While Williamsburg may be best noted for its interactive view into the colonial times of America, Williamsburg can also offer travelers a wide variety of modern experiences for a vacation that can be entertaining, educational and, above all, varied. Unfortunately, due to the huge popularity of the area’s many historic activities the other area attractions are sometimes lost in the limelight. That’s why we’ve highlighted some of the more popular modern day offerings to help you in planning a Williamsburg vacation that perfectly balances the past with the present. From natural attractions to live shows, there’s more than history taking place in Williamsburg, VA!
Virginia Living Museum
The Virginia Living Museum offers an encompassing look into forests, seas and even space for a comprehensive understanding of our world’s surroundings. Guests will find a variety of exhibits including a 3/4 mile walking trail, 30,000 gallon aquarium and six different planetarium shows. And the best part of the Virginia Living Museum is that with so many different aspects of our natural world on display, there’s sure to be a topic that interests every member of your party!
Mystery Dinner Playhouse
Combining dining, entertainment and elements of whodunit novels, Mystery Dinner Playhouse is an interactive night on the town that can provide great dining and entertainment. Throughout the evening you’ll dine with and interact with both guests and actors as a murder mystery is set up. Once the ‘murder’ takes place it will be up to the audience to find the culprit through keen insight and interrogation. Of course, throughout the event the actors will be loosely working of a script to ensure that the entertainment stays sharp; though that’s far from saying that surprises won’t arise! Whether you’re looking for a unique show option, active dinner experience or simply a fun time, it’s doubtful that the Mystery Dinner Playhouse will disappoint.
Spirit of Norfolk Cruises
Spirit of Norfolk Cruises offer an encompassing time of entertainment on the Elizabeth River. You’ll depart from the waterfront in downtown Norfolk, and escape on a journey that will offer an elegant buffet, dancing, live entertainment and sightseeing all at once! Throughout the cruise, both cold and hot entrees will be served by buffet as you enjoy a live musical revue before taking to the dance floor and moving to the masterful mix of the DJ. Whether elegance is the theme of your entire getaway or you’re simply looking for something different for one night while in Williamsburg, the Spirit of Norfolk Cruises are a great entertainment option.
Marvel at the beautiful views of the Grand Canyon this holiday season with shopping at the Mountain Village Holiday in Williams, AZ. Whether you have some hectic shopping plans in your future or you just want to check out the holiday environment, you can find pretty much anything you set your heart on in the many stores set up. When you’re finished shopping, enjoy the different parades, arts and crafts shows, and lighting contests that the area will provide. Bring the whole family to enjoy the holiday season in the Grand Canyon this year!
If you’re looking for adventure in the Grand Canyon, look no farther than the Canyon Pines Safari Jeep Tour. This tour starts in the Kaibab National Forest to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. You will follow an old 19th century motor coach trail to see different animals like elk, birds and deer. Your guide will also share the history of the area and answer any questions you might have about the Grand Canyon.
Hike through the backcountry wilds around the Grand Canyon with the Grand Canyon Explorer Hike. Bring your camera along to photograph the different wildlife that you’ll meet along the way. There are four different hikes to choose from with various difficulties. Whether you want to take a mild hike with the family along wide Grand Canyon trails or a more challenging trail, the choice is up to you when planning your explorer hike.
Celebrate the Christmas season in Nashville by visiting the Christmas Village at the Tennessee State Fair Grounds from November 14-November 16. Get a head start on your Christmas shopping where there will be over 260 merchants selling things like toys, furnishings, art, crafts, clothes, and knick knacks! There will also be plenty of food and entertainment to enjoy as you shop til you drop! With over 20,000 guests likely to attend, you want to make sure that you’re one of them. Bring the kids to enjoy different activities set up for their enjoyment as well as the kid-friendly entertainment. Plan your vacation to Nashville around the Christmas Village at the Tennessee State Fair Grounds.
While you’re in town for the holidays, why don’t you check out the Christmas Lights Tour of Nashville? You can take a guided ride through the different neighborhoods where the stars live to see how the residents of Nashville go all out in their decorations! This three and a half hour tour takes you past animatronics and giant light displays while listening to carols. One homestead in particular that is a must-see is the George Jones Nestledown Farms which is completely covered in holiday cheer.
Take a journey through ice exhibits at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel while you’re in the area as well. Get tickets to Ice! at Gaylord Opryland Nashville for an interactive tour through ice sculptures through sculptures from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. From Who-ville to the Grinch’s lair, you can see replicas of the story in sculptures of ice that reach 25-feet in length! With over 1.5 million pounds of ice which is kept at 16 degrees Fahrenheit, this is truly a marvel to experience.
Please Note: The Grand Ole Opry does not release final lineups until the Wednesday prior to each performance. This list will be updated weekly as new performers are confirmed and added to the lineup.
Friday, October 31 – Order Tickets
George Hamilton IV
Jimmy C. Newman
Rebecca Lynn Howard
Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
Saturday, November 1 – Order Tickets
7 p.m. performance
Jimmy C. Newman
Opry Square Dancers
George Jones w/ Georgette Jones
9:30 p.m. performance
George Hamilton IV
Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
Opry Square Dancers
Silver Dollar City is once again celebrating the joys of the winter season with An Old Time Christmas. Running from the start of November through December 30, An Old Time Christmas coats the 18th century Ozarks surroundings of Silver Dollar City with a delightful cheer and numerous activities and exhibits pertaining to the holidays. The Gifts of Christmas Holiday Lights Parade, live presentations of A Dickens Christmas Carol and a five-story Christmas tree are just a few of the special additions in store, with millions of Christmas lights covering the park in a gentle glow. Silver Dollar City can offer an authentic view of the history and culture of the Branson area, and An Old Time Christmas is certainly no exception in terms of representing the fervor that the typical Ozarks resident approaches the winter season with.
If you’re hoping to catch a few of the popular Branson shows during your visit, guests will find a wide variety of special Christmas performances taking place from now through the end of the year. From traditional Branson offerings such as Shoji Tabuchi and Yakov Smirnoff to limited engagements that include Tony Orlando & The Lennon Sisters, there are a variety of show offerings, each getting into the spirit of the holidays.
The Christmas season in Branson is quickly approaching with light displays and Christmas shows starting the weekend of November 1. You’ll find plenty of holiday cheer in Branson with popular Christmas programs like Andy Williams, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Trail of Lights, and many more. Whether you want to hear some Christmas carols or to enjoy a filling holiday meal, you’ll find plenty of attractions that keep the holiday season going all winter long. Check out some of the popular holiday choices for Branson visitors below!
Trail of Lights
Journey to the Shepherd of the Hills once the sun goes down to travel on the 160-acre homestead turned winter wonderland known as the Trail of Lights. Complete with holiday music, you drive through different themed lands that go from patriotic colors to fantasy worlds. See your favorite holiday characters as well as larger than life animatronics that make your experience with the kids truly memorable. The weather may be cold outside, but you can keep warm inside your vehicle as you wonder the lit trails of Shepherd of the Hills.
Tony Orlando & The Lennon Sisters, Christmas Celebration!
Come and see the harmonics and musical styling of Tony Orlando and The Lennon Sisters with this Christmas show that provides all of your favorite carols with talent only they can provide. With comedy, music and dancing, this show delivers all of the geared-up fun with that holiday kick that helps you get into the giving spirit. Take the family and unwind with Tony Orlando and The Lennon Sisters as they serenade you into the holiday cheer that surrounds Branson during the season.
Andy Williams Christmas Show
Join one of Branson’s most famous performers as he brings your favorite Christmas carols to life. With his family-friendly performances and smooth melodies, Andy Williams has charmed Branson visitors for over 60 years. Known for his duets with performers like Glen Campbell and Charo, this show is a must-see. Come and visit the famous Moon River Theater during the Christmas season to see the musical talent and charm of Andy Williams.
Start celebrating the Christmas season the day after Thanksgiving with Winter Days and Lights in Chattanooga. Journey to Downtown Chattanooga for a variety of activities that begin on November 28. The River & Grande Illumination is a decorated boat parade down the Tennessee River at Ross’s Landing and marks the beginning of the festivities. After the display, Santa Claus will make an appearance with the Lindsay Fussel Dancers and the Choo Choo Kids followed by an extraordinary fireworks display. The Saturday after Thanksgiving is the perfect day for kids to come and have a full breakfast with Santa Claus and then see the Starlight Parade. The final event to experience during the Winter Days and Lights is the Appalachian Christmas where you can hear traditional Appalachian music with a visit from the Appalachian Santa who comes bearing complimentary sugar cookies and hot cider! There’s no better place to experience the Christmas spirit than in Chattanooga this season.
While vacationing in Chattanooga with the family, enjoy other activities like the Lookout Mountain Attractions. Explore the great outdoors of Chattanooga with a tour to Rock City with beautiful rock formations and hidden caves, admission to the Incline Railway, and a trip to Ruby Falls. Take the kids out to see the natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains before seeing the different parades and performances at Winter Days and Lights.
Have a competitively good time in Chattanooga with the children with the Raccoon Mountain Caverns Go-Karts. Take to the 630 foot track for slick turns and high speeds as you compete with licensed NASkarts. These specialized carts provide the quietest engine as well as being environmentally friendly. Come and see how you can handle your vehicle on the track with tickets to the Raccoon Mountain Caverns Go-Karts.
The city of Memphis offers travelers a hotbed of activity through a wide range of attractions. However, when Memphis is mentioned it is almost impossible to not have certain thoughts come to mind: Beale Street, barbecue, Graceland and the mighty Mississippi River. And it is with that thought in mind that we’ve highlighted the various ways to enjoy some of Memphis’ most popular landmarks and attractions during your next visit.
Blues City Cafe
Located directly on Beale Street, Blues City Cafe offers a first-hand look at Memphis’ most renowned street and a taste of some of the city’s popular barbecue. Ribs are obviously at the front of the menu when you visit Bleus City Cafe, though visitors will also find other area favorites including fried catfish and live music served up at the Blues City Cafe. If you’re looking for great food and great times that represent the culture of Memphis, then look no further than the Blues City Cafe.
Memphis Riverboats Sightseeing Cruise
Engrained as a focal point of the Midwest’s history, the Mississippi River offers a unique trip through not only the city of Memphis but our nation’s past. Whether passing by the Pyramid or retracing steps of the Civil War, this encompassing tour can provide a brief glimpse into the far reaching history of the Mississippi River while in Memphis.
Elvis Presley’s Graceland Platinum Experience
The home of Memphis’ prodigal son still stands as one of Memphis’ focal draws in terms of tourism, and easily one of the most popular private residences throughout the nation. Simply put, you can’t pass up a visit to Graceland while in Memphis. From uncovering the intimate details of Elvis’ life to merely understanding the effect he had worldwide, you’ll come away from a visit to Graceland understanding Elvis on a number of levels
Come and see the impressive New York City Marathon on November 2 where over 35,000 athletes will be racing across all five boroughs. The runners will cross over five bridges and will be watched by over two million spectators along their course through New York City’s streets. Whether you want to participate in the marathon or cheer on the athletes, this experience is sure to be remembered. There are also plenty of expos, banquets, and parties held on the days before and after the race so you can have days to celebrate!
You can enjoy plenty of other activities in the New York City area with tours, shows, and sightseeing opportunities. Perhaps a culinary tour would be to your liking! New York City is known for their pizza and with A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour, you can taste the finest in the area. This 4 ½ hour guided tour takes you through famous pizza joints like Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, L&B Spumoni Gardens and more. You won’t see just pizza on this bus ride, you’ll catch glimpses of the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island, Trump Village as well as movie sites for “Saturday Night Fever,” “Annie Hall,” and more. Climb aboard this pizza tour that offers so much more than just a filling meal!
New York City is so full of side streets and junctions that you may have a hard time finding your way around! With the Downtown Hop On / Hop Off Double Decker Tour provides transportation to all of the famous New York City Pass with unlimited hop on and hop off privileges for a 24-hour period. The double decker bus makes stops at Times Square, Madison Square Garden, SoHo, Chinatown, the Theatre District and many more! Don’t get lost in the Big Apple during your vacation, enjoy the chance to hear some interesting facts as you cruise the streets to your next stop.
Come and celebrate Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg with the Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show where you can see different artists and craftspeople show their holiday wares from November 26-November 30. Whether you want to showcase some of your own work or browse the exhibits of others, there is plenty to see and do in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community in Gatlinburg. This specific community stretches over an 8-mile radius with over 80 studios and you can be sure that it will be packed! Browse through jewelry, leather, candy, and pottery that you can use to decorate or give as a holiday present. Come and participate in this one-of-a-kind event that brings the community together for the holiday season.
While visiting Gatlinburg, get into the holiday spirit with tickets to see The Miracle. This touching show portrays the life of Jesus Christ with over 100 actors, singers, and dancers. From his birth to his resurrection, this Bible story turned stage performance is riveting. Whether you want a spiritual experience while vacationing or you want to see an excellent performance, The Miracle is a great option.
Families can enjoy the Black Bear Jamboree Dinner & Show with a hearty menu of either southern style chicken or Barbecue Ribs with all of the fixings. Enjoy the legend of the Black Bear Jamboree with gospel, bluegrass, and oldies as you sing and laugh along with the performers. The theater has the latest in effects such as high-quality sound, lasers, and more! Come and see one of the largest performing casts in the Smoky Mountains.