Why Baltimore should be on your nice list this holiday season

When you think of Christmas getaways, you might immediately
think of the
Big Apple
. New York City is lovely at the holidays, but my
family’s go-to for a holiday weekend is Charm City. Here’s why
we love to visit Baltimore during the holiday season.


Related: Here’s why Baltimore should be your next travel
destination

Go ice skating

I’m a fan of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for a year-round
weekend getaway, but the destination really shines when days get
short. The Harbor’s outdoor
ice skating rink
is already open daily through January 20. For
just $14 including skates you can stay on the ice as long as your
legs will let you.

Visit an authentic Christmas market

Another highlight of an Inner Harbor holiday is the German-style
Christmas market that runs this year on selected
days
from November 23-December 24th. If you love Christmas
markets but Europe
isn’t in the cards this year,
Baltimore’s German Christmas Village offers a more accessible
alternative.

Christmas Village in Baltimore is a combination of an outdoor and indoor holiday market at the Inner Harbor. (Photo by Andre Chung for The Washington Post via Getty Images)Christmas
Village in Baltimore is a combination of an outdoor and indoor
holiday market at the Inner Harbor. (Photo by Andre Chung for The
Washington Post via Getty Images)

Need to stock up on nutcrackers, nesting dolls or hand-painted
Christmas ornaments? The market is the perfect place for you. We
give each kid $10 to pick out an ornament each year. Not only do we
enjoy displaying them on our tree, but the kids also will have a
head start when it’s time to create their own holiday
traditions.

The food offerings include bratwurst, schnitzel, gingerbread and
(of course) a beer garden. Live entertainment rounds out the
holiday fun. A distinctive souvenir is the glühwein mug that comes
with discounted refills on the steamy, spicy concoction all season
long (or you can fill one with hot chocolate for the kiddos). We
have a collection of these adorable keepsakes dating back a decade.
Kids are free every day and adults visit free Sunday–Thursday;
weekend admission is only $5.

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If you’re planning a visit this season, you might want to
consider visiting the weekend of December 7–8. During that
weekend, the Christmas Market and Inner Harbor museums (including
the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center) charge just
$1 for entry. That said, lines can top an hour to visit for that
bargain price, so it might not be worth the wait to you.

Check out an incredible holiday light display

Our favorite Baltimore holiday activity takes place away from
the Inner Harbor: the “Miracle on 34th Street.” Now in its 72th
year, the neighbors of 34th Street in the Hampden neighborhood of
Baltimore close the block to cars and string it with lights from
end to end. What began as a neighborhood activity has grown to be
world famous. Each house takes pride in trying to out-do its
neighbor. Best of all: 34th Street is 100% neighborhood driven and
100% free.

People enjoy the Christmas lights on the 700 block of 34th Street in the Hampden community of Baltimore (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)People
enjoy the Christmas lights on the 700 block of 34th Street in the
Hampden community of Baltimore. (Photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP via
Getty Images)

Let me give you a visual image of Christmas Street:
Imagine, if you will, a street from A Christmas Story where each
resident is
Clark W. Griswold
. Christmas Street looks like a movie set
because real people don’t live in places with such civic pride,
do they? Yes. Yes, they do.

The decorations reflect Maryland from top to bottom: Chesapeake
Bay crabs, the Utz Potato Chip kids, O’s and Natty-Bos (Orioles
Baseball and National Bohemian beer for the non-natives), Ravens
football… you get the idea. Others are purely whimsical:
Christmas trees of hubcaps and vinyl 33 RPM records, anyone?


Related: Free things for families to do in
Baltimore

It takes about an hour to walk the block end-to-end. If you can
go on a weeknight it will be a lot less crowded. However even on
Christmas weekend, we’ve never found it out of control. This
light tour is corny, kitschy, goofy and entirely family-friendly
fun.

While corporations aren’t welcome, some residents sell their
own wares. For instance, an artist constructs angels out of Natty
Bo beer cans. One is now a prized holiday possession in our
household, reminding us of our visits to Baltimore.

When we arrive we park about two blocks away and stop at 7-11
for a hot chocolate on the way in. (I told you, this is not
commercial in any way.) Driving is far and away the easiest way to
get there from the Inner Harbor, but you could also Uber for around
$10-$15 each way.

Delight in the Highlandtown train garden

This is a fun and free event that spans the Saturday after
Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. Head to Engine House #41 at
520 S. Conkling Street in Highlandtown to see the Holiday Train Garden. In
its tenth year, this is a holiday tradition in Southwest Baltimore
and it takes an army of volunteers months to prepare each year.

Bottom line

Baltimore is chock-full of holiday cheer. Best of all, a visit
to Baltimore won’t break Santa’s bank, leaving you plenty left
over to shop for souvenirs at the German Market.

Featured photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images.

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
Why Baltimore should be on your nice list this holiday season