Maryland Holiday Event Guide 2023: Pop-up bars, performances, lights and more

The holiday season has arrived and FOX 5 has your guide to the best attractions and events taking place in Maryland to celebrate!

Holiday pop-ups and celebrations in Maryland 

Holly Trolley Fest

Check out the National Capital Trolley Museum’s model railroad holiday display and watch a live steam display. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be in attendance and you can ride with them on the museum’s historic street cars.

Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 & 23 | National Capital Trolley Museum
11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
$10 - $12
More information here.

Christmas at the Harbor

A lot is going on at National Harbor for the Holidays including a Nightly Tree Light Show (from sunset - 9 p.m.) and fireworks on Saturdays at about 5:30 p.m. These are on top of holiday classes, shopping, holiday movies, free hot chocolate and much more. 

Nov. 11 - Dec. 30 | National Harbor
Hours Vary 
More information here. 

Christmas at Gaylord National

This "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" themed "ICE!" experience sees guests wearing a signature blue parka and entering a 9 Degrees Fahrenheit wonderland carved out of ice. 

Nov. 19 - Dec. 31 | Gaylord National
Various Times between 9 a.m.. - 8:45 p.m.
More information here.

Christmas in St. Michaels Talbot Street Parade

Calling all Chesapeakes! Get the holiday season started by marching in the Christmas in St. Michaels Parade!

Dec 9 | Talbot Street from Perry Cabin south to Seymour Avenue
10:30 a.m.
More information here.

Brunch with Santa & Mrs. Claus

Sip, snack, and shop at this Ellicott City festive market!

Dec 2, 9 & 16 | The White Oak Tavern
11 p.m. - 2 p.m.
More information here.

The Polar Express Train Ride

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is bringing a holiday classic to life!

All aboard the Polar Express Train Ride this Christmas season. Inspired by the hit movie, this holiday experience comes to life when you and your family take a ride on The Polar Express. Set to the music of the motion picture soundtrack, families will love their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and cookies served prior to boarding the train. There will be singing, dancing, and a reading of The Polar Express. Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite pajamas and join in on the magic. This family-friendly event offers fun for all ages just outside Frederick County! Jump right into the story as we journey from either Cumberland or Frostburg to the North Pole to see St. Nick himself. All passengers will be provided a hot chocolate and a cookie plus they will receive a special commemorative silver sleigh bell.

Dec. 8 - Dec. 24
Various times
More information here.

Holiday Markets in Maryland 

Midnight Madness Annapolis

Enjoy a historic holiday tradition that turns downtown Annapolis into a winter wonderland of shopping and fun!

Dec 7, 14 & 21 | Downtown Annapolis
4 p.m. to 11 p.m. or midnight
More information here.

Annapolis Holiday Market

A fun and festive way to shop during the holiday season!

Dec 7 - 10 
1 Dock Street | Annapolis, MD 21401
Times vary
More information here.

Vintage Christmas Market

Enjoy an afternoon of shopping on the farm for the holidays!

Dec 9
Wildberry Farm & Market 
2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
More information here.

First Saturdays

Head on over to Downtown Frederick for First Saturday! Each weekend, there will be local businesses and local artists to support while you explore the area. 

Whether you’ve lived in Downtown Frederick for years, or you’re a first time visitor, First Saturday (and every Saturday in December) is a great time to discover something new about the beautiful downtown scene. Roast a marshmallow, grab cool prizes, sip and shop ‘til you drop. Choose from a screenprinting event at the Frederick Book Arts Center, a holiday craft fair, an art gallery and a gift market or attend a caroling sing-along at Sky Stage. Downtown Frederick is the place to be this holiday season for First Saturday. Every Saturday in December, the streets are filled with live music and entertainment. Each week, the city has planned more things to do. 

Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23| Downtown Frederick 19 E Church Street
10 a.m. - 9 p.m. (various start times)
Prices vary
More information here.

Holiday Lightings in Maryland 

Winter City Lights

Enjoy the largest light show in the D.C. area and walk the 1.5-mile trail of Christmas lights and displays. Warm up by the bonfire, take a ride on a snow tube and try s’mores, funnel cakes and more.

Nov. 30 through Dec. 30 | Olney, MD
Various hours
Starting at $39
More information here

Winter Lights Festival

Take festive photos during this 3.5-mile drive through more than 450 illuminated displays. Tune your car radio to 97.1 WASH FM for holiday music to set the mood!

Nov. 24 through Dec. 31 | Seneca Creek State Park
Various hours
More information here.

Garden of Lights

Looking for some family fun to get into the holiday spirit? Montgomery County has turned a popular park into a winter wonderland, with a half mile of lights to walk through. 

Nov. 17 - Dec. 31
5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
More information here. 

Washington D.C. Temple Festival of Lights

Enjoy beautiful lights, decorated Christmas trees and Creche displays featuring nativities from around the world. Plus, listen to performances from a variety of choirs and singers.

Nov. 30 through Jan. 1 | Washington D.C. Temple
4:45 p.m. - 9 p.m.
More information here.

Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park

Ride through the Winter Festival of Lights! See dazzling scenes celebrating the magic of the holiday season.

Nov. 24 - Jan. 1 | 1130 Largo Rd, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774 (Enter along Rt. 202)
Nightly from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. 
$10-$15 (Free on Christmas Day)
More information here

Lights on the Bay

A holiday display with more than 60 spectacular animated displays!

Nov. 19 - Jan. 1 | Sandy Point State Park
5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
$20 per car
More information here.

Merriweather Symphony of Lights

A Howard County holiday tradition of dazzling, larger-than-life animated holiday light creations!

Nov. 23 - Jan. 1 | Merriweather Post Pavilion  
5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
More information here.

Holiday Performances in Maryland 

The 35th Annual Puppet Nutcracker

Hear the story of The Nutcracker through puppetry and integrated with Puppet Co. nursery rhymes. Plus, enjoy the music of the Arlington Symphony Orchestra.

Nov. 24 through Dec. 31 | The Puppet Co. Playhouse
Various hours
More information here.

The Mini-Nut

Watch this Christmas classic, performed by the Maryland Youth Ballet, just abbreviated! The one-hour performance is a great way to introduce younger theatre-goers to the ballet.

Dec. 2, 3 & 9 | Montgomery College, Silver Spring
1 p.m. & 3 p.m.
More information here.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

It’s a spin on the holiday staple as Maria-Clara and the Nutcracker Prince explore modern-day New York City. The classic score will feature contemporary and hip-hop dancers, a DJ and visual effects.

Dec. 19 through Dec. 22 | The Music Center at Strathmore
8 p.m.
More information here.