Holidays in Howard County, Maryland

The holidays are a magical time to create cherished memories and traditions with your loved ones. In Howard County, Maryland, you can experience the season in a unique and memorable way. Whether you're a local resident or visiting from afar, Howard County offers a delightful array of festive activities, top-rated hotels, mouthwatering dining experiences, and local shopping opportunities that will make your holiday season truly special.

HoCo Holidays - Events 1     HoCo Holidays - Dining 1     HoCo Holidays - Shop Local 1     HoCo Holidays - Hotel Stays


Mark Your Calendar for These Unforgettable Holiday Events Throughout the Seasons!

HoCo Holiday Lights

To inspire more unity and goodwill this holiday season, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball launched the 2023 “HoCo Holiday Lights” map today for residents and visitors to locate the best and brightest residential and commercial holiday light displays in the county. Since the map was created in 2021, nearly 150 decorators from Cooksville and Hanover to Woodstock and Laurel have registered to share their seasonal spirit.

Savage Mill Yuletide Festival - Through December 23

Kickstart the holiday season at the Savage Mill Yuletide Festival. The Yuletide Festival continues every Saturday and Sunday through December 24, providing ample opportunities to find the perfect holiday gifts in a charming setting.

Merriweather Symphony of Lights - Through January 1

Gather your family and experience the dazzling Merriweather Symphony of Lights on November 26. This enchanting festival of lights is a perfect outing for all ages. Stroll through a wonderland of illuminated displays, enjoy holiday music, and make unforgettable memories with your loved ones. Additional walk-through nights are December 5, December 7 & 12, and December 31.  Drive-through nights are from November 25 - January 1.

B&O Ellicott City Station Museum Holiday Train Garden - Through January 7

This holiday season, enjoy train models set up throughout the Baltimore and Ohio Ellicott City Station Museum, including our year-round exhibit in the Freight House. Available during normal business hours.

Santa Brunch at Turf Valley - Sundays in December

Join a jolly good time at Santa Brunch on Sundays throughout December! Santa will be there to spread holiday cheer, take photos, and listen to your Christmas wishes. Reservations required.

These Events Have Already Happened, but Come Back Next Year to Experience Them!

Merri & Bright Celebration in Merriweather District - November 17

Save the date for November 17 for the grand Merri & Bright Celebration in Merriweather District. This special event marks the opening of the holiday season with the annual tree lighting and the debut of the ice rink. It's a time to gather with friends and family, watch as the towering tree is illuminated with a dazzling display of lights, and witness the transformation of the district into a winter wonderland. 

Shop Small Saturday in historic Ellicott City - November 25

On the same day, join the nationwide celebration of small businesses during Shop Small Saturday. In Historic Ellicott City. you can explore local boutiques, art galleries, and specialty shops. Discover one-of-a-kind gifts while supporting the vibrant local community.

Merriweather District’s Annual Holiday Market - December 1-3

Have yourself a MERRI little holiday season with a visit to Merriweather District’s Annual Holiday Market opening December 1st. Support unique small businesses as you venture through a variety of holiday pop-ups from regional vendors.

Friday, December 1 // 5:30pm – 8:30pm 
Saturday, December 2 // 1pm – 8pm
Sunday, December 3 // 1pm – 5pm
Where: Color Burst Park in Merriweather District
Cost: FREE

Midnight Madness in Historic Ellicott City - December 1

Midnight Madness in Historic Ellicott City on December 1 is a shopper's dream come true. Over 80 unique shops and restaurants in this historic district will be decked out for the holidays, and they'll be offering special deals to visitors. Enjoy the festive atmosphere as you find the perfect holiday gifts and indulge in delicious dining.

Lighting of theBollman Bridge - December 2

Join the celebration at the Lighting of the Bollman Bridge on December 2 at 6 p.m., followed by a town tree lighting at Baldwin Common. These charming events bring the community together to mark the beginning of the holiday season and create heartwarming memories.

Natural Holiday Sale at Howard County Conservancy - December 2

Starting at 10am, join the Howard County Conservancy for our annual Natural Holiday Sale! Browse beautiful gifts, inspired by nature, from local artisans. Kids will have the opportunity to make and take whimsical critter crafts from natural materials (free!). Live music and raffles round out this can’t-miss event that is fun for the whole family.

At 9:30am there will be a mural unveiling and meet the artist event in our Carriage House. Come by for a quick visit before the Sale. There will be hot cocoa!

No need to register for the Natural Holiday Sale, just stop on by! Bring cash and card as a few vendors will be cash-only.

Countryside Artisans Fall Studio Tour - December 1-5

For those with an appreciation for art, don't miss the Countryside Artisans Fall Studio Tour in Western Howard County, taking place from December 1 to December 5. Explore the studios of talented local artists, see their creations, and find unique, handcrafted gifts to make your holidays special.

Lisbon Christmas Parade - December 9

'Tis the Season! The 2023 Great Lisbon FARMERS FEED THE HUNGRY Christmas Parade - formerly known as The Lisbon Christmas Horse Parade - will kick off at 12 noon in the historic town of Lisbon, (Woodbine) Maryland, on Dec. 9, 2023.

Festively decorated tractors driven by local farmers will lead the parade followed by up to 250 seasonally adorned horses (both ridden and driven) along the parade route down the Old National Road (Frederick Road), Route 144.

Parade patrons are invited to shop for the season at the Days End Farm Horse Rescue's Santa Village before and after the parade, 10 a.m. -12 noon and 1 p.m. and 3 pm and enjoy "Reindeer Rides" from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Festive Fridays - First Three Fridays in December

Festive Friday Family Fun Returns to the Downtown Columbia Lakefront!

Family Festive Fridays at the Lakefront are set for Dec. 8 and 15, from 5:30-8 p.m. The free events will feature ice sculpture, music, and arts and crafts activities for children. Participating businesses include Offshore, Sushi Sono, The 3rd and Whole Foods Market.

Watch ice sculptures, capture a memory at the holiday-themed photobooth, listen to the live coral music and enjoy arts and activities at the craft tent. Registration requested but not required, and entry is free, with snacks, drinks and S’mores kits available for purchase. Now in our 9th year, Festive Fridays are a tradition of the Downtown Columbia holiday season.

Attendees for Lakefront events are directed to park on the upper or lower levels of the Wincopin Garage, in the parking garage in front of Lakehouse, on the parking lots at Sterrett Place or at The Mall. There is no event parking allowed in the Whole Foods parking lots.

Live Nativity at Mary's Land Farm - Through December 17

Step into a winter wonderland at our enchanting Christmas event, where the magic of the season comes alive in the heart of the cozy barnyard at Mary's Land Farm.

From November 24th to December 23rd, every Friday through Sunday, immerse yourself in the Barnyard of Lights. A trail of twinkling lights leads you through our farmyard, where friendly animals of all kinds await your visit.

Explore Beyond Howard County

One of the many advantages of spending your holidays in Howard County is its central location. Situated between Washington DC, Baltimore, and BWI Airport, you have easy access to explore the entire Capital Region. Whether you want to tour the iconic monuments in Washington DC, enjoy the lively atmosphere of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, or catch a flight from BWI, Howard County serves as a convenient and welcoming home base for all your holiday adventures.

This holiday season, make Howard County your destination for creating lasting memories, experiencing unique traditions, and enjoying the warmth of the community. Explore the charm of our local shops, savor delectable cuisine, and immerse yourself in the festive spirit that abounds throughout the county. How do you HoCo? Holiday Style!