I’ve traveled across the country since I was 3 years old. While I don’t have the flyer points to prove it, I know how exciting it can be to come back to your hometown or visit a new place during the holidays.
Now that I’m older and building my life and home, I love inviting friends from all over to come visit and explore Maryland. My colleague recently shared a few amazing places in Baltimore to eat with your out-of-town friends.
But there are quite a bit of other things to do. Even though it’s cold outside, we don’t have to turn into couch potatoes. The East Coast is a real beauty when it comes to the changing seasons. Winter is no exception.
Here are a few suggestions for where to go.
For the first time, Baltimore City Recreation & Parks is hosting a holiday lights display experience, Charm City Lights, at Druid Hill Park. Until Jan. 1, people can cruise through the over-740-acre park from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. to see the displays. Tickets are $10 per vehicle, and vehicles larger than 15 passengers are not allowed on the route. Charm City Lights is a cashless event, so tickets need to be purchased in advance online or in person at one of several city facilities.
The Color Burst Ice Rink is at Columbia’s Merriweather District. Worried about the crowd? Reservations are an option and are highly recommended. Be sure to check the hours because they vary depending on the day and there are different themes. Skaters get 75 minutes on the ice, and there are plenty of nearby restaurants. There is free parking in multiple garages and nearby street parking. Tickets are $12 a person, and it’s $3 to rent skates.
Why not treat those who took flights with flights of wine? Boordy Vineyards is open to visitors Monday through Sunday during the colder months and even has different events throughout the week. On Saturdays and Sundays, the vineyard offers food trucks and music in its newly renovated barn. There’s also a wine shop that sells by the bottle and case. Stay out of the cold and warm up with a nice glass of wine, food and music. Guests need to be over 21 to go to the vineyard, except for Thursdays and Sundays.
Yes, more lights. Lights on the Bay is an opportunity to drive through Sandy Point State Park until Jan. 1. Along the Chesapeake Bay shore, attendees get to see over 70 light displays. Some are stationary and others animated, according to the event website. The light show is sponsored by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Anne Arundel County, and proceeds benefit the organization. Tickets are $20 per car, and the price increases for large vans and buses. 3-D glasses are $5.
Duckpin bowling is believed to have Baltimore origins that date to 1900. If you’ve never played before, it’s a variation of the 10-pin game some may be used to. No ducks will be harmed if you play. Duckpin bowling has smaller bowling balls that fit in an adult’s hand. There are also shorter and wider pins. Stoneleigh Lanes is one of the last few places to play in Maryland. There are options to pay by the hour and purchase packages that include food and beverages.
Beat the cold and hit the games. Crabtowne in Glen Burnie is home to over 90 vintage games for as little as the old-school price of a quarter. Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat and Pac-Man are among the nostalgic selection. It’s open every day except Wednesday. There’s also a restaurant in case gamers build up an appetite. And, if those out-of-town friends haven’t ever picked crabs, Crabtowne could be a learning experience.
Old Ellicott City Main Street
Old Ellicott City is historic and a shopping district about 30 minutes away from Baltimore. There are history tours, local vendors and shops, at least 15 dining options, and special events and music throughout the week. There’s even a helpful website to plan a day with a group. And here’s a pro tip from a colleague: Park in the lot by the courthouse and walk down the stairs to Main Street to save yourself from getting stuck in traffic.