No Place Like B’More for the Holidays

Whether you’re celebrating the holidays, the end of exams, or both, Baltimore has something for everyone to enjoy this December. Take a break from studying for finals and visit one of these festive attractions — your mind will thank you later!

 

Washington Monument Lighting

600 block of North Charles St.

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, December 4, head over to Mount Vernon for the annual lighting of the Washington Monument from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event will feature area choirs, fireworks and refreshments.

 

Waterfront Partnership Ice Rink

McKeldin Plaza

November 21, 2014 – January 19, 2015

The ice rink is open and awaiting your arrival! Conveniently located in the Inner Harbor, the rink is only $9 for adults and $3 for a skate rental. If you get a group of 10 or more friends to join you, you each pay only $9 including skates (reservation required).

This is the first time the Inner Harbor has had an ice rink for about a decade. The opening of the ice rink this year is part of the 4th annual “It’s a Waterfront Life” movement, an effort to bring more people downtown during the holiday season.

The rink will be open seven days a week, even on holidays. You can find out their hours for each day here.

If you want to shop or eat near the Harbor after skating, your ice rink wristband can get you a ton of discounts at local restaurants and stores.

National Aquarium’s Holiday Celebration

On Friday, December 5 at 5 p.m., the National Aquarium’s annual event will feature music and dance performances, a holiday village with live music and crafts, and Kwanzaa and Hanukkah displays. Food and hot chocolate will be available, regular or spiked (for 21+ guests) for purchase.

 

Dollar Days

Maryland Science Center, National Aquarium, Top of the World, The Christmas Village

Visit these museums and exhibits on December 6th and 7th for just $1 each! What a deal! Tickets must be purchased onsite at each attraction.

For more information, please visit: godowntownbaltimore.com

 

The 41st Annual Mayor’s Christmas Parade

December 7, 2014: 1 PM

The Mayor’s Christmas Parade is a staple of North Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. Last year, over 25,000 people were in attendance for the festive event. This year, the parade will have floats, local TV and radio personalities, Harley Davidson motorcycles, local bands, Mummers of Philadelphia, Miss Yuletide and everyone’s favorite – Santa!

For more information and directions of the parade route, please visit: http://www.mayorschristmasparade.com

 

Hampden 34th Street Lights

While in Hampden, you must stay until 5 p.m. when the lights turn on along 34th Street. Known as the “Miracle on 34th Street”, (for Baltimoreans anyway) every year for the month of December, the residents of the 700 block of 34th Street all decorate their homes with a plentiful amount of lights and unique displays (nothing says festive like a hubcap Christmas tree). This year will be the 67th year of the lights, and they will be on everyday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, the lights will be on all night. Be sure to check out this classic, cheerful Baltimore event before you head home for the holidays!

Want more information? Please visit: http://www.christmasstreet.com

 

The Holly Jolly Trolley 

Departs from Pier 5 Hotel, 711 Eastern Avenue

From now until December 21, the holiday trolley will run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. to travel around Baltimore for a tour of the most decorated neighborhoods and attractions of the season, such as Hampden and Mount Vernon.

Purchase tickets in advance: www.tickets.baltimore.org

 

MICA Art Market 

Brown Center’s Leidy Atrium and Falvey Hall Lobby

1301 W. Mount Royal Ave

Between December 10 and 13, MICA will have its eighth annual art market with a plethora of illustrations, paintings, prints, posters, t-shirts, ceramics, jewelry, toys, wrapping paper, and more all designed and created by MICA students, alumni, faculty and staff. This is an awesome opportunity for guests to buy friends and a family a unique, one-of-a-kind gift for the season!

To find out more about the event, visit www.mica.edu

 

Hot Chocolate Happy Hour

Happy hour on a Tuesday, anyone? On December 9 and 16, Whole Foods Harbor East will offer complimentary hot chocolate “shots” and sweets street-side between 5 and 7 p.m. A perfect treat during holiday shopping!

For more information, visit www.harboreast.com

 

Moonlight Madness & Tree Lighting

Federal Hill Main Street

On Friday, December 12 from 8 p.m. to midnight, Baltimorean’s favorite holiday shopping event returns! Head down to Federal Hill to visit the local shops, galleries and businesses that will be open late and are offering specials, discounts and refreshments to get something for everyone on your list this holiday season! The shopping begins at 8 p.m., but don’t miss the evening kickoff tree lighting between 7 and 8 p.m.

For more information on participating stores and the event, visit www.historicfederalhill.org

 

Baltimore Chanukah Festival and Menorah Lighting

McKeldin Square

On December 20 at 7 p.m., head downtown to see Baltimore’s tallest Menorah! Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will be in attendance for the lighting of the Menorah and the event will include special performances, live music, latkes, jelly doughnuts, and more. Admission is free and open to the public.

Date Night – Desert Cafe style

One of my favorite neighborhoods in all of Baltimore – county or city – is Mt. Washington.  There’s a Whole Foods there, beautiful houses, it’s family friendly, accessible to downtown by highway or light rail and not to mention Taharka Brothers which is seriously the best ice cream you will find in Baltimore (Don’t get me started on ice cream, cuz I love ice cream any time of the year…even on a frigid Baltimore night!).  Above all, there’s a great little area tucked away off Falls Rd called Mt. Washington Village.  Mt. Washington Village, for a small area, features a robust selection of restaurants such as Mt. Washington Tavern, Crepe du Jour, and Desert Cafe.

I feel a successful restaurant needs a hook, that draw, that promise/premise in order to stand out in the crowd – Desert Cafe’s is definiitely their arrays of fresh hummus made on a daily basis.  My friend and I decided step outside our comfort zones and check out the hype about this locally owned gem of a restaurant.  I read some reviews before our date and one of the common threads I found was that the place is small.  As we were waiting for our table, I scoped out venue and yup, it was small.  The main floor had 10-12 tables tops.  In addition to the main floor, they had an upstairs area which I didn’t get an opportunity to check out, but I believe that area is used primarily for larger parties.   

My friend LOVES hummus (and i mean LOVE!), so it was only fitting that we ordered the hummus appetizer platter.  It was a delicious hummus trifecta with plain, thai fire, and chocolate.  Yeah the chocolate didn’t look or taste too hot, but the other two were a delight.  While my hummus connoissuer dinner companion chowed down her hummus and warm pita, I had dolmas (grape leaves), a mediterranean favorite.  The first course was definitely a hit with the exception of chocolate hummus, so we were definitely stoked for the second.  It was definitely difficult making a choice from their vegetarian/meat friendly and affordable menu, but in the end we both selected gyros.  Portion size was definitely appropriate, food tasted fresh, homemade with a modern twist, and of course satisfying.  Only complaint:  the tzatiki sauce was more mayo based than cream based.  I love mayo, but that was a little bit of an overkill for me. 

The coolest thing about the whole experience was finding out the restaurant was started by a Towson alum Blake Wollman.  He’s definitely got a good thing going and I highly encourage you to check the space out.  A few more tips:  Keep room for dessert.  Go on Saturday nights where they have bellydancing.

Check out the various hummus selections on their website and maybe one of them, most likely more, will get your tastebuds tingling:  http://www.thedesertcafe.com/index.html

For now, this is Ankur

Signing off….

Pickled Parrot is my spot!

I just finished my first season with the BSSC last week on a bittersweet note – although we lost in the playoffs, my team – a 15 seed – held our own against a 2 seed team.  Now of course we need a chill spot for before and/or after our games; about 95% of the time we waddled ourselves over to Pickled Parrot located off Elliott St in Canton. 

We were regulars after our Wednesday night games and we always started off the night with a few pitchers of Miller Lite.  In addition to great prices on post-game beverages, they have a pretty impressive menu.  They have pretty good wraps, sandwiches, salad, and a lot of crab inspired dishes (of course!).   I had the  opportunity to eat there a couple of times and it is some of the best bar food I’ve had in a while. 

The first time I ate there I ordered a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.  It definitely had a nice kick to it and it tasted even better with the generous portion of fries they gave.  These weren’t your typical fries either.  Let’s just say if they sold these in McDonald’s, Burger King could not debate whose fries are better…haha!!!  I can’t believe I’m talking so highly of fries, but they were just so durn good – nice and crispy and authentically potatoey!  When I ate there last week, I shared a crab dip with one of my teammates.  They served the crab dip with chips and honestly i prefer bread with it, cuz hello Bread, Crab, and beer…yum!  It was definitely on the cheesy side, which is always a plus!  The crab dip here was good, but I still think the best I’ve had is at Bertha’s. 

At the end of the night when we’re pulling out cash or in my case Mr. Visa, none of us are really breaking the bank.  Pickled Parrot is definitely a nice little hangout spot in Canton with affordable food and drinks.  Space is a little tight in the Parrot, but they do have a nice outdoor seating area, which I would like to take advantage as of as summer in Baltimore creeps up on us.  So if you’re up for something different and want to get away from the overrated happenings in Canton Square, trek on over to Pickled Parrot and you won’t be disappointed!

For now, this is Ankur…

Signing off….