Create New Traditions With These Holiday Events in Maryland
Just like that, the holidays are here! Whether you’re looking for family fun, a romantic evening, or getting together with friends, these holiday events are sure to make this season the best one yet.
Zoo Lights at the Maryland Zoo – Baltimore
November 18th – January 1st
The adventure and excitement of the zoo meet the magic and warm feelings of the holidays with the annual Zoo Lights display at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. The light displays include lit-up archways, tunnels, pathways, decorated trees, and life-sized displays of animals and their habitats. In the holiday spirit, ticket sales will benefit the Maryland Zoo’s animal conservation efforts.
German Christmas Village at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor – Baltimore
November 24th – December 24th
Taste the holidays in Germany without leaving the East Coast by visiting the German Christmas Village at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Mirroring the style and feel of a traditional German Christmas market, you’ll find many wooden vendor booths adorned with holiday lights selling homemade and small business goods.
You’ll never be too many steps away from stalls selling bratwurst, latkes, crepes, bavarian pretzels, and more. Even on a chilly evening, you can keep warm with a collectible mug filled with mulled wine, hot chocolate, or a warm cider.
The Polar Express Train Ride – Cumberland & Frostburg
November 25th – December 24th
All aboard the Polar Express! Enjoy a beloved holiday book and movie, The Polar Express, like never before. The Western Maryland Scenic Train offers a Polar Express Train Ride full of magic, entertainment, and holiday sweets.
The hour-long train features music from the movie, dancing, and a reading of the Polar Express. Trains travel in Cumberland and Frostburg and offer a variety of seating packages.
The Nutcracker Ballet – Frederick
December 9th – 11th
This holiday season, get dressed up for a night at the theatre to see the Nutcracker Ballet at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, Maryland. The classic holiday story of sugar plum fairies and a toy brought to life are performed by dancers in the New York City Ballet and the local Frederick School of Classical Ballet. (Fun fact: You can also see the Hip Hop Nutcracker rendition of the beloved story performed at the Strathmore Arts Center in Bethesda, December 19th – 22nd.)
Festival of Lights – Kensington
December 1st – January 2nd
Surround yourself with colorful, bright displays of over 400,000 lights at the Festival of Lights at the Washington D.C. LDS Temple in Kensington. After walking between and under light displays and decorated trees, you can also enjoy an array of performances from singers, dancers, and instrumentalists from around the world. Performances, parking, and entering the grounds are all free of charge.
Annual Kwanzaa Celebration – Annapolis
Black history and culture in Maryland can be celebrated and learned about all year long at the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis. On December 10th, you can join the museum in its Annual Kwanzaa Celebration. During the event, you can learn about Kwanzaa while enjoying local foods and performances. The celebration will also highlight the museum’s newest exhibition, titled the Radical Voice of Blackness Speaks of Resistance and Joy, which features work by multiple Black Maryland-based artists.
Lighted Boat Parade – St. Michaels
Nothing says the holidays in Maryland quite like the Lighted Boat Parade in St. Michaels. Feel the holiday cheer as the Chesapeake Bay reflects the whimsical and creative holiday light creations aboard.
From Santa being chased by a shark to festive crabs, no two boat displays will be the same. Choose from 5 prime viewing areas ashore to get the most out of the parade. You can enjoy the small coastal town feel of St. Michaels all weekend long, as the harbor town also offers a holiday market and street parade.
Jingle All the Way Run & Walk 5K – Mardela Springs
Get festive and active for the Jingle All the Way Run & Walk 5K in Mardela Springs. Whether dressed as Santa, an elf, or other holiday-themed costumes, the 5K is a great way to incorporate some fresh air into your holiday celebrations. Make the most of your day by enjoying historical sites, getting food, or even making a short drive to the beach. More holiday-themed 5Ks and runs can be found throughout Maryland, including the Reindeer Run 5K in Aberdeen on December 24th.
Maryland Symphony Orchestra presents Home for the Holidays – Hagerstown
December 17th – 18th
Elevate your holiday music sing-alongs by attending the Maryland Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of Home for the Holidays. Home for the Holidays features live performances and sing-alongs of your holiday favorites. You can enjoy the show in person in the beautiful Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown or watch a live stream from the comfort of your home.
The Christmas parade in St. Michaels, Maryland. Photo Credit: Christmas in St. Michaels
About the Author
Dom is a world traveler turned part-time van lifer who loves brunch, the outdoors, and road trips. She is an educator and writer passionate about access and inclusion in travel. You can follow her van life travels on her Instagram @DomBriana.