A Tour of Highlandtown & Patterson Park
Highlandtown, and the neighboring Patterson Park, is a creative global community in Southeast Baltimore known for its bustling arts and performance scene.
Highlandtown is home to Baltimore’s creative community, with more than 65 makers living or working in the area. At its heart is a bustling ten-block row of shops, restaurants and community spaces located along Eastern Avenue. But wander north through the Highlandtown Arts District and you’ll encounter countless charming shops brimming with locally-made ceramics, fashions, paintings, weldings and more. Highlandtown is also home to a proud immigrant community, with Main Street retailers hailing from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Think of Patterson Park as Baltimore’s backyard. This 155-acre space is known for its greenery, large trees, paved walkways, historic battle sites, lake, playgrounds, athletic fields, a swimming pool and an ice-skating rink―not to mention the Instagram-worthy Patterson Park observatory. Plus, you’re only steps away from some of Baltimore’s best dining and nightlife.
Things to Do in Highlandtown & Patterson Park
Get immersed in Highlandtown’s creative culture by visiting local art galleries, such as Night Owl Gallery, Highlandtown Gallery and Springsteen Gallery. As you wander, be on the lookout for the neighborhood’s numerous public art installations and murals—the 14-foot BUS sign outside Creative Alliance is a local favorite.
Highlandtown is also home to a growing craft beer scene. Take a tour or grab a pint at one of the area’s four breweries and distilleries—Old Line Spirits, Mobtown Brewing Co., Ministry of Brewing or Monument City. Every year, Patterson Park’s BrewFest brings together over 40 Baltimore-brewed beers and food trucks for a family-friendly fundraiser to benefit “Baltimore’s Backyard.” Wine lovers will enjoy Highlandtown Wine Festival, an annual street festival that invites attendees to discover and savor fine wines and Italian cuisine while dancing to live music from neighborhood performers.
Stroll, run or cycle along the three miles of paved paths in Patterson Park. Enjoy fishing for bass and bluegill at Patterson Park Boat Lake, a 2.5-acre lake combining open water with wetland habitat. Try some nature-themed classes or join a bird walk with Patterson Park Audubon Center, the only audubon center in Baltimore. And don’t forget to take some memorable photos at the four-story Patterson Park Pagoda, a gorgeous, oriental-style 1890’s observation tower. In the winter, grab some ice skates and glide around the rink at the Dominic “Mimi” DiPietro Family Skating Center.
Highlandtown & Patterson Park Restaurants
It’s not hard to find great food in Baltimore, and Highlandtown & Patterson Park are no exception. Here are just a few great places to eat in Highlandtown & Patterson Park if you’re looking for a break from your exploration.
Highlandtown & Patterson Park Events
There’s always something happening in Highlandtown & Patterson Park. Get a true feel for the neighborhood at these can’t-miss events.
The Annual Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival
On the last Saturday of October each year, Creative Alliance and Friends of Patterson Park host a family-friendly Halloween festival consisting of a kids’ costume contest, hayrides, music, lantern making and more. At night, everyone’s encouraged to grab a lantern and join the parade as it winds through the park!
Día del Niño (Kids Day) Celebration
Since 2010, this annual outdoor event (celebrated throughout Latin America and the around world) takes place in Patterson Park to honor the contributions of children and youth to the community. Over 2,000 people attend each year to enjoy plentiful free activities, food and performances.
Highlandtown Train Garden
This beloved holiday tradition was started in 2009 by a team of hardworking volunteers who dedicate months to building the train garden as a way to celebrate the community and history of Highlandtown. The massive display is housed in Engine House #41 at 520 S. Conkling Street and is free to view starting the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
First Friday Art Walks
As an official Maryland Arts & Entertainment District, Highlandtown is brimming with creators and makers. Monthly First Friday Art Walks provide an opportunity for locals and visitors to interact with the neighborhood’s creative community in an intimate and accessible setting. Though every First Friday is different, regular features include gallery pop-ups, live street performances, wine tastings and art sales. Check the Highlandtown Main Street website each month for a full list of participating venues and events.
Meaning inn or lodging in Spanish, La Posada is a Catholic holiday celebrated in Latin America to commemorate Joseph and Mary’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Highlandtown’s version of the event, which has been organized by the multigenerational Latina art collective Artesanas Mexicanas since 2013, consists of a candlelight procession up Eastern Avenue led by children dressed in costume. The walk culminates in a traditional Latin feast at a local church. Check Creative Alliance’s event calendar for more details.