, formerly known as Maple and Pine, is located at the Quirk Hotel. This restaurant offers tantalizing and innovative farm-to-table dishes that delight the senses.

You can try their Pork Belly or Fried Chicken Sandwiches. They also offer great coffee and tea. The Lobby Bar is perfect for those staying in the Quirk Hotel as you don’t need to go far to enjoy a sumptuous meal after the festival.

More Things To Do in The Area

Apart from the magical wonderland that the Lewis Ginter Lights Festival is, Richmond has other sights and experiences to offer. These are just some of the many exciting things you can do in the area:

Maymont Park

Explore the 100-acre estate and park and enjoy the wonderful things Maymont Park offers. A historic landmark, Maymont is perfect for all walks of life. Plant lovers can enjoy its gardens and arboretum, while animal enthusiasts will have a grand time exploring wildlife habitats in the area. All in all, Maymont Park is a paradise on earth.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Explore arts and culture at this world-class museum known for its diverse collection of artworks such as paintings by Francisco Goya and Claude Monet. The museum is perfect for those looking for a balance of aesthetics and enlightenment.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is not only admired for its light festivals but also for its vast collection of various plants and trees. Explore the different areas of the garden and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. It is a perfect way to complement the magic and wonder of the festival.

A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Visit to Lewis Ginter Lights Festival

The world of fairy lights and magic that Lewis Ginter Lights offers is something that should never be missed. With its breathtaking and awe-inspiring light exhibition, twinkling paths, and glowing trees that light up one’s imagination, this festival of light will definitely give you a holiday to remember, one that will sparkle in your heart for many years to come. So come and visit the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, and experience the wonder and magic of a light festival that truly shines.

If you liked this festival and would like to see more lighting festivals in Virginia, here are some recommendations::

Virginia Beach Festival Of Lights

Bull Run Festival Of Lights

FAQ

Q: Are pets allowed at the festival?

A: Pets are not allowed during regular hours, but there are “Fidos After 5” nights where leashed pets are welcome.

Q: Can I purchase tickets at the gate?

A: For now tickets are not available for walk-ins. You can only purchase tickets online, and purchasing in advance is highly recommended to secure your preferred date and time.

Q: Is the festival accessible for individuals with disabilities?

A: Yes, the festival is accessible to all visitors. Wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Q: Where can I park my vehicle when visiting Lewis Ginter Lights?

A: There is ample parking available on-site at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Follow the signs upon arrival to easily find parking areas designated for festival visitors.

Q: Is smoking allowed within the Lewis Ginter Lights area?

A: No, smoking is not permitted within the festival grounds. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is committed to providing a smoke-free environment for all visitors.

Q: Is there a dress code for the Lewis Ginter Lights festival?

A: While there isn’t a strict dress code, it’s recommended to dress warmly since Richmond’s temperature during the festival dates can be cold.

Q: What are the dates and timings for the Lewis Ginter Lights festival?

A: The festival runs from November 20, 2023 to January 7, 2024. The festival opens its gates at 4:00 PM and concludes at 10:00 PM. 

This article provides some answers to common questions and concerns regarding the Lewis Ginter Lights festival, but for more accurate and updated information, you can always visit Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s official website.

Sources:

https://lewisginter.org

https://facebook.com/LewisGinter/

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