For a fabulous family getaway filled with holiday spirit, head to the state of Maryland. From the coast to the mountains, many of Maryland’s cities and small towns offer extravagant light shows and Christmas events. Book a stay at one of many incredible Maryland vacation rentals today. That said, make Maryland your “merry land” with a Christmas trip to one of these great attractions.
Take a stroll along Baltimore’s 34th Street for a truly miraculous Christmas light display. For over 70 years, the Hampden neighborhood along 34th Street has ramped up its holiday lights and decorations to become the celebrated Christmas Street that it is today. Be sure to keep your eye out for fan favorites, such as the hub-cap tree, overhead train, and red Maryland crab mascot as you stroll along the sidewalk enjoying the show. The three-block display is vendor free to keep crowds moving, but nearby Cafe Hon is a great place to stop for a dinner of fresh Maryland seafood, including some of the best crab cakes around. If you have a second evening in the city, head to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in Baltimore’s harbor district for the annual Chesapeake City Winterfest, which runs from the end of November until mid-January. The Inner Harbor area offers ice skating, and Harbor East has rides on the B&O’s Magical Holiday Express train with holiday characters and plenty of family fun. Check the harbor district’s schedule for holiday movie nights, caroling opportunities, and the annual holiday parade.
2. Ocean City
Ocean City is best known for its fabulous beaches, but it also offers up a pretty awesome holiday light display. Starting Thanksgiving week and continuing through New Year’s Eve, over a million twinkle lights illuminate Ocean City’s Northside Park in thematic, animated displays of holiday splendor. Walk along the 1-mile trail, or ride through the display on the Winterfest Express train ride. Then warm up in the Winterfest Village with a cup of hot cocoa while your kids get their photos taken with Mr. Claus himself. Many of the shops along Ocean City’s iconic boardwalk stay open during Winterfest for holiday shopping, and Old Pro Golf offers two fun indoor mini golf courses for a little family-friendly competition. For ice skating, head to the Carousel Hotel, and enjoy whizzing around their large indoor rink. The hotel arena also hosts occasional free evening ice shows featuring local talent.
If you love music, consider a December getaway to the Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington for a magical illuminated Christmas forest and beautiful holiday music. Choose one of the many area vacation rentals as your home base, and then head to the Temple grounds to admire the twinkling trees and the extensive collection of international creches displayed along the pathways. To make reservations for seats at one of the Temple’s holiday concerts, stop in the visitors’ center on Stoneybrook Drive. Tickets aren’t necessary for strolling the holiday displays, which are open every evening from late November through New Year’s Eve. For another fun holiday experience, head over to NiMaste Yoga for one of their holiday open houses. NiMaste offers fun activities for both children and adults, holiday refreshments, and discounts on many of their products during these open house events. If your visit includes a Saturday, the Kensington Farmers Market is a must-see. Located in a historic railroad station, the market offers many locally produced products perfect for gift giving as well as local foods great for preparing fresh at your vacation rental.
For an annual installation with over 100 animated displays featuring over 300,000 eco-friendly LED bulbs, take a trip to Columbia, and visit the Symphony of Lights display. This drive-through display is perfect for little ones who can’t walk far. If you have older kids or are traveling with adults, check the event schedule for special nights when you can walk through the display. Other special attractions listed in the schedule include character visits, children’s activities, and a fireworks display. For a delicious dinner that both adults and children are sure to enjoy, stop in at the 5485 Restaurant and Bar. Its kids’ menu has plenty of options for picky eaters, and the restaurant is known for its beautiful holiday decor.
For an out-of-the-ordinary light display, head to Solomons for the annual Garden in Lights holiday light show at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center. The magical December-only display features wild animals, pirates, princesses, and more in twinkling lights in the woods. Every piece is one-of-a-kind, crafted right at the art center. Enjoy the nightly live entertainment and refreshments at the Hardesty Haven Holiday Cafe. The event also includes holiday pop-up shops for shopping and discounts in the Annmarie Gift Shop. While you’re at the center, be sure to head inside for a tour of the fabulous eclectic permanent collection and any traveling exhibits being displayed. Be sure to check out the Solomons’s event schedule for the time of your visit for other fun holiday activities, including the annual Lighted Boat Parade and the luminaria lit Christmas walk.
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