Charles Village is a hub of activity for students as well as families living in brightly colored rowhomes.
For a look at Baltimore’s vibrancy, take a drive or walk through Charles Village and get a lift from the brightly colored Victorian-style row houses. Inspired by the homes of San Francisco, this Baltimore neighborhood’s houses got a colorful face lift thanks to a contest in the late 1990s challenging enthusiastic residents to paint and decorate the fronts of their houses in order to show pride in their neighborhood. With cash prizes, the annual contest continued until 2003, but residents have continued to keep up the rainbow of their community. With an array of colors and styles ranging from vibrant pinks, greens, and yellows, stripes and solids, even 20 years later these rowhomes show how bold and spunky the city of Baltimore can be.
Popular with dog owners, runners and nature lovers is Wyman Park, one of the crown jewels in Baltimore’s emerald necklace of parks, which was conceived in 1904. The 16-acre public park on the eastern edge of Charles Village wraps around two city landmarks—the Baltimore Museum or Art and Johns Hopkins University. It is one of the few parks in Baltimore fully conceived and designed by the Olmsted Brothers (sons of designer Frederick Olmsted, who laid the plans for New York City’s Central Park).
African American-owned businesses flourish on the historic Charles Street corridor and surrounding areas north of the city center. Known as “Black Wall Street,” the upper blocks of Charles and St. Paul streets are home to a range of black-owned businesses. Visit Terra Café for delicious food and a familial setting. The restaurant offers mouth-watering dishes like yams with pineapple, jerk chicken and a full breakfast menu. It is also a gathering spot for local artists, college students and community events. Next door, is the Grind House Juice Bar, which creates 100 percent vegan beverages and food items using fresh produce. Then pick up something stylish at It’s Malacka’s Fashion Studio, which also has an online boutique.