55 FREE Christmas Events in Maryland (and DC) For Kids! (updated for 2023)

FREE MD Christmas events

Jingle bells and Santa’s elves, and everything is merry and bright. As a parent, you really want to make Christmas magical for your kids. However, the idea of shelling out gobs of money for every magical experience is enough to turn you into a Grinch! Fortunately, there are gobs of FREE Christmas events in Maryland (and DC) that are great for kids! Updated for 2023!

Note about this list: These events are FREE, as in there is no cost of admission. However, you might have to pay for parking or public transit and there will likely be an extra cost for food. Also, many of these events are FREE because they are vendor events or charity fundraiser events (so, donate a toy or food for a local cause). There will likely be options to purchase things at the otherwise FREE events (especially if they are located inside a store).

Finally, there are a few events on this list that are FREE but there are very low cost upgrade options for things like train rides or scavenger hunts. Those minimal costs are noted as needed.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas and feel great about taking your kids to these FREE Christmas events!

Capital Region Maryland

1. Sailing Through The Winter Solstice By Color On The Creek

Frederick Lighted Boat

Annually, Sailing Through The Winter Solstice begins in November, when a number of boats, transformed through the creative minds of many Frederick friends, set sail on the Creek. The fleet has grown from one boat the first year to about 25 boats in 2020. 

2023-24 dates are November 18th- early March 2024.

The fleet includes gaff-rigged ketches, yawls, three-masted schooners and pirate ships, moored with their sail outlines, rigging and decks lit up from dusk till dawn. If you can’t imagine it make sure to come by and take a look at the amazing flotilla!

This is a FREE event but guests are encouraged to make a donation for a Frederick-area charity by voting on their favorite boat! These aren’t just Christmas lights in Maryland, but definitely spread holiday cheer during December and beyond!

Address: Carroll Creek Linear Park, Frederick, MD 21701

Related: The Best Playgrounds in Frederick County, MD

2. Watkin’s Regional Park Winterfest on CHRISTMAS DAY

Bring a little twinkle to your holidays at the Annual Winter Festival of Lights. This spectacular holiday drive-through event features more than one million twinkling lights, wonderful themed displays, and one of the tallest tree displays in the state. Don’t forget to make a difference this season! Please bring canned goods/non-perishable items for donation to local food banks.

301 Watkins Park Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

On Christmas Day the festival is FREE.

Also, this lights display is FREE for Prince George’s County residents on a date TBD.


Related: Check out the ultimate guide to the Wizard of Oz Playground!

FREE MD Christmas events

3. Kris Kringle Procession

December 8th, 630PM in Frederick, MD: The procession begins at the corner of South Carroll and West Patrick Streets in Frederick and ends in Baker Park with the lighting of the City Tree. The event reflects the small town charm that makes Frederick so endearing during the holidays. Local children dress as reindeer, snowflakes, angels, elves and frolic through Frederick’s downtown streets.

Address: 100 N Market Street Frederick, MD 21701

Click here for the details!

4. Frederick Festival of Lights

Don’t miss one of the holiday season’s most inspiring events.

Each year the Festival of Lights brings the true spirit of the season to young and old alike. Holiday greetings, carols, and an inspirational messages are all part of this community tradition-based event that highlights the true meaning of the holiday season. Attendees join in the program with a moving candle-lighting ceremony, filling the courtyard with magnificent light.

Friday, December 15, 2023 | 7:00 PM
Location: City Hall Courtyard, 101 N. Court Street

Here are all the details

5. National Harbor Christmas Movies

SUNDAYS, Typically 2-3pm but check the schedule for specific showtimes

  • November 12: Fred Claus
  • November 19: Shrek The Halls
  • November 26: Disney’s Sing-A-Long Songs- A Very Merry Christmas
  • December 3: Merry Madagascar
  • December 10: Barbie In A Christmas Carol
  • December 17: Flight Before Christmas

Here are the full details

6. National Harbor Nightly Tree Light Show

Watch our 56-foot tree come to life each night with a breathtaking light show in the heart of the Waterfront District. And then stick around for fireworks! The tree light show happens every night. Fireworks are Saturday nights at 530pm- November 11- December 16.


While you’re strolling the streets in the Waterfront District, enjoy free hot chocolate in select stores on Saturdays and Sundays from Noon – 6pm 

150 National Plaza Oxon Hill, MD 20745

Here are all the details about the holidays at National Harbor.

Related: The Best Kid Friendly Guide to ICE! at Gaylord National

7. Winter’s Eve at Piscataway Park

Celebrate the season at the Accokeek Foundation’s annual Winter’s Eve festival.

We’re lighting up the hay wagon and decking the halls of the livestock barn. It’s the perfect way to kick-off your holiday season!

Bring your friends and family for a festive Winter’s Eve at Piscataway Park! Explore the farm by candlelight, meet and learn about heritage breed animals, and shop locally at the Visitor Center gift shop. Enjoy seasonal activities, cultural demonstrations, and fresh mulled cider by the fire.

December 2nd from 3-7PM
Address: 13406 Warburton Dr, Fort Washington, MD 20744

Note: This event is FREE to attend but there is a suggested donation of $25/family or $5/person.

Click here for the details

8. Tuba Christmas at Weinberg Center of Arts

November 25th at noon.

The popular tuba comrades of Frederick return with a variety of brassy Christmas hits, delighting audiences of all ages in an annual Weinberg Center tradition. In lieu of admission, a canned food drive will be held to benefit the Community Action Agency of Frederick City.

Reserve your free ticket here!

9. MacKid’s Christmas in the Country

From the Facebook Community page:

Join us for this FREE day of sweet, old-fashioned Christmas fun!

🎅🏼 Pictures with Santa
🦌 Reindeer Rides
🍪Hot Cocoa and Sweet Treats
🎄 That Green Grump, Mr. You-Know-Who
⭐️ Ornaments & Crafts
🎶 Festive Musical Performances
🎁 Fun Door Prizes

We’re SO EXCITED to bring back “Christmas in the Country” for the 6th year! Bundle up and prepare for a wintery good time!

December 2nd, 10am-2pm
Damascus Road Community Church
12826 Old National Pike, Mt Airy, MD 21771

Click here for more info!

10. 43nd Annual Festival of Lights at the Washington DC Mormon Temple

The Festival of Lights is one of the D.C. area’s great community traditions. Beginning November 30th and running through January 1st, 2024, the Festival features free performances nightly in the comfortable, state-of-the-art theater located in the Visitors’ Center.

A different performing artist or group is showcased each night, including bell ensembles, choirs, orchestras, and more! Each performance is presented twice nightly.

The Visitors’ Center of the Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m and the Festival of Lights itself runs from dusk to 9pm nightly.

Everything about this festival is FREE, including parking!

Address: 9900 Stoneybrook Dr, Kensington, MD 20895

Central Region Maryland

11. Snowflake Alley

If you are in Annapolis for the Lighted Boat Parade, or the Chocolate Binge Festival.. or really any reason at all, definitely pay a visit to Snowflake Alley. It is very Instagram-worthy.

Click here for more info!

12. Bass Pro

Santa Claus is coming to Bass Pro Shops at Arundel Mills! From early November through December 24th: Everything about this event is FREE (of course Bass Pro wants you to shop, but you don’t have to shop). You have to get a Bass Pass (free but limited quantities each day) for a Photo with Santa, but there are also crafts and games each day that are all free. Free activities include crafts, laser or foam toy arcade, write a letter to Santa, Lincoln Log building, and remote control trucks.


13. Eastport Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade

December 9th from 6-8pm. This Annapolis tradition was voted the #1 Holiday Parade by USA Today in 2016. Only this parade happens on the water! You can see the parade from various viewing spots along the waterfront.

Here are all the details.

14. Ellicott City VFD Train Garden

The 26th annual holiday train garden returns to the Ellicott City VFD in 2023!

The Howard County Fire & Rescue Train Garden Crew (50+ fire department and civic-minded community members) started working in mid October to imagine new and beautiful holiday displays. 


FREE MD Christmas events

15. Christmas in New Market

Christmas in New Market is a fantastic family friendly event that is taking place on December 2nd in 2023. Events include a Christmas parade at 3pm, a live nativity, and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus!

Click for schedule updates

16. Bel Air Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting Celebration

Sunday, December 3rd, 2023 at 330pm| Downtown Bel Air at Shamrock Park.

The Downtown Bel Air Christmas Parade is a tradition that has been going on for more than 30 years! This is a time where our community comes together in historic Downtown Bel Air to celebrate a special time of the year.

Here are all the details

17. Bel Air Winter Wonderland 

Enjoy the spirit of the holiday season along Main Street with light displays, including the Bel Air Armory,  Harford County Courthouse and Bel Air Town Hall. From November 25, 2023 – January 1, 2024, downtown Bel Air will be lit with thousands of warm lights for the community to enjoy from 5-11 pm each night. Immerse yourself in the glow of holiday lights while enjoying live musical performances, carolers and much more! Plus you can check items off your gift giving list with extended hours in many of our shops.  

Horse drawn carriage rides will be available each Saturday from 5-9pm from the front of the Bel Air Armory. In person reservations are required, space is limited and rides are available on a first come-first served basis. Enjoy shopping in our downtown stores or grab dinner with your family while you wait!

Sponsored through a partnership between the Town of Bel Air and the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation.

Click here for all the details!

18. Miracle on Main Street Holiday Events

About the Miracle on Main Street Event

The Miracle on Main Street holiday event in Downtown Westminster is on Saturday, November 25th. The Miracle on Main Street event is a series of fun activities for young and old alike to enjoy and get into the holiday spirit. The activities include the Jingle Bell Run, the Holiday Electric Parade, the lighting of the holiday tree, caroling with the Westminster Municipal Band & St. Johns Children’s Choir, Santa’s Treat for Kids and a visit Santa!

All the details for this amazing event are here.

19. Jeff’s Christmas Light Show Spectacular

I LOVE this show and the fact that it is totally FREE! Jeff really just puts this show on every year to spread Christmas cheer. How awesome is that?

In 2023, the theme of Jeff’s Christmas Light Show Spectacular will be ‘Believe In Magic.’

Jeff’s Christmas Light Show is open every Friday and Saturday in December until Christmas Eve! There are special events though. December 1st and 2nd is opening night weekend with shows running every 15 minutes from 7-9pm.

On December 8th and 9th there will also be pictures with Santa. December 15th and 16th there will be pictures with the Grinch! The final weekend of the show is December 22nd and 23rd.

Address: 206 S Camp Meade Rd, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

20. McCurley Magical Christmas Lights

McCurley Magical Christmas Lights is a block in Manchester, Maryland that has put up Christmas lights and joined forces to make something for a drive-through attraction. People can also give donations to local organizations.

Come see the lights this year along with some special guests like Santa, Elf on the shelf and I even heard the Grinch may stop by!!!

Here is more information about their lights show

21. Ellicott City Lights Christmas House

This residence in Ellicott City, MD is amazing. Bryan Bartlett decks out his home and synchronizes the lights to an amazing soundtrack. You will oooh. You will ahhh.. you will want to dance. And you can because a lighted dance floor in part of the lights extravaganza!

Here are the details.

ellicott city lights

22. Train Garden at B&O in Ellicott City

This holiday season, enjoy train models set up throughout the Baltimore and Ohio Ellicott City Station Museum, including our year-round exhibit in the Freight House. All ages Nov 24-Jan 1 B&O EC Station Museum.

Here are all the details.

FREE MD Christmas events

23. Holiday Train Garden at GJACC

Enjoy holiday fun provided by train enthusiast Dennis Moore. The layout features four continuously operating trains through an 8 x 8’ scenic garden. Visitors of all ages enjoy an interactive exhibit of accessories and sounds. Train garden open during center hours. Info: 410-313-4840. All ages Gary J Arthur Comm Center starting November 27th.

Click for the details

FREE MD Christmas events

24. Glen Burnie Gingerbread Festival at Marley Station Mall 

December 1-3. FREE to attend. There is a FEE to enter the contest.

Come see all the festive Gingerbread Houses! FREE activities include a Kid’s Craft Area, Storytime, train garden, and a Gingerbread Scavenger Hunt!

Click here for more details!

25. 34th Street in Baltimore

34th street lights display

Yes, there really is a Miracle on 34th Street.. and it is that this block in Baltimore puts on a dazzling lights display every holiday season. For 2023, they will light the lights on November 24th and run though New Year. They will be on from around 530 to 10 every week night and midnight on the weekends… except Dec 24th and Dec 31st when they stay on all night.

This event is FREE! But you will have to find street parking in Hampden.

Address: 700 block of West 34th Street between Chestnut & Keswick. If you want to enter a place for your GPS, you can use Falkenhan’s Hardware.

26. Homestead Gardens

Maryland Christmas Markets

November 18th and ongoing

Witness the magic of over 250,000 strung lights being turned on, in unison, across our Homestead Gardens’ properties. This year, we invite you to participate in the Grand Illumination at both our Davidsonville, MD and Smyrna, DE locations. Enjoy 25% off lighting + candles, live holiday performances, seasonal tastings, and more. Plus, a special appearance by Santa Claus.

No registration or RSVP required. This event takes place outside and the store will remain open for shopping + holiday browsing until 8 PM.

Click for more details!

27. Arbutus VFD Train Garden

2023 dates starts November 19th at 11am and this year there. is a definite LEGO theme to the train garden! A traditional firehouse Christmas train garden at the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department. 5200 Southwestern Blvd. Arbutus, MD 21227.

Click here for details!

FREE MD Christmas events

29. Mayor’s Christmas Parade (Baltimore)

December 3rd, 1PM: This is the 50th year of the parade! The attendance along the 2.5 mile route reached 25,000 people last year at the Annual Mayor’s Christmas Parade to view Santa Claus and about 160 marching units. The parade will feature floats, local TV and Radio personalities, over 100 Harley Davidson motorcycles, a steam calliope, great bands, Mummers of Philadelphia, Miss Yuletide and Jr. Miss Yuletide and of course Santa!

Get the details here!

Related: 50 Super Fun Things to Do With Kids in Baltimore

29. North Harford County Lights

North Harford County Lights

North Harford Lighted Walk-Through lights display is FREE and great for kids! There are great lights displays plus movies and more!

Typically the lights are open every night in December and Santa visits on Saturdays before Christmas!

Address: 4220 Federal Hill Rd, Street, MD 21154

30. Grand Illumination Annapolis

Enjoy a Sunday in Downtown Annapolis as we light the Christmas Tree. Be sure to bring the family and friends for the Grand Illumination celebration located between Zachary’s Jewelry and the Annapolis Market House. This year’s tree is in honor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Event Schedule:
4pm-430pmReading the story of the Nutcracker inside Zachary’s
4pm-430pm Annapolis Symphony Academy performance
430pm-5pm Chesapeake Ballet Performance of the Nutcracker
5pm 530pm Naptown Sings Choir Performance
530pm Santa arrives and Tree Lighting

Date/Time: November 26th from 4-530pm

Here are all the details

31. The 2023 Great Lisbon Farmers Feed The Hungry Christmas Parade

The 2023 Great Lisbon FARMERS FEED THE HUNGRY Christmas Parade – formerly known as The Lisbon Christmas Horse Parade – will kick off at 12 noon in the historic town of Lisbon, (Woodbine) Maryland, on Dec. 9, 2023.

​Festively decorated tractors driven by local farmers will lead the parade followed by up to 250 seasonally adorned horses (both ridden and driven) along the parade route down the Old National Road (Frederick Road), Route 144.

​The Lisbon Christmas Parade is presented by the Howard County Farm Bureau in partnership with the Carroll County Farm Bureau annually on the second Sat. of Dec. It benefits the Howard County Food Bank, Carroll County Food Sunday, Farmers & Hunters Feeding the Hungry and the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Company.

Parade patrons are invited to shop for the season at the Days End Farm Horse Rescue’s Santa Village before and after the parade from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and enjoy “Reindeer” Rides.

Here are all the details

Eastern Shore (+ Cecil County)

32. ICE ICE Berlin

November 24th! Kringle Cottage, artisans, kids art activities, hot chocolate & more!

  • 30+ Holiday themed lighted sculptures
  • Seaside Dance Academy performs at 5:45pm in front of the Atlantic Hotel
  • Tree is lit at 6pm featuring Town Crier Squire Frederick Taylor
  • Horse drawn Carriage Rides
  • Ocean City Pipes & Drums performances
  • Greet Santa at Kringle Kottage at the Taylor House Museum
  • Music by DJ Big Al Reno  – Shops open late! 

Here is the schedule and more details!

Related: Plan the Perfect Kid Friendly Day Trip to Berlin!

33. Cambridge Dorchester County Christmas Parade

The Cambridge ~ Dorchester County Christmas Parade is held annually on the first Saturday in December each year. Once hailed as the ‘largest nighttime parade’, the parade continues each year as a timeless tradition throughout the decades.

The parade is hosted and brought to the community by a small group of community volunteers for their love of community and the Holiday Season. The parade is 100% donor funded by local businesses, charities, and the community at large.

Each year brings something new and exciting, but always present are the glittering lights, sounds of music, Holiday cheer, and laughter. This year’s parade will not disappoint.

The 2023 parade is December 2nd at 5pm.

Here are all the details!

34. A Dickens of a Christmas Weekend

The 6th Annual Dickens of a Christmas is back on December 1-2, 2023! Join us for even more Victorian events and fun as popular favorites return after a Covid hiatus and new events debut. “Dickens of a Christmas” is a festival inspired by Charles Dickens’s beloved novella A Christmas Carol.

Set in the Historic District, the festival celebrates the season with live music, carriage rides, Victorian food and drink, costumed characters, entertainment and more. Dickens of a Christmas is hosted by Main Street Chestertown and all proceeds further Main Street’s work to make downtown Chestertown a vibrant community.

Check out the entire schedule here!

35. Hometown Holiday the Lighting of Chestertown

Chestertown’s holiday season officially kicks off with Hometown Holiday on Friday evening, Nov. 24 as Santa presides over the Annual Kent County Holiday Parade, beginning at 5:30pm on High Street.

This popular holiday event features marching bands, classic automobiles, various floats, and familiar characters such as Rudolph, Olaf, and the Grinch. Parade judges will award cash prizes to entrants in each category. Participation in the parade is open to everyone. If you are interested in entering a float or group, please email kowen@mainstreetchestertown.org.

Santa is scheduled to arrive by fire truck at the end of the parade and will visit with children in his house in Fountain Park until 8:00 p.m. Boy Scout Troop 130 will take pictures of children with Santa (donation encouraged), and sell hot chocolate.

Click here for more info!

FREE MD Christmas events

36. Annual Cecil County Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 2, 2023 @ 12:00 pm 

The entire County comes together for this day of Christmas celebration. Marching bands, vintage and modified cars, commercial floats, equestrian and animal showcases, firetrucks, motorcycles, and so much more. Come early or stay late and walk around town, merchants and restaurants offer goodies, treats, and specials just for parade day!

Click here for more info!

37. North East Santa House Meet Santa!

A FREE Santa Meet and Greet that runs from November 24th-December 24th.

Located on ‘The Green’, The Santa House is a FREE attraction sponsored by the North East Chamber of Commerce, Crouch Funeral Home, and The Rotary Club of North East. Bring your own camera for a captured holiday memory. Closest GPS address is Chesapeake Bay Coffee. 

Click here for more details

FREE MD Christmas events

38. Christmas in St. Michaels

8-10 December, 2023

Some of the Christmas in St. Michaels events have a fee but many are free. Here are some of the free ones!

FREE Holiday music around town throughout the weekend.

Mid-Shore Community Band:

Before the parade begins, the Mid-Shore Community Band will present foot-tapping seasonal music at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Talbot Street.

Saturday, December 9, 2023
10am – Noon
Corner of Railroad Avenue and Talbot Street

Union United Methodist Church

On Sunday evening, December 10, at 5:00pm, Union United Methodist Church will share the joy with Gospel and Traditional Christmas music for all to enjoy.  This is sure to be a wonderful wrap-up to our festive weekend.

Sunday, December 10, 2023
Christ Church, 301 S. Talbot Street

Lighted Boat Parade

Saturday, December 9, 2023, 6pm

Back by popular demand is the Lighted Boat Parade around St. Michaels Harbor

Talbot Street Parade

FREE EVENT Saturday 10:30am

Parade is held RAIN OR SHINE. Only lightning can stop Santa from coming!!

Who doesn’t love a traditional Christmas parade complete with marching bands, antique cars and boats, fire engines, horses, kazoo bands and llamas?! Perhaps you may even see a penny farthing. Leading off the parade will be the always fun one mile Santa Dash. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive to close out the parade. Come early on Saturday morning to get a great spot along the parade route for the largest holiday parade on the Eastern Shore. Bring a lawn chair, your dog, and a funny hat. Join the fun!

Click here are the details

39. Ocean City Christmas Parade

The Holiday season is almost here and Ocean City isn’t skipping a beat for 2023. The Ocean City Christmas Parade goes in-house this year to continue the 39 year tradition started by Gold Coast Mall. Mark your calendars for December 2nd, bring your chairs, blankets and plan for a day in OC! Arrive early to park and get your viewing spot.

The parade begins promptly at 11:00am with an extended route from Old Landing Road north to 120th Street. The southbound lanes of Coastal highway are closed for the parade in that general area allowing spectators to gather curbside. Following the parade join us at the Carousel for family-friendly fun and the awards presentation! The beach and boardwalk are always available for a leisurely stroll downtown to wrap up a great December day in town.

Here are the 2023 details

40. Christmas in Easton: Winter Festival 2023: Carols by Candlelight

November 25th from 5-7pm.

This magical free holiday event for all families in Talbot County is back for our 4th year in 2023! Choral groups, bell ringers, and musicians will perform and all spectators will receive a complimentary candle.

Hot cocoa and holiday treats will be served as we spread holiday cheer in song. The celebration starts with a festive holiday marketplace filled with local craft and food vendors. Twinkling holiday accessories will be sold by Santa’s elves to help celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season in our picturesque town of Easton, a small town with a big holiday heart.

Click here for details!

Related: The Best Things to Do With Kids on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

41. Christmas in Ridgely Winter Festival

Ridgely’s FREE Winter Festival

When: December 9th at 4pm.

Come on down to the heart of Ridgely and be part of a special FREE celebration at the Railroad Memorial Park! Did you know it hosts Caroline County’s most spectacular Christmas light show over its 6-block span?

What’s in store for you? 🎉
✨ Dual ice-skating arenas
✨ Over one acre of inflatable amusements
✨ Interactive ice sculpture display
✨ Horse-drawn carriage rides
✨ Trackless train rides
✨ Memorable moments with Santa (yes, pets are welcome too!)
✨ Meet Christmas favorites like Elsa, Buddy the Elf, Rudolph and many more!
✨ Fun-filled kids’ corners, capture moments at our selfie stations, and explore the life-sized gingerbread house!
✨ Admire the intricate model railroad display

Here are all the details!

Southern Maryland

42. FREE Family Holiday Open House at Piney Point Lighthouse

November 26

  • Admission: Free
  • Location: Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park
  • Time: 10AM to 5PM

This event is a special opening that encourages the public of all ages to come experience this unique Christmas setting in the museum.

Free admission & refreshments available for all visitors. Get a jump on your holiday shopping inside the Museum Store, including the special edition 2023 museum ornament.

Click here for more details!

43. Christmas on the Square @ Leonardtown

November 24th from 430-830pm

Bring your loved ones together to enjoy festive music, entertainment, horse-drawn carriage, sleigh, train, or hayride rides, a live nativity, a petting zoo, face painting, hot beverages, fresh kettle corn, kids’ crafts, and other enjoyable activities. Enjoy a night of excitement in the town while watching the Christmas tree be lit!

Start your holiday shopping in neighborhood stores and grab a bite to eat at a nearby eatery. Parking at the College of Southern Maryland and using the free round-trip shuttle service to and from the event are advised for attendees.

Click here for more info!

44. St. Clement’s Island Museum Holiday Open House

Enjoy the opening of the St. Clement’s Island Museum Christmas Doll & Train Exhibit inside the museum with kids’ activities, music, refreshments and much more. Run the model trains, see vintage dolls like Barbie’s and American Girl dolls and much more.

When: December 3rd
Hours: 10am-5pm

FREE ADMISSION and activities are available for visitors of all ages.

Get a jump on your holiday shopping with a wide variety of unique and local items inside the Museum Store.

The holiday exhibit continues all December long until December 31, 2023 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

For more info click here!

45. Solomons Christmas Walk and Lighted Boat Parade

Solomons Business Association will celebrate its 42nd  year of Christmas Walk! We will launch our Christmas celebrations with the fabulous Lighted Boat Parade on Saturday, December 9th. Some of the Additional events for the Christmas Walk include the Patuxent High School Jazz Band, professional pictures with Santa, refreshments, cookies, and much more! We are grateful for our sponsors and are requesting Sponsors to aid this event during the most wonderful time of the year! Without you, we could not continue to have the annual Christmas Walk. Please find our sponsorship form attached.

Saturday, December 9th at 6 p.m. weather permitting, the Lighted Boat Parade, coordinated by Solomons Island Yacht Club, Southern Maryland Sailing Association, Patuxent River Sail and Power Squadron, Solomons Yachting Center, and Sail Solomons will begin at dusk and end along the Riverwalk at approximately 7:15 p.m. A Captain’s meeting covering the route, safety issues, and rules for judging will begin at 5:15 p.m. at the Solomons Yachting Center. More information to come.

Here are all the details!

46. Christmas on the Beach

On December 1st the Town of North Beach begins the festive holiday season with a Christmas Movie Parade. The parade will end with Santa Claus lighting the Christmas tree!

Here are all the details!

Western Maryland

47. Frostburg Storybook Holiday

Saturday, December 2nd, 2023

Ya’ll– this adorable small town Christmas celebration is so wonderful it consistently rates as one of the best Christmas festivals in the United States. They are even making a movie about it!

STORYBOOK HOLIDAY is back for 2023! Every year, the city of Frostburg is transformed into a holiday winter wonderland as local organizations come together to present Frostburg’s Storybook Holiday; a festive community celebration through children’s literature. Join the elves in the Magical World of Winter as you glide through the streets of Frostburg featuring author Will Hillenbrand. He will be sharing his new book, Little Red. All the elves will be ready to participate in activities like breakfast with the elves, elf olympics, storybook readings, letters to Santa, the Elves’ Secret Workshop, meeting Santa, and more!

Here are all the details!

48. Hagerstown City Park Lighting and Drive Through Christmas Lights!

Join us for the official lighting of holiday lights and music on City Park lake from 5-8pm. Enjoy free family friendly activities and watch the lights turn on at 7pm on Friday, December 1. 

Drive through City Park and enjoy the synchronized lights and music show each evening from 5pm-11pm through December 31. Tune to 90.3 FM. 

Follow the event on Facebook for more details!

Washington DC and Northern Virginia

49. Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

December 2nd, 530PM with dockside activities from 2-8PM.

At sundown on the day of Alexandria’s Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, experience one of the region’s most beloved holiday traditions with the Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights.

Alexandria’s harbor shines as dozens of brightly lit boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront. Boats will be decked to impress a panel of judges who will award prizes in a dozen categories, including Best in Show, Thinking Outside the Christmas Box, and Hardiest Souls.

Here are all the details!

50. Scottish Christmas Walk Parade

December 2nd, 11AM, Old Town Alexandria: Enjoy marching units filled with the magnificent tartans of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, and much more. The parade begins at St. Asaph and Wolfe Streets and concludes at Market Square with a massed band concert.  The parade will take place rain or shine.

Click here for the details

51. Water-skiing Santa

December 24th, 1PM, Old Town Alexandria (for the best views): Yes. You read that correctly. Santa and his reindeer will water ski down the Potomac River on Christmas Eve. Ha!

Click here for more info!

52. White House Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace

The tradition of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse began with President Calvin Coolidge over 90 years ago. A 48 foot Balsam Fir from Vermont decorated with 2,500 electric bulbs in red, white, and green served as the first National Christmas Tree which was lit by President Coolidge on Christmas Eve 1923. Today the tradition continues and is one of the most beloved holiday events in Washington DC.

What to Expect The walkway surrounding the National Christmas Tree features 56 state and territory trees decorated with hand made ornaments that are unique to each tree.

The National Christmas Tree lights turn on at approximately 4:30 pm and turn off promptly at 10:00 pm.

Get all the details here!

53. The District’s Holiday Boat Parade

The District’s Holiday Boat Parade will take place at The Wharf on Saturday, December 2nd from 6pm – 9pm. It is a sitewide event featuring a 40ft Christmas Tree, live music, a stunning fireworks finale and of course 60 decorated boats passing through The Washington Channel. Santa will be available for photos and kids can decorate their own ornaments. And it’s basically FREE. 

Click here for more details!

54. Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long

Note: Wold Trap hasn’t announced their very popular Holiday Sing-A-Long yet. But if it happens it will take place December 2nd, 4PM at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center: This musical celebration hosts a performance by the United States Marine Band and a Sing-A-Long of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with local choir and vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area.

Wolf Trap will be participating in Toys for Tots by collecting new, unwrapped toys at the entrance to the Filene Center before the Sing-A-Long. Donations are voluntary and not required. Admission is free and no tickets are necessary. Parking is free but limited. Plan to arrive early.

Bring a candle and join the tradition of exiting the Filene Center with a candlelight processional during the last verse of “Silent Night.” There will also be a ‘Jing-A-Long’ during the singing of Jingle Bells so remember to bring a bell and your holiday cheer!

Here are all the details!

Note: Admission is FREE but parking is not.

55. US Botanic Garden

us botanic garden

The U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) will offer a garden-wide “Season’s Greenings” holiday display this year, running from Thursday, Nov. 23, through Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, closed Dec. 25. As part of the festivities, G-gauge model trains will run between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day in the gated outdoor gardens and the Conservatory will feature poinsettias, holiday decor, and D.C. landmarks made from plants.

For my review of the US Botanic Garden at Christmas, click here (spoiler alert– it is fantastic!).

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free Christmas events in maryland

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