A Tour of Station North Arts and Entertainment District
Station North Arts & Entertainment District is cluster of neighborhoods in the heart of Baltimore known for its edgy creative scene.
Located in the middle of Baltimore between Johns Hopkins University and the Inner Harbor, Station North actually spans three neighborhoods—Charles North, Greenmount West and Barclay. An eclectic blend of storied institutions and up-and-coming studios, it earned designation as the city’s first official Arts & Entertainment District in 2002. Since then, it’s continued to cement itself as the center of Baltimore’s creative community, attracting local makers and entertainers with its proximity to the Maryland Institute College of Art, affordable housing and studio spaces, professional development, advocacy tools and more. Home to the landmark Penn Station, Station North is the perfect place to begin a weekend away in Baltimore.
Things to do in Station North
No corner of Station North lacks creativity or whimsy, and you can easily spend the day exploring the community’s numerous galleries, music venues and workshop spaces.
Grab a cup of your preferred caffeinated beverage at Sophomore Coffee before beginning your tour of the area’s art galleries, including Gallery CA, New Door Creative, ICA Baltimore, the Waller Gallery and Motor House. Be sure to head behind Motor House to check out the street art and snap some selfies in Graffiti Alley, a designated spot for local graphic artists to create freely. The art ranges from traditional graffiti to hyperrealistic murals, and new creations are always being added to the alley walls and floors.
If you prefer a more hands-on creative experience, consider registering for a class with a local maker. Station North Tool Library, a nonprofit tool-lending library and community woodworking space, offers a range of classes designed to both equip you with practical building skills and empower you to bring your ideas to life. Try your hand at knife making, sewing, carpentry, wall repair, painting and more. At Baltimore Jewelry Center, which also functions as a gallery and training space, novices and advanced artisans alike can explore different aspects of jewelry-making, from metalworking to wax-working to soldering and enameling. Those interested in graphic design and digital art can attend courses on Adobe Creative Cloud and 3D printing at Open Works.
After a long day of walking and workshopping, you may be tempted to call it a day and head back to your hotel, but trust us: Station North’s one-of-a-kind entertainment venues make it the place to be post sundown. Grab a drink and unwind for a bit at Charm City Meadworks‘ taproom or No Land Beyond, Baltimore’s first-ever board game bar, before getting ready to laugh or dance the night away.
When it comes to nightlife, Station North has a venue for every mood. Party animals will enjoy the rambunctious energy, affordable drinks and infectious music at Ottobar, which hosts local and national bands, DJ acts and themed dance parties as well as private events. Those desiring a more low-key evening can catch a film at the historic Charles Theater. Built in 1892, the Charles once served as the power house and car barn for the Baltimore City Passenger Railway. It also served as a night club and a library before landing in its current role as an arthouse movie theater; Baltimore legend John Waters premiered several of his early projects here.
Restaurants in Station North
It’s not hard to find great food in Baltimore, and Station North is no exception. Here are just a few great places to eat in Station North if you’re looking for a break from your exploration.
Events in Station North
Station North Holiday Market
When it comes to holiday shopping, this Station North market is a must-stop spot. Typically occurring on Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving and then once more in December, it provides a large platform for local makers and entrepreneurs to sell their products, which range from art pieces to skincare to literary prints and more. Shoppers can also treat themselves to food from vendors like Joe Squared, Mera Kitchen and Black Acres Coffee while enjoying live musical performances from Baltimore artists. Find it in the Ynot Lot in front of North Avenue Market.
Asia North Festival
Launched in 2019, Asia North is a collaborative weeks-long festival that celebrates and showcases the artistic and cultural heritage of Greater Baltimore’s Asian community. The Asian Arts & Culture Center and the Central Baltimore Partnership co-produce the festival, which typically includes gallery exhibitions, traditional healing rituals, lion dance processions, musical performances, puppet shows and film screenings. Events occur at beloved Station North destinations, such as Stillpointe Theatre, Motor House and The Crown.
Station North Sips
Spend the hours between your daytime explorations and evening entertainment indulging in craft cocktails or locally-brewed beers during Station North Sips, a prolonged happy hour that occurs throughout the neighborhood on select evenings. From 5-8 p.m., enjoy special discounts at area bars and eateries like Joe Squared, Alma Cocina Latina, No Land Beyond, Foraged and more. Deals include $2 beers, $9 nachos and $3 off frozen beverages. Check Station North’s website regularly to stay up-to-date on the latest district happy hours and participating establishments.