The holiday spirit radiates brilliantly during Winter City Lights in Olney, Maryland—a cherished tradition of locals in the DMV. On November 18, elves flip the switch on one of the largest holiday light spectacles in the country, setting the grounds of the Olney Boys and Girls Club Community Park aglow.
More than one million lights twinkling on 18 acres will dazzle you as you wind your way through the extravaganza, cameras in hand and awe in your eyes.
Winter City Lights in Olney is a walk-through experience along a 1.5-mile long mulched trail. The hike will take a minimum of 50 minutes, but may take longer based on the speed your group travels. Strollers are not allowed, and the path does feature some hills; therefore, there is also a mini lights trail for people desiring a shorter walk.
Guests will pass through magical lands including the Enchanted Forest, Willow World, Deck the Halls, North Pole, Gingerbread Trail, Swan Lake, and the Colored Lights Extravaganza.
Children—and the young at heart—will have fun spotting their favorites; teddy bears, reindeer, and snowmen all frolic with seasonal joy, surrounded by beautiful lighted trees, arches, ornaments, and other surprises.
The centerpiece of the event is a towering 52-foot tall Christmas tree, draped with a canopy of lights over the fire pits below. You can cozy up on a bale of hay around the flames to watch a light show programmed to music – complete with actual snow – every half hour.
A concession stand offers pizza, barbeque sandwiches, burgers, fries, funnel cakes, fried Oreos and Twinkies, along with hot chocolate to warm you as you explore the winter wonderland.
Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available by date. Winter City Lights is open from November 18-December 31; see their calendar for a complete schedule. Prices increase as it gets closer to Christmas or if you purchase last-minute, so be sure to plan ahead before loading up your sleigh and flying to Olney.
While buying your tickets, you can add on two different experiences, including axe throwing, which is available under a holiday-decorated timber frame pole barn. Adults and children alike will love the Penguin Plunge Snow Tube Ride, where your ticket earns you two hours of unlimited trips down the 15-foot high ice slick.
Both of these special activities sell out quickly, so booking ahead of time is recommended.
Besides the family memories you will create during your visit to Winter City Lights in Olney, it is heart-warming to know that your visit will also benefit the Olney Boys and Girls Club. The proceeds of this event go to the Club, who serves 10,000 area children each year.
Lead Photo Credit: Winter City Lights
About the Author
Heidi Glatfelter Schlag is a marketer, history lover, and traveler who can often be found exploring museums, parks, small towns, and farms. She founded Culture-Link Communications, where she helps local nonprofits and small businesses build their brands. Heidi lives in Frederick, MD, with her husband and two dogs.