As you’d expect, attendance to Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights increases throughout the month of December. The Garden is closed Thanksgiving, Dec. 24 & 25, so the nights immediately preceding and after those dates can be very busy. Overall visitation tends to be higher on weekends, when the weather is nice, and when schools are out.  Although we plan for larger crowds, the weather is a huge factor and warm temps can really bring people out. During this busy time, we thank you in advance for your patience. Guest safety is our number one priority.A family enjoying Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights. Image by Caroline Martin

Please know GardenFest runs through Jan. 6, so there are many opportunities to visit. To avoid crowds, we suggest visiting early in December, on weeknights, and arriving either by 4:30 p.m. or after 8:30 p.m. However, we realize you may only be able to visit during “busy times.”

Here are some suggestions:

Carpool! We can’t emphasize it enough.

Check the traffic. Use Google Maps or Waze to get the best up-to-the-minute traffic info.

Consider an Alternate Route. Many people travel to the Garden on Lakeside Avenue and on busy nights this can create back-ups. Consider other routes, for instance, Hilliard Road. Hilliard crosses Lakeside Avenue and it connects with Route 1, Woodman Road, Staples Mill Road (where it turns into Glenside Drive) and Broad Street (and I-64.)

On our busiest nights, for safety reasons and to keep traffic moving as efficiently as possible, Henrico police may at times require incoming and exiting vehicles to make right turns only and will direct traffic accordingly.Family at Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights Garrett Nasrallah

*NOTE: There are pedestrian cross-walks at Lakeside and Hilliard. If you choose to park near the Garden and walk-in, please use caution: watch out for traffic, keep an eye out for children, bring a flashlight and please be aware the Garden is not responsible for traffic control off-site. If parking in the neighborhoods, please be considerate of our neighbors and do not block roads and driveways. As always, please be mindful of your belongings.

Come early. To best manage our high visitation, we encourage arriving at 4 p.m. Please note GardenFest admission fees go into effect at 4 p.m. When you come early, you can watch the magic as the sun sets and the lights begin to shine.

Parking: Please patient with parking and allow extra time. Looking at historical data and weather, we can usually (but not always) predict busy nights and we hire Henrico County Police to direct traffic. If the Garden’s parking lots fill, the gates will be temporarily closed (usually about 30 minutes) to allow visitors to leave and spaces to become available.  If gates are closed, you may want to check out lights in nearby Lakeside/Glen Allen neighborhoods and return later.

Buy tickets in advance: Buying tickets online allows visitors to have their online tickets scanned at a Remote Entry location, by-passing the Visitors Center and directly entering the Garden. Remote Entry is open on evenings when we expect high visitation, based on historical data.  You can also purchase tickets at the Garden during the day (9 a.m. – 10 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Dec. 24 & 25 when the Garden is closed).

We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding.