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By Chrissy Lashaun & Kathleen Vaughn
Posted Dec 07, 2018
Posted Dec 07, 2018
We sent two of our MOM Squad ambassadors and their families to experience the Christmas Village in Baltimore. They received free admission in exchange for providing an honest review of their experience.
The Christmas Village in Baltimore is an authentic, festive German-style outdoor/indoor Christmas market with unique gifts, vendors, food and entertainment.
Chrissy: Upon entering the Village I immediately felt like I was really in Germany! The music, scenery, people, and scents in the air created the setting of an authentic Christmas village. Our first stop was the indoor portion to check out any entertainment on the stage and to see what cool vendors were there. Inside, Santa Claus had just finished reading stories to the crowd. While we didn’t hear the actual stories, Santa had quite an audience that seemed entertained by him -- judging by the applause that he was awarded upon leaving the stage.
Kathleen: There is a large heated tent with a number of vendors selling both German goods and American wares. Inside of the heated tent, you will find German food vendors, a beer garden and Kathe Wohlfahrt, which is Germany’s top Christmas ornament and decor company.
Our family enjoyed looking at the vendor booths and our children loved to see the traditional wooden ornaments and German wares. Our kids were given a brief history of the goods by one of the vendors.
Chrissy: My children are 5 and 8, and of course the first thing that caught their eyes was face painting.The face painter was quick, efficient, detailed, and moderately priced for a festival. Face painting costs were $6, $8 and $10. My children both picked designs that were $6/each and we were more than pleased with how they turned out.
Right next to the face painter was a balloon twister, which was our next stop. There was not a set cost for the balloon twisting but a top hat was present for tips. We tipped $1 per child and he was grateful and not expectant at all.
Kathleen: After touring the vendor's inside of the tent, we enjoyed lunch from The German Grille. We tasted the bratwurst with sauerkraut, the meatloaf burger, and our children loved the hot soft pretzels. We sat at the tables in front of a small stage where we were able to enjoy the sounds of the season from a local singer. We also enjoyed German beer and hot apple wine while our children sipped hot chocolate in commemorative mugs.
Chrissy: After getting our balloon twisted animals we hung around and listened to a street music player. My 5-year-old really enjoyed the array of instruments that the one-man-band let her join in on while playing Christmas carols.
Kathleen: After enjoying lunch and music we continued our experience outside. Outside there is a beautiful Christmas tree surrounded by outdoor vendors in little houses. We were also able to say hello to Santa Claus and check out additional food vendors.
We strolled along the Harbor where more vendors lined the walk along the Inner Harbor. At the end, there was a large Ferris Wheel for children and adults alike to enjoy!
Getting There and Getting In:
Chrissy: The location was very easy to find. The Village sits next to the Science Center and is accessible from multiple entry points in the Inner Harbor. We parked directly across the street in the Royal Sonesta Hotel. I highly recommend using this parking garage. If you obtain a parking ticket from the information booth inside of the Christmas Village, parking will be just $8. The Christmas Village is also metro accessible with the closest stop Charles Center Station. Walk three blocks south till you reach E. Pratt St. and take a left, this will lead you right into the Inner Harbor.
We went on a Sunday around 3 p.m. and there was not a long wait to get inside...the line moved right along.
Kathleen: Finding the Christmas Village was very easy due to the large tents along the Inner Harbor. Easy landmarks to look for include The Maryland Science Center and the Ripley's Believe it or Not! Museum. Parking was readily accessible due to surrounding parking garages. Directly across the street there is parking at SP + Harbor Court Garage at 30 E Lee Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. Bring your parking ticket to the Information Booth (just inside the large heated tent) and you will receive a discounted parking validation. Parking was only $8.00 with validation.
We visited the Village on a Saturday morning at 11 a.m. when it was opening for the day. The lines were very short and we waited less than 5 minutes to get into the main heated tent.
Recommended Age Range:
Chrissy: My children are 5 and 8. If you would like to really enjoy, take in and hang out in the village, take children who won't complain of the lack of “kids things" to do.
Kathleen: We had five children in our group visiting, three 4-year olds and two 7-year-olds. I would not recommend an elementary-aged child due to the amount of shopping at vendors and the lack of ongoing children's programming.
Time Recommended to Enjoy Experience:
Chrissy: 2 hours max is all you need.
Kathleen: I believe you could experience it all within 2 hours.
Tips for Families:
Chrissy: If your children are picky eaters, pack a lunch. The food here is pretty much ALL German cuisine. We bought some warm candied peanuts, Belgian fries, sauerkraut, and pretzels. My children ate Belgian fries all afternoon after learning chicken tenders were not available inside the festival. There are plenty of areas to sit and snack on a brought-from-home lunch, however, due to the rain it was extremely muddy during our visit. Please be aware of the weather when you want to visit because you will lose out on seating, as the tables were all in the muddy grass puddles.
There were not a whole lot of children activities. While there is a Ferris wheel close by, we didn’t leave the village area to explore it.
Kathleen: Plan for the weather. The large tent is heated but there are a number of vendors and photo opportunities outside.
Both the children and the adults in our group were disappointed by the lack of kids activities occurring. There was a planned children's lantern parade for 4 p.m., but no other activities before that time. The only activity geared towards children while we were there was pictures with Santa.
Chrissy: There is so much to do nearby! The Inner Harbor has tons of restaurants, shopping options, and cool attractions to see, like Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum.
Kathleen: The Christmas Village is in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore so there are many activities that surround the Village. Some of our favorite ways to make this excursion a whole day trip would be to pair your visit with a visit to The National Aquarium or The Maryland Science Center, both within walking distance from the Christmas Village.
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