1. The Chanukah HouseThrough December
Each year, visitors as far as Israel and Russia come to the Chanukah House (6271 Greenspring Ave.) to experience the miracle that is Hanukkah. Irwin Cohen has been decorating the house since the late 1980s. It is scheduled to be open throughout the month of December and is free to visitors.
2. Polar Express in 4D
The Polar Express has rolled into the 4D immersion theater at the National Aquarium. Kids and adults can climb aboard and follow the familiar tale of a young boy as he takes a train ride to the North Pole. The 20-minute show includes the falling of snow, the smell of hot cocoa, and more. One of the most economical times to take advantage of the show is during Fridays After Five, one of the many monthly discount and free events in Baltimore. On Friday, December 7, the museum will host World Holiday Traditions, featuring nativity scenes from around the world.
Gaylord National Resort
201 Waterfront St., National Harbor; 301-965-2000
Take a drive to the National Harbor, where the Gaylord National Resort is hosting an icy exhibit. Two million pounds of ice were used to make colorful ice sculptures and slides, which are all kept at a frigid nine degrees. There will be a 60-foot glass Tree of Light, and the cast of Shrek will be brought to life in an interactive story. Tickets start at $22.99 for adults, with an increase in price during peak days. Children three and under are free.
4. Holiday Festival of Trains & Toys
B&O Railroad Museum
901 W. Pratt St.; 410-752-2490
Baltimore's largest holiday display of toy and model trains is happening now at the B&O Railroad Museum. On weekends from Sunday, November 25 through Monday, December 31, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be around for brunches and story time (be sure to make reservations in advance, as these sell out quick!), and Frosty the Snowman will be on hand to greet visitors and hand out treats from noon until 12:30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Kids will love the LEGO displays and miniature Thomas the Tank Engine toys, and all ages will enjoy creating crafts at Santa's workshop and taking indoor train carousel rides.
5. Fells Point Olde Tyme Christmas
Fells Point will be filled with holiday cheer during this three-day weekend, when the neighborhood will host a traditional Christmas market, horse sleigh rides, a parade of lighted boats (see below), and more. St. Nick will arrive on Broadway Pier by tugboat at 9 a.m. on Satuday, December 1, and there will be an eggnog contest, pet costume contest, and pub crawl throughout the weekend. Check the Fells Point Main Street website for more details.
6. Merry Tuba ChristmasSaturday, December 1, 2012, 3:30 p.m.
At this traditional Baltimore holiday event, hundreds of colorfully dressed tuba and euphonium musicians capture the holiday spirit with a lively performance at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater (Light and Pratt streets). The event is produced in conjunction with Harborplace & The Gallery and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts.
7. Baltimore Parade of Lighted BoatsSaturday, December 1, 2012, 6 p.m.
Fells Point and the Inner Harbor will glow when 50 boats festooned with holiday lights and other decorations parade through the water. The parade begins at 6 p.m. in Fells Point and is scheduled to make its way through the Inner Harbor shortly after. Many waterfront hotels and restaurants have excellent views, as does the Broadway Pier in Fells Point.
8. Mayor's Annual Christmas ParadeSunday, December 2, 2012, 1 p.m.
More than 160 marching units will parade during the 40th Mayor’s Annual Christmas Parade. The parade route begins at Poly / Western High Schools and makes its way to Chestnut Avenue before ending at 37th Street.
9. A Monumental Occasion
10. Holiday Poinsettia Show & Train GardenSaturday, December 8 through Sunday, December 30, 2012
Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 am.-4 p.m.
Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens in Druid Hill Park will host this holiday show featuring a diverse array of poinsettias and trains. A special "sneak peek" part will take place on Friday, December 7 from 6-8 p.m., when light refreshments and wine will be served (tickets are $20 in advance or $30 at the door). The show officially opens on Saturday, December 8 at 10 a.m., when Santa will make an appearance and kids will be able to make crafts. Poinsettias will be available for sale for the duration of the show.