Ah, the twinkling sight of holiday lights. There’s not much else that feels as magical or looks as pretty as traveling around and seeing lights strung up during the long winter nights.
Maryland has an abundance of light displays, and many of them include other kid-friendly activities — or are close to other attractions.
You can use our interactive maps below to find the display closest to you and read on to learn more about some of the displays.
The Miracle on 34th Street
Where: 700 block of 34th Street, Baltimore
When: Until New Year’s Day
How much: Free!
What to know: This display in Baltimore is an absolute classic. Neighbors get together every year to decorate their homes and string lights across the street. The lights go up soon after Thanksgiving, and residents on the block say the tradition has been going on for as long as any of them can remember.
The street gets crowded, so these lights are best enjoyed on foot. There is street parking all around Hampden, but it’s a busy neighborhood, so you may have to search for a spot. Hampden has plenty of small shops and restaurants, so you can make a whole outing of your visit.
Charm City Lights
Where: Druid Hill Park, Baltimore. Enter at the Rawlings Conservatory entrance at Auchentoroly Terrace and Gwynns Falls Parkway.
When: Until New Year’s Day — 5:30-9:30 p.m. daily
How much: Tickets are $10 per car with different prices on theme nights.
What to know: Charm City Lights at Druid Hill Park, a new drive-through destination, promises a dazzling winter spectacle with more than 250,000 lights. The city says you could be waiting as long as two hours to make it through the route, so all vehicles should have at least a half-tank of gas. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
On Dec. 11, you can walk through the park instead of driving. Tickets that night are $5 per person or $20 per family (up to five people). And on Dec. 14, you can bike through the path. Tickets that night are $10 per bike.
Garden of Lights
Where: Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton
When: Until Dec. 31
How much: $10 per person ages 5 and up
What to know: The Garden of Lights is an outdoor, half-mile walk-through exhibit in Montgomery County with light displays adorning the garden’s flowerbeds and throughout the park grounds. The park’s website teases a new installation — a curtain of lights that shimmers overhead and moves in time to music. Hot drinks and light refreshments are available for purchase.
Tickets must be purchased ahead of time.
Lights on the Bay
Where: Sandy Point State Park, 1100 East College Parkway, Annapolis
When: Until New Year’s Day. Monday-Thursday from 6-10 p.m., Friday-Sunday from 5-10 p.m.
How much: $20 per car
What to know: Lights on the Bay is a two-mile drive along the Chesapeake Bay with about 70 animated and stationary light displays. You can also purchase 3D glasses at the gate to enhance the display experience.
Sailing Through Winter Solstice
Where: Carroll Creek Park, 50 Carroll Creek Way, Frederick
When: Through March 2024
How much: Free!
What to know: This is an annual display of lighted and decorated boats in a canal in downtown Frederick. It’s a short walk to see all the lights, but they are worth visiting at night and during the day to see the full designs.
Parking is free in Frederick garages on the weekends through the New Year. And if it’s your first time visiting the city, there’s plenty to do, including places to do some holiday shopping or to grab a craft cocktail.
Upperco Yuletide Village
Where: Upperco Volunteer Fire Company, 16020 Carnival Ave., Upperco
When: Most nights through Dec. 30, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
How much: $25 per car, free train garden
What to know: The Yuletide Village, which includes a half-mile light trail, train garden and regular visits from Santa, is in its fifth year. There’s a special spaghetti dinner with Santa on Dec. 17, too. And as a bonus, the Yuletide Village is put on by a volunteer fire company, so you can feel good about spending your money there.
Tickets can be purchased online.
Merriweather Symphony of Lights
Where: Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia
When: Until the New Year. Drive-through is open most nights, walk-through is available on some nights.
How much: $25 per car. Prices variable and per person on walking nights.
What to know: The Symphony of Lights in Howard County has been happening for more than 25 years, and the displays include hundreds of thousands of lights. The course is about a mile long. You must purchase tickets ahead of time for walk-through nights and events. Purchasing tickets ahead of time is recommended but not mandatory if you’re driving through.
P.S.: Howard County has their own interactive map of commercial and residential light displays in the county.
Festival of Lights
Where: Watkins Regional Park, 1130 Largo Road, Upper Marlboro
When: Through the New Year, 5-9:30 p.m.
How much: $10 per car online, or $15 at the gate.
What to know: In Prince George’s County, you can experience 3 miles of drive-through lights and dazzling scenes. The display will be open on Christmas Day, and admission is free that day, too.
Every Saturday, the park runs hayrides through the display. Limited spots are available, and registration is required. Tickets for regular admission and the hayrides are available online.
Winter City Lights
Where: 4501 Olney Laytonsville Road, Olney
When: Most nights until Dec. 30, 5:30-9:30 or 10 p.m.
How much: $31 for children, $39 for adults. Children under 4 are free.
What to know: Winter City Lights boasts more than 1 million lights and spans 18 acres. General admission includes a 1.5-mile-long walk-through displays and lights in the woods, light shows on a 52-foot programmable tree, a 32,000-square-foot canopy of overhead lights, music, bonfires and free face painting for children. Snow tubing and concessions can be purchased separately.
Tickets must be purchased online.
Winterfest of Lights
Where: Northside Park, 200 125th St., Ocean City
When: 5:30–9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday until Dec. 24 and daily Dec. 25-31
How much: $6 for those 12 or older
What to know: The 58-acre Northside Park in Ocean City transforms for the Winterfest of Lights and includes thousands of holiday lights on paved paths. There are also interactive displays, a gift shop, crafts and more.
There’s also the Winterfest Express tram ride with multiple “trolley” stops throughout the park to help with mobility. Tickets can be purchased online.