Symphony of Lights Columbia MD


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The Columbia Festival of Lights offers a massive light display, including thousands of fairy lights, twinkle light trees, curtain lights, and blinking Christmas lights. This light exhibition is family-friendly and guarantees fun and thrill.

The Christmas light show has been a favorite holiday tradition in Columbia, Maryland, for more than 25 years. The magical light displays consist of more than 300,000 twinkle lights. It features stationary holiday installations and larger-than-life animated displays.

Symphony of Lights Columbia MD
Festival highlights

You can experience the illuminated winding path as a fun walk on special nights with your loved ones or as a drive-thru in the comfort of your vehicle. The drive-thru experience lasts up to 20 minutes. This festival of lights attracts more than 100,000 visitors every holiday season. You can also buy holiday-themed snacks or a hot cup of cocoa at the food trucks when you choose to have the walkthrough nights.

This annual Christmas light show starts with Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. You and your loved ones can try special activities, such as photos with Santa Claus, meet and greet with Medieval Times, face painting, and a holiday photo booth. On New Year’s Eve, you can join a special program and watch an early firework display while surrounded by twinkling lights.

If you are a dog enthusiast, there is a designated Tail Night, where you can enjoy dazzling lights together with your fur buddy. Plus, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the DCACC and Howard County General Hospital. 

Festival of Lights Columbia MD Dates (2022)

NOV 24, 2022 – JAN 1, 2023

Experience Festival of Lights Columbia MD this Christmas season either by drive-through or walkthrough. This family-oriented light show guarantees that you will have a night to remember. 

The holiday season is a perfect time to spend time with your family and friends while exploring tons of light displays. Regardless of who you want to bring to the light exhibition, it’s sure that they will enjoy the whole experience. 

Festival of Lights Columbia MD starts in November 2022 and ends in January 2023. If you choose the walkthrough, the festival dates are:

  • November 28, 2021 – Festive Families 
  • December 8, 2021 – Tail Nights 
  • December 31, 2021 – Midnight at 7

Since it is a walkthrough, it is closed to the car. All visitors must be 12 and older and vaccinated.

Meanwhile, if you prefer comfort in your vehicle, the schedule for the drive-through is from November 25 to January 2, 2022, from Mondays to Sundays. 

Where is the Merriweather Symphony of lights Located

Symphony of Lights Columbia MD has been enjoyed by the residents and tourists for many years. It symbolizes hope, unity, and happiness. It is set in the iconic Merriweather Post Pavilion in 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Maryland 21044.

If it is your first time visiting the festival sites, you have nothing to worry about because getting to Merriweather Post Pavilion is very easy. 

By Car 

From Baltimore, MD, or Washington, DC, you have to take the I-95 to Route 32 West towards Columbia. Then, take the Routh 29 North and follow the signs to Merriweather Post Pavilion.

By Rally

You can book a rally for every Symphony of Lights Columbia MD show. It will help skip the hassles of traffic, driving. Rally points include Dupont Circle, Arlington, and more. Ensure to book early bird rates, especially one week before the event. 

From Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Airport 

The BWI airport serves residents and travelers in the Washington/Baltimore Corridor. If you are coming from the airport, you can take advantage of the RTA of Central Maryland. It will take you to the mall in Columbia. From there, you can have a convenient wall to reach the Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Columbia Christmas lights – Festival Hours

Do not miss a chance to celebrate the holiday season by attending the Symphony of Lights Columbia MD. You and your loved ones will have memorable moments, from start to finish of the event. 

One of the best things about this Columbia Christmas lights show is that you can choose between a drive-through and a walkthrough. No matter which one you prefer, it is undoubtedly that you will have fun. 

For walkthrough nights, the festival hours are:

  • Monday to Friday: 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM 
  • Saturday to Sunday: 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM 

For walkthrough nights, the festival hours are:

NOV 27, DEC 8, DEC 13 & DEC 31

  • FESTIVE FAMILIES – Sunday, Nov 27 5:30pm – 8:00pm
  • TAIL LIGHTS – Tuesday, Dec 13 – 5:30pm – 8:00pm
  • LIT AT THE LIGHTS – Thursday, Dec 8 – 6:00pm – 10:00pm
  • MIDNIGHT AT 7 – Saturday, Dec 31, 5:30pm – 8:00pm

How Much It Cost to Visit Festival of Lights Columbia MD 

This much-awaited holiday event in Columbia, Maryland, gathers everyone who wants to experience a memorable and meaningful Christmas season celebration. You will leave the festival site with many memories and stories to tell.

It is advisable to purchase tickets in advance. You can choose from different ticket prices:

  • Regular drive through – $20 per vehicle 
  • Festive Families – $12 per person 
  • Tail Nights – $10 per person 
  • Midnight on the Hour- $15 per person or $50 for family four-pack 

Cash and credit cards are accepted for a drive-through, while you have to purchase all walkthrough tickets online in advance. Discounts are offered to frontline workers and the military. For veterans and military, the drive-thru tickets are $10 per vehicle during Thursdays.

Weather and What to Wear

If you are not familiar with the festival location, it is an excellent idea to research the weather condition to ensure you will bring the right clothing and items. 

In November, Columbia, MD has crisp weather. The temperatures will be routinely in the low 10s C (50s F) and jump into the mid-10s C (low 60s F) range about half of the time. Lows are in the single digits C (30s F) at night. This month is also a rainy time with several days having rain. So, you have to pack light gloves or mittens, fleeces, warm jeans or pants, a jacket or coat, socks, snow boots, a waterproof jacket, a wind-resistant umbrella, and waterproof boots. 

As you travel to Columbia in December, it is noticeable that the weather is brisk. Temperatures are in the single digits C (40s F) during daytime. It is recommended to pack sweaters, heavy socks, warm jeans or pants, gloves or mittens, a heavy jacket, cold weather footwear, snow boots, waterproof jacket and boots, and a windproof umbrella. 

The light festival ends in January, and the weather is cold. It is expected to have occasional snow. Temperatures are in the single digits C (low 40s F) during daytime. You should pack gloves or mittens, heavy socks, warm jeans or pants, sweaters, a heavy jacket, cold weather footwear, snow boots, a waterproof jacket, and a windproof umbrella. 

Hotels Near the Symphony of Lights Columbia MD

Here are the top accommodation options near the Merriweather Post Pavilion:

Sonesta ES Suites Baltimore Columbia 

This accommodation is in Columbia, Maryland, and offers tennis courts, a seasonal outdoor pool, and rooms with fully equipped kitchens. The rooms are also spacious, and the staff is very helpful.

Double Tree by Hilton Columbia 

This hotel is around three miles away from Centennial Park and features a hot tub and an indoor pool. It offers rooms with cable TV and air conditioning and an on-site restaurant. 

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Columbia 

This accommodation offers a spacious and clean room with flat-screen TVs. It features a fitness room and a complimentary buffet breakfast. The staff is friendly and helpful.

Where to Eat 

Satisfy your taste buds with delicious food selections from the following restaurants:

The King’s Contrivance

This restaurant has a setting and exterior that look like an old mansion. It serves food that reflects New American cuisine combined with Asian and European influences. Popular options include filet mignon forestiere, roasted duck breast, pepita-crusted Norwegian salmon, and jumbo lump crab cakes.

Stanford Grill

Stanford Grill’s atmosphere comes with a cozy dining room with a large fireplace, soft lighting, earthy tones, and wood paneling. Popular dishes include seasonal vegetables, lobster mac and cheese, eastern shore crab cakes, and wood-fired rotisserie chicken.

Season 52 

This restaurant offers a sophisticated setting with hints of simplicity. The rustic cooking techniques include brick-oven roasting and oak fire grilling to bring out natural flavors.

More Things to Do Near Symphony of Lights Columbia 

When you visit Columbia, Maryland, do not forget to visit the following attractions:

Lake Kittamaqundi 

This 27-acre lake is a perfect spot for walking, cycling, and running. Secluded picnic areas, clean public toilets, and water foundations are available. It is also home to good shops and restaurants.

Historic Oakland Mansion

This mansion is one of Columbia’s oldest buildings. It is a famous venue for weddings and other occasions. Beautiful gardens surround it.

Washington Kali Temple

This temple welcomes everyone who wants to learn about Hinduism and culture. Aside from devotional services, it also hosts community services.

Sapwood Cellars Brewery 

This brewery company produces beers with moderate alcohol content and exceptional taste at a moderate price tag. The tasting room is available for visitors from Wednesday to Sunday.


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Arik Akunis
Arik Akunis

My name is Arik Akunis and I have been in the field of lighting for over the last 20 years, I started my journey in the world of lighting in the lighting niche for events where I first came across a festival of lights and immediately fell in love with it.

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