Tis the season to drive north of Washington, D.C. to see Christmas lights, shop local, ride the Santa train and many more things to do in Frederick, MD during the holiday season. We love Christmas in Frederick, because they incorporate historic traditions with modern lights, cocktails and shopping events.
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Christmas Events in Frederick, MD
Head up for events in Frederick on the weekends when you are staying in Washington, D.C, live in Maryland or just want a break fro your everyday life in the District. It’s the perfect spot to support local businesses and restaurants during the holidays, as well as see an amazing light show right on the canal.
No more need to search “Christmas events near me” or “Christmas lights near me,” when we have your planning guide right here.
- Address: throughout Historic Downtown Frederick
- Date: Friday after Thanksgiving
With extended store hours, complimentary wrapping and shipping services, and free public parking and restrooms, Frederick makes it easy for shoppers and sightseers to kick off the holiday season right.
Spend the day strolling through the historic district, enjoying special deals and events from various vendors as well as live music in several locations. Holiday shoppers can take part in a scavenger hunt for prizes, and pick up a free gift at the Snowflake Tree.
As the sun starts setting, the Holiday Lights Project turns the town into a sparkling wonderland, made even sweeter by a cocktail competition were everyone can take a taste (21+, of course).
- Address: 30 N Market StFrederick, MD 21701
- Dates: Friday after Thanksgiving, 11am-9pn
Stop by the Frederick Snowflake Tree with receipts from at least two downtown businesses totaling $100+ and you get to pick out a gift donated by many of those same shops you just visited. Personally, it gives us even more reason to shop local in Maryland this year.
Holiday Cocktail Competition
Who says Christmas is just for kids? We love when holiday events take on a unique twist just for grown ups and the Christmas in Frederick MD Holiday Cocktail Competition is one of our all-time favorites.
Local bars and Frederick restaurants (the list goes up HERE each season) will be offering up their signature Christmas cocktail from 4-7pm. You can then vote for your favorite in the Holiday Cocktail Competition photo album on the Downtown Frederick Facebook page. The cocktail with the most likes (based on photo likes) wins!
Maryland Christmas Show
- Address: Frederick Fairgrounds, 797 E. Patrick St., Frederick, MD
- Date: weekends in mid-to-late November
Beloved by many Marylanders, the Maryland Christmas show is an elaborate fair, combining a craft fair, farmer’s market, antique shop, and destination for premium Christmas decorations and gifts.
For a nominal entrance fee, visitors will get access to tons of independent local artisans, beautiful Christmas tableaus, mouth-watering holiday treats, and unparalleled Christmas spirit among shoppers and vendors alike.
Operation Sparkle Scavenger Hunt
- Address: throughout Downtown Frederick
- Date: everyday from November 27 to December 15, 2020
While enjoying the holiday lights and shopping deals in historic Frederick, make sure you look out for the blue-and-silver light bursts displayed in some of the 200+ storefronts. Guess how many light bursts there are in total, and win a $50 gift card, redeemable all over downtown Frederick!
Once you have a number in mind, head to downtownfrederick.org/sparkle to submit your guess.
Get out in nature this winter at Cunningham Falls State Park
- Address: Walkersville Southern Railroad, 34 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Walkersville, VA
- Date: weekends, November 28 to December 20, 2020
In this truly unique event for families in Frederick County, take a ride in a beautiful historic train with Santa Claus! For over an hour, your Christmas train will chug through the scenic countryside while Santa makes a visit to each family with a special holiday surprise.
Or, if a visit from the big man seems a little high-stakes, give the Winter Express tour a try, with kid-friendly musical acts, holiday crafts and delicious sweets. Pajamas are always welcome!
Holiday Art Competition
- Address: Delaplaine Visual Arts Center, 40 S. Carroll Street, Frederick, MD
- Date: First weekend in December through the weekend of Christmas
Be sure to stop by the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center in Frederick, Maryland this season to see the beautiful collection of original art on display by talented local artists of all ages and backgrounds.
Celebrate Frederick hosts this cheery cultural event, with many of the paintings and other visual art pieces featuring a wintery theme and some local flavor.
At the end of the show, a panel of judges will pick a winner to be featured throughout the coming year—try to guess which artist will take home the prize.
Frederick Holiday Lights Tour
- Address: throughout City of Frederick
- Date: first weekend in December through second weekend in December
Stroll down the streets of Frederick, or stay warm in your car, and tour the many homes that put up rather astonishing displays of lights and decorations for the holidays! Frederick residents really go all out, with music-timed light displays, fully decorated Christmas trees on the porch, or gorgeous festive adornments of winter greens, candles and artisan creations.
Your ticket to this self-guided tour supports Celebrate Frederick as well as a charity supporting the children of Frederick; it entitles you to a tour map and booklet, as well as a vote for the best-decorated home, and one entry into a drawing for a special gift!
Sailing Through the Winter Solstice in Frederick
- Address: Carroll Creek Park, Frederick
- Date: November 18, 2020 to February 3, 2021
Don’t miss this uniquely Maryland holiday experience! Each year, lighted and decorated sailboats line Carroll Creek Park, a floating light installation that sets sail in November and continues until February. Visitors will want to take a good look at each boat, because they are then able to donate to selected charities, with each dollar representing a vote for their favorite display.
The best time to head down to the park is at dusk so you can view the intricately decked-out boats in daylight and in the dark—both are a treat!
Candlelight House Tour of Frederick MD
- Address: 5-10 houses in the tour are announced each year
- Dates: first weekend in December
Peek inside the historic private homes on this self-guided walking tour in Frederick, MD. Marvel at the elaborately adorned homes covered in holiday decor. A list of homes you can tour is released each year, so be on the lookout for new (to you) homes during the Christmas season.
Look out for unique architectural elements, soaring Christmas trees and and find out why these homes are so significant in the community.
Festival of Lights
- Address: City Hall Courtyard, 101 N. Court Street, Frederick
- Date: 3rd Friday in December [CANCELLED in 2020]
This moving and heart-warming ceremony hopes to remind attendees of the real meaning of the holiday season through group carols and a candle-lighting ceremony not soon to be forgotten by participants. The Frederick Children’s Chorus headlines a very special musical show, along with short inspiring speeches from the mayor and other community leaders.