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.

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A Charm City summer

If you haven’t heard, Baltimore ranks #22 as a best city to live in as a recent college grad. So Collegetown friends if you’re spending the summer in Charm City, here are a few ideas of what to check out!

1. Mt. Vernon: home of WTMD‘s First Thursday Concert
2. 2640 Space: beautiful venue in Charles Village for concerts, speakers, and everything in between
3. Fort McHenry: you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy the view from the fort
4. American Visionary Art Museum: fun and quirky musuem in Federal Hill
5. Federal Hill Park: take a walk down from AVAM and take a look at the Inner Harbor from the top of the hill
6. Annapolis: Not quite Charm City, but if you’re looking for a day away take a drive to Annapolis.
7. Farmers Markets: take a bit of home-grown fruits and vegetables
8. Artscape: America’s largest free arts festival happens here
9. Little Italy Open Air Film Festival: grab a gelato and enjoy an outdoor movie
10. Explore! There’s so much going on this  summer to see and do. Check out these sites to start filling your calander.
www.baltimorecollegetown.org
www.whatweekly.com
www.citypaper.com

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Lauryn Hill takes the stage

Iconic performer Lauryn Hill stopped at Rams Heads Live to play an energetic set on February 10. Before I handed over the $65 for a ticket, I really tossed the idea back and forth.  But once a friend hopped on board, I didn’t need much more convincing.

On the drive downtown we sang along to the Grammy winning The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and as we got closer pumped up the volume to the Fugees. But one thought kept popping in our heads…what time would she actually go on stage?

This past August, Hill joined Wu Tang Clan, Rakim, KRS-One, Snoop Dogg and A Tribe Called Quest at Merriweather Post Pavillion for the Rock the Bells tour. I had tickets for the festival, but had to give them up last minute. Although she reportedly came on stage two hours late, I was still bummed I missed her and was more the reason to catch the singer while in Baltimore.

So after driving the streets looking for a cheap and close parking spot, we finally made our way into the venue around 10 p.m. The tickets said she’d be performing at 11p.m., but along with the rest of the crowd, we prepared ourselves for a late night.

After chatting for awhile with the group around us, Hill’s DJ took the stage to get the audience ready for the show. The DJ spun old school hip-hop and reggae which seemed to be the perfect mix to get the crowd moving and to get me to join a little dance circle to show off some moves.

Hill set the stage around midnight and the audience was filled with excitement. Starting off the night with a Bob Marley cover, “Loving Jah”, she quickly went into a mix of songs from her impressive list, including the first time she and her band performed “Everything is Everything” together.

Hill kept her set going with Fugees material and even though my feet began to ache a little I was jumping with the crowd to the rhythm of the music.

The night ended around 1:30 as she finished her performance with “Doo Wop (That Thing).”

On our walk back to the car we talked about the show since between the dancing and jumping we didn’t chat much when Hill came on. With our ears buzzing and songs replaying in our heads, we agreed it was a good choice we made it.

All this action on a Thursday night was a good way to get out of my normal routine and do something new. If you’re looking for something to do during the week and want to hear live music, there’s always something going on in Baltimore.

It doesn’t have to be an award-winning musician or a large venue performance, something even low-key and intimate could be just what you need as a middle of the week pick-me-up. Look at our Collegetown Calendar of Events for ideas.

Wanna jam? Here’s a few places close by:
8×10
Ottobar
Recher Theatre

 

Your new Charm City (FREE) ride is here!

Kristen here again! Yesterday was the official launch of the Charm City Circulator, otherwise known as the “CCC”. My fingers are crossed on this one. I truly hope this shuttle is used and is successful. Not only is it a great resource for residents and visitors, but even better it helps students! I remember when I first came to Towson, MD in 2005. I moved here from a suburban small town community and never took public transportation. Personally I think public transportation can be intimidating and scary if you have never ridden it before! I wish the CCC was running while I was still in school at Towson. I would have been much more inclined to explore the city knowing I had a FREE way of getting around!

As I stood at the launching ceremony I realized I have three wishes for the Charm City Circulator:

#1. I hope the Circulator is respected and well kept. There is nothing like stepping onto a brand new bus. It is clean, smells good and you’re not afraid to grab the pole attached to the roof if you have to stand. When things are free they tend to be less respected due to the lack of ownership and accountability. However, I hope the people of Baltimore realize what a great asset this shuttle is to our city and respect it as if it was your own car.

#2 I hope the Circulator encourages people to explore this great city! There are so many small boutiques and tiny cafes that are unique to Baltimore that are overlooked every day. It is so easy to get caught up in a routine that limits your exploration. (i.e. In college terms Panera Bread, Chipotle, Applebees… you get the picture) This shuttle service provides you with transportation to navigate your way through the city to find that hidden coffee shop in Mt. Vernon or that amazing pizza place in Little Italy! Get out of your comfort zone and jump on board.

#3. The last, but most important wish of mine, I hope STUDENTS use the Charm City Circulator. There are no more excuses allowed you now have an easy free ride! I have always regretted not exploring Baltimore sooner. As a student, Baltimore has some great things to offer. Camden Yards, Baltimore Museum of Art and The Washington Monument are only the start to the amazing attractions this city has. I hope students realize the significance and value this shuttle has to offer them in their four (or five) years at school.

I have included the Charm City Circulator link below so you can start planning your Baltimore tour! Start 2010 off the right way and jump on board 🙂

For more information about the Circulator click here!

Until next time… CIAO!

A Charming new way to ride

It was a beautiful day last Wednesday, when members of the Baltimore community, media outlets, contest finalists, and Mayor Shelia Dixon gathered in front of City Hall for the great unveil of the newest, greenest and cheapest way to get around downtown. Baltimore was getting a new bus line that would run (for free) across downtown and then up north to Penn Station. When I heard about this, the first thought that came to my mind was “Yahoo!” A free, easy and green way to get from one side of town to the other? Sign me up. And what was even cooler was that I would be there for the moment when the city revealed the name of the new line and what the buses would look like. I was stoked. Baltimore's City Hall

Behind the podium and a sizable crowd of spectators, there it was, covered in a sheet, waiting for the word from Madam Mayor herself. There were some speeches, describing the usefulness of this addition to Baltimore’s public transportation, how the parking tax had been raised to pay for it (but hey, now Bmore drivers only need to pay to park downtown once!) and how after combing through the 2700 entries to the “name the bus” contest held this winter, ten finalists were chosen.

With a 1, 2, and 3 off came the sheet and there the bus was in all of its hybrid- gas efficient, purple glory.

Covered by the sheet, the new bus awaited its big moment.

Covered by the sheet, the new bus awaited its big moment.

The Charm City Circulator, name courtesy of 24 year-old Michelle Brand. It looked like a combination of a spaceship and some weird bug with bright colors and a cute little city design on its side. The futuristic vibe was fitting, considering its eco-friendly nature and the seeming need for car companies to make earth-friendly rides look sort of like they’re about to blast into space. The bus’s interior was clean and streamlined, the seats were plush with plenty of leg room. I took a deep breathe in. Ahh — eau de new bus. I have a feeling that the new car smell won’t last long; the 21 buses begin their maiden voyage from University of Maryland Biopark to the Inner Harbor East, starting in mid-August. Promising to come every ten minutes to take you on your way, guaranteed.

Introducing, the Charm City Circulator!

Introducing, the Charm City Circulator!

And with two more routes slotted to make the rounds — if you’ll pardon the pun — after Labor Day, all I’ve got to say is, I’m charmed to meet you, Charm City Circulator.

More adventures next time,

Heather