Christmas in Baltimore Starts With Lighting of the Washington Monument

Looking for something to do during the Christmas season in Baltimore? To help with your search, I have compiled a list of some of my favorites, such as the Washington Monument Lighting, New Years’ Fireworks, and the Miracle on 34th Street, as well as some new attractions I plan to attend this year such as the Mount Vernon Holly Tour. Baltimore is a fun city to be in during December, with many of the historic homes and neighborhoods taking part in the festivities. The best part is that most of the activities listed are free, leaving more in your budget for gifts!

Washington Monument Lighting
When: First Thursday in December
Where: North Charles Street at the Washington Monument
Website for more information:

Head to the heart of the city in Mount Vernon on the first Thursday in December for the annual lighting of the Washington Monument. The pre-lighting ceremonies usually start around sunset and include live music by local choirs and lots of hot apple cider. Everyone huddles together to countdown to the lighting, which is a spectacular event accompanied by fireworks and holiday music. The monument stays lit through the holiday season and can be seen from all over the city – it is very noticeable when lit, especially from I-83. However, the best part is being up close for the fireworks.

Miracle on 34th Street
When: Throughout the month of December
Where: 34th street in Hampden

No neighborhood gets into the spirit of Christmas more than Hampden, and they do it Baltimore style, with over-the-top lights and decorations. 34th street, between Keswick Road and Chestnut Street transforms into the “miracle” that has become a Baltimore tradition. Visitors come from all over the area to see the lights and animatronic displays. One local artist and sculptor even opens his house to the public, so they can get closer to his hub-cap Christmas tree! Be sure to stop inside to purchase one of his true Baltimore Christmas ornaments – a Natty Boh can sculpted to look like an angel. After you see the lights, there are plenty of good restaurants on the Avenue (36th Street) such as CafÃ?© Hon, Golden West, and Holy Frijoles to eat dinner at. You can also get some holiday shopping done.

Santa’s Place at the Inner Harbor
When: Day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve
Where: Harborplace, E. Pratt Street at the Inner Harbor

Remember visiting Santa Claus for a picture at the mall when you were a child? You don’t have to head to the suburbs because Santa comes to the Inner Harbor every year. Located at Harborplace, a snow palace with white lights is set up for picture taking. There is good shopping in Harborplace and The Gallery, as well as child-friendly restaurants.

Mount Vernon Holly Tour
When: Early December
Approximately $20-30 per person
Website for more information:

Mount Vernon (the neighborhood where the Monument lighting takes place) has some of the most beautiful, historic architecture in all of Baltimore. The Holly tour is a neighborhood tradition that dates back to 1965 and was recently started up again in 2002. On the tour you can walk through the magnificent homes of Mount Vernon, all decorated for Christmas.

New Years’ Eve Fireworks Celebrations
When: December 31
Where: Inner Harbor, Canton

If you’re still in Baltimore for New Years Eve, there is plenty to see and do. The main fireworks show takes place in the Inner Harbor, and is set to music. A great place to view this is from Federal Hill park. The Inner Harbor isn’t the only place to view fireworks, though. Another show takes place near the Canton neighborhood. For a neat view of both shows, I recommend the pier at the end of Broadway in Fell’s Point. You can go to the bars early, walk to the pier for the fireworks show, and be back in the warmth of the bar in no time for one more drink before you start your New Years’ resolution.

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