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20 Holiday Christmas Lights you have to see in Maryland and DC

Going around the town and seeing Christmas lights is fun to do with your family during the holidays. We have a family tradition where we go to see a few Christmas lights to get into the holiday spirit. Maryland has a ton of excellent holiday light shows and animated light displays to enjoy as a family.

Here are some of the best places to see Christmas lights in Maryland and DC! Some of them are free to enjoy on certain days and make for a great family adventure during the holiday season. Plus, one thing I love about these lights is that you can enjoy most of them by driving them or walking round.

christmas lights national harbor

Magical Christmas lights in Maryland and DC

1.  “Miracle on 34th Street” Lights

This is one of Maryland’s best free Christmas events! The Miracle on 34th Street is decked out in festive light displays. This town has been organizing this event for 73 years now, and it just gets better each year. Walk through or enjoy a scenic drive by as you take in all the holiday cheer. When you are done viewing the Christmas lights displays, make your way over to the restaurants to enjoy some great food.

Cost: Free

Location: 726 West 34th street, Baltimore, MD 21211

Dates: Late November to late December

2.  Zoo Lights Maryland Zoo

From the middle of November until the New Year, head to the Maryland Zoo for some beautiful Zoo Lights. The entire zoo is all decorated with tons of colorful lights. This is one of the kids’ favorite things to do during Christmas time. Santa will also be there for the kids if you visit on a Saturday, and you can even go on a free train and carousel ride. You have the option to drive through or walk around.

Cost: $28-$33 Depending on if you are driving through or walking through.

Location: Maryland zoo in Baltimore

Dates: Middle of November to the New year.

3.  Eastport Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade

The Eastport Yacht Club’s Lights Parade has been going on for a while and is another excellent place to see some beautiful Christmas lights in a unique way. This boat parade takes place every December on the second Saturday. Yachts will be full of lights and other fun decorations.

Cost: Free

Location: On the water of the Annapolis Harbor although there are many places to view from

Dates: Second Saturday of November

4.  Jeff’s Christmas Light Show

Jeff’s Christmas Light Show is another one you don’t want to miss! You can drive by and see a fun light show or walk-through. There are over 250,000 lights at Jeff’s house and plenty of great Christmas displays and decorations, including a 20-foot gingerbread house and stuffed animal Ferris wheel. This is one of the best Christmas light shows in Maryland!  

5.  Brad Paulsen Light Show

Brad Paulsen also puts on a fun light show at his house that your kids will love. Here you will find lights spread out on the house as it flows to the beat of the music on the radio. See this one when it is too cold to visit the other outside Christmas lights. It may not be miles long like several popular holiday lights, but watching all the twinkling lights move to the music sounds is fantastic. We are always blown away watching the lights move when the music changes to upbeat and fast songs.

Cost: Free

Location: 1722 Edwin Dr. Bel Air, MD 21015

Dates: End of November to the New year.

6.  McCurley Magical Christmas Lights

In the McCurley neighborhood, each house goes all out with Christmas lights and fun decorations for the entire family. You might even see a special appearance from Santa or the Grinch! You can either walk around or drive through; up to you!

Cost: Free

Location: McCurley Magical Christmas Lights, McCurley Dr, Manchester, MD 21102

7.  Festival of Lights

The Winter Festival of Lights has over three miles of Christmas lights for you to drive through with your family. This festival is held at Watkins Regional Park and will bring the joyful Christmas spirit as you spend time with your kids, enjoying the beauty around you. This one is one of our favorite Christmas light shows. You can feel the Christmas magic from the moment you drive in. The first few seconds of the drive are like a welcome to the lights show before you hit the actual displays.

Cost: Cars pay $8 with online purchases or $10 admission at the gate

Location: 301 Watkins Park Drive Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Dates: End of November to the New year.

christmas lights

8.  Ellicott City Lights

Ellicott City, Maryland, has fun Christmas lights around their neighborhood for everyone to enjoy. This extravagant holiday light display is even synced to some music too! Walk through on a nice night or drive by with your little ones.

Cost: Free

Location: 4802 Red Hill Way, Ellicott City, MD

Dates: Early December to end of December

9.  National Harbor Nightly Tree Light Show

The National Harbor has a nightly tree light show every 30-minutes throughout the evening. Watch as they light up a 54-foot Christmas tree with a short fun show the kids will find so magical. This is great if you have little ones but still want to see some lights during the early evening.

Cost: Free

Location: 165 Waterfront street, National Harbor, MD 20745

10.       National Christmas Tree

In Washington DC, watch the National Christmas Tree Lighting that has been around for over 90 years. There will be Christmas music, special performances, and the giant Christmas tree lighting. This is a tradition you’ll want to see each year. Along the paths of the National Christmas tree are 58 state and territory trees decorated with uniquely designed ornaments by students.

Cost: Free

Location: White House

Dates: All of December to the New Year

christmas lights national harbor

11.       Brookside Gardens of Lights

Brookside Gardens becomes a stunning winter wonderland with their holiday Gardens of Light. More than a million Christmas lights are in the 50-acre garden. Your family will love taking a pleasant stroll through the beautiful gardens during this magical holiday season. Brace up with your jackets, though, since there is no drive-through option. Your kids can enjoy the dazzling and colorful LED lights that have been handwoven into original works in the form of animals, flowers, and other natural elements.

Cost: Tickets are $10 per person for ages three and older

Location: Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902

Dates: Late November to the New Year

12.       Lights on the Bay at Sandy point State Park

The Lights on the Bay has over 60 different holiday displays and is a drive-through light festival everyone loves to go to at least once during December. You can even get some 3D glasses for a fun experience! This event features a 2-mile drive of animated and static displays. If you are looking for some state parks to visit while in Maryland, this park is one of them.

Cost: $20 per car

Location: 1815 Bay Ridge Avenue, Annapolis MD 21403

Dates: Late November 2022- early January 2023

13.       Enchant DC Christmas

One of the best places to see Christmas lights in the DC area is Enchant Christmas! In November, the Nationals Park is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. After you finish walking around looking at the beautiful lights, you can grab some delicious hot chocolate, explore some of the fantastic gift shops, and enjoy some ice skating! Enjoy some great live music at Enchant Christmas with bands playing throughout the evening. It made it a more enjoyable atmosphere while viewing the lights and walking around when we visited. Check out our great experience at Enchant DC Christmas.

Cost: The cost varies depending on the day and time

Location: Nationals park, 1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Dates: $29 – $39 (depending on the date and time you attend) for adults and $29 for kids (2 and under are free). There are also some special events you can pay for like Ice skating etc.

enchant dc christmas decoration

14.       Symphony of Lights

The Symphony of Lights is located in Howard County and is a great holiday tradition for the family. You will find over 300,000 lights all over the one-mile course. Locate all the hidden letters in the displays to win a special prize. Drive through this event or get out and walk around the stunning lights. There are even fun life-size decorations too! We usually do the drive-through option as I’m not too fond of the cold.

Cost: its $20 per car

Location: Merriweather Post Pavilion

10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Maryland 21044

Dates: Late November to the New Year

15.       Winter Lights Festival at Northside Park

At Northside Park in Ocean City, you will find the Winter Lights Festival. Santa is here, ready to take pictures with your kids and learn what they want for Christmas. Get some hot chocolate to keep your hands warm while you walk around and enjoy the magical Christmas lights. Tickets have to be purchased in advance. The winter lights festival features a 3- mile drive through the magical setting of Seneca Creek State Park. Enjoy over 450 illuminated displays and beautifully lit trees all night. If you are in town for a few days, there are many fun things to do in Ocean City with your kids during winter.

Cost: price varies from $15- $25 depending on the day.

Location: Northside Park, in Ocean City, MD

Dates: November 17- December 31st 2022.

16.       Annmarie Garden in Lights

The Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center puts on the Garden in Lights show. All the artwork, including the sculptures, are covered with sparkling lights and decorations. The entire family will love seeing all the sculptures in a different light. They also have pop-up holiday shops, drinks, and food to enjoy.

Cost: $10-$12 depending on the day

Location: 13470 Dowell road, Solomons, MD 20688

Dates: November 25th, 2022 to January 1st, 2023

17.       Georgetown Winter Glow

Georgetown Glow is held in Washington DC, another place you’ll want to check out. This is another free outdoor Christmas lights event that the entire family will love. Local artists put up their artwork throughout the town, which is terrific. But all the artwork glows too! For Christmas, there is a special event as well.

18. Sailing into the Winter Solstice, Carroll Creek Park

This Winter Solstice is another amazing Christmas lights display, and I love it because it’s unique. Every year Carroll creek park puts on a great show of individually designed lighted sailboats. They set sail in November and stay on display through March, which is quite long for Christmas lights. Various Frederick businesses are invited to sponsor and design a boat to be on display, and then they compete by having people vote on their favorite boats. The boat with the most votes gets the Sailing through the Winter Solstice trophy. The lights usually come on at sunset, so you can view them anytime during the day or night.

Location: Carroll Creek [ark

Dates: November through March

19. North pole lights walk

The North pole lights is a self-guided walk to the North Pole where guests can visit Santa Claus in his cabin.

Cost: General $8.00 , Children $5.00

Location: 8109 Telegraph Rd, Severn, MD 21144

Dates: Late November to Late December

20.  ICE at Gaylord National Harbor 

The National Harbor is one of my favorite places to relax, so what better way to celebrate the holiday spirit than enjoying the Christmas lights at the Gaylord National Harbor. Not only do you see a million twinkling lights, but guests can also enjoy various holiday activities and events throughout the Christmas season.

Dates: Late November to New Year’s Eve

There are countless places to see Christmas lights in Maryland and DC, and these are some of them. Head over to any of these when the sun starts to go down for a fun family experience everyone will love!

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Check out these Christmas lights in Maryland and DC

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Lola is the founder of Deyewa where she helps families discover kid and family friendly areas in Maryland with printables, tips, guides and ideas to help families have the best experiences. She is a wife and mom to 3 amazing kids and loves to spend time exploring the world with them. When she is not blogging or at her day job, she enjoys traveling, going to kids activities, church and eating out.

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