Baltimore’s 34th street offers an impressive collection of light displays.
If you’re looking for a way to get in the holiday mood in Baltimore, you don’t need to look far. The city hosts a large variety of events throughout the holiday season. Whether you want to catch a Christmas flick, go shopping for some artsy gifts or take the family to see some breathtaking lights, Baltimore has it all. Does this Spark an idea?
Mayor’s Annual Christmas Parade
Each year early in December, Baltimore welcomes the holiday season with a Christmas parade. About 25,000 people attend to watch the 2.5-mile parade with approximately 160 marching groups and, of course, Santa Clause. The parade features the Baltimore Marching Ravens, a fleet of motorcycles, marching bands, floats and dancers. The parade also features “Miss Yuletide” and “Junior Miss Yuletide”, beauty contest winners. The parade is held mid-afternoon in the Medfield-Hampden neighborhood.
If you’re looking to get out and find some crafty holiday goods, Baltimore has numerous options. The Holiday Artist Market is an indoor arts and crafts fair with local and regional artists selling their work. It takes place during the “Frosty Friday” in downtown Frederick. Frosty the Snowman typically drops in, and holiday entertainment is provided. The Charm City Craft Mafia sponsors “Holiday Heap” held at St. John’s Church. Local vendors offer novel gifts.
Go See the Lights
Baltimore offers several enticing options to see some eye-catching Christmas lights. Miracle on 34th Street runs from November 24 through New Year’s Eve. It includes an entire street of private homes bedecked in Christmas lights. It’s located in Hampden, and there’s not cost. Simply get in line behind the other cars driving through and enjoy the lights. You might also want to park nearby and walk around the neighborhood instead. Instead of a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, stroll down to the lighting of The Washington Monument the first week of December. Entertainment includes fireworks, hot cocoa and other beverages and, of course, the lighting. Little Italy also holds a tree-lighting ceremony. It’s also held the first week in December. Santa pays a visit, as do carolers. Feast on roasted chestnuts, cookies and apple cider while you watch the tree trimming and lighting.
If you’d like to get out and about for some holiday-themed shows, catch the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas show. They play highlights from Handel’s Messiah, The Nutcracker and other carols. The Baltimore School of the Arts, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, The Moscow Ballet and Weinberg Center for the Arts produce “The Nutcracker” each year. You can also catch special screenings around town of films like “A Christmas Carol” and “White Christmas”.
Celebrating Other Holidays
If you’re interested in activities for holidays other than Christmas, check out the Hands-on-Holidays Chanukah Party thrown by the Park Heights Jewish Community Center. Cost is $8 per family and $5 for members as of 2010. Festivities include crafts and Chanukah songs and food. Morgan State University’s New Student Center holds a Kwanzaa Celebration for kids in kindergarten through high school to learn about this holiday. It includes a theater performance, music, holiday feast and cultural stations.