Our Baltimore guide update comes from original guide writers Anne Ditmeyer of prêt à voyagerand Felice Cleveland. This wonderful guide–and the personalized google map with everything marked out–takes us on a tour through each neighborhood with advice on delicious restaurants, supreme shops and all-around fun things to do and see in the Baltimore area. Thanks ladies for a wonderful update to your guide!–Stephanie
CLICK HERE for the full guide after the jump!
Baltimore is unlike any other city in more ways than you can imagine. You may doubt how much more, but once you experience the Charm City Roller Girls brawl, the bee-hive hairdos, the largest community mosaic project ever, and lawns littered with pink flamingos you will begin to understand why it is called “Charm City, USA” and the benches claim it as “Baltimore: The Greatest City in America.”
View Baltimore Design*Guide in a larger map
FEDERAL HILL / LOCUST POINT: South of the Inner Harbor this historic neighborhood offers plenty of local treasures for those exploring the city on foot.
800 Key Highway * 410.244.1900–A wonderland of non-traditional art and one of our favorite places on Earth (Felice is also the Education Coordinator, regularly hosting cool workshops and events. Every May, AVAM organizes the KINETIC SCULPTURE RACE which takes over the city as these vehicles make their way through water, sand, mud and the streets of Baltimore! Also check out BAZAART a holiday mart the weekend after Thanksgiving, offering a welcome alternative to mall madness. Check the website for Events of the Visionary Kind.
1427 Light Street * 410.396.4641–Renovated schoolhouse with gallery spaces offering workshops for those interested in experimenting in a new medium. The sponsor for the October OPEN STUDIO TOURS, artists around town open their doors to the public.
1414 Key Hwy–Contemporary furniture shop.
1036 Light Street * 410.522.PIES–Sweet and savory plus they will ship them anywhere in the U.S. for you. In their words: “a force to be reckoned with.”
1100 E. Fort Avenue * 410.576.9294–No trip to Baltimore in the summer is complete without crabs and Old Bay. Head out to Locust Point to get your hands dirty as you crack open your pile of crabs – it’s like being a kid again and getting to play with your food! Hard work, but worth the reward.
1105 S. Charles Street * 410.752.8561–Quaint Japanese that is the real deal.
1019 Light Street * 410.385.8587–Worth it just for the mango sticky rice, but everything else is great too.
BABA’S MEDITERRANEAN KITCHEN
745 E. Fort Avenue * 410.727.PITA–Visit the CFO (that is Chief Falafel Officer) at this perfect lunch spot.
WATERBALLET @ Riverside Park- Fluid Movement’s annual summer extravaganza! Synchronized swimming meets performance art meets anything else you can think of! (Performances have also taken place in Patterson Park and Druid Hill Park, but we prefer it here because pre-show you can stop by and pick up a Sno-ball for a snack – crushed ice with flavored syrup, and marshmallow fluff on top (a Baltimore tradition!)- at Mercado’s on Heath Street.)
MOUNT VERNON CULTURAL DISTRICT– The heart and soul of downtown. The center is the original Washington Monument and surrounding parks.
1212 Cathedral Street * 410.783.8000 or 1.877.BSO.1444–The new director/conductor Marin Alsop has inspired new energy in the symphony hall that is also undergoing some changes. Noteworthy selections in prior seasons include collaborations with tap-dancer Savion Glover, rock musician Ben Folds, as well as National Geographic nature photographer Franz Lanting’s images choreographed to the music of Baltimore composer Philip Glass.
700 N. Calvert Street–An event where 7 locals are invited to each tell a 7 minute story on a given theme, various Monday nights throughout the year. Stoop has recently adopted CENTERSTAGE as their new home (after out growing their space at CREATIVE ALLIANCE).
421 N. Howard Street–Downtown artist collective and gallery space, which regularly opens their doors for new shows. Features a lot of young artist and MICA graduates. Just moved from Calvert St. location.
Power Plant Live! 8 Market Place, Suite 100 * 410.962.8565–A cultural respite for Inner Harbor go-ers.
17 E. Mt. Vernon Place * 410.659.8197–A quiet place which feels like traveling back in time through breath-taking stacks of books.
45 West Preston Street * 410.752.8558–Great venue for community theater, and worth a visit just for the striking posters by Baltimore’s own Dave Plunkert of SPUR DESIGN (3504 Ash St., 410.235.7803).
600 N. Charles Street * 410.547.9000–A free museum with an incredibly diverse range of art. Favorite stop is the Cabinet of Curiosities Room.
516 N. Charles Street * 410.727.4471–A store with a mission, don’t miss the exotic furniture from far reaches located downstairs.
333 N. Charles Street * 410.685.4388–Local non-profit that’s been around for over 130 years. Goods made by disadvantaged women and men who receive the profits from sales. Great place for hand-knitted goods for children, unique jewelry and other one-of-a-kind gifts. Head downstairs to grab a fresh crepe at the counter of the new SOFI’S (410.727.5737) location.
813 N. Charles Street–Hands down the best vintage in town, and a great source for fabulous costume jewelry, with nothing that will empty your wallet.
827 N. Charles Street * 410.244.6768–Be sure to check out their window while passing up Charles Street for cute finds in this local women’s boutique.
1305 Saint Paul Street–Fulfill all your rubber stamping needs. Bring in a hand-drawn sketch or a print out (no disks or files needed here, but they’ll take that too) and like magic you’ll have your very own rubber stamp made in record time. Custom daters, seals and embossers are also available.
1106 N. Charles Street * 410.547.6925–Favorite stop for local beer and the Baltimore scene. (Be warned about The Resurrection, it is a smooth one!). Try to score one of the nooks in the basement.
Under the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga Streets–If you know ANYONE who lives in Baltimore, chances are good that you’ll run into them here. The Sunday market under I-83 is part of pretty much everyone’s weekly routine. Even if you don’t need to grocery shop there are plenty of local artisans and food vendors with delicious options.
1100 Maryland Avenue * 410.385.0318–Authentic Ethopian, more than enough to share! And you get to eat with your hands.
806 N. Charles Street * 410.752.0311–An inviting interior and warm staff welcome you in this restaurant owned by the brother of the Prime Minister of Afghanistan. The Kaddo Borawani (baby pumpkin) is unforgettable.
818 N. Calvert Street * 410.528.0818–Local brick oven pizza and BYOB plus all the tips are donated to a local charity. Dog friendly.
1307 N. Charles Street * 410.468.0002–sushi + coffee + gelato + more in a cool urban setting
Washington Monument Square–A weekend in the fall around the Monument with everything books. (One year Tim Gunn of Project Runway was here promoting his new book.)
STATION ARTS NORTH CULTURE DISTRICT– Up and coming hipster central.
1711 N. Charles Street * 410.727.FILM–Warehouse turned theater with tons of independent films and festivals. Conveniently located between Sofi’s Crepes and Tapas Teatro for a great date night out.
1727 N. Charles Street * 410.752.2208–Local theater featuring hot local Baltimore talent. Stay tuned for their new space coming soon…
1724 N Charles Street * 410.727.8815–Dark and cool, a good place to be seen. If you’re lucky you can catch a surprise acrobatic act that takes place right above the bar.
1723 N. Charles Street * 410.727.7732–The perfect dessert post-movie (or pre-movie!)
1711 N. Charles Street * 410.332.0010–One of those places where you could sit and talk to friends for hours and completely lose track of time. The closely arranged tables also encourage mingling with dining neighbors. Summer is the best time to grab a table outside, people watch and nibble on an array of tasty tapas washed down with a carafe of sangria. If the night is still young, order a beer and take it next door for a film.
4 W. Lanvale Street–A collective to help educate people about bike repair and construction.
12 W. North Avenue–Gallery, event space and bar–catch some of Baltimore’s up and coming music scene or take part in one of the Baltimore Design Conversations. A low key space with something always happening.
ALPHABET” (created in conjunction with Artscape 2006 and curated by the dynamic design duo, Nolen Strals and Bruce Willen of POSTTYPOGRAPHY, made its’ way up to NYC to be seen at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum).
120 W. North Avenue–Converted furniture warehouse (the name comes from the letters of the old sign: LOMBARD OFFICE FURNITURE, but is also true of the happenings that occur here). Currently artist studios with openings throughout the year and host to a summer flea market [note: neighborhood best avoided at night].
1501 Bolton Street * 410.383.8600–European style bistro nestled in Bolton Hill. A mélange of Mediterranean and Californian fare, keep an eye out for their innovative specials and weekly wine deals.
MT. ROYAL TAVERN
1204 W Mount Royal Avenue–The perfect dive bar if you’re looking to rub elbows with the art student crowd. Wear your skinny jeans, order a Natty Boh (translation: NATIONAL BOHEMIAN, look for this guy around town) and don’t forget to look up and check out the unexpected ceiling mural.
ARTSCAPE- Nation’s largest free arts festival that takes place around MICA and UB every summer.
CHARLES VILLAGE– College town (Johns Hopkins University) with a neighborhood feel.
10 Art Museum Drive * 443.573.1700–Extensive and free, they even offer yoga in the sculpture garden. When you are done taking in the artwork grab some world famous crab cakes or just a glass of wine at GERTRUDE’S Special deals on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
THE BOOK THING
3001 Vineyard Lane * 410.662.5631–Free books for the price of a smile.
CHARM CITY CRAFT MAFIA– Local indie crafters who sponsor several shows throughout the year to sell and show of their handmade wares.
3811 Canterbury Road * 410.366.1484–An incredible Royal Indian brunch/lunch with a beautiful garden terrace. (Don’t leave without at least one serving of rice pudding!)
3120 Saint Paul Street–Off the main strip, quaint and a perfect spot to sip coffee while reading theCITYPAPER. Start with a breakfast of homemade Icelandic-style yogurt or granola before heading to the BMA (see above).
513 W. Cold Spring Lane (another location in the Inner Harbor as well: 750 E. Pratt Street) * 410.889.5270–Gourmet brunch where the eggs benedict with fried-green tomatoes is not to be missed!
100 W. University Avenue–Hip but not hippy vegetarian + coffee.
HAMPDEN/REMINGTON– Heart of Baltimore’s funk and kitsch.
CLIPPER MILL ARTIST STUDIOS- Industrial park converted into loft style apartments and artist studios (Don’t miss CORRADETTI (2010 Clipper Park Road, Suite 119 * 410.243.2010) – glass blowing studio and gallery where you can sign up for a workshop and try the craft yourself orGUTIERREZ STUDIOS (2010 Clipper Park Road * 410.889.5341) – custom metalwork in an old foundry building).
CHARM CITY CAKES– Where the magic and zaniness of the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes ” happens. Not open to the public, but head to THE DIZZ (300 W 30th Street * 410.235.0171) and you may just see the cameras rolling or spot Duff walking down the street.
3620 Falls Road * 410.920.6435–Sister store of Atomic Books around the corner with a large collection of design books and pop gifts.
3616 Falls Road * 410.554.0055–Cute and funky clothing and accessories that won’t break the bank, many by local artisans. The friendly interior is a perfect compliment to the products. Every first Friday night of the month they sponsor a “Shopper’s Social” with DJ, drinks and 10% discount on everything in the store. (This is one of our favorite shops!)
2002 Clipper Park Road (Poole & Hunt Building) * 410.889.3116–Amazing fabrics and designers, we’d buy everything in this store if only we could afford it. Perfect for special occasions or a splurge.
Open by appointment only.–Kat Feuerstein’s, a MICA graduate, is the force behind this local letterpress studio. The space is welcoming and nurtures many creative impulses. Housing multiple presses and everything a printer would need to create the exact card or invitation you were hoping for.
HOMETOWN GIRL & CO
1000 W. 36th Street * 410.662.GIFT–If you’re determined to bring back a souvenir, this is the place to do it with true Baltimore flavor. Crabs and pink flamingos [seriously, Baltimore is the home to director John Waters whose repertoire includes the films "Pink Flamingos" and "Hairspray"] are aplenty.
IN WATERMELON SUGAR
3555 Chestnut Ave * 410.662.9090–A wonderland of items for the bath, kitchen and bedroom that will turn any house into a home.
832 West 36th Street * 410.235.3442–Chocolate + shoes, need we say more?
1005 West 36th St * 410.235.3800–Vibrant shop where Frida Kahlo and Dia De Muertos come alive through jewelry, clothes, bags and knick-knacks.
815 West 36th Street * 410.732.4258–Vintage clothing downstairs, art gallery upstairs.
1021 West 36th Street “The Avenue” * 410.889.2279–Nineteenth and 20th century “antiques” with a twist of retro.
1015 W 36th Street * 410.243.1317–A quality mixture of new and old furniture with great accessories and lamps for that added charm. Showcasing the works of both national and local artists and designers.
921 W. 36th Street * 410.366.3456–A constantly changing showroom of “goods from around the world and around the corner.”
410.366.3005–Former brick & mortar shop that has developed into a boutique video agency and blog with a great eye.
410.225.9962–We first met Mary at a trip to Housewerks where she regularly checks in for printing tools and typecast letters that have been salvaged as she follows her true passion of letterpress printing. Call ahead to schedule a studio visit.
819 W 36th Street * 410.235.5533–What a local coffee shop should be. After a stroll through the stores on 36th, end your afternoon here with a coffee and the daily special, or even a banana – peanut butter – chai smoothie.
911 W. 36th Street * 410.889.0952–The owners love food and by using nature as their inspiration they try to keep their menu as organic and local as possible. Additionally they have a social mission that provides training opportunity and paid employment to individuals who are transitioning from addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and/or underemployment.
3360 Chestnut Avenue * 410-235-7887–Set in an unsuspecting neighborhood, you may feel as though you are no longer in Baltimore with the feel of a cool diner but then another glance around the room chances are you will see someone you recognize. For out-of-towners who may be in doubt about the definition of a hipster, visit here after 9pm (and don’t leave without trying the pumpkin pierogies!)
842 West 36th Street * 410.366.SOUP–Homemade yumminess perfect for a meal on the go.
2010 Clipper Park Road * 410.464.8000–The perfect ambiance to showcase local growers, organic meats and sustainable practices.
1105 W 36th Street * 410.889.8891–Known best for their “frito pie” this eclectic joint is a great place to run into Baltimore regulars.
1117 W. 36th Street * 410.889.1064–A little upscale yet reasonable prices and friendly folks. An unusual find in Hampden, but a welcome change.
1031 W. 36th Street * 443.869.3429–Two locations but this is the one we prefer. Cozy with comforting pasta. BYOB
830 W. 36th Street * 410.878.1266–Your sweet tooth will love you.
851 W. 36th Street * 410.243.1262–They say they are providing love one cup at a time. From a former west coast barista, all I have to say is that Spro is finally here to teach Baltimore the definition of coffee. A true-blue, bare bones coffee house. With beautiful rosettas poured lattes and a few pastries, the perfect place to relax after a walk along the Avenue.
36th Street “The Avenue” between Falls Road and Keswick Road–Quintessential Baltimore festival every June with beehive hairdos and cats-eye glasses where no one knows your name and everyone calls you “Hon”! Watch out for pink flamingos and Elvis sightings wile you’re at it.
813 South Broadway * 410-522-0941–Upscale clothing boutique perfect for those pieces that will really add to any wardrobe.
813 S Broadway * 410.675.5105–True to its name, the place to find unrivaled cultural pieces that will set your home apart.
830 Aliceanna Street * 410.209.2700–Astonishing array of hand-embroidered shawls and jackets, authentic silk scarves in all the colors of India, plus many more unique finds. Now features an online shop as well.
1704 Thames Street * 410.558.2195–A funky little place along the water filled with great gifts that aren’t afraid of color, including matchless clothes, bags, and jewelry.
728 South Broadway * 410.522.1970–Multiple-time winner for Best of Baltimore “Best Women’s Shoes,” this local shop not only has a great collection but good prices in a welcoming setting.
814 S. Bond Street * 410.276.7141–Greek fare featuring organic fish and quality produce.
719 S. President St * 410.244.5533–Traditional fare in a classy and contemporary setting with a friendly waitstaff.
1425 Aliceanna Street * 410-534-7296–Converted warehouse, inspired interior for hip tapas dining.
PATTERSON PARK– The best backyard in Baltimore.
3134 Eastern Avenue * 410.276.1651–Dynamic center for the arts—with regular shows, performances, residencies and programming. The fall “Art to Dine For” fundraising series is worth checking out as many prominent arts-savvy locals open their homes and galleries in creative ways to support a worthy cause – the perfect excuse to try something new. (Examples range from Samba with Maria Broom (a celebrity on HBO’s THE WIRE ) at the recently re-modeled School for the Arts to glazing and firing your own raku bowl before eating a home-cooked Japanese meal.)
2105 Eastern Avenue * 410.675.1011–Duck-pin bowling Baltimore style, BYOB.
Take a walk to check out the pagoda and get a view of Russian Orthodox Church (like something out of Aladdin). The park is especially nice during the HALLOWEEN LANTERN PARADE (make sure you stay for the SHADOW PUPPET SHOW of awe-inspiring projections “performed” in real time from three overhead projectors, and accompanied by a live band).
Patterson Park & Riverside Park
Fluid Movement’s annual summer extravaganza! Synchronized swimming meets performance art meets anything else you can think of! (Check the website out for details of summer performances). If you missed the summer shows, keep an eye out for Fluid Movement on Roller Skates during the colder months.
HAMILTON-Quaint neighborhood in Northeast Baltimore with a strong community feel.
5402 Harford Road * 410.444.1497–In their own words, Clementine does fancypants comfort food with a cross-cultural twist.
4341 Harford Road * 410-254-2376–Committed to sustainability and local farms. Prix fixe menu on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
5517 Harford Road * 410-426-1930–Warm and inviting place to grab a drink.
4607 Harford Road * 410-254-0122–Baltimore’s local caffeine suppliers. If you can’t make this store, look for them at Farmer’s Markets around town.
Checked all that off your list? Then here’s [Balti]MORE
If you still have time and want to head a little further outside of Baltimore proper, keep heading east after Fells point and stop by CANTON. Lots of little shops and restaurants line Canton Square (an area thriving with young professionals). We’d suggest the women’s clothing boutique,NECTAR (1628 Thames Street * 410.522.7722) .
If you want to head North, BELVEDERE SQUARE
(518 E. Belvedere Avenue), offers a lot of unique local shops in an easy walk. Start at BELVEDERE MARKET for an upscale European-style market experience for lunch or GRAND CRU
(527 East Belvedere Avenue * 410.464.1944) for a wine tasting around local art work. THE DUTCH CONNECTION (515 East Belvedere Avenue * 410.467.7882) is a beautiful flower shop that transports us back to Paris. SIMPLY NOTED (544 E. Belvedere Avenue * 410.464.1166) can fulfill all your paper and stationery dreams (pick up a copy of PAPER DOLL magazine to discover the latest in the Baltimore fashion and shopping scene). DAEDALUS (5911 York Road * 410.464.2701) offers great discounts on books. Keep an eye out for the re-opening of the historicSENATOR THEATER (5904 York Road * 410.435.8338 – reopening in 2010) to catch a flick.
Leaving the rush of Baltimore city, find a bit of quiet in the village of MT. WASHINGTON (just to the north). Visit CLAYWORKS (5707 Smith Avenue * 410.578.1919) a non-profit ceramic art center featuring a gallery and shop of local artisans. End your day with dinner at ETHEL & RAMONE’S (1615 Sulgrave Ave * 410.664.2971), (you’ll know it by the fork-raising Buddha on the sign) spicy-kick Creole in a cozy cottage setting.
1340 A Smith Avenue * 410.433.3889–Classy interior and expensive but beautiful clothes
OFF THE BEATEN PATH:
Bouts take place at DuBurns Arena : 1301 S. Ellwood Avenue–An experience not to be missed – just think of it as “hipster Nascar” with girls with badass names getting down and dirty on the roller rink. We suggest sitting rink-side, sipping on some Dr. Pepper, munching on a pickle and enjoying the show (which is as much on the rink as in the crowd!).
91-95 Mellor Ave, Canton * 410.744.0042–Beautiful pieces for the home, this place is often featured in major publications as the place to go. “A haven for lovers of all things deco, retro and mid-century modern.”
1415 Bayard Street * 410.685. 8047–Architectural savage yard in an incredible old building, goods range from a priest’s confessional, to cool old signs, or type for an old letterpress. The website gives you a glimpse of this treasure trove.
1645 Warner Street * 410.385.1101–Like a glorified garage sale, this is stuff you actually want to buy. Take your time to peruse the multiple warehouse spaces with potential treasures at every turn. Items range from Victorian-era chairs to actual props from “The Wire.”
by appointment only 410.920.6435–Specializing in custom paper and letterpress work their motto is “style like this isn’t mass produced.”
872 Kenilworth Drive, Towson * 410.276.1180–Welcoming fair-trade coffee stop and shop for environmentally friendly interiors. Most of their products are either recycled or reclaimed. We love the thoughtful design that promotes an “eco-friendly lifestyle.”
Baltimore is 1 hour from DC on the MARC commuter train for $7 (weekdays only; Amtrak runs on the weekend). The more frequent “Penn Line” takes you downtown, while the “Camden Line” drops you outside of Camden Yards (home of the Orioles). It is also an easy train ride from Philly or NYC on Amtrak , or $30 (or less) roundtrip on the Bolt Bus or Mega Bus. BWI airport offers great deals on international flights, and the light rail takes you right into Downtown.
It’s easiest to get around with a car, but it’s also possible to do the city car free (or borrow a ZipCarif you’re a member). Public transportation through the MTA includes the bus and light rail (great for getting to and from the airport) – both for $1.60 (exact change), and free circulator shuttle(downtown). Public transportation may require a bit of patience, but nothing that can’t be cured by a good book. And while many of our picks are walkable, note that there are a few areas of town that should be avoided, particularly at night.