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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Home Seasonal Events Winter Maryland Holiday Light Displays and Tree Lightings

Maryland Holiday Light Displays and Tree Lightings

Christmas tree lightings, dazzling holiday light displays that range from strings of lights to spectacular animated displays are signs of the Maryland holiday season. Read on for tree lightings, grand illuminations and monthlong lights displays!

Find holiday light shows and tree lighting ceremonies around Annapolis, Baltimore, and D.C., or the Eastern Shore. Plus local lighted boat parades have a special allure for everyone living near the water in and around Annapolis, Baltimore and the Eastern Shore.

Due to COVID crowd restrictions and safety precautions, many events are being canceled this year. The following have been checked, but do call ahead before you go! Updated for 2021. List is updated regularly. Check back often! 

Tree Lightings and One-time Events

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Nightly Holiday Tree Light Show at National Harbor – 2020
Nov. 14–Jan. 3. Ignite your holiday spirit with the nightly lighting of the 56-foot tree and two million twinkling lights in the National Harbor Waterfront District. The tree light show takes place nightly, every half hour from sundown to 9 p.m. On weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) there will be snowfall over the tree during the light show. In order to maintain social distancing, National Harbor asks guests to form a line and follow the directions. Unfortunately, there will be no fireworks this year.

National Christmas Tree Lighting – 2020
This year’s National Tree lighting ceremony will be streaming live on December 3.
The National Christmas Tree will be lit every evening throughout December. Visitors are invited to President’s Park to view the National Christmas Tree and 56 trees representing every U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia, decorated with ornaments designed by students from across the country.

Homestead Gardens’ Christmas2020
While Homestead won’t be able to host its traditional holiday events this year, you can find dozens of inspirational holiday tree and tabletop themes, an amazing selection of live and lifelike trees, wreaths and other holiday plant favorites. Homestead will also have beautiful locally-grown poinsettias in a variety of sizes. And, for a little extra holiday cheer, kids of all ages will delight in our new animatronic Santa’s Workshops that complement our famous train display—remodeled and enlarged for 2020. Homestead Gardens, Davidsonville. 

District’s Holiday Boat Parade – 2021
Dec. 4. Celebrate the holidays with this iconic DC event that features over sixty beautifully decorated boats parading along the Washington Channel. Get into the spirit with holiday ornament decorating, family photos with Santa, and live music under our lighted Christmas Tree. 6pm. The celebration will be capped off by a fireworks salute at 8pm.

Christmas on the Square and Annual Christmas Tree Lighting – 2020
Dec. 12. This virtual Holiday celebration will feature Christmas music, a Holiday Showcase with decorating and gift ideas from our local businesses, Storytime with Santa, the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and more p.m. Free. 3–5 p.m. Leonardtown Square, Leonardtown.

Lighted Boat Parade on St. Michaels Harbor – 2021
Dec. 11. Celebrate the holidays in St. Michaels and enjoy their Lighted Boat Parade to get into the holiday spirit. St. Michaels has many ways to celebrate the season including Tour of Homes, the Talbot Street Parade, Marketplace, Santa, Breakfast with Santa, the Ornament, and the Old Fashion Christmas Dinner

Holiday Candlelight Stroll – 2020
Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 4–27. Stroll through Annapolis alongside a colonial guide and learn about holiday traditions. Includes tour inside the historic Hammond Harwood House for additional seasonal spirit. Departs Info Booth at City Dock; Friday and Saturday only. $12-$21. 7-8:30 p.m. Downtown Annapolis. 

Lighting of the Christmas Tree – 2020
Dec. 7. Lighting of the Living Farm Heritage Museum Christmas tree, live music, train garden, visit with Santa and more. Free. 5-7 p.m. Living Farm Heritage Museum, West Friendship. 

Annual Baltimore Monument Lighting – 2020
Dec. 3. This year’s annual monument lighting will be broadcast at 7:30 p.m. on WJZ Baltimore. 

Solomons Island Boat Parade – 2020
Dec. 5. The parade kicks off at 6:15 p.m. from Solomons Yachting Center Watch the parade from many of the restaurants and establishments on Back Creek or the Patuxent River Boardwalk! Prizes are awarded for Best Original Theme, Best Sailboat, Best Power Boat, and Best of Show. The lights on the Christmas tree at the Solomons Riverwalk Gazebo will be switched on at 6 p.m. Friday December 4 without Santa, this year.

Santa Arrives in Baltimore
November 27. The holiday season is officially here when Santa comes to town, and we hope you’ll join us in greeting him when he arrives back in Baltimore aboard the B&O No. 6944! Santa’s locomotive will pull into the B&O Railroad Museum’s spacious Roundhouse, creating the perfect opportunity to take the first festive photos of the season.

Lighting of the Wharf Christmas Tree – 2020
Nov. 27. Kick off the holiday season at The Wharf as we officially light our Christmas tree and transform the waterfront into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights. Snap photos next to the 45-foot pine tree, then enjoy dinner together at one of our many restaurants. End your evening by roasting s’mores around the firepit at Camp Wharf!

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Ongoing Light Displays

Zoo Lights at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Nov. 19–Jan. 2. Zoo Lights, presented by Chase, will return to the Maryland Zoo to brighten up the town with colorful evenings of holiday light displays. From Friday, November 19th through Sunday, January 2nd, this seven-week event will bring to Baltimore twinkling lights and holiday flare in the shape of many of your favorite zoo animals. More than 80 light displays with 150,000 environmentally friendly LED lights will transform the Zoo into a sparkling winter wonderland. Zoo Lights is a seasonal spectacle after-hours event that will run five nights a week, Wednesday-Sunday, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, guests will be on foot walking along a beautifully lit path past dazzling displays including some favorite animals reimagined as light sculptures. Tickets are $33 per vehicle for the drive-thru experience and $28 per person for the walk-thru experience; advanced purchase is required. marylandzoo.org/special_events/zoo-lights/. Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

Winterfest of Lights – 2021
Nov. 18–Jan. 2. The Winterfest of Lights takes you through thousands of sparkling holiday lights and many animated light displays located along a paved path in Northside Park. Sip hot chocolate, take a photo with Santa, visit our gift shop and enjoy the array of holiday exhibits – including the 50-foot Christmas tree. $5 (11 and under are free). Wed.–Sun. 5:30-9:30 p.m. Northside Park, Ocean City. 

Lights on the Bay – 2021
Nov. 21–Jan. 2. Driving through “Lights on the Bay” at Sandy Point State Park has become a tradition for many families for the past decade. The Lights on the Bay display is a scenic drive along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay with more than 60 spectacular animated and stationary displays illuminating the roadway. Our holiday light show is sponsored by the SPCA of Anne Arundel County. $20 per car. Open daily, 5-10 p.m. Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis. lightsonthebay.org

Festival of Lights – 2021
Nov. 26–Jan. 1. Holiday drive-through event features more than 2.5 million twinkling lights and a giant 54-ft LED Tree. Drive-through a spectacular trail that matches perfectly your car radio playing the Christmas favorites. Popular displays include reindeer, colorful snowflakes, toy soldiers, gingerbread men, candy canes, and Santa Claus. Stop by a dazzling life-size Gingerbread House and an enchanting Carousel of Lights. Other attractions in the park include Old Maryland Farm, the Chesapeake Carousel, the miniature train, and Watkins Nature Trail. $8–$20. 5–9:30 p.m. Watkins Regional Park, Upper Marlboro. 

Symphony of Lights – 2020
Nov. 25–Jan. 2. Open daily, including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Display of more than 100 larger-than-life animated and stationary holiday light creations, made up of more than 300,000 bulbs. $20 per car. Mon.–Fri. 6–10 p.m. Sat.–Sun. 5–10 p.m. Symphony Woods, Columbia. 

Six Flags Holiday in the Park – 2021
Nov. 20–Jan 2. More than 1 million glittering lights, holiday entertainment, delicious seasonal treats, visits with Santa and theme park rides. $45-$70. Six Flags America, Upper Marlboro. 

Annmarie Garden in Lights – 2021
Nov. 26–Jan. 1. closed Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 6, 7, 24, 25. Join us for the most magical time of year as the grounds of Annmarie Sculpture Garden are transformed into an outdoor twinkling wonderland. Annmarie Garden In Lights will transport you and your family to an enchanted world where they will discover glowing “light sculptures” and wondrous light installations. Discover magical creatures, wintery wonderlands, musical holiday scenes, deep sea treasures, and glowing trees. $10–$12 per person, ages 2 and under free. 5–9 p.m. Advance timed-entry tickets required for all guests. Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, Solomons. 

North Pole Lights Walk 2021
Nov. 26-28, Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-19, 21-23. Take a self guided walk to the North Pole! Let the North Pole Fairy send you on your way through the garden flowers and arctic animals to the North Pole Palace. Visit Santa in the Garden Cabin. New scenes are added every year! November 26th through December 23rd. 4:30–7:30 p.m. $8 adults; $5 children. Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm, Severn.

Garden of Lights at Brookside
Nov. 19- Jan. 2. Closed Nov. 22-25 and Dec. 24-25. Walk through the outdoor twinkling lights and glimmering displays that dot the paths and flowerbeds throughout the 50 acres in Wheaton. More than one million dazzling and colorful LED lights are handwoven into original works depicting animals, flowers, and other natural elements. 5:30pm-9:30pm. Advanced ticket purchase required. $10 (under 3 are free). Brookside Gardens, Wheaton.

Light Yards
Dec. 1-31. The Yards, DC’s most exciting waterfront neighborhood for living, dining, shopping and relaxing, is continuing its holiday tradition of Light Yards with a family friendly art installation. Free. 6-10 p.m. The Yards Park, Washington

Nightly Holiday Tree Light Show at National Harbor – 2020
Nov. 14–Jan. 3. Ignite your holiday spirit with the nightly lighting of the 56-foot tree and two million twinkling lights in the National Harbor Waterfront District. The tree light show takes place nightly, every half hour from sundown to 9 p.m. On weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) there will be snowfall over the tree during the light show. In order to maintain social distancing, National Harbor asks guests to form a line and follow the directions. Unfortunately, there will be no fireworks this year.

Don’t miss Maryland Santa Sightings

Check out our listing of Maryland Holiday Concerts & Performances

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