Today I want to give a quick shout-out to a Holiday activity worth seeking out if you are anywhere near Baltimore: The Miracle on 34th Street. Located in a quiet (for 11 months a year) residential neighborhood just north of the city, “Christmas Street” is a uniquely Baltimore tradition.
We make a special weekend just to visit the light show. Combined with the German market in the Baltimore Inner Harbor Christmas Street is a terrific way to get into the holiday spirit.
The Miracle on 34th Street
First, let me give you a visual image of Christmas Street. Imagine if you will a street of row homes where each resident is Clark W. Griswold. After 67 years, the neighbors close the block to cars and string it with lights from end to end. Each house takes pride in trying to out-do its neighbor. Best of all: 34th Street is 100% neighborhood driven and 100% free.
When we arrive we park about two blocks away and stop at 7-11 for a hot chocolate on the way in. (I told you, this is not commercial in any way.) It takes about an hour to walk the block end to end. If you can go on a weeknight it will be a lot less crowded. However even on Christmas weekend we’ve never found out of control crowds.
I don’t want to spoil it for you, but will share a few photos to give you an gist of the event. The decorations reflect Maryland from top to bottom: crabs, Natty-Bos (National Bohemian beer for the unitiated), Ravens…you get the idea. Others are purely whimsical: Christmas trees of hubcaps and vinyl 33 RPM records, anyone?
While corporations aren’t welcome, some residents sell their own wares. For instance, an artist constructs angels out of Natty Bo beer cans. One is now a prized holiday possession in our household. Only in Baltimore.
Have you been to the Miracle on 34th Street? Do you know of another city that has a similarly self-funded Christmas street? Please share in the comments.