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The Most Magical Christmas Events In Maryland Region To Experience With Kids

The Most Magical Christmas Events In Maryland Region To Experience With Kids (updated for 2021)

Inside: These Christmas events in Maryland are pure magic and you will definitely make awesome memories to last a lifetime with your kids!

There is arguably no time more magical for kids than the holiday season. From the moment peppermint milkshakes make their annual debut until Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve, kids and adults are delighted by all the amazing Christmas events and activities.

It can be overwhelming though because, especially in the Maryland-DC-Virginia area, there are sooooo many fantastic ways to celebrate the holiday season. The good news is that the most important part of the holiday season is not the endless holiday ‘must-do’ to do list. Nope. The one thing that makes Christmas so magical is the time spent with family, doing the activities your family most treasures and just being together.

But if you are looking for some really fantastic options for magical Christmas events in the Maryland Region, these 10 ideas are fabulous… and they will all check the only box that really matters– time spent together as a family.

maryland christmas events

The 10 Most Magical Christmas Events In Maryland Region To Experience With Kids

1. Drive Through Christmas Lights Displays

There are so many drive through Christmas Lights Displays to choose from. However, two of the best are the Symphony of Lights in Columbia, MD and the Watkins Regional Park Festival of Lights in Upper Marlboro, MD.

Symphony of  Lights (click link for tickets)

Watkins Regional Park Festival of Lights

Maryland Christmas Lights

Related: 16 Magical Places To See Christmas Lights in the DC Area

2. Ride on a Santa Claus Train

Santa Claus trains were not a thing when I was a kid. Maybe it was because we didn’t live near an iconic steam train hub. Or maybe no one had thought of the idea yet (I imagine it was a combination of both). But hanging out with Santa Claus on an old steam train has got to be one of the best things we do every Christmas season. If you have a young train lover or you want an activity that appeals to all generations (we always bring Grandpa too!), these Christmas-themed trains are your best best:

walkersville southern railroad santa train

Related: 11 Maryland and DC Area Christmas Train Events Your Kids Will Love

3. ICE! at Gaylord National (ICE will not being running in 2021 BUT there are other fun activities!)

You might balk at the price (it is a little pricey), but I seriously could not imagine a holiday season without a trip to the Gaylord National Harbor hotel to see ICE! and all the other festive activities. ICE! itself is truly impressive. Each year the ice carvers out do themselves with incredibly life like ice sculptures of Christmas favorites such as the Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty, and more.

ICE at Gaylord National

This part is definitely still happening in 2021!– After you finish sliding down that ice slide, stick around (you will want to warm up anyway) for the other fun activities. There are a few kiddie rides, cookies and storytime with Mrs. Claus, cookie decorating, etc.. The absolute best add-on though (and this one is FREE which makes it even better) is the nightly fountain and laser light show– This nightly Christmas tree lighting event will literally knock your socks off. There is even an indoor snowfall!

Check out my review of ICE! here.

Christmas on the Potomac

4. Make a special trip to an Amusement Park at Christmas

Speaking of a holiday indulgence, many of the area amusement parks go all out to deck the halls and celebrate Christmas with you. Your best bets for Christmas amusement parks are probably:

dutch wonderland

5. Visit a walk through lights display

There are some truly phenomenal Christmas lights displays you can walk through in Maryland area too. The most over the top one is probably Koziar’s Christmas Village in Bernville, Pennsylvania.

brookside gardens

If you don’t want to drive that far though, there are some really fantastic options between the beltways. These are the ones that are most often recommended:

maryland christmas lights

6. Spend the day at a local Christmas Festival

Some of the local towns really know how to bring out the community and put on a super fun family friendly Christmas celebration. 

Related: Holiday Overstimulation and Kids

7. Check out a Family friendly holiday concert or play

ultimate guide to family friendly Christmas fun in the Baltimore Area

8. Go see a botanical garden or conservatory Christmas displays

The two best options in this category are awesome for different reasons.

  • Longwood Gardens: A Longwood Christmas. For over the top awesomeness this is the place to go. Seriously, you will not believe how gorgeous the Christmas decorations are inside the Conservatory. There is a super cool (and cold) holiday fountain show, a great Christmas lights walk, and more!

longwood christmas

  • U.S. Botanic Garden.  (The US Botanic Garden will not be open for this event in 2021). This amazing garden has cornered the market on holiday coolness. Why? Because every year they base their train garden and decorations on a theme and then everything– and I mean everything– is created out of only organic materials. It is simply awesome. Every year they also make replicas out of all the US Government monuments and landmarks.. again, all organic material. It is truly impressive. The lines for this annual holiday event can get super long when school is out, so if you can swing a weekday (or early in the season) trip, do it.

Related: 4 Festive Reasons You Must Visit The US Botanic Garden With Kids At Christmas!

9. Make plans to eat breakfast with Santa Claus

There are a number of options here and you will want check your local area for the best low-cost options. We love the pancake breakfast put on by our local fire station. If you want a super fun and unique experience, every year the Maryland Zoo holds a Santa breakfast with penguins. It is really super cute and a ton of fun (and it always sells out super fast).

christmas events in maryland

10. Give back!

If you have younger kids, it is surprisingly difficult to find great opportunities to serve (with an organization) over the holidays. However, here are some great options that will make a lasting impression on you and your kids:

longwood christmas

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