Every holiday season, a neighborhood in the Hampden area of Baltimore turns into a holiday wonderland of lights and displays. Miracle on 34th Street started in 1947 and is currently in its 66th year. The lights officially turned on this year on November 30th and will run to January 1, 2014. The lights are on every evening from dusk to 11pm. The row houses in the neighborhood from the 700 block of 34th Street between Kenwick Road and Chestnut Street are decorated in all styles and traditions. The displays range from trains, animated figures, Walt Disney characters, artwork, Hanukkah menorah and holiday symbols. Some of the favorite displays come with a local flare: hubcap Christmas tree, bike rim snowmen, overhead trains and a Big Red lighted crab. The Miracle on 34th Street has been nationally recognized by Nightline, The Travel Channel, commercials for the Maryland Lottery and Home and Garden. Some people wonder if you can see the bright lights of the display from outer space!
The residents of 34th Street begin putting up their displays months before the holidays. They can decorate their homes as they desire. The themes are not based on a committee choice. The residents of the block also do not take donations or assistance to help pay for the electrical bills for the light display. In fact, there have been people trying to take donations along the block for the exhibits, but these people are not affiliated with the residents on the street!
The light display draws over 1,000 visitors a night. People have come from all over the world to see the displays. Since it is a neighborhood, there isn’t designated parking. To view the displays, you can park where you find a legal spot that isn’t a designated parking permit only area. You can walk around the neighborhood to experience the lights up close and take in other nightly entertainment on the street or you can drive through the street. Traffic goes very slowly in this area during the holiday season.
There is also a New Year’s Eve ball drop as well as the running of Baby New Year on the block on New Year’s Eve. The festivities start at 11:45pm. Check out one of Baltimore’s truly unique holiday traditions at Miracle on 34th Street. It is a sight that you will never forget!