No Place Like B’More for the Holidays

Whether you’re celebrating the holidays, the end of exams, or both, Baltimore has something for everyone to enjoy this December. Take a break from studying for finals and visit one of these festive attractions — your mind will thank you later!

 

Washington Monument Lighting

600 block of North Charles St.

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, December 4, head over to Mount Vernon for the annual lighting of the Washington Monument from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event will feature area choirs, fireworks and refreshments.

 

Waterfront Partnership Ice Rink

McKeldin Plaza

November 21, 2014 – January 19, 2015

The ice rink is open and awaiting your arrival! Conveniently located in the Inner Harbor, the rink is only $9 for adults and $3 for a skate rental. If you get a group of 10 or more friends to join you, you each pay only $9 including skates (reservation required).

This is the first time the Inner Harbor has had an ice rink for about a decade. The opening of the ice rink this year is part of the 4th annual “It’s a Waterfront Life” movement, an effort to bring more people downtown during the holiday season.

The rink will be open seven days a week, even on holidays. You can find out their hours for each day here.

If you want to shop or eat near the Harbor after skating, your ice rink wristband can get you a ton of discounts at local restaurants and stores.

National Aquarium’s Holiday Celebration

On Friday, December 5 at 5 p.m., the National Aquarium’s annual event will feature music and dance performances, a holiday village with live music and crafts, and Kwanzaa and Hanukkah displays. Food and hot chocolate will be available, regular or spiked (for 21+ guests) for purchase.

 

Dollar Days

Maryland Science Center, National Aquarium, Top of the World, The Christmas Village

Visit these museums and exhibits on December 6th and 7th for just $1 each! What a deal! Tickets must be purchased onsite at each attraction.

For more information, please visit: godowntownbaltimore.com

 

The 41st Annual Mayor’s Christmas Parade

December 7, 2014: 1 PM

The Mayor’s Christmas Parade is a staple of North Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. Last year, over 25,000 people were in attendance for the festive event. This year, the parade will have floats, local TV and radio personalities, Harley Davidson motorcycles, local bands, Mummers of Philadelphia, Miss Yuletide and everyone’s favorite – Santa!

For more information and directions of the parade route, please visit: http://www.mayorschristmasparade.com

 

Hampden 34th Street Lights

While in Hampden, you must stay until 5 p.m. when the lights turn on along 34th Street. Known as the “Miracle on 34th Street”, (for Baltimoreans anyway) every year for the month of December, the residents of the 700 block of 34th Street all decorate their homes with a plentiful amount of lights and unique displays (nothing says festive like a hubcap Christmas tree). This year will be the 67th year of the lights, and they will be on everyday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, the lights will be on all night. Be sure to check out this classic, cheerful Baltimore event before you head home for the holidays!

Want more information? Please visit: http://www.christmasstreet.com

 

The Holly Jolly Trolley 

Departs from Pier 5 Hotel, 711 Eastern Avenue

From now until December 21, the holiday trolley will run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. to travel around Baltimore for a tour of the most decorated neighborhoods and attractions of the season, such as Hampden and Mount Vernon.

Purchase tickets in advance: www.tickets.baltimore.org

 

MICA Art Market 

Brown Center’s Leidy Atrium and Falvey Hall Lobby

1301 W. Mount Royal Ave

Between December 10 and 13, MICA will have its eighth annual art market with a plethora of illustrations, paintings, prints, posters, t-shirts, ceramics, jewelry, toys, wrapping paper, and more all designed and created by MICA students, alumni, faculty and staff. This is an awesome opportunity for guests to buy friends and a family a unique, one-of-a-kind gift for the season!

To find out more about the event, visit www.mica.edu

 

Hot Chocolate Happy Hour

Happy hour on a Tuesday, anyone? On December 9 and 16, Whole Foods Harbor East will offer complimentary hot chocolate “shots” and sweets street-side between 5 and 7 p.m. A perfect treat during holiday shopping!

For more information, visit www.harboreast.com

 

Moonlight Madness & Tree Lighting

Federal Hill Main Street

On Friday, December 12 from 8 p.m. to midnight, Baltimorean’s favorite holiday shopping event returns! Head down to Federal Hill to visit the local shops, galleries and businesses that will be open late and are offering specials, discounts and refreshments to get something for everyone on your list this holiday season! The shopping begins at 8 p.m., but don’t miss the evening kickoff tree lighting between 7 and 8 p.m.

For more information on participating stores and the event, visit www.historicfederalhill.org

 

Baltimore Chanukah Festival and Menorah Lighting

McKeldin Square

On December 20 at 7 p.m., head downtown to see Baltimore’s tallest Menorah! Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will be in attendance for the lighting of the Menorah and the event will include special performances, live music, latkes, jelly doughnuts, and more. Admission is free and open to the public.

The Symphony of Lights Puts on a Dazzling Display!

Every year over the holidays, the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia plays host to the Symphony of Lights. This annual event transforms Symphony Woods, the forested area surrounding the pavilion, into a drive-through magical light show. When the event started several years ago we ventured out to see this new attraction that had received such hype. Since then the event has grown in size, and we decided it was high-time to go back and check out how the light show had changed and whether we still found it so beautiful the second time around.

From the moment our car passed under the lighted archways, we were taken into another world, and it was easy to forget that the busy mall parking lot was just on the other side of the trees. We were greeted by larger than life light displays featuring a toy factory, a gingerbread house, and even elves loading gifts into Santa’s sleigh. But, what’s great about the light show was that it was about more than just Christmas, as nursery rhyme characters, and winter wonderland creatures were all prominently displayed to welcome visitors. Our absolute favorite part of the Symphony of Lights was the part where you were taken to a land where the deer are stars. Not only were there baby deer frolicking about, but the whole forest was transformed with hanging lights and we felt like we were riding through curtains of bright stars. (Think Tavern on the Green, but taken to a whole new level.) It’s truly a beautiful and awe-inspiring section of the tour.

The Symphony of Lights was great because it provided a warm way to enjoy some holiday spirit, and was a truly spectacular electrical feat. Plus, the tour had grown in size over the years, and it now takes about 30 minutes to ride through the whole show. It can be pricey ($20 a tour) but you get charged per carload, so you can pack all your friends into your car and then split the cost to make it cheaper. (As an added bonus, all proceeds go to support the Howard County General Hospital’s Prenatal and Maternity Ward.)

While this event only runs from Thanksgiving to just after New Year’s, it truly is a gemstone attraction for the Columbia area. A truly breath-taking light show, all from the comfort (and warmth) of your car, is definitely a holiday tradition we can get behind. We can’t wait for next year’s display!