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.
Famed Baltimore filmmaker, artist and author John Waters is known to pick up his fan mail at Atomic Books in Hampden.