The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Get into the Holiday Spirit!

Fun Things to do in the area
Christmas Town by Katherine Zickel

With the feeling of being stuck in a Christopher Newport University bubble, seasonal depression, and finals all bearing down on us, students might mistake the holiday season to be filled with nothing but despair and stress. But outside of CNU the world carries on, and there’s plenty of things to find in the Hampton Roads area that can bring out the Christmas spirit in you too! Here are just some of the things to take the edge off, from those closeby to those with a bit of travel included.


  1. Christopher Newport University

To start this off, we begin right here at CNU. Despite running the risk of staying within the CNU bubble, our events are important to the Newport News community and require no driving! Take a walk over to the Great Lawn, the Torggler, or the Ferguson and you’ll be pretty likely to find something that interests you. Celebrate with your fellow Captains for the Christmas Tree lighting on the Great Lawn this Sunday, or attend one of the many shows going on at the Ferguson Center. Whatever you want to do, make sure to check your emails, as CNU might just have what you need.

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  • City Center, Newport News

There’s plenty of festivities happening right in the heart of Newport News. Only five minutes away from campus is Newport News’ City Center, where the holiday season is in full swing. An authentic Winter Festival is occurring this upcoming weekend, complete with a tree lighting ceremony for the city. You can also check out the beautiful fountains, holiday lights, or a particular restaurant you want to try.

  • Holiday Lights in Newport News Park

If you find yourself with a car and a full tank of gas, Newport News Park will be transformed into a holiday light extravaganza, creating animated holiday and fanciful scenes. With over a million individual lights, it’s come a long way since it opened as Virginia’s first drive-through light event, with this year marking the 31st season. While there is a price tag, you can save a few bucks on admission by going on weeknights (Monday – Thursday) which is $15 per car, instead of weekend nights (Friday – Sunday), with a rate of $18 per car. For the best experience, try bringing along some friends for the drive through the park, splitting the cost between yourselves and driving slowly to not miss any details or spectacle.

  • Christmas Town in Busch Gardens, Williamsburg

Of course, why not visit nearby Williamsburg to check out Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town! This amusement park has, honestly, too much to do to include in this article. However, some highlights include: the decor of the park being completely transformed for the season, the shows that are put on just for this part of the year, such as their depiction of A Christmas Carol, and the different seasonal shops bringing in new holiday stock. If all else fails to peak your interest, there’s always the usual roller coasters and games that make this a trip worth making anyways.

  • Nauticus Winterfest in Norfolk

The USS Wisconsin and the larger Norfolk waterfront are a vibrant place during this time of the year. The USS Wisconsin is Virginia’s very own decommissioned Battleship that now houses a museum for the Navy–also adorned with over a million holiday lights for the season! At the nearby Marina, there is a winter market with plenty of events planned to usher in the season, including live entertainment. This market is unique in the sense that people use boats instead of traditional booths. If you’re comfortable going across the water and back to campus, you might consider bringing your holiday season to the coast!

  • Virginia Beach Oceanfront


If you could stomach a drive to Norfolk and have exhausted all other options, you might just consider putting that extra distance between you and campus to find all to do in Virginia Beach. There’s holiday lights along their scenic boardwalk and oceanfront, live musical performances at a number of venues, and a boat race on Dec. 2nd. If you didn’t particularly enjoy the available things to do in Norfolk, bring the holiday season to the beach!

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