Annual Events for Every Season
Find out what's happening while you're in town, or plan a trip around one of these weird, wonderful and beloved annual traditions.
Baltimoreans never miss the chance to eat, drink and be merry. From local street festivals honoring our diverse neighborhood culture, to the creative events that bring the whole city together, these community celebrations will be a highlight on your itinerary.
Note: Due to COVID-19, some events may be cancelled or postponed. Please check the festival website for the most up to date information.
Charm City Bluegrass Festival
What could be better than sitting outside, listening to live music, enjoying a local brew and letting your kids play with bubbles? Each spring Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park hosts the best in national and regional talent from across the old time, bluegrass and roots music traditions at Charm City Bluegrass Festival.
Maryland Film Festival
The Maryland Film Festival (MdFF) is an annual five-day international film festival hosted the Parkway Theater each May. The festival screens approximately 40 feature films and 100 short films of all varieties. One of the makers of each film attends the festival so audience members can mingle with the creative minds behind the movies.
Established in 1911, Flower Mart is the longest-running festival in the city of Baltimore, held each May in Mount Vernon. With live music, street food, demonstrations and vendors selling flowers, plants, arts and crafts and more, Flower Mart was conceived to encourage home gardening and the beautification of Baltimore. While you’re there, be sure to try a lemon stick, a quintessential Baltimore treat.
Kinetic Sculpture Race
For more than 20 years the American Visionary Art Museum‘s Kinetic Sculpture Race has been a beloved tradition. Teams of inventive artists build and pilot original sculptures over land and sea from one end of Baltimore to another. The race is a day of good-humored merrymaking, fun mishaps in engineering and creative costumes.
The Preakness Stakes
The annual Preakness Stakes, the second thoroughbred race in the prestigious Triple Crown series, is held the third Saturday in May at Pimlico Race Course. A week-long celebration leads up to the race, with events that include sunrise tours of Pimlico, Black-Eyed Susan Day celebrating women and racing and a massive concert in the middle of the race track.
A contender for Best Cultural Festival in the 2020 USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel awards, Artscape is the nation’s largest free outdoor arts festival. Featuring interactive visual arts exhibits, musical performances, poetry workshops and street dance, Artscape is also a culinary showcase for Baltimore’s top food vendors. No matter what draws you, there’s plenty of fun for the whole family.
This free, family-oriented celebration of Baltimore’s African American heritage features music, entertainers, children’s activities, African drumming, carnival mask making and more. Past AFRAM festivals have included special appearances from celebrities like Vivica A. Fox and Dru Hill, as well as features like Culture Vent, which give you the opportunity to research your DNA and genealogy.
Baltimore’s diverse neighborhoods celebrate LGBTQ culture all year long, but residents turn out in droves at the annual Baltimore Pride. As one of the oldest Pride celebrations in the country, the annual event features a series of parades, such as the pet parade and high heel parade. You can also meet and mingle at the block party or the family-friendly festival featuring music, drag and food trucks.
Summer Restaurant Week
Presented by Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Visit Baltimore, Baltimore Restaurant Week provides an affordable and exclusive taste of the city’s vibrant culinary scene. Restaurants participating throughout Baltimore’s neighborhoods will offer ten days of special prix-fixe menus for brunch, lunch and dinner.
Hampdenfest is an annual September festival celebrating the neighborhood of Hampden that features local cuisine and beer, performances, a pie-eating contest, crafts and the famous toilet bowl races. (Think: A soap box derby, but with commodes.) Participants vie for glory by racing homemade vehicles down the hill, earning cheers and plenty of bragging rights.
Modonnari Arts Festival
During the Madonnari Arts Festival, Baltimore’s Little Italy neighborhood comes alive with color, beauty and tradition. Throughout the weekend, watch international artists bring their work to life with chalk painting in the middle of the streets. In addition to live art, the event includes al fresco dining, craft beer, bocce ball, artisan vendors, children’s activities and performances by roving opera singers and wandering magicians, among others.
International Edgar Allan Poe Festival & Awards
This free, two-day outdoor event celebrates the famous Baltimorean scribe, with Poe-themed performances, art, vendors, and food. Highlights of the International Edgar Allan Poe Festival & Awards include the Black Cat Ball, a cognac and roses graveside masquerade, appearances by world class Poe impersonator Tim Beasley and a tour of Poe’s Baltimore.
Baltimore Running Festival
The annual Baltimore Running Festival offers races for all types of runners, from the full marathon to a .05K fun run. The course takes you from Camden Yards at the start to the furry cheerleaders at Maryland Zoo to the beautiful finish at the Inner Harbor. Tour every corner of the city while tackling some challenging (yet respectable!) hills, that make the post-race festivities well worth it. Be sure to check out the free activities for families throughout race week.
Come see what the other communities are squealing about. Named for the hogs that were once herded through the streets of the neighborhood, Pigtown is one of the most cultural and economically diverse neighborhoods in the city. Go hog wild and see the pigs hoof it at the Pigtown Festival, Baltimore’s only community festival wild enough to bring you the “Squeakness” running of the pigs! The free event features food, music and a sense of humor.
Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival
Each year on the last Saturday of October more than 12,000 spectators and participants take part in a magical light-filled procession, holding aloft handmade lanterns and glowing floats as they march among stilt walkers, dancers and other performers during the Great Halloween Lantern Parade. The parade is the culmination of an all-day lantern festival, featuring hayrides, a costume contest, food trucks, beer garden and plenty of fun for the whole family.
Baltimore Book Festival
This free literary arts celebration is book lover’s dream come true. Featuring poetry readings, workshops, panel discussions and book signings, the Baltimore Book Festival is the place to revel in the spirit of the written word. Past festivals have featured appearances by chef and television host Carla Hall, poet Samantha Thornhill, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jason Reynolds and Terry McMillan.
Light City Baltimore
Light City transforms Baltimore’s downtown with interactive light installations, performances and music. The focal point is the BGE Light Art Walk along the Inner Harbor promenade. It features attractions such as illuminated sculptures, projections, interactive technologies, performances, concerts, food vendors and a dedicated children’s area.
Miracle on 34th Street
Each year, the 700 block of 34th Street in the Hampden neighborhood comes aglow with more holiday decorations than you can imagine. The tradition started in 1947 by a couple, Bob Hosier and Darlene Hughes, who both loved decorating their homes for Christmas. As the decorations grew, the street attracted more attention until it became a can’t-miss holiday attraction.
German Christmas Village
Each year West Shore Park in the Inner Harbor transforms into an authentic German Christmas market! Starting from Thanksgiving and running until Christmas Eve, enjoy dozens of local and international vendors selling handmade gifts, and traditional German food and drinks such as bratwurst, schnitzel, sauerkraut and glühwein.
Winter Restaurant Week
Shake up the winter doldrums with an excursion to one of Baltimore’s best eateries. The biannual Baltimore Restaurant Week gives you the chance to discover new restaurants or repeat visits to some of the best the city has to offer, with a generous discount.