By Amanda Rodriguez
Oh, the weather outside is frightful. But that’s not stopping the kiddos from begging you to drive all over town, wait in line for at least 45 minutes and pay a ridiculous amount of money to capture the moment on camera, just so they can climb into Santa’s lap for a few minutes and whisper in the big guy’s ear about what they want him to bring them for Christmas is it?! You know you’re going to do it. It’s just a matter of when and where. This list should help with that.
Santa’s House at the Inner Harbor
200 East Pratt Street
A lighted winter wonderland not to be missed! Santa’s House on the Harbor opens the season some time toward the end of November each year and runs through Christmas Eve delighting children and families with all sorts of entertainment, including live performances, special guest visitors, and even a choreographed evening light show. Children may meet and greet Santa and have their photos taken with him as well.
The B&O Railroad Museum
901 West Pratt Street
Hours: Monday to Saturday – 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Sunday – 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Price: Adults – $14, Seniors $12, Children $8
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Ride the rails with Santa and enjoy breakfast aboard the train with him too! This is an event my boys will not miss this holiday season. As true train lovers I cannot imagine a merrier way for them kick-off the holiday season than this. Tickets for the breakfast buffet and train ride with Santa go on sale Nov. 1 and are available for Dec. 3 & 10 and Dec. 4 & 11. Don’t worry if you can’t have pancakes with ‘Ol Saint Nick – there’s also a holiday story and snack time with the jolly fellow on those weekends. And every day is Christmas at B & O Railroad Museum during the month of December with the Holiday Festival of Trains & Toys so there’s plenty of time to tell Santa what you want for Christmas. Here’s the complete schedule.
Mayor’s Annual Christmas Parade
2.5 mile route around Baltimore
410 – 366-0726
Floats, bands and all manner of parade elements march in this annual holiday parade that draws thousands of Baltimore residents to the Hampden area of North Baltimore. Best part? Santa Claus, of course, who is an integral part of the yearly procession.
The Mall in Columbia
10300 Little Patuxent Parkway
Hours: Monday to Saturday – 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.; Sunday – noon-6 p.m.
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Having a photo snapped with Santa as you sit on his lap is a holiday tradition for many families. It’s no wonder that the lines to see the big guy during the holiday season can wrap around the mall and require hours of waiting time. Good tips for making the whole experience faster? Go during the week and go early in the season. Seeing Santa is, like shopping, often a last minute affair and many parents try to fit it in around their work schedule which means evenings and weekends. If you can avoid those times and get in near the beginning of the season you will likely have a more enjoyable experience. So, which area mall has the best Santa Claus set-up? In my opinion, The Mall in Columbia is top notch. Plenty of while-you-wait entertainment and a Santa that tends to fit the bill nicely!
The Waterskiing Santa
Looking for a more unorthodox “visit” with the big guy this holiday season? Take a quick trip down to the Potomac (the Maryland National Harbor side is said to be the best view) to see Santa and friends hitting the water as they glide around in the Potomac. This annual event has been delighting viewers for 25 years and continues to do so every Christmas Eve. The event happens rain or shine and is just a really neat way to spend the holiday.