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The Best Holiday Activities and 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.

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. 28th – Dec. 24th. Weekday admission is free.

Save 50% off admission for select weekends in December HERE or 50% off tickets to the Lantern Parade with St. Nicholas on December 7th HERE

Baltimore Christmas Village
Photo Courtesy of Baltimore Christmas Village

Kennedy Krieger Institute's Festival of Trees at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium

Kick off your holiday season at the 30th annual Festival of Trees, a three-day, family event taking place this year November 29th - December 1st, featuring more than 800 uniquely-decorated holiday trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses, plus live entertainment, games and carnival rides, LEGO play area, over 100 gift boutiques, and SANTA! Proceeds benefit Kennedy Krieger Institute, an internationally recognized institution located in Baltimore that is dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults with pediatric developmental disabilities and disorders. Grab your coupon to save $2 off Adult or Senior admission.

Kennedy Krieger Festival of Trees
Kennedy Krieger Institute Festival of Trees

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:

Vienna Boys Choir Presents Christmas in Vienna at The Meyerhoff: Bask in the serene sounds of this gifted young group that has been enchanting music lovers around the globe for over five centuries. Hear their angelic voices on Thursday, December 12th at 7:30 p.m. as they perform Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, popular songs, and holiday favorites. Save up to 50% off tickets. 

Christmas for Kids: The Baltimore Scrooge, Presented by Baltimore Choral Arts Society: A fabulously fresh reimagined rendition of Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol, starring Pepito the Clown as the Baltimore Scrooge! Performance takes place on Sunday, December 15th at 3 p.m. at Alumni Auditorium at Gilman School. Click HERE for more information.

Strathmore Children's Chorus: Great American Folksong for the Holidays: On Sunday, December 8th at 4 p.m., Strathmore Children's Chorus performs folk arrangements of holiday gems that celebrate the spirit of the season accompanied by roots musicians on guitar, banjo, fiddle, and hammered dulcimer. Tickets are $16 - $26.

TubaChristmas at the Harborplace Amphitheatre – FREE: Celebrating its 35th season, this unique Baltimore family holiday musical tradition will take place this year on Saturday, December 21st at 3:30 p.m. Come hear a concert of Christmas carols performed by over 200 tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players at the Inner Harbor! Click HERE for more information.

Town of Bel Air Christmas Parade and Winter Wonderland - FREE 

Get in the holiday spirit at the Town of Bel Air’s 30th Annual Christmas Celebration. On Sunday, December 1st, the fun kicks off with a concert on Main Street at 2:30 p.m., followed by the parade at 3:30 p.m. down Main Street and ending in Shamrock Park. The festivities then continue throughout the evening with a community bonfire and sing-a-long at 4:30 p.m. in Shamrock Park with free cookies and hot chocolate and the annual tree lighting at 5 p.m. at Town Hall.

Celebrate the season all month long at the Winter Wonderland at the Bel Air Armory. Fred Ward Armory Park will be lit by 30,000 holiday lights for the community to enjoy each night from 5 - 10 p.m., November 30th - January 1st. Every Saturday from Thanksgiving through Christmas, guests can also enjoy visits with Santa and carriage rides and hot cocoa in the park. Bel Air's downtown shopping experience will also be elevated for the holidays with a special Winter Wonderland Pop-Up on Lee Street, featuring items from local artisans.

48th Annual Monument Lighting at Mount Vernon Place - FREE

Come on down to Mount Vernon Place on Thursday, December 5th from 5 - 8 p.m. to experience this annual Baltimore holiday tradition! The West Park will be transformed into a holiday village with food and community vendors; the North Park will be merry with food trucks and bars; and the South Park will feature family-friendly food vendors, children's crafts, face painting, photos with Santa, and more. Click HERE for more information.

Monument Lighting
Photo Courtesy of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore

Sock Monkey Saturday at American Visionary Art Museum - FREE

Join in this warm, fuzzy Baltimore tradition! On December 7th from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., bring two pair of clean, colorful socks (one for you; one to donate) and scissors to the American Visionary Art Museum and get ready to make your very own adorable Sock Monkey! Instructions, stuffing, sewing needles, thread, and baubles will be provided. 

Sock Monkey Saturday at the American Visionary Art Museum
Sock Monkey Saturday Photo Courtesy of American Visionary Art Museum

Holiday Parade at THE AVENUE at White Marsh - FREE

Get in the holiday spirit at the 21st Annual Holiday Parade at THE AVENUE at White Marsh, featuring local high school marching bands, street performers, mascots, dance troops, and the big man himself - SANTA! After the parade, head to THE AVENUE's ice rink to skate for a special skate with Santa. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. on December 7th.

Baltimore Parade of Lighted Boats - FREE

The 32nd annual Parade of Lighted Boats will illuminate Baltimore waterways this holiday season on December 7th. View the dazzling lights reflected on the water as over 50 decked-out vessels parade through the Inner Harbor, Fells Point and Canton. This parade departs from Anchorage Marina on Boston Street with carols hosted by a local choir prior to the launch, and arrives at the Inner Harbor at approximately 6:30 p.m. Follow event sponsor, Fells Point Yacht Club on Facebook for more information. 

Pagoda Lighting at Patterson Park - FREE

Experience the breathtaking beauty as Patterson Park’s beloved pagoda comes to life with dazzling lights for the holidays! The magic happens on December 8th, and the event will also feature live music, food trucks, local gift vendors, Santa and other holiday characters, a toy drive and more! Click HERE for more information. 

The 47th 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 2019 parade is on Sunday, December 8th at 1 p.m. For more information and parade route click HERE.

Mayor's Christmas Parade
Photo Credit: ©Buckleman Photography

Chanukah Hot Chocolate 5k at the JCC of Greater Baltimore

On Sunday, December 8th, race to the finish line and reward yourself with a cup of hot cocoa! Starting on the JCC's Owings Mills campus and winding through the local community, this scenic (and mostly flat!) run is a healthy and exciting way for families to begin Chanukah celebrations. For registration information click HERE.

National Aquarium Diving Santa Claus

Santa and his elves will bring holiday cheer to the residents and guests of the National Aquarium on December 19th, 23rd and 24th! Visit the Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit between 1 - 1:30 p.m. to see Santa and his crew scuba diving with the habitat's 1,000 resident tropical fish! Click HERE for more information.

B&O’s Magical Holiday Express 2019: Tidings in Transit

This month-long holiday favorite returns to the B&O Railroad Museum with a whole new theme for 2019. Tidings in Transit celebrates both the story of the B&O and the spirit of giving by festively highlighting the four major regions along the railroad's original route and raising donations for four wonderful charities. Enjoy live entertainment; train rides with Santa, Frosty, or Winter Princesses; model train exhibits and more. The festivities run from December 2nd - 31st. Click HERE for times and more information.

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

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 50% off admission.

Ice & Fire Festival at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods
Ice & Fire Festival: A Winter Wonderland at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods

NEW! Ice & Fire Festival: A Winter Wonderland at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods in Columbia, Maryland: Brand new for 2019, Symphony Woods has been transformed into a light-filled winter fantasy land with a light forest, light maze, magical creatures, fire pits, yummy seasonal treats to enjoy, and, of course, Santa! The fun takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from November 30th through December 22nd. Save up to 50% off admission. 

Symphony of Lights at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland: Take a drive through this dazzling display of more than 100 larger-than-life animated and stationary holiday light creations at Merriweather Post Pavilion. There are also specialty nights where families and pups can experience the lights up close on foot. Symphony of Lights runs from November 27th - January 1st, 2020, and a portion of the proceeds benefits Howard County General Hospital. Save 35% off Symphony of Lights admission Mondays - Thursdays.

Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point Park in Annapolis, MD: An annual treat for the whole family, now in its 26th year! Enjoy a scenic two-mile drive along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay with the roadways illuminated and more than 70 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.This year's theme: Swashbuckling High Seas Adventure. Save 40% off admission plus 3D glasses to add to your viewing experience with this CertifiKID Deal

Winter Festival of Lights in Watkins Regional Park: Experience this drive-through holiday light show with more than a million twinkling lights and a giant 54-foot LED musical tree - a holiday must-see! Catch the light displays Nov. 29, 2019 - Jan. 1, 2020 from 5 - 9:30 p.m. For more information click HERE.

Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden, Maryland - FREE

Now in its 73rd 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 this year on November 30th with an abundance of lights, ornaments, and over-the-top holiday decorations. Experience the wonder every day starting around 5:45 p.m. through December 31st. The lights will be left on all night on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. For directions and parking click HERE.

Miracle on 34th Street Baltimore
Miracle on 34th Street Photo by Jason Varney

Holly Jolly Trolley Lights Tour in Downtown Baltimore 

Enjoy a two-hour tour on an old fashioned trolley tour filled with music, festive light displays and beautiful neighborhood decorations. The expert guided tour begins at Royal Sonesta at Harbor Court in downtown Baltimore and continues 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

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

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker 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. Save up to 20% off tickets for The Great Russian Nutcracker December 13th and 14th performances in Baltimore.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker at Strathmore: Back by popular demand, this unique, remixed performance of the holiday classic is set in modern day New York City and features hip-hop dancers, a DJ, a violinist and innovative visual effects to take you on a journey that celebrates love and community. Performances take place December 17th - 19th and tickets start at $33.

A Magical Cirque Christmas at the UMBC Event Center: The producers of Broadway's smash hit The Illusionists have brought together the world's greatest entertainers for a spell-binding holiday production. Experience the magic of Christmas with dazzling performances by cirque artists accompanied by your favorite holiday music performed live. Save 53% off tickets for this November 27th performance.

Lightwire Theater: A Very Electric Christmas at The Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick: Watch dancing toy soldiers, caroling worms and performing pointsettias light up the stage in this unique and truly electrifying holiday performance! Save up to 47% off tickets for this Sunday, December 1st performance.

Babes in Toyland at Goucher College: Performed by the Baltimore Actors' Theatre at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium in Towson, this beloved classic musical will delight folks of all ages! See the dolls and toys come to life on December 7th and 8th at 2 p.m. Save 35% off tickets to Babes in Toyland

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at The Modell Lyric: See the beloved TV classic come to life on stage starring all of your favorite characters from the special, including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and, of course, Rudolph! Save up to 47% off tickets for this December 23rd performance at 6 p.m.

A Christmas Carol presented by Chesapeake Shakespeare CompanyA 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 December 6th - 24th. For ticket information click HERE.

Holiday Train Garden at the Fire Museum of Maryland in Lutherville

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 at the Fire Museum of Maryland from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on the following dates: November 30th and December 7th, 14th, 21st, and 27th - 30th. Your kiddos can also take photos with Santa in a fire chief's sleigh on November 30th and December 14th from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Save 56% off admission to the Fire Museum of Maryland.

Gingerbrick Decorating and Winter Break: Pajama Party Palooza at Port Discovery Children's Museum

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 GIANT gingerbread house on display at Port Discovery throughout the holiday season. How cool is that?! Event takes place on December 7th and 14th from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is free with museum entry. Click HERE for more information. 

Port Discovery Gingerbrick
Photo Courtesy of Port Discovery

Once winter break rolls around, roll out of bed and straight to Port Discovery to take part in their Pajama Party Palooza - an over the top day filled with over-sized games, activities and family fun! Play with friendly monsters from under the bed, help create jammies for larger-than-life animal friends, race in pillow cases and skate in socks, and make and munch on "midnight" snacks as you watch a movie. Pajama Party Palooza runs from December 21st - January 1, 2020, but note that the Museum closes early at 4 p.m. on December 23rd, and is closed December 24th and 25th.

Maryland Science Center's Sweet Street

Venture into a winter wonderland with a massive, hand-crafted, Maryland-themed gingerbread village! Visit the Maryland Science Center from November 22nd - January 5th to explore Sweet Street and see how many Baltimore landmarks you can spot for yourself! Free with paid admission. For details click HERE.

Sweet Street at Maryland Science Center
Sweet Street Photo Courtesy of Maryland Science Center

Outdoor Ice Skating

Grab your gloves and earmuffs, its time to create some holiday memories at Baltimore's outdoor ice skating 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 2019 season runs from November 1st – January 20th. 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. Click HERE for more information and daily hours. Admission starts at $8 + $5 skate rental.

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 December 26th through January 1st. Bring the family to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum between 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. on December 28th to celebrate with African dances, drumming performances, storytelling with puppets, workshops, lectures, craft activities, and an African Marketplace celebrating the principle Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility. For more information click HERE.


For more family fun at affordable prices, check out our Baltimore family deals and coupons.

Tags: free cheap holiday Christmas fun kids families Baltimore


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