Once a 19th-century blue-collar mill town that has evolved into the epicenter of hipster Baltimore kitsch, Hampden centers on 36th Street, known to locals as The Avenue.
Baltimore’s quirky personality is embodied by its infamous hons. The name comes from a “Bawlmerese” word short for “honey” that has come to define the city’s typically-white working class women of the 1960s, a large population of which congregated in Hampden. Hons are recognizable by sky-high beehive hairdos, cat-eye glasses, lycra leggings and animal prints. The hon spirit is alive at Café Hon, a diner serving American classics with an attached gift shop with everything you need to transform into a hon.
Hampden always has something fun going on year-round. In June there's Honfest, a celebration of Baltimore's quirky "hon" character, in September there's Hampdenfest, a celebration of Hampden's merchants and residents with live music and toilet bowl races, and in December the over-the-top holiday decorations light up 34th Street, drawing visitors from all over the world.
Hampden’s main drag is 36th Street, known as The Avenue. It’s filled with locally-owned shops and restaurants such as Ma Petite Shoe, The Food Market, Trohv, The Charmery, Bluebird Cocktail Room, and Zissimos Bar. Here, you'll find the many imaginative concepts and locally made wares of Baltimore makers, a growing community of creatives who embody Baltimore's entrepreneurial spirit. As you walk along 36th Street, keep your eyes peeled for some local street art along this strip as well.
Famed Baltimore filmmaker, artist and author John Waters is known to pick up his fan mail at Atomic Books in Hampden.