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For years, Baltimoreans have known that the surest place to go for an extra-heavy dose of holiday spirit is the 700 block of W. 34th Street in Hampden, widely known around these parts (and with apologies to the Oscar-winning 1947 Hollywood film of the same name) as the Miracle on 34th Street.

Beginning Nov. 30 and running through New Year’s Eve, the street becomes electric in the best way possible, with lights and decorations proudly embracing the holiday spirit. If you’ve never seen it, you should, and if you’ve been there before, you know you want to go back.

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When to go

The lights get turned on at 6 p.m. Saturday, then will be switched back on at dusk nightly (around 5:45 p.m.) through Dec. 31. They usually get turned off around 10 p.m. on weekdays, midnight on weekends. But for a real treat, they’ll be on all night Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Jim Pollack's Hubcap Tree.
Jim Pollack's Hubcap Tree. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

What to look for

Just about every one of the 25-or-so houses will be gussied-up in their holiday finery. But here’s a few you definitely don’t want to miss:

  • 726, the home of Bob and Darlene Hosier — they’re the ones often credited with starting this tradition, and their place never disappoints
  • 717, the Hanukkah house, a big hit since its 2017 debut, and a reminder that the Miracle isn’t just about Christmas
  • 711, Hillary Strilko’s Dog House, where the hot cocoa and cookies she offers most weekend nights has raised more than $135,000 for local animal shelters and rescues
  • 708, featuring Jim Pollock’s hubcap Christmas tree

Where to eat

Hampden offers plenty of places to eat, from the pink flamingo-emblazoned Cafe Hon, 1002 W. 36th St., to award-winning chef Chad Gauss’s The Food Market, just up the block at 1017 W. 36th St.

For something quick and sweet and oh so delicious, there’s handcrafted ice cream at The Charmery, 801 W. 36th St., and chocolates to die for at Charm City Chocolate, 809 W. 36th St.

And if beverages are your main concern, there’s coffee and espresso at Spro Coffee, 851 W. 36th St., and the almost-90-year-old landmark that is Zissimos Bar, 1023 W. 36th St., which is also home on Saturdays and Sundays to the Charm City Comedy Project.

Where to park

Street parking is limited. There are 30 spaces available in the paid lot at 3333 Keswick Road, and metered spots along 36th Street. There’s a paid parking garage at the Rotunda, 711 W. 40th St.

How to avoid driving

Hampden is served by the Nos. 21 and 94 bus lines. The light rail stops at Union and Clipper avenues in Woodberry; from there, it’s about a 20-minute walk to 34th Street.

Might we suggest using a ride-sharing service, like Uber or Lyft?

Where to find more information

Details are available at christmasstreet.com, or on Facebook.

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