By Caroline Halligan
The later start time of school this year means that finals period seems to stretch into oblivion. If you’re here until that last day, here are some ways that you can experience the holiday spirit right here in Baltimore.
I always like going to see the model trains at the Kenilworth Mall in Towson. The mall is not too far away (about a 15 minute walk from the Town Center Collegetown Shuttle stop) and it’s full of cute boutiques for holiday gift shopping.
My family and I have gone every year since I was little. They have an enormous miniature train set-up that’s holiday-themed and even has some miniature Baltimore landmarks, like the Natty Boh tower in Brewers Hill.
Alternatively, if you have a car and like to plan ahead, I recommend going to the Festival of Trees at the state fairground in Lutherville-Timonium.
They transform the cow palace into a Christmas wonderland, full of dozens of Christmas trees decorated by different organizations. It’s super corny, but I eat it right up.
Unfortunately, the event is only the weekend after Thanksgiving, but check it out next year.
Another event to keep in mind for the future is the lighting of the Christmas tree in Belvedere Square. You can take the CityLink Red bus line to get there.
The market is amazing and, I find, often under-appreciated by Hopkins students. And it’s right next to the historic Senator Theatre. You can enjoy shops, food and live music while you watch the lighting and then catch a movie afterwards.
In the past few years, the city has added a German Christmas market to the Christmas Village in the Inner Harbor, which I can’t wait to visit. They’ll be selling both food and gifts, and there’s the ice-skating rink nearby as well.
If you’re looking for a bigger rink than the one in the Inner Harbor, I spent lots of time as a kid at the Mount Pleasant Ice Arena in Patterson Park.
You can get there by taking the CityLink Silver route and transferring to the Green route to its Loch Raven Boulevard and Northern Parkway stop.
It may be easier to spring for an Uber, but you can justify this extra cost: The rink’s admission is only $4.
By Isaac Lunt
I’ve been known to scoff at the holiday season, but there are some places and events that I always make sure to go to here in Baltimore.
I recommend starting with the classic: 34th Street in Hampden.
It’s definitely kitschy, but it is hard not to be amazed at the collective efforts of an entire street of dedicated people. Each house brings its own flare to the holiday, and I make my way over to that block every year.
If you can, track down the Dancing Santas, who do exactly what you’d think. Try to catch them at the lighting of the Mt. Vernon Monument, along with all sorts of other festivities, including free hot chocolate.
I also highly recommend meandering through Lexington Market.
One of the city’s most historic and fascinating spots, Lexington Market can always provide a good source of holiday cheer at this time of year in the way of public music, seasonal foods, and friendly faces.
But if you’re looking for a real treat this holiday season, and something you can only really get right here in Baltimore, get a ticket for the Baltimore City College Choir’s Annual Christmas Concert.
One of the nation’s best high school choirs performing rousing renditions of everything from traditional hymns to upbeat gospel to classic commercial hits, what could possibly be a better way to ring in the season?
But more than anything, take time this holiday to interact with the people around you in the city we all share. Visit a neighborhood for something other than its bars, engage with people on the street, wish the nice old lady at the grocery store a happy holiday.
There are endless parts of this city to explore, and the holidays bring out the best in everyone, so spend some time getting to know Baltimore this winter.