Baltimore holiday merry-making begins

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Carol Sorgen

Charm City becomes especially charming this time of year as it brings on the holiday festivities. Put on your party shoes (or boots, depending on the weather) and join in the merriment.

Nov. 11 to Jan. 16

Pandora Ice Rink at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Harborplace Amphitheater

Break the ice at the Pandora Ice Rink at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, complete with a skate shack, rentals, concessions and entertainment, as well as special events like SkateFest, a learn-to-skate program, and more.

Nov. 11 to Jan. 2

National Aquarium’s Holiday 4-D Experience: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4-D

The National Aquarium presents a magical twist on a holiday classic this winter, as the beloved animated movieRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4-D debuts at the National Aquarium’s 4-D Immersion Theater. Journey with Rudolph as he sets off on a series of funny and endearing adventures after being ousted from Christmas-town because of his bright and shining nose.

501 E. Pratt St. (410) 576-3800,

Nov. 19 to 20, 25 to 27

All Aboard for the North Pole

Get on board the Polar Express at the B&O Railroad Museum, when characters from this award-winning book come to life. The conductor punches your golden ticket as you board the Polar Express. Chefs serve hot chocolate and cookies on board the train, and during the ride you listen to The Polar Express story.

Santa’s helpers provide holiday cheer and every child will personally receive from Santa the first gift of Christmas — a silver sleigh bell. During this event, the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area LEGO Train Club will display their model train layout completely constructed of LEGO pieces.

901 W. Pratt St., (410) 752-2490,

Nov. 24  

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot

Adults, children and families from across the region come together every Thanksgiving morning not only to run (or walk, jog or stroll), but also to raise funds so that children living in disadvantaged circumstances in Central Maryland have access to programs at the Y. The course starts at Druid Hill Park in front of the Stieff Silver Building, runs through the park, looping around Druid Hill Lake and finishing up at the Stieff Silver Building.

Nov. 24 to Dec. 24  

Christmas Village at West Shore Park

West Shore Park will be transformed into a traditional European Christmas Market, complete with more than 50 vendors selling traditional European crafts, arts, jewelry, holiday gifts, food, sweets and drinks from Nov. 24 to Dec. 24. Special holiday-themed programming will take place each weekend.

401 Light St.,

Nov. 25 to 27

Festival of Trees

You’ll think you’re in the North Pole after you step into this land of fairytale forests, gingerbread towns, train gardens and craft vendors from Nov. 25 to 27 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

 2200 York Rd., (443) 923-9200,

Nov. 26 to Jan. 2

Miracle on 34th Street

It’s not Christmas in Baltimore until you’ve seen these historic Hampden homes transformed into a sparkling Christmas village with a decidedly Charm City touch.

Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14  

Merriment and Melodies in Harbor East

This holiday season join Harbor East Wednesday Evenings for a Holiday Music series featuring live music under the stars, complimentary sweets, wine and spirits sold street-side, shopping events and more!

Dec. 1

Washington Monument Lighting

​The annual lighting of the Washington Monument features musical selections by area choirs, a spectacular fireworks show and refreshments on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. on Mount Vernon Place, centered on the 600 block of North Charles Street.

Dec. 3

The Avenue at White Marsh 18th Annual Holiday Parade

The Avenue at White Marsh will host the area’s 18th Annual Holiday Parade on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m. Celebrate the season with local high school marching bands, street performers, mascots, dance troops and much more.

8125 Honeygo Blvd., (443) 219-1820,

Dec. 4

Mayor’s Christmas Parade

The 42nd annual parade on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 1 p.m. will wend its way from Falls Rd. to 36th St. to Chestnut Ave., and will include live music, new balloons, an appearance from Miss Yuletide, bedecked floats and plenty of holiday spirit.

Dec. 9-11

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Swingin’ Nutcracker

Take in a jazzy performance of this version of “Nutcracker.”  Riffing off of Ellington’s dazzling reimagining of a portion of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, composer Paul Murtha has created an entire Swingin’ Nutcracker. The production features the vibrant and percussive dancing of the Washington-based company Step Afrika!

1212 Cathedral St., (410) 783-8000,

Celebrate Chanukah

Dec. 11, 11 a.m.

Celebrate Chanukah with traditional music from the Klezmer Band and special guest speaker, Avraham Infeld, at the Edward A. Myerberg Center. Enjoy a light kosher meal. Dietary laws observed. $2 members, $4 nonmembers

3101 Fallstaff Rd., (410) 358-6856,

Dec. 17   32nd Annual Merry Tuba Christmas

Over 100 festively dressed tuba players will capture the spirit of the holiday as they blend their unique styles, rhythms and progressions for all to enjoy at the Harborplace Amphitheater from 3 to 5 p.m.

Dec. 24, 8 p.m.

Nefesh Mountain Chanukah Concert

Join the Gordon Center for the Performing Arts for a spiritual celebration on the first night of Chanukah, as husband and wife team Eric Lindberg and Doni Zasloff fuse Jewish spirituality with the sounds of Bluegrass, Old-Time and Appalachian music.

3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., Owings Mills, (410) 356-7469,

Dec. 30

Kwanzaa 50th Celebration

Bring out the family at noon on Friday, Dec. 30, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kwanzaa and the Kwanzaa principle Nia (“Purpose”). Enjoy storytelling and African dancing and drumming by Sankofa Dance Theater. Sallah Jenkins leads holiday craft-making. Travel with teaching artist Culture Queen through Culture Kingdom Kids’ Kwanzaaland to explore the seven Kwanzaa principles.

Dec. 31  

New Year’s Eve Spectacular

Ring in 2017 with family, friends, live music and a spectacular fireworks display over Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Baltimore’s New Year’s Eve Spectacular starts at 9 p.m. At the stroke of midnight, colorful fireworks and lights fill the sky above downtown Baltimore. Those celebrating at the Inner Harbor can also enjoy skating at the Pandora Ice Rink, open until 12:30 a.m. Regular rink admission prices apply.

(410) 752-8632,