Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland, celebrates Christmas in style with the Eastport Yacht Club Parade of Lights, an annual holiday tradition with boat owners showing off their Christmas light decorations through the Annapolis Harbor. This is one of the most popular seasonal events and a fun way to spend time with family and friends. The event takes place every year on the second Saturday of December.
Be sure to arrive early to stake out a good viewing spot and be sure to dress warmly for this outdoor event. Many of the downtown bars and restaurants will offer specials to entice visitors to stay after the Parade of Lights to enjoy some holiday cheer. With a backdrop of the scenic City of Annapolis, this evening filled with sparkling lights is a special way to ring in the season.
Parade Route: 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.
Best Spots to View the Parade of Lights
The earlier, the better to find a place at these places to view the boats in Annapolis.
- Eastport Bridge
- Fawcett Boat Supplies Parking Lot - 110 Compromise St.
- Naval Academy
- Annapolis City Dock
- Walkway in front of Annapolis City Marina in Eastport
- Aboard the Catherine Marie: Enjoy dinner at the Severn Inn, then board Catherine Marie for dessert and champagne to view the parade. $152/person (this event usually sells out). For more information on public boat events parade viewing, visit the Cruises on the Bay website.
- Aboard the Harbor Queen: The boat will be moored at the end of the City Dock and conducting the "Queen of All Food Drives" during the parade. Bring a bag of non-perishable food, pet food items, or a cash donation.
- Other spots include Market, Shipwright & Revel Streets, Acton Cove, Southgate, Taney & Cheston Avenues, Lafayette Park, Monticello Avenue, Truxton Park, Burnside Street, Fourth Street, Third Street, Second Street, and First Street.
Transportation and Parking
Parking will be restricted and limited in many places near the Annapolis Harbor. The main parking site for this year’s parade is at the garage at Park Place, 100 Westgate Circle (across from the Annapolis National Cemetery). There will be signs on Rowe Boulevard and Taylor Avenue directing visitors to the garage. The Free City Shuttle will run every ten minutes from Park Place to downtown and back until 2:30 a.m. Additional garages are available: Knighton Garage (Colonial Ave.), Gott's Court Garage ( 25 Northwest St), South Street Lot (South St. off of Church Circle) and Hillman Garage (150 Gorman St).
The Eastport Yacht Club has hosted this event for more than 30 years. The club promotes sailing and sponsors races and social events while protecting the environment of the Chesapeake Bay. WNAV Radio 1430 provides live coverage of the parade with roving reporters from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and reports on the winners at 10 p.m. Winners also will be announced over marine radio Channel 72 at 10 p.m. A live feed will be broadcast during the parade at the Annapolis Smokehouse.
Also, check out the Winter Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park.