While Baltimore, Maryland enjoys all the traditional past times of the holiday season, there are a few unique ones that Baltimorians love, that some may find a bit unusual. If you’re looking to buy or rent in this area, here some some of the wonderful and wacky festivities you can look forward to enjoying:

1. Sauerkraut at Holiday Meals

As a continued tradition started by German immigrants who came to Baltimore during the 1800’s sauerkraut has become quintessential side dish for Charm City residents at Thanksgiving. 

“I’ve had it every year since I’ve been born, and we’ll be having at our house this year,” says Joseph “Turkey Joe” Trabert, 77, noted connoisseur of Baltimore kitsch and folklore. – Source

What unique side-dish is a staple at your own family table?

2. Hampden’s Miracle on 34th Street

Now in it’s 73rd year the 700 block of W 34th Street in Hampden is known as ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ – a nod to the Oscar-award winning 1947 Hollywood film. Starting November 30th and running through New Year’s Eve, the street is proudly decorated and lit by residents in a way that has been praised as a ‘holiday phenomenon’. 

When visiting, specific homes to note include: 

  • #726 – the home of Bob and Darlene Hosier, who are credited with starting this tradition.
  • #717 – “The Hanukkah House” which debuted in 2017. 
  • #711 – Hillary Strilko’s Dog House where she serves hot cocoa and cookies most weekend nights to raise money for local animal shelters. It is said she has raised more than $135,000! 

#708 – You’ll see Jim Pollock’s hubcap Christmas tree


“A Miracle on 34th Street” lights display in Baltimore, Maryland.
Mladen Antonov/Getty Images

3. The Krampus

Inspired by In German Alpine folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure who punishes misbehaving children during the Christmas season. Baltimore has a number of holiday traditions to honor the Krampus including: plays, events, Facebook Groups and more! 

If spooky holiday fun is more your style – mark your calendars with the following: 

4. Lighting of the Washington Monument

Photo credit: Baltimore Sun

If you want to truly live like a local, check out the annual lighting of the tree, oh wait – we mean monument every year in early December. 

For nearly 50 years the community has come together to festively decorate and celebrate Mount Vernon Place. Beyond the monument, the event includes a holiday village, live performances and a spectacular fireworks display and light show.

5. Baltimore’s Christmas Village

Photo Courtesy of Balitmore.org

The Christmas Village in Baltimore brings the charm of an authentic German Christmas market to the Inner Harbor. Said to be modeled after the traditional German Christmas Markets, each year onlookers come to enjoy a Christmas Village in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The village is complete with vendors in both traditional wooden booths and a festival tent.

At the Village you can find international seasonal holiday gifts, ornaments, arts and crafts, as well as European food, sweets and hot beverages. Surely this holiday tradition will be added to your list of favorites if you choose to visit, rent or buy in Baltimore in the coming year!

6. The Mayor’s Annual Christmas Parade

Photo Courtesy of the Balitmore Sun

December in Baltimore is kicked off with the Mayor’s Annual Christmas Parade! With attendance along the 2.5 mile route reaching 25,000 people last year, the parade to view Santa Claus and about 160 marching units is a sensational annual tradition! The parade features floats, local TV and Radio personalities, gigantic holiday themed balloons, over 100 Harley Davidson motorcycles, great bands, and more. 

7. Seafood in the Holiday Dishes

Photo Credit: Cameron’s Seafood

Maryland is lucky enough to have the Chesapeake Bay, and some Ocean shoreline to contribute to an abundance of seafood – and boy do we love it! That’s why we’re also lucky to have amazing holiday recipes, like this Maryland Crab Stuffing to enjoy. Bon Appétit!


For anyone who is a resident of Baltimore, these traditions are sure to be well ingrained in their annual plans and expectations for the holiday season. If you’re looking to visit, rent or buy in Baltimore – this is just a small taste of the sites, sounds, smells and rich culture that is paraded and celebrated in Charm City. You’re sure to love it!

Do you participate in any of the above Baltimore traditions? Share with us on Facebook!