Posted Nov 13, 2020
It's the most wonderful time of the year in Baltimore! This is a year like no other, and many of our beloved Baltimore holiday parades, events and attractions are canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, there's still lots of safe holiday family fun to be had - some events have gone virtual for the first time and some remain in-person with heightened safety precautions and capacity restrictions.
Check out our round up of the best Baltimore holiday events and activities for families for 2020.
Kennedy Krieger Institute's Festival of Trees - Virtual & FREE!
Kick off your holiday season at the 31st annual Festival of Trees, a three-day family event taking place virtually this year from November 27th - 29th. The fun is the same, but you get to enjoy it all from the comfort of your couch (and for free!). Shop online for one-of-a-kind decorated trees and wreaths and for unique gifts from dozens of vendors, or place an online bid for a variety of items - ranging from sports memorabilia to family fun packages. There will also be a virtual entertainment stage with family-friendly acts including two concerts by Grammy-nominated Milkshake, story time with local celebrities, a Nutcracker performance by Ballet Chesapeake, Q&A with Santa and more! Funds raised support education, research and medical and clinical services for over 25,000 children and families each year. Click HERE to get your free tickets.
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 where O-scale trains wind their way around a 20th Century Town. The Holiday Train Garden is open the following dates: November 28th and December 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th and 28th - 31st. Your can also take selfies with Santa on November 28th from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Holiday Festival of Trains at the B&O Railroad Museum
The holiday festivities kick off at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore on November 20th when the spacious Roundhouse is transformed into a festive wonderland featuring the B&O’s signature 35-foot Christmas tree, model train layouts, Santa’s winter village, and featuring rides on the Reindeer Railway. Visit the B&O through January 3rd to join in the holiday train magic. Special events throughout the month include the tree lighting ceremony on November 20th, Santa's arrival by train on November 27th, and several Breakfast With Santa events. Visit their holiday page for more information.
Photo Courtesy of B&O Railroad Museum
Sock Monkey Saturday at American Visionary Art Museum - Virtual/FREE
This warm, fuzzy Baltimore tradition continues this year - virtually! Gather your monkey-making supplies (list here) and watch AVAM's how-to video to create your own. Then, join AVAM via Zoom on either December 5th or 6th for a community sock monkey show-and-tell. Plus, AVAM monkey helpers will be on hand both days to answer questions about completing your monkey in progress. Register HERE for this free event.
Sock Monkey Photo Courtesy of American Visionary Art Museum
Baltimore Parade of Lighted Boats - Virtual/FREE
The 33rd annual Parade of Lighted Boats is ON, and will illuminate Baltimore waterways this holiday season on December 5th. View the dazzling lights reflected on the water as over 50 decked-out vessels parade through the Inner Harbor, Fells Point and Canton. Tree lighting, Christmas carols and holiday cheer will begin at 5 p.m. on P dock at Anchorage Marina. This event benefits the U.S. Marine Corp's Toys for Toys Program. Visit Anchorage Marina's website for more information.
Pagoda Lighting at Patterson Park - Virtual/FREE
Experience the breathtaking beauty as Patterson Park’s beloved pagoda comes to life with dazzling lights for the holidays! The 6th annual celebration will take place virtually this year on Sunday, December 6th at 6 p.m. with special songs, holiday messages and a special countdown and view of the lights. The Pagoda will remain lit through mid-January for in-person visits. Click HERE for more information and to view the virtual lighting ceremony.
Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade in Annapolis Harbor - FREE
Voted one of the “10 Best Holiday Parades” in a USA Today poll, this signature Annapolis holiday tradition will take place this year on December 12th from 6-8 p.m. Gather at your favorite place along the waterfront to celebrate the season by watching and cheering the merry spectacle of dozens of boats parading by illuminated with thousands of holiday lights and their jolly crews.
The Nutcracker - 20% Off Virtual Performance
For many of us, the holidays are not complete without attending a performance of this beloved ballet that’s as much fun for adults as it is for the kids. Unfortunately, this year, in-person performances of The Nutcracker will be hard to come by due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that one of our favorites has gone virtual this year, making it more accessible than ever for everyone to view -- right from your living room couch! The Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker: Christmas Stream debuts at 8 p.m. on December 19th and the content will remain available to view until January 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Bonus features include a live Zoom meet and greet with world-class artists, designers, and ceators of this cherished production as well as the opportunity to purchase keepsakes like nutcracker dolls and ornaments.
Symphony of Lights at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland
A Howard County tradition for 27 years! 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 (advance ticket purchase required - no walk ups this year). Symphony of Lights runs from November 25th - January 2nd and a portion of the proceeds benefits Howard County General Hospital. Special COVID safety rules and restrictions are in place this year. Please check their website for more information.
Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point Park in Annapolis, MD
Enjoy the magic this season and treat the family to the 27th annual holiday light show, sponsored by the SPCA of Anne Arundel County. A tradition for many area families, Lights on the Bay is a scenic two-mile drive along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay with more than 70 spectacular animated and stationary displays illuminating the roadway. This year's theme: North Pole Adventure.
Winter Festival of Lights in Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro
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 daily from November 27th - January 1st from 5 - 9:30 p.m. Visit the Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation website for more information.
Annual Monument Lighting at Mount Vernon Place - FREE
Come on down to historic Mount Vernon Place on Thursday, December 3rd from 5 - 8 p.m. to experience this annual Baltimore holiday tradition! While details about this year's event have yet to be released, this fun-filled evening, which takes place during the first week of December each year, typically features a holiday village, live performances and a spectacular fireworks display and light show. We anticipate changes for 2020 to comply with COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings and to comply with heightened health and safety precautions. Click HERE for updates.
Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden, Maryland - FREE
Now in its 74th 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 every year with an abundance of lights, ornaments, and over-the-top holiday decorations. Details have yet to be released this year due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, but the lights are typically up by November 30th and stay up through the end of the year, and are left on all night on both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Visit the Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden Hon Facebook page for updates.
Miracle on 34th Street Photo by Jason Varney
North Pole Lights Walk at Willow Oak Flower & Herb Farm in Severn
Take a self-guided walk along the Christmas trail to the North Pole while making your way through different light displays along the way. Delight in viewing the garden flower lights, forest animals and many more as you journey to the North Pole. Santa will be outside to visit with children from afar. The kiddos can also put a letter in Santa's mail box! The trail is open from November 27th - December 23rd.
Looking for more holiday fun? Check out our roundup of free and cheap holiday fun for families in Washington, D.C.
CertifiKID was founded by a mom with a passion for helping parents provide the best experiences for their children on a budget. From outings to adventures, classes to camps, theater to sporting events, amusement parks to getaways, CertifiKID provides the best family-friendly experiences at unbeatable prices. Sign up for family-friendly deals in your area and start saving!
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