Christmas Lights Show in Columbia, Maryland

Symphony of Lights at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Symphony of Lights
Courtesy of Symphony of Lights Festivities

One of the most popular and affordable holiday events in the region, the Symphony of Lights is an annual display of light art that draws return visitors year after year.

The Symphony of Lights

A spectacular and intricate series of Christmas lights shaped into images are displayed along the grounds of the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. The 20-minute drive-through attraction attracts more than 100,000 visitors each season.

The visual art show is built with over 300,000 LED lights stretching over a mile with over-sized animated and stationary holiday creations depicting an array of figures like an army soldier, giant cannon, elves building toys, among dozens of others. The Pavillion also showcases a laser light show and 3-D holiday video that's projected on a wall over 50 feet high. The Pavillion has an ice-skating rink and also provides a selection of concessions with holiday-themed food and drink available for purchase.

The Symphony even has a radio station. Dial to 105.5FM to listen to holiday tunes and enjoy the magic of the season.


The light show debuted in 1994 and has run yearly ever since, excluding 2015 when the annual light show took a break to allow for the redevelopment of the Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods. Over the past two decades, the show has received over 2 million visitors and raised more than $8 million for charity. All proceeds from the Christmas light display benefit the Campus Development Plan for Howard County General Hospital: A member of Johns Hopkins Medicine.​ 

Admission and Hours

As the event is one of the most popular light displays in the area, it is best to plan a visit on a weekday or early in the season to avoid long lines.

Admission: Drive-through tickets cost $25.00 and tickets can be purchased online in advance.

Dates and Hours: November 22, 2018, to December 30, 2018, Wednesdays to Fridays, 6:30 to 10 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays, 5:30 until 10 p.m. The lights display will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Mark the calendar for December 2nd if getting out of the car and taking a walk in the woods is appealing. The early December day is Festive Families Walk, the one night only event that allows visitors to take a brisk jaunt through the grounds among the displays.


Merriweather Post Pavilion is an outdoor concert venue nestled within the 40 preserved acres known as Symphony Woods, in Columbia, Maryland. Originally built to be the home of the National Symphony Orchestra, the Merriweather was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. In addition to its use as a music venue, the expansive grounds host a variety of community festivals and events throughout the year. 

The Symphony of Lights: The Symphony Woods, Merriweather Post Pavilion Columbia, Maryland. The show is located at the intersection of Brokenland Parkway and Hickory Ridge Road, off of Route 29 at Exit 18B. Phone: 410-740-7840.

Weather Cancelations

According to the official F.A.Q, the show must go on even with rain or snow. But, should the event need to be canceled, the Symphony of Lights Festivities Facebook Page will post a message and email registered guests.

Was this page helpful?