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20 Top Holiday Activities & Events in Baltimore for Families

Holidays Things to Do Baltimore
Photo Courtesy of Baltimore Christmas Village Photo Courtesy of Baltimore Christmas Village

It's the most wonderful time of the year in Baltimore! Don't miss out on all the magic the holiday season has to offer. From the over-the-top Miracle on 34th Street holiday lights to an authentic German Christmas Market and a maritime parade, Baltimore is full of unique holiday family fun you don't want to miss. Create unforgettable holiday memories with our top picks for Baltimore seasonal events, festivals, and activities the whole family will love.

1.     Christmas Village in Baltimore's Inner Harbor
Modeled like a traditional German Christmas market and located in the beautiful picturesque Baltimore Inner Harbor, is the Christmas Village. Experience the seasonal charm with more than 50 booths selling traditional European food, sweets, and drinks. Shop for a variety of international gifts, ornaments, and high-quality arts and crafts in this delightful Christmas Village setting.  The market runs from Nov. 22nd – Dec. 24th. 

Baltimore Christmas Village
Photo Courtesy of Baltimore Christmas Village

2.     Holiday Music Performances and Sing-Alongs
Bring your senses to life this season as you listen to the sounds of live holiday music in the charming, historic venues of the Baltimore area. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Christmas for Kids, Presented by Baltimore Choral Arts Society: The acclaimed cultural institution, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, delivers a fabulously fresh performance for the entire family. Sing-along during this fun-filled program that features lovable Pepito-the-Clown in a new holiday story. Performance takes place at 11 a.m. on December 15th at Goucher College in their Kraushaar Auditorium. 

Vienna Boys Choir at the Modell Lyric: Bask in the serene sounds of this gifted young group that has been enchanting music lovers around the globe for over six centuries. Hear their angelic voices as they perform Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, popular songs, and holiday favorites. Performance is one night only on December 10th. 

A Candlelight Christmas at the Strathmore: In the extraordinary acoustics of Strathmore, experience this popular holiday program presented by The Washington Chorus accompanied by a brass ensemble and organ. The program features traditional Christmas carols, contemporary compositions, sing-alongs, and a candlelight processional. 

TUBACHRISTMAS at the Harborplace Amphitheatre – FREE: Listen to the reverent sounds of tubas and euphonium performing traditional holiday music at Baltimore’s 34th annual TUBACHRISTMAS. This year’s performance date is December 15th. Click HERE for times and more information.

3.     Harbor Holiday Spectacular by MIX 106.5 at Baltimore Museum of Industry
It's family holiday fun overload at this festive event hosted by MIX 106. 5! Admission ticket includes entrance to the Baltimore Museum of Industry, strolling entertainment, holiday movies, and festive music. The celebration takes place on December 16th from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

4.     The 46th Annual Mayor's Annual Christmas Parade in Hampden, MD - FREE
A Hampden annual tradition, this parade runs a 2.5-mile route with approximately 160 marching units, featuring floats, Harley Davidson motorcycles, a steam calliope, Miss Yuletide and Jr. Miss Yuletide, local Radio and TV hosts, and of course Santa! The parade is on December 2nd at 1 p.m. For more information and parade route click HERE.

Mayor's Christmas Parade
Photo Credit: ©Buckleman Photography

5.    47th Annual Monument Lighting at Mount Vernon Place
Witness the spectacular tradition of the annual Washington Monument lighting. Festivities of the evening include a holiday village, caroling, food, cheer, photos with Santa, live performances and so much more! A fun night out for the whole family. Mark your calendars for December 6th from 5-8 p.m. and stick around for a firework finale at 8 p.m. For more information click HERE.

Monument Lighting
Photo Courtesy of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore

6.     Parade of Lighted Boats
Hosted by the Fells Point Yacht Club, the 31st annual Parade of Lighted Boats will illuminate Baltimore waterways this holiday season. See the dazzling lights reflecting on the water as 50+ vessels parade from Anchorage Marina at 6 p.m. and reaching the Inner Harbor by 6:30 p.m. Event date is December 1st. Proceeds raised benefits Toys for Tots. For more information please click HERE.

7.     National Aquarium 4D Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Enjoy the classic holiday tale of Rudolph in a whole new way at the National Aquarium. The 4D Immersion film will bring you closer to the action through sights, sounds, and smells. Click HERE for more information and showtimes.

8.     B&O’s Magical Holiday Express
The B&O Railroad Museum celebrates with new holiday themes and family fun activities, including a 30-foot walk-through Christmas tree in the center of the historic roundhouse. The Magical Holiday Express festivities run from Dec. 1st - 31st. Click HERE for times and more information.

B&O Railroad
Photo Courtesy of B&O Railroad Museum

9.     Light Festivals in the Baltimore Area
The holiday season would not be complete without enjoying the twinkling lights on display around the area. Check out Baltimore's magnificent light displays to get your family into the holiday spirit. Here are some of our top picks with links to save you up to 35% off admission.

Symphony of Lights in Columbia, Maryland: Take a drive through this dazzling display of more than 100 larger-than-life animated and stationary holiday light creations. Proceeds from the event will benefit Howard County General Hospital. Event runs from Nov. 22nd – Dec. 30th (Wednesdays – Sundays). Closed on Sunday, December 2nd. For more information and times click HERE.

Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point Park in Annapolis, MD: An annual treat for the whole family, now in its 25th year! Enjoy a scenic drive along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay with the roadways illuminated and more than 60 spectacular animated and stationary displays. Along with the popular classics, guests will be treated to two new themes this year: North Pole Train Station and Penguins & Friends. Proceeds benefit SPCA of Anne Arundel County.

Winter Festival of Lights in Watkins Regional Park: With more than 2.5 million twinkling lights and a giant 54-foot LED musical tree, this drive-through light festival is a holiday must-see. Catch the light displays Nov. 23rd - Jan. 1st from 5 - 8:30 p.m. For more information click HERE.

10.     Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden, Maryland - FREE
Now in its 72nd year, it all began the same year its namesake and now classic movie, Miracle on 34th Street premiered. Rich in tradition, the 700 Block of 34th Street springs to life the Saturday after Thanksgiving with an abundance of lights, ornaments, and creative holiday decorations. See the wonder from Nov. 24th – Jan. 1. For parking information and hours click HERE.

11.     Holly Jolly Trolley Lights Tour in Downtown Baltimore 
Enjoy a 2-hour tour filled with music and festive lights as you cruise around in an old-fashioned trolley. The expert guided tour begins at Royal Sonesta at Harbor Court in downtown Baltimore and through the historic decorated streets and neighborhoods, complete with a trip to the spectacular 34th Street Annual Christmas Festival of Lights and the George Washington Monument. For ticket purchase and information click HERE

12.     3rd Annual Chanukah Hot Chocolate 5k at the JCC of Greater Baltimore 
Reward yourself with a cup of hot cocoa at the finish line! A healthy and exciting way for families to begin Chanukah celebrations with the 5k, 1-Mile Fun Run, and Family Day. For registration information click HERE.

13.    The Nutcracker and Other Festive Holiday Shows
Experience the magic of the season by attending a performance of the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker, or go more contemporary with one of these other festive options.

Babes in toyland
Photo Courtesy of Babes in Toyland

The Nutcracker by the Moscow Ballet at the Hippodrome Theatre: The whole family will adore this enchanting performance as the classic tale unfolds on stage. You will be whisked away on a fantastical journey of sight and sound into the world of The Nutcracker. For more information click HERE.

The Nutcracker presented by the Ballet Theatre of Maryland: Get carried away on an adventure from the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets with Baltimore's only professional ballet company. The Nutcracker is a must-see holiday family performance that will keep you coming back each year. For more information click HERE.

Elf the Musical at the Olney Theatre Center: Elf the Musical is a heartwarming family performance that encapsulates all the wonder and joy of the Christmas season based on the holiday hit movie, Elf. Select show dates through January 6th. 

Babes in Toyland at Goucher College: Back for its 53rd-anniversary production, this beloved classic musical will delight folks of all ages. This spectacular performance presented by Baltimore Actors’ Theatre’s cast of 100, along with a 20-piece orchestra will take you on a fantastical youthful journey! Performance dates are Dec. 1st and 2nd. 

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage at the Modell Lyric: Join the Peanuts' gang live on stage as they discover the true meaning of Christmas. The production features unforgettable music by Vince Guaraldi, along with beloved holiday carols performed by the Peanut characters. A treat for the whole family!

A Christmas Carol presented by Chesapeake Shakespeare Company: A best-selling, one-of-kind adaption of the classic ghost story where Ebenezer Scrooge lives in Victorian Baltimore. Celebrate local and Chesapeake history that will delight all ages and become an annual family tradition.  Performance dates from Dec. 7th - 23rd. For ticket information click HERE.

14.     Holiday Train Garden at the Fire Museum of Maryland
Train gardens are centuries-old German originated traditions from garden village holiday set-ups. Soon, train tracks sprouted up around the holiday gardens creating inescapable train-loving traditions. Experience the intricacies of train tracks in this festive train model layout. 

15.    Annual Kwanzaa Celebration at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Kwanzaa is a secular holiday celebration of traditional and cultural heritage by African Americans that takes place every year from Dec. 26th through Jan. 1st. Bring the family out to enjoy this one-day celebration with African dances, drumming performances, storytelling with puppets, workshops, lectures, craft activities and more. The date for this event is December 29th from Noon – 4 p.m. For more information click HERE.

16.     Port Discovery's Gingerbrick Decorating Event
Baltimore's premier children's museum is also a prime destination for holiday fun! Join the chefs from McCormick to decorate gingerbricks with tasty treats! Your finished gingerbrick will become part of the life-sized gingerbread houses on display at Port Discovery throughout the holiday season. How cool is that?! Event takes place on Dec. 1st and 8th from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Admission is free with museum entry. Click HERE for more information. Love Port Discovery? 

Port Discovery Gingerbrick
Photo Courtesy of Port Discovery

17.     Maryland Science Center's Sweet Street
Venture into a winter wonderland with a massive, hand-crafted, Maryland-themed gingerbread village! Visit the Science Center until January 6th to explore Sweet Street. Free with paid admission. For details click HERE.

18.    Outdoor Ice Skating
Grab your gloves and earmuffs, its time to create some holiday memories in Baltimore's outdoor rinks. Experience the magic with this fun, affordable family activity. 

Pandora Ice Rink at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor: Located between the Harborplace Pavilions in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Nearby concessions offer plenty of sweet treats and warm beverages for purchase. The rink is open Nov. 10th – Jan. 21st, weather permitting. Click HERE for more information and daily hours. Admission starts at $9 + skate rental.

The Avenue at White Marsh Rink: Located in Nottingham, Maryland this rink is surrounded by great restaurants and plenty of shops. The rink is open mid-Nov. – Feb., weather permitting. Click HERE for more information and daily hours. Admission starts at $8 + skate rental.

19.    Olde Tyme Christmas at Fells Point Main Street, Baltimore - FREE
Experience an unforgettable day in one of Baltimore’s most historic neighborhoods, as Santa arrives by boat to kick off the festivities! Prepare to be enchanted by the season as you stroll the holiday market, listen to Christmas caroling, marvel at the seasonal decor, join an eggnog contest and so much more! After the tree lighting, secure the perfect spot to watch the Parade of Lighted Boats that begins at 6 p.m. The event takes place on December 1st, from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. For more information click HERE.

20.    29th Annual Town of Bel Air Christmas Celebration - FREE 
Join in on the annual fun at the Town of Bel Air’s Christmas Celebration. There will be live music, a parade, free cookies, hot chocolate, miniature horses, a tree lighting, and also an extra special appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The celebration is on December 2nd starting at 2:30 p.m. (weather permitting). Click HERE for more information.

Giving experiences instead of things as gifts helps create lifelong memories. Check out our post on experience gifts for kids to learn more!

Tags: free cheap holiday Christmas fun kids families Baltimore


 

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