Baltimore’s 46th annual Washington Monument lighting is set for Thursday evening, officially kicking off the holiday season (complete with a performance from R&B group Dru Hill). Here’s everything you need to know to enjoy the festivities:

When is it taking place? The celebration runs 5 p.m.-8 p.m., culminating with the lighting of more than 16,000 LED lights on the monument and a fireworks display.


Where is it? The main event takes place at, of course, the Washington Monument, located in the center of Mount Vernon Place. But there will be activities in the parks to the north, south and west sides of the park as well. In general, the activity is bordered by West Madison Street, Cathedral Street and Center street.

What will the weather be like? Cool weather and cloudy skies are expected, with temperatures in the mid- to low 40s.

What streets will be closed?

The following streets will be closed from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., with detours and parking restrictions in effect:

  • East Mount Vernon Place from Charles Street to St. Paul Street
  • North Charles Street from Centre Street to Madison Street
  • West Mount Vernon Place from Charles Street to Cathedral Street

Those closures are according to the city’s Department of Transportation. Motorists should be on the look out for pedestrians, DOT said.

Charles Street water main repaired, road reopened

"Go to the lighting tonight. Have fun. It shouldn't impact your enjoyment at all," city official says of water main break in downtown Baltimore.

Will Wednesday’s water main break on North Charles Street have any effect on the event? It shouldn’t, said Kirby Fowler, president of Downtown Partnership, which puts on the event.

“I’m not concerned at all because it’s north of the park,” Fowler said. “We’re closing Charles Street at Centre [Street], so already there won’t be much traffic north of the park. … The timing is fortuitous, in some ways, that it’s happening when we’re already closing the street.”

What will there be to eat and drink? More than 20 local vendors will be offering food and beverages, including Ekiben, Brew House No. 16, the Urban Oyster and Zeke’s Coffee. Find the full list here. Most of the vendors will be in the west park near the stage, though food, beer and wine will be available in all three parks.

What to eat and drink at the annual Baltimore Monument lighting Thursday

There will be over 20 local food and drink vendors at the annual holiday Monument lighting in Mount Vernon on Thursday.

What activities and entertainment can attendees expect?

Baltimore R&B group Dru Hill will give a surprise performance on the main stage. A handful of other groups are scheduled to perform, including: BSO’s OrchKids, the Morgan State Choir, the Baltimore Rock Opera Society, the City College Choir and more.

There will be kid-friendly activities — such as photos with Santa, face painting and arts and crafts — in the Whole Foods Market Family Area, located in the south park.

The Walters Art Museum will host a free indoor festival from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and will stream the lighting for those who want to stay warm inside.

For more information, go to godowntownbaltimore.com.

Baltimore Sun reporters Colin Campbell, Jessica Anderson and Sarah Meehan contributed to this article.