The beginning of the holiday shopping season and the launch of the Winterfest of Lights has crowded out most other officially-sanctioned events, but from where we sit (right on the beach, of course) it’s plenty. And if it’s not enough there are many other options still available for things to do in Ocean City.
Now, there are still a number of deals to be had and plenty of Ocean City restaurants still open for business now and through the rest of the winter. Later this week we’ll also be publishing a list of Ocean City MD hotel specials that might go a long way towards a compelling argument for a visit.
It’s the opening weekend of the Winterfest of Lights – Ocean City’s winter extravaganza. Like its counterparts Springfest and Sunfest, Winterfest is an equally large event with equally huge muscles. More than a million lights fill Northside Park and one of the Boardwalk trams pulls double duty transporting onlookers through the winter wonderland. As always there are new displays, new things to discover and new sights to see. Plus, if you can get there this Thursday for the opening event beginning at 5:30 you can ride for free.
Apart from that the best part of Ocean City is waiting: Finding your own way. This is the time of year locals live for. It’s not so crowded, the restaurants are offering the same great meals at discounted prices and the beaches are just made for walking. A cool breeze is welcome in the summer, but in the winter it is even more thrilling and exhilarating.
The Boardwalk is available, albeit in a suitably diminished role of course, but there are still plenty of things to do. For example, Marty’s Playland should be open for your Skeeball and arcade game needs.
Assateague Island’s visitor center is relatively new and certainly improved. New exhibits and highlights can be topped off with actual experiences by walking through the park. As the park is now emptier than it has been in the previous months allowing for a more intimate experience with the natural park. But, and this bears repeating, interference with the animals is serious – they are wild for all intents and purposes. They look tame, and the perception of horses is that they are friendly – but these suckers bite, and you don’t want that.
On the locals’ side in Berlin is a business after hours at the Burley Oak brewery off Old Ocean City road between 5:30 and 7:30 Thursday. Since holiday events are gaining steam this may be the last time to get together and throw down before Victorian Christmas and Winterfest hit their stride.
There’s really no need for organized, town-endorsed events in Ocean City for a good time to be had. In fact they occasionally get in the way of same. There is a big kick off to a huge event, certainly, but it’s way uptown at Northside Park and if it’s your inclination you can avoid it completely. We wouldn’t, but if you’re spending a weekend Winterfest isn’t really something that you can do every single day. If you have, we’d love to tell that story.
NEXT WEEK: Arts night in Berlin and a shopping fair in Ocean City.