Light City Baltimore from ShermansTravel on Vimeo.

Whether it’s an illuminated parade at Disneyland or holiday fireworks, a nighttime light display never fails to please. The city of Baltimore is betting as much with its newest festival, Light City, which is taking over the Inner Harbor in the evenings through April 3. We got a chance to check out the free festival early this week. Here are some of the highlights (get it?)…

  • Human Effect, by artist Yandell Walton, projects animated plants, flowers, and birds onto the side of a building. Festival goers can then stand against the wall and watch as the projected ecosystem moves and shifts around them.
  • The Pool, by artist Jen Lewin, is a favorite among kids and includes illuminated disks that flash and change color when visitors stand or stomp on them.
  • Voyage, by Aether & Hemera, is made up of more than 300 lit “paper boats” that float on the surface of the harbor. Change the boats’ colors by logging onto the installation’s WiFi and choosing your favorite motif.
  • In Light of History is a series of lampposts throughout the harbor that mark important places in the city’s slave history. Pick up a flier near the lampposts to read more about it.


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Beyond the twinkling lights, the festival also features a packed schedule of attractions. Look out for sets by DJ Jazzy Jeff, performances by local theater and dance companies, and pop-up bars and food stands. When we attended, jugglers were holding court at the Light Up the Night! stage, while the Blue Hour Bar — a companion to an installation of the same name — was hopping with guests sipping wine, beer, and the festival’s signature cocktail. For locals, it’s a fun way to enjoy Baltimore after dark. For visitors to the city, it’s a great way to see the Inner Harbor in a way that you definitely won’t see in daylight hours.

What: A weeklong light festival and innovation conference

Where: Around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and various sites throughout the city.

When: Through April 3 from 7-11 p.m.

Who It’s Good For: Almost anyone. Kids will love interacting with the installations, while adults will enjoy learning about the artists and their work.

How Much:
Free to attend, with some ticketed events, especially those centering around the innovation conference, which is called Light City U.

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