Glowing and colorful light displays light up the nights throughout the region and remind us all of the magic of the season. Take a break from your holiday shopping and enjoy a stroll or drive through twinkling lights, fairy tales, and images of yesterday. Here is your guide to some of the region’s most spectacular light displays.
Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes
Nov. 18–Jan. 1 (gates open 5:00pm daily)
$15 per car, $30 per van
Visit this new 2-mile drive through 60 displays. Enjoy the Christmas Village at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal with ice skating, live music, indoor holiday workshop, and a giant Ferris wheel.
Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, Solomons
Dec. 2–Jan. 1, 6:00–9:00pm
(closed Dec. 5–7, 12–13, 24–25)
$6 per person, free for ages 4 and younger
This magical walking tour — on a quarter-mile protected path through glittering woods — features spectacular lights and “light sculptures.” Guests are surrounded by mythical beasts, airplanes, pirates, princesses, and circus performers, among the exhibits that change yearly. Enjoy the “Holiday I Spy” game, nightly entertainment, holiday ornament sales, and sweet treats.
Hampden, Baltimore City
Dec. 2–Dec. 31, dusk–11:00pm
For the 68th year, residents of 34th Street set their block aglow with lighted and musical porch displays and lights strung across the street from second-story row house windows. Enjoy over-the-top front lawn Christmas trees and giant inflatable snow globes. Sign the books on the Hosier family’s porch and leave your own special note. Live entertainment and vendors are available on either end of the street. Cars are not allowed to drive through on weekends, so park and take in these extreme holiday decorations on foot.
Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis
Nov. 22–Jan. 1, 5:00–10:00pm
$15 per car or minivan, $30 per large passenger van, trolley, or mini-bus, $50 per bus
This magnificent light show gleams on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Drive through more than 60 spectacular animated and stationary displays. Use 3-D glasses to make the lights truly come alive.
Brookside Gardens, Wheaton
Nov. 25–Jan. 1, 5:30–9:30pm (Sunday–Thursday), 5:30–10:00pm (Friday–Saturday)
$20 (Monday–Thursday) and $25 (Friday–Sunday) per car
Walk into a magical winter wonderland illuminated with more than 1 million dazzling colorful lights shaped into handcrafted, original art forms of flowers, animals, and other natural elements. Stroll through gardens decorated with twinkling tree forms, fountains, sparkling snowflakes, and more. Warm up with hot cocoa while you listen to musicians perform in the auditorium each night 6:30–8:00pm. The conservatory’s train display and beautiful decorations are free 10:00am–5:00pm, Dec. 5–Jan. 3 (closed Dec. 25).
Seneca Creek State Park, Gaithersburg
Nov. 25–Dec. 31, 6:00–9:00pm (Sunday–Thursday), 6:00–10:00pm (Friday–Saturday) (closed Dec. 25)
$12 (Monday–Thursday) and $15 (Friday–Sunday) per car/minivan/SUV
$20 per limo/passenger van, $30 per minibus,
$70 per bus seating 70 or more
See more than 365 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes that light up the night on this 3.5-mile drive. Themed areas include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, and the North Pole. Mark your calendar for these special events: Wine Under the Lights (Nov. 20, 6:00–10:00pm), Run Under the Lights (Nov. 21, 6:00pm), S’more Lights and Trolley Rides (Nov. 22, 5:30–9:00pm), and Leashes ‘n’ Lights (Nov. 24, 6:00–9:00pm).
Watkins Regional Park, Upper Marlboro
Nov. 25–Jan.1, 5:00–9:30pm
$10 per car or van, $15 for multi-visit pass, $20 per mini-bus/limo, $30 per bus, free admission Dec. 25
Drive-thru holiday light show boasting 1 million glittering lights and dozens of displays, including Santa flying a helicopter and driving a fire truck.
Attendees encouraged to bring canned goods/non-perishable items for donation to local food banks.
Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia
Nov. 23–Jan. 1, 6:00–10:00pm
$20 per car, $45 per van, $125 per bus
This show features 75 animated and stationary displays along the drive-thru trail through Symphony Woods. New elements in 2016 include a new course design, refurbished traditional light displays and brand new displays, 100 percent LED lighting, a laser light show, a 3-D holiday video projected 50 feet high at Merriweather Post Pavilion, and an outdoor ice skating rink. Benefits Howard County General Hospital.
Nov. 19–Jan. 3, 5:30–9:30pm (Sunday–Thursday), 5:30–10:30pm (Friday–Saturday)
$5 per person for Village Tram,
free for children 12 and younger
Northside Park at 125th Street and Bayside is the setting for an award-winning holiday display. Take a tram through the fairytale displays, snap a photo with Santa, and sip hot chocolate in the heated Winterfest Pavilion.
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square
Nov. 24–Jan. 8, gardens open 9:00am, lights 3:30–9:00pm
$20 per adult,
$17 per senior citizen, $10 per child
Features extravagantly decorated trees throughout the conservatory, as well as glamorous decorations in the music room and exhibition hall.
Outside, the Italian Water Garden is illuminated with a 20-foot tree form and the colorful fountains in the open air theater dance to holiday music, accented by a half million holiday lights.
Timed admission tickets are required. Online purchase available.
Bernville, near Reading
Nov. 5–Jan. 1 (weekends until Thanksgiving, then daily), 6:00–9:00pm (Monday—Friday), 5:00–9:30pm (Saturday), 5:00–9:00pm (Sunday)
$8 for children younger than 11,
$10 for ages 11 to 64,
$9 for senior citizens
More than just a display, it’s an experience that’s an American Bus Association Top 100 event. Koziar’s is an entire village nestled in a valley around a reflective lake. For the 69th year, the village is aglow with indoor and outdoor displays of more than 1 million lights.
Enjoy indoor shopping, as well as paved paths for wheelchairs and strollers, and a visit with Santa.
Prospect, near Pittsburgh
Nov. 18–Jan. 8, dusk–10:00pm every night
$25 per car or family van
Hundreds of thousands of LED lights programmed to music. The Big Butler Fairgrounds location is one of six on the East Coast.
Also includes Santa’s Village with themed Christmas trees, make-and-take crafts, and other activities.
Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville
Nov. 23–Jan. 8, 5:30–9:30pm (Sunday–Thursday), 5:30–10:00pm (Friday–Saturday)
$20 (Friday–Saturday and holidays), $25 (Dec. 5, 12, 19, and 26) per car, $25 to $55 for vans and buses
More than 40,000 lights, animated animals set to music, and blowing snowflakes will get you in the holiday spirit. Warm up by the bonfire at the holiday village, where you can also find children’s activities and s’mores. See the website for $3-off coupons for Monday through Thursday visits. Additional fees for the Festival of Lights carnival rides.
Clearbrook Park, Winchester
Nov. 25–Jan. 2, 5:30–9:30pm
(closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve)
$5 per adult, $3 per child
Walk through a winter wonderland of lights reflecting off the lake, enjoy holiday music, and visit a cozy cabin for hot chocolate, cookies, and a visit with Santa.
D.C. and Alexandria, Va.
Dec. 3, 5:00–6:00pm (landside events, Alexandria), 6:00–8:00pm (D.C.)
Watch the holiday light parade as 60 boats festooned in holiday lights cross from Alexandria to D.C. Landlubbers can enjoy music, entertainment, and photos with Santa.
Nov. 25– Jan.1(closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve)
Enjoy a walk through the zoo and animal exhibits, lit and decorated for the holidays with 500,000 holiday lights. “Zoo-tubing” available on lion/tiger hill for $3 per ride. The National Zoo Choo-Choo offers rides through the lights for $3 per person.
Reminder: Always confirm availability and pricing with event venues online or by phone. The light venues tend to be more crowded on the weekends, so plan accordingly.