Winter City Lights is Coming to Olney

by MCS Staff

Winter City Lights is described as “a magical holiday experience of 1 million twinkling lights spread across 18-acres of an outdoor winter wonderland where it is guaranteed to Winter City snow every night.” It’s coming to 4501 Olney Laytonsville Road in Olney starting November 19th, a couple weeks after Field of Screams.

This will be the largest light show in the Washington DC and Baltimore area. Winter City Lights is one of the most technologically advanced Christmas light experiences in the country. Complete with 14 bonfires, Winter City Lights includes an enchanted 1.5-mile long trail of Christmas lights and displays through the woods, a 52-foot high programmable Christmas lights tree and light show, a 200-foot diameter canopy of Christmas lights, an 8 lane Snow Tubing Ride, s’mores, funnel cakes & more.

The experience is designed to be eco-friendly with high-quality, low-energy lighting and aluminum displays, all made with recycled products and plastics. Tickets will be able to be purchased only through the Winter City Lights website, but are not yet available (pricing is not yet available either). Frequently asked questions and the answers to them, can be seen below courtesy of the Winter City Lights website.

Do I have to purchase my Winter City Lights entry ticket online? 
Yes, we ONLY offer ADVANCE ONLINE TICKET PURCHASES for Winter City Lights. An electronic ticket and an electronically signed waiver are required before you enter the event – waivers must be completed when you arrive and before you go through security. The entry ticket DOES NOT include the Snow Tubing Ride or Axe Throwing, The Snow Tubing Ride can be purchased online at the same time as the entry ticket and Axe Throwing can only be purchased onsite. The Snow Tubing Ride WILL SELL OUT each night so we recommend you purchase those tickets ahead of time when you buy your entry ticket. There are NO ON SITE entry tickets for sale, but you can ADD Snow Tubing Ride and Axe Throwing when you arrive, if there is availability. Buy ALL your entry tickets and your Snow Tubing and Axe Throwing add-ons in advance!

What is the 8-lane Snow Tubing Ride experience like? It is a fast and exciting tube ride down icey pathways. Once you buy an entry ticket, you can buy the snow tubing ride – you cannot purchase it by itself. You can only ADD this to your base Winter City Lights ticket, if it is not already sold out for the night. We highly recommend you buy this in advance, but only the purchaser can go on the Snow Tubing Ride. The tickets cannot be shared with someone else in your party or be transferred.

What is the 1.5-mile mulched Christmas lights trail like? The mulched trail is a hike like you might find in the woods with a few long hills. The path’s surface is uneven and heavily mulched and you should wear sturdy shoes or boots and be prepared for a 50-minute-plus hike, depending on your pace. There are a few steep hills that will take exertion, the path will be uneven, bumpy, dark and, at times, wet and/or slippery depending on the weather. Anyone with leg, back, heart or any health issue, are, or may be pregnant, or may be negatively impacted by such physical exertion should NOT walk the Christmas lights trail and just enjoy the compound. The elderly should be extra careful when considering walking the trail and parents with children should be prepared to carry them if necessary.

How long will it take me to walk the Christmas lights trail? The trail is 1.5 miles long and will take different people different amounts of time to complete. You may want to take a casual stroll amongst the lights and take a lot of pictures or you may want to quicken your pace – it is up to you. At a minimum, you should expect the trail to take at least 50 minutes. You will also spend time in the compound with our 52-foot tree and 200-foot canopy, sit around bonfires, eat delicious concessions and you may ADD the 8 lane Snow Tubing Ride. You will enjoy a festive night out and the length of time you stay is up to you, until we close.

What should I wear? This Christmas lights event is completely outdoors so dress warmly, wear sturdy shoes or hiking or walking boots, and be prepared for the weather. The grounds and parking lots can be slippery, uneven and wet. Long pants and sturdy shoes are highly recommended. Flips flops, open-toed shoes and high heels are a really bad idea no matter how good they look.

What is an appropriate age for an individual to attend Winter City Lights? The attraction is designed to be enjoyed by a broad range of ages. There is something for everyone to enjoy. However, the entire event is on grass, dirt or a mulched surface. The trail is an off-road, mulched hike through the woods that may be too much for the elderly and for little kids or infants. The trail is long so a parent will have a difficult time carrying a child for the duration and type of trail. There are a few hills that will take a decent amount of exertion. You need to be prepared for a hike in the woods on an uneven and, at times, slippery, uneven, dark mulched trail. Guardians and parents need to use their discretion as to the appropriateness of this event for kids and the elderly they are accompanying.

Can I bring a stroller to the event and on the trail? We DO NOT RECOMMEND you use a stroller to access any part of Winter City Lights; however, they are allowed in the compound. The compound is a completely mulched area so we recommend you bring an off-road stroller, if you have one. Strollers are NOT ALLOWED ON THE TRAIL – it is too dangerous for the sometimes hilly terrain! We have a stroller valet area where you can leave the stroller as you enjoy the compound or the trail.

Should I be concerned if I have medical conditions? Enter at your own risk. There are inherent risks associated with participating in the Winter City Lights events. These events are intended to be experienced outdoors and those conditions can vary for several reasons – topography, lighting, weather, customer usage, vandalism or damage can be a few. Grassed and mulched trails, queue lines and pathways will be uneven, slippery and dark, and there are several special effects, including strobe lights, loud noises, bonfires, latex, claustrophobia-type areas, fog and special-effect snow and many other potential hazards that are used throughout the attractions that could inadvertently cause harm. Participants are REQUIRED to sign a waiver before entering and participating in the Winter City Lights events. By entering any of the Winter City Lights events or compound, you are confirming with us that you understand what you are about to get yourself into and have properly completed and signed the waiver, and are taking on risks and waiving your rights.

What is dated and timed ticketing? When you buy an entry ticket, you will be required to pick the date you’d like to attend and the time-slot. The time-slot will provide you with your arrival time and we recommend you are not late. It is not a guaranteed entry time onto the Christmas Lights Trail. Arrive 10 minutes early so you can get organized and complete your waiver.

How does ticketing work? There is ONE ENTRY TICKET FOR ADULTS, ONE FOR SENIORS and ONE ENTRY TICKET FOR KIDS. See Attractions tab for more information. You can buy additional events in advance or ADD additional events to your ticket for an ADDITIONAL FEE when you arrive, depending on availability. See Attractions tab.

Do you offer Fast Passes or VIP Passes? No

Do you accept credit cards at concession and merchandising areas? Yes, we accept Visa, Mastercard and Apple Pay and others onsite for concessions.

What happens if it rains or there is bad weather or circumstances that require closure? The event will be closed in steady rain or severe storms or cold and we will post that on our Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter accounts. As a ticket purchaser, you will be offered a store credit that you need to use to pick another date for your attendance. We DO NOT offer refunds due to the nature of the event.

Do you have group discounts? Yes. Groups of 15 or more should contact groups@wintercitylights.com to learn more about discounts and logistics for a smooth arrival and entry. Groups must make an advanced reservation in order to obtain the discount and each must complete a waiver.

Do you have discounts if I do not want to walk the 1.5 mile Christmas Lights trail or am just chaperoning? No. The compound is a lot of fun and the main 52-foot Christmas Lights Show, 200-foot canopy Christmas Lights Show, 15 bonfires and music all occur where you will be relaxing as others walk the trail.

Is the event handicap accessible? The compound, Christmas Lights Tree and Canopy Christmas Lights Shows, some displays and the bonfires and concessions are all accessible depending on your needs. Please contact info@wintercitylights.com to make advance arrangements. We are happy to make the effort in any way we can.

Do you sell food or alcohol? Yes. We sell a large selection of tasty food and select holiday alcoholic beverages for adults. Drugs are not permitted on site and if you are deemed to be out of control, unruly or under the influence of alcohol to a degree you’ve lost reasoning, the police or security on site will remove you from the premises.

Can I get a refund? No. Winter City operates on a budget with fixed costs as it helps support the Olney Boys & Girls Community Sports Association. You can use these tickets at a future date or in the following year.

When is the best time to come so we can avoid a long wait? You must buy tickets online and in advance. The timed ticketing system allows for a smooth flow of people. In general, Fridays and Saturdays will be larger crowds and any date that is close to Christmas is busy -early in the week are the slowest nights.

Do you have security on site? Yes. In addition to the security cameras, Winter City Lights is staffed with police and security personnel. You may be asked to be wanded by a metal detector or walk through a metal and gun detector.

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2 comments

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Ashley Shifflett November 19, 2022 - 10:27 pm

This was the worst Christmas light experience I have ever tried to go to. The trail was “vandalized” and no one let us know while coming through the gates. They should have offered to honor the tickets another night once the lights were restored instead of herding is like animals for over an hour. But it’s all about money for them. This is not a family event nor for the elderly or those who do not regularly hike. You are more worried about walking up hills, over large branches and extension cords than enjoying the Christmas lights. And this is supposed the most technologically advanced light show??? Where???

Please do not waste your money.

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Edward Simonds November 20, 2022 - 12:00 pm

This is a horrible venue for Xmas lights.
Lights on trail were hap hazardly strewn through the woods. No theme etc. Wires were laying across the trail. People were constantly tripping over them. Hence the 4 page wavier that needed to be signed. Price was ridiculous $34 senior rate plus tax and a facility fee. $81 for two senior admissions. Way overpriced $10 per person would have been more in line. Had to wait 30 minutes for trail to open. Of course no one from the venue provided any notification as to what the delay was and it was freezing. Finally some one told us there would be an 5 minute wait Unfortunately vandals cut wires the night before and they tried to patch up many displays. Even if all the lights were working it wouldn’t have made a difference. Food was sub par. Greasy funnel cakes, powdered hot chocolate mix in bottom of cup, giant soft pretzel was very small. Of course they had the Krispy Kreme burger. Yuk. They need to either drastically lower the price or revamp the whole venue. IMO, I would skip this event altogether.

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