It may be the off-season when much of Ocean City shuts down, but this time of year the town comes alive with colorful light displays, Christmas events, and great holiday specials!
1. Winterfest of Lights
The Winterfest of Lights in Northside Park has become a Christmas tradition for locals and tourists alike. In fact, 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of Winterfest! Hundreds of lights displays are placed across the park for visitors to walk through and enjoy. It’s fun for the whole family (including your pets), and you’re sure to make lots of memories for many years to come. And, if you’re visiting the area for Winterfest or just want to get away for the weekend, Hilton Ocean City has a Winterfest Package that includes 2 tickets for the lights, a daily $50 dining credit for 32 Palm, and one of their spacious suites. Book this package here.
2. Christmas Parades
Many towns in the area ring in the holiday season with a Christmas parade full of festive floats, Santa Claus appearance, and performances by local high school marching bands. Ocean City is December 3rd at 11am starting at Old Landing Rd. and ending at 120th Street, but if you can’t make the OC parade there are plenty of nearby towns you could check out. Snow Hill and Rehoboth are having theirs on the 5th, and Dagsboro is on the 14th.
3. Mid Atlantic Symphony’s “Holiday Joy”
As the only professional symphony orchestra on Delmarva, the Mid Atlantic Symphony Orchestra brings classical music our region, often coming to the Ocean City Performing Arts Center in the convention center to perform orchestral music. During the holiday season they put on a concert full of your favorite festive tunes and iconic Christmas melodies. This year, in addition to coming to the convention center, they are also performing at Chesapeake College and Cape Henlopen High School. For more info about their Holiday Joy performances, check out their website.
4. Winterfest Jingle Bell 5k Run
Once during the season, the Winterfest of Lights staff hosts a 5k where runners, joggers, and walkers can go through the light displays before opening for a unique 5k experience. This event is for the athletic and festive types!
5. Sugar Cookie Houses & Wine
The historic family farm turned vineyard, Windmill Creek Vineyard & Winery is hosting a sugar cookie house decorating event. The tickets include everything you need to make the cutest (or ugliest - if that’s how you roll) sugar cookie house ever! Event is 21+, and food and wine are available separately.
6. Holiday Plant Night at Windmill Creek
Windmill Creek is also hosting another holiday event. This Holiday Plant Night is a chance to make memories and a holiday arrangement while sipping on a glass of wine. The tickets include a planter, three succulents, all the planting materials and tools you need, decorative elements like stone and moss, all followed up with care instructions to keep your new plants alive and thriving. It’s an event for the whole family.
During SantaCon hundreds of Santa look-a-likes descend on Ocean City for a weekend of food, drinks, and donations to charitable causes. This year the event is coordinating donations for Kenille’s Kupboard Pet Pantry & Rescue.
8. Marlin Moon’s Breakfast with Santa
Santa and his elves are stopping by Marlin Moon for breakfast on December 11th. The restaurant is offering specials of $15 Pancake & Eggs with a choice of breakfast meat or fresh fruit (juice, coffee, & soda included). If you bring a new unwrapped toy for Santa’s gift bag, then your breakfast is $10!
Children under 5 eat free with a paying adult. The proceeds from this event will be donated to Diakonia. Call 410-289-1201 to make your reservations!
9. Gingerbread Man Decorating
Nearby town, Ocean Pines, is hosting a children’s gingerbread man decorating event on December 16th. For $8/child, your kids can have fun decorating cookies for Santa. All materials and instruction will be provided.
10. Holiday Art Party With Colorful Encounters
Sip on a glass of wine while making a new ornament for your Christmas tree. Windmill Creek is hosting another holiday event with Colorful Encounters on December 22nd where you can make and decorate a paper-craft, wooden or metal ornament. Tickets are $35, but if you purchase your ticket by December 16th and use ‘WINDMILL’ you can get $5 off.
11. Berlin’s Carriage Rides
What’s more festive than a horse drawn carriage ride through the quaint historic downtown of Berlin. At 11am-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays until Christmas, Berlin is offering free carriage rides; as well as Kringle Kottage where kids can meet Santa!
12. Winterfest Train Garden
Winterfest isn’t the only holiday display OC puts on, the convention center hosts a holiday model train display Wednesday through Sunday from November 17th to December 31st 5:30-9pm. The display was constructed by local model train enthusiasts. Admission is free, but all donations benefit the Ocean Beach Patrol.
13. Caine Woods Christmas House
If you are looking for some high tech Christmas light fun, Caine Woods Christmas House has an amazing light display that moves to the music. The best part is it’s free! Check out their Facebook page for more information about parking and viewing.
14. Ice skating at The Carousel
Ice skating is a winter activity that just screams Christmas. While it doesn’t usually get cold enough for any of our ponds to support safe ice skating, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little ice time in. The Carousel has their very own ice skating rink that is open to the public. Admission is $6 for the public and ice skate rentals are $4.
With all these holiday events and festive traditions near Ocean City, a stay at one of the town’s many hotels might be necessary. Several hotels offer off-season and holiday specials which means it’s the perfect time to stay here. OCMD Hotels has a few holiday packages with daily food and drink vouchers for every night you stay or some off season specials with discounts on reservation. Christmas is one of the best times of year in Ocean City with the fun of all the holiday events and tradition but less tourists and crowds! It really is the most wonderful time of the year.