Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fun Holiday Events in the Baltimore - DC Area

As I start to write I realize that while it is a few days after Thanksgiving I already feel hassled with the realization that the holidays are going by way too fast. There is so much to do, see and enjoy. There are free holiday events everywhere, some new and some that I have seen in years past and still enjoy, but there is not enough time to see them all.

Here are some of the events in my area that are fun and enjoyable.

The Ugly Sweater 5K run

This is not a free event but it is for a good cause, to benefit Save the Children advocacy group. The idea is to wear your ugliest sweater while going on a 5k run (or walk) through a designated route. There are plenty of holiday festivities at the start and at the end of the run. To find if this event is coming to your city, check their website.

People at the ugly sweater run in DC

group of participants at the Ugly Sweater Run in DC
A fun group I met at the Ugly Sweater Run in Washington DC

3 people wearing their Ugly Sweaters at the DC run
Notice the small reindeers on the sweaters. 

3 friends at the Ugly Sweater Run in DC

People wearing their Ugly Sweater waiting for run to start

The starting line for the Ugly Sweater Run in DC
The starting line at the Ugly Sweater Run in Washington DC

The US Botanical Garden Holiday Exhibition

Since 2004 the US Botanic Garden has created holiday exhibitions to the delight of children and adults. This year they have created miniature replicas of many U.S. lighthouses displayed on meticulous landscape settings. They also have several model trains running through the landscapes. The amazing part is that all the miniatures are created using dried plant material and the amount of detail in the miniature replicas is amazing. This is a FREE event. For more read US Botanic Garden Holiday Train Display, a Hidden Gem.

Miniature replica of the Smithsonian Castle
Miniature replica of the Smithsonian Castle made from dry plant material

Miniature replica of the Washington Monument
Miniature replica of the Washington Monument made from dry plant material

Tuba Christmas Concert

Have you heard 50 tubas play traditional holiday music? It is a joyful sound. Most of the tuba players wear Santa hats and there is even a Santa playing a tuba. Towards the end of the concert they encourage everyone to sing-along. The Holiday Tubas had their first Christmas Tuba event in 1974 at the Rockefeller Center skating rink. This national organization has concerts in many states so check the website to find the nearest one to you.  I have seen it several years now and I look forward to hearing them again. It is a sure way to get you in the holiday spirit. It is a FREE event. I recommend it and wear your Santa hat. Here is a recording of the Carol of the Bells the Tuba way.


Tuba Christmas group playing in Baltimore
Tuba Christmas playing holiday music in Baltimore

Santa playing tuba at the Tuba Christmas event in Baltimore
Holiday Tubas event in Baltimore

Light Boat Parade

If your city has a marina then why not have a Light Boat Parade to celebrate the holiday season. I have seen the Baltimore Light Boat Parade several years and still enjoy it. The fun comes from watching the various types of boats decorated for the holidays as they compete for prizes. The friendly competition includes categories such as Best Illuminated, Best in Christmas Theme, and several more. I enjoy the festive sounds that come from many of the boats and their creativity. It is a FREE event.

A sailboat at the Baltimore Light boat parade

A sailboat at the Baltimore Light boat parade


Christmas Tree Lighting in Baltimore

The annual lighting of the Baltimore Christmas Tree is a FREE fun event, filled with holiday music, activities for families, Santa, fireworks and a laser show.

Christmas Tree Lighting in Baltimore


Washington National Harbor Holiday Events

Just like the Baltimore Inner Harbor, there are lots of things to see and do at the Washington National Harbor during the holidays. The Christmas tree, the Gaylord National resort and the National Harbor ICE exhibit are a few of the attractions to see at the National Harbor.

At the National Harbor you can also do Holiday shopping, ride a Carousel with Santa, listen to holiday carolers and watch the Holiday Tree light show.

Christmas tree at the National Harbor - DC

After spending some time at the harbor it is time to head to the Gaylord National Resort to warm up. The resort atrium is expansive and beautifully decorated for the holidays with a large Christmas tree hanging in the middle of the space along with streams of lights that change color. There is a fountain show and characters from Dreamworks are available for photos.

Holiday decorations at the Gaylord National Resort - Atrium
Atrium at the Gaylord National Resort in Washington DC

The best section is the second floor open bar and sitting area overlooking the atrium, the chairs are very comfortable and while nursing a drink (not required) you can enjoy and take in the holiday atmosphere.

If you are in the area with children, then you should buy tickets to see ICE. It is a theme based attraction made all from ice blocks. The 2014 theme is Frosty the Snowman, when I went a few years ago it was all about the Grinch. It is a very unique experience, and they provide warm coats so you can enjoy the event.

Who-ville set at the ICE show

Who-ville set at the ICE show


Yes, holiday happenings are all around us. Keep these in mind for next year, you will enjoy them and it is a sure way to get you into the holiday spirit.

Do you have a special holiday event in your neighborhood you like to see?

A woman wearing a reindeer hat

I hope you have a Wonderful Holiday Season and Happy Travels in your Neighborhood.

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