Even as the seasons change, you’ll find that there’s always something going on in Charm City!
Every time I visit a new city, I try to imagine myself living there because why not? My husband and I could both work remotely and we’ve always said if we’re intrigued with a place enough, we’d give it a shot.
But no matter where we’ve gone in the US, we want to come back to the DMV, and we’ve realized it’s because the DC and Baltimore area are always happening. There’s constantly something going on and Baltimore especially, keeps you on your toes.
You can’t be bored in Charm City – not even during the winter! Here are a couple of our favorite annual winter events in Baltimore that are fun for the entire family!
Christmas Village in Baltimore (Inner Harbor)
The German Christmas Village at Baltimore Inner Harbor is a time-honored tradition for my family as well as many others. It usually coincides with when the Inner Harbor ice rink comes up, so we spend the evening ice skating and then walk over to the Christmas Village when it gets dark – it’s open much earlier but everything looks so Christmassy with all the decorations lit up.
There are multiple stalls selling authentic, traditional goods as well as delicious German foods like bratwurst and pretzels. End the night with a mug or two at the in-house beer garden!
What’s the holiday season without some shopping and fine dining to go with it? Holiday East, which is hosted in Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood, offers twelve blocks of restaurants, boutique stores, and all-around holiday cheer.
There are different events held throughout the season such as live music performances, gift giveaways, holiday pop-ups, seasonal sales, and selfie stations – Santa even takes a break from his busy schedule and flies down from the North Pole a couple of times!
Harbor Point Ice Festival
The Harbor Point Ice Festival held at Central Plaza is a free annual event that takes you to a magical winter wonderland unlike anything else. It combines artistic talent with winter traditions, and people come from all over the world to participate.
You’ll see award-winning ice sculptors use chisels and chainsaws to line the walkways with spectacular sculptures. There are often food trucks and other vendors on site so you can make a day of it!
Miracle on 34th Street
Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden is a wonderful tradition that started in 1947, when the movie of the same name was released.
Friends and neighbors in the entire block of row houses come together every year since then to decorate the street with holiday displays, Christmas trees, artwork, and so much more. I
t’s become a Baltimore tradition to grab a cup of hot chocolate and walk around to celebrate the joyous season every year. Keep an eye out for the Christmas tree made from hubcaps by local artist, Jim Pollock!
Mayor’s Christmas Parade
The annual Mayor’s Christmas Parade is a family favorite that runs on a two-and-a-half mile stretch through Baltimore’s Hampden and Medfield neighborhoods.
In addition to seeing Santa Claus, parade goers will also see over 150 other units comprising local marching bands, local TV and radio personalities, floats by local organizations and businesses, and even a pack of riders on Harley Davidson motorcycles.
Old Tyme Christmas Festival in Fells Point
The Old Tyme Christmas Festival in Fells Point is a long-time tradition that is held on the first weekend in December. There are tons of different activities that are fun for the entire family as well as a traditional Christmas market where you can buy lots of goodies.
While the festival is free to attend, there are additional activities that may have a charge such as breakfast with Santa Claus, a photo shoot with Santa, an eggnog contest, ornament making, cookie decorating, and more.
They really let the entire family get involved; bring your fur babies around to try their luck in a pet costume contest. The entire weekend ends with a Reindeer Run pub crawl.
Lighting of the Washington Monument
The annual lighting of the Washington Monument has been a Baltimore tradition since 1971. It’s often held on the first Thursday in December and is a time for family and friends to get together.
There’s a holiday village in the surrounding Mount Vernon Place where you can indulge in arts and crafts, purchase local goods, play some holiday games, and have a cup of hot chocolate before the lighting ceremony starts. Once the monument is lit, there is a fireworks show that is just magical.
Overall, it’s a fantastic way to spend the day and is highly recommended – especially if you have little ones!
Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Parade
Every year around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day there’s a celebration parade in honor of his birthday. It’s often held on the boulevard named after him and parades through neighboring areas for two hours.
The parade has more than 70 different units with cheer squad and band performances from local high schools, floats with elected officials and different organizations, as well as performances by local and international artists.
Winter Restaurant Week
Baltimore’s Winter Restaurant Week usually runs from late January to early February and is a highly-anticipated event for many Baltimoreans as it gives them an opportunity to feast at several local restaurants for a great deal!
There are lots of Baltimore restaurants participating with special menus that range from $25 to $45.
Some that you should check out are Amiccis of Little Italy, Barcocina, Chinghiale, Indigma, and Petit Louis Bistro – note that these are just a handful from the nearly 100 dining establishments that participate.
Baltimore Boat Show
The annual Baltimore Boat Show may sound boring to some, but if you’re into boats, it is one of the most exciting events in Baltimore. In fact, it’s great fun for the entire family because children love the interactive exhibits and activities.
You’ll be able to see hundreds of power and sail boats and get behind the wheel of some of them. Lucky ones will be purchasing their own or may even win one for free in one of the many raffles and giveaways.