Maryland's capital city celebrates Christmas in style with the Eastport Yacht Club Parade of Lights, a 30-years-and-running holiday tradition in which boat owners flaunt their best light decorations in an Annapolis Harbor procession. This is one of the most popular events of the season and a quirky, sometimes comical way to celebrate with family and friends. The event takes place every year on the second Saturday of December, but in 2020, it's been canceled. Still, many boats in the harbor will carry on the tradition of decorating their decks.
Where to Watch the Parade of Lights
The boats parade along the Annapolis Harbor and Spa Creek Waterfront, extending from Primrose Road to the south and the USNA Seawall to the north. Be sure to arrive early to stake out a good viewing spot (and dress warmly—temperatures are likely to be in the 40s at best).
WNAV Radio 1430 provides live coverage of the parade via roving reporters from 6 to 8 p.m. It announces the winners of the decorating contest at 10 p.m. They're also announced over marine radio Channel 72. A live feed is broadcast during the parade at the Annapolis Smokehouse. Many other downtown bars and restaurants offer specials to entice visitors to stay after watching the Parade of Lights at one of these locations.
- Eastport Bridge
- Fawcett Boat Supplies Parking Lot at 110 Compromise Street
- Naval Academy
- Annapolis City Dock
- The walkway in front of Annapolis City Marina in Eastport
- Aboard the Catherine Marie, which usually serves dessert and champagne during the parade
- Aboard the Harbor Queen, moored at the end of the City Dock and usually conducting a food drive during the parade
- Other spots include Market, Shipwright & Revel Streets, Acton Cove, Southgate, Taney and Cheston Avenues, Lafayette Park, Monticello Avenue, Truxton Park, Burnside Street, Fourth Street, Third Street, Second Street, and First Street.
Transportation and Parking
Parking is restricted and limited in many places near the Annapolis Harbor. The main parking site for the parade is usually the garage at Park Place, 100 Westgate Circle (across from the Annapolis National Cemetery). Signs on Rowe Boulevard and Taylor Avenue will direct visitors, then a free city shuttle will take them from Park Place to downtown every 10 minutes, running until 2:30 a.m. Additional garages are available, including Knighton Garage (Colonial Avenue), Gott's Court Garage (25 Northwest Street), South Street Lot (South Street off of Church Circle), and Hillman Garage (150 Gorman Street).