Baltimore Gift Guide: Local Goods by Baltimore Makers
Where to shop for the best only-in-Baltimore gifts for everyone on your list.
Ready to shop till you drop? We’ve got plenty of recommendations for all your gift-giving needs, even if it’s just to yourself. Whether you’re looking for home goods, skin care or tasty treats, you’ll find a thoughtful souvenir here. Take home a piece of Baltimore made by a local as a memento of your time in Charm City.
Home Decor, Furniture & Goods
This artisanal candle company makes all natural, hand-poured soy candles with classic scents. Browse KSM Candle Co.’s selection, which includes other home goods and apparel, at the shop in Woodberry, or sign up to make your own wax and custom fragrance in under an hour.
Hand-poured in Baltimore, 228 Grant St. Candle Co. soy candles come in soothing scents like sea salt and orchid, cedar and vanilla, and Meyer lemon and lavender. You can find them at their flagship store on North Haven Street, the Maryland Center for History and Culture‘s shop, Flourish in Charles Village and The Baltimore Museum of Art.
The custom and ready-made cutting and serving boards by Words With Boards might have been featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things, but they’re most at home in their Hampden studio. Look for whimsical wooden pieces with sayings like “pig out” or “happy hour.” Plan in advance and you’ve got the perfect wedding or housewarming gift, complete with your loved one’s name(s).
Show someone how they light up your life by gifting a one-of-a-kind light fixture from La Loupe Design. Inspired by the ideas of observation and discovery (“la loupe” is French for “magnifying glass”), Jorgelina Lopex and Marco Duenas create pieces that combine traditional craft and contemporary design. From origami-style and knit pendant lamps to intimate wall embroideries, these fixtures are like nothing you’ve seen before.
Nothing beats a handmade gift. In addition to selling her custom designs as framed artwork, Christmas ornaments, greeting cards and book covers, Annie Howe is passionate about teaching others the ancient art of papercutting. Schedule an appointment at her studio to make your own papercut creation or hire her to design custom pieces for your loved ones.
Tucked away on Thames Street is Emporium Collagia, a petite trove of artful, whimsical decorative items. There, you’ll find all sorts of treasures, from fine jewelry to vibrant glassware to meditation cards, but the scene stealer award goes to owner Luana Kaufmann’s original collage creations in which she combines archival pigment and paper mediums. Through her art and her store – itself a smorgasbord of old and new artifacts – Kaufmann hopes to produce joy and inspire creativity in her customers.
Driven by excellence, joy, integrity and inclusivity, Baltimore Clayworks is an artist-centric nonprofit offering affordable educational programming and exhibitions. Encourage your loved ones’ creative side by signing them up for a class or stop by their studio in Mount Washington to shop community artists’ pottery, decor and more.
Nestled in the heart of Northeast Baltimore is Found Studio, a woman-owned purveyor of local and regional goods. In this quaint shop you’ll find a robust assortment of items from Maryland’s most acclaimed makers. From Tiny Dog Press’s vibrant coasters to Cherapy’s therapeutic heat wraps to owner Kacey Stafford’s original studio art, you never know what you’ll find at Found.
Aromatherapy and Skincare
SoBotanical is the only custom aromatherapy bar in the Baltimore region with 100% pure and genuine essential oils that are grown free of chemicals. Founded by certified aromatherapist Theresa Cangialosi, the shop also offers hand-crafted skin, hair and pet care products. Stop by their shops in Federal Hill or Hampden to purchase ready-made blends or create your own custom mix of personalized essential oils.
Founded by three “soap-obsessed” friends in 2014, Mount Royal Soaps is on a mission to bring fresh, sustainably-sourced skincare to Baltimore. With names like “Good God, Lemon,” “Thrilla’ in Vanilla” and “Lavender Leche,” Mount Royal Soaps smell so good, you’ll be tempted to take a bite. But these delicious bars aren’t just for the bath; they come in candle form, too. Stop by the store in Remington to shop their seasonal selections.
Shop B. Willow‘s collection of indoor houseplants and flowers, specifically tropicals, succulents, cacti and air plants. Get everything you need for an indoor oasis, including all kinds of planters, candles and other local goods. The shop in Remington also offers plant care and terrarium building workshops.
Know someone who wants a garden but isn’t too excited about all the physical strain? Urban Roots Company seed bombs are the way to go. Flower seeds and compacted compost form colorful “bombs.” Toss, water and watch them grow. Available at the art supply store at MICA (the Maryland Institute College of Art), which features plenty of onsite galleries.
Books, Stationary & Paper Goods
The writer in your life is always in need of a new journal. Buy them one that’s truly special from Drama MaMa Bookshop. Find hardcover or wooden journals with tribal designs, nods to local rowhouse architecture or inspirational quotes by powerful Black women like Audre Lord. Order your own custom design, or learn how to make a notebook yourself with a virtual “wine and bind” class.
Get colorful letterpress cards, in city-inspired or floral motif designs, by Tiny Dog Press, a woman-owned studio. Buy a pack for that friend who loves writing letters, or send with your own notes inside. Find them at The Baltimore Museum of Industry gift shop, and Chase Street Accessories & Engraving in Mount Vernon.
Inspired by international travel and global design, Paper Herald opened in Mount Vernon in 2021 with the goal of bringing high quality stationary, paper goods and writing instruments to Baltimore. Boasting a modern and sleek aesthetic, Paper Herald’s materials are made around the world, but we’re partial to the letterpress illustrations of beloved Baltimore landmarks like the Domino Sugars sign and Washington Monument.
“Literary finds for mutated minds” is the slogan of Atomic Books, which also serves as the fan mail collection point for famed Baltimore native, artist and filmmaker John Waters. This independent Hampden bookstore has been curating an eclectic selection of comics, books, zines and art for more than 20 years, and features a cozy bar in the back for hosting events.
After working in publishing for nearly two decades, Julia Fleischaker decided to bring her deep love for books back to her home state and opened Greedy Reads in 2018. In addition to impressive selections at their Fell’s Point and Remington locations, Greedy Reads offers curated book bags hand-picked by staff members based on your favorite authors and current literary mood.
Part bookstore, part treasure trove, Hampden’s The Bookstore Next Door is the perfect place to shop first editions, rare printings and signed copies of your favorite publications. Next door is Charlotte Elliott, which boasts vintage clothing, ancient pottery, textiles and more, making it easy to grab all your gifts at once; just don’t forget to snag a little something for yourself, too.
Baltimore is a book lover’s dream. Check out some of our favorite literary landmarks, libraries and bookstores in Charm City.
Clothes, Jewelry & Accessories
“Create and Conquer” is the message of Creative King, a brand specializing in handmade headwear (that means hats) and limited apparel including t-shirts and bags. Most of the pieces are upcycled and reworked, created from vintage denim, silk, workout gear, swim trunks, bags, etc. The bold, bright colors are sure to make a statement.
Artist Alison Fomich, owner of Tigerlillyshop jewelry, is “finding the place where nature meets the city,” creating jewelry and accessories from recycled textiles and items collected in parks and gardens around Baltimore. Look for one-of-kind pieces like a pressed cicada wing necklace, necklaces made from acorns dipped in sterling silver and hair ties created from buttons covered in vintage Japanese kimono fabric. You can find Tigerlillyshop at Mount Vernon Marketplace.
If vintage styles are what you’re looking for, we have plenty of options in Charm City. Find some of our favorite vintage stores.
Sweets, Spirits & Edible Goods
Hex Ferments uses the traditional method of fermentation to preserve and transform local, organic produce into nourishing foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha. Hex is committed to reducing waste and allows you to refill your empties for a discounted price. Find Hex at Belvedere Square Market and other locations around the city.
Charm City Chocolate is a retro modern candy shop in Hampden. Take home handcrafted chocolates like peanut chews, spicy almond bark with cayenne pepper, chocolate crabs or Old Bay-tinged Chesapeake Crunch, just to name a few.
Based on a family recipe, Mouth Party Caramel features only simple ingredients like butter, sugar, sea salt and heavy cream — nothing you can’t pronounce. Buy bags of individually wrapped candies (for an extra taste of Baltimore, try the Old Bay-infused Chesapeake flavor), or jars of thick caramel sauce.
Natasha Wainwright is a Baltimore native with a passion for creating sweet treats in her hometown. Natasha’s Just Brittle features sweet, (sometimes) nutty, crunchy treats, like turtle pretzels, caramel brittle crunch and Muddy Buddy Bites. She even holds weekend brittle-making classes at her storefront in northeast Baltimore.
MFG Toffee and Bark Co. owner Kathy Nelson keeps it simple with small-batch English walnut toffee. MFG stands for “Maryland’s Finest and Greatest” Toffee. So good that even a priest once said, “I’m not sharing this.” Find it at: Eddie’s of Roland Park, Cheese Galore & More and Culinary Architecture.
Growing up in Baltimore, Kelly Simmons spent any spare change she had on butter crunch cookies. Eventually, with the help of her grandma, she perfected her own recipe and opened Aunt Kelly’s Cookies to share her love for baking with her hometown. Located on the historic Antique Row of Mount Vernon, this Black-owned business is the only local bakery offering the famous butter crunch cookie, among other flavors, baked fresh daily. Head on over and get ’em while they’re hot!
Discover more Black-owned businesses in Baltimore.
Spend a Saturday afternoon touring the veteran-owned Old Line Spirits distillery in Highlandtown, and bring home a bottle of their signature single malt whiskey. Mark McLaughlin and Arch Watkins met in the Navy flying EA-6B Prowlers. More than a decade later, they decided to launch their own craft distillery. Take a tour with a complimentary tasting, and enjoy a cocktail at the Ready Room, the distillery’s bar.
In Port Covington, Sagamore Spirit is distilling new bottles of whiskey every day at their facility, which is open for tours and comes complete with a gift shop. Grab a bottle of their award-winning signature rye and pair it with whiskey BBQ sauce or whiskey cherries and a whiskey-inspired candle.
Find out more about our whiskey distilleries.
You don’t need to hop on a plane to enjoy a great Irish pint! The Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House, located on Baltimore’s historic Washington Boulevard, has brewed over 200 innovative craft recipes since opening in 2018, and new flavors are released almost weekly. Take a free tour of the 62-acre facility and sample some of their seasonal stouts like Chocolate Mint and Gingerbread. You can also pick up a 6-pack of their famous Baltimore brews, such as the Baltimore Blonde or the Over the Moon milk stout, at retailers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
Looking for more options? Try some of our other favorite local breweries.
Coffee and Tea
In Baltimore, Zeke’s Coffee is a morning staple. You can enjoy a cup at area restaurants and delis, or share the flavor with friends by buying a bag to take home. Just look for the sign in the window to see if they are “Powered by Zeke’s”.
Priding themselves on sustainable sourcing, Thread Coffee Roasters was recently named the best coffee in Maryland by Food and Wine magazine. You can visit their cafe in Station North to try a cup or to pick up a bag of their “community supported” coffee to savor the flavor at home.
Founded and run by a brother-sister team, Wight Tea Company features handcrafted tea blends, such as Fireside Fig, Smoked Chai or Maryland Mint. Find it at their stall in Whitehall Market, at B. Willow in Remington, Su Casa in Fell’s Point, or Greedy Reads in Remington or Fell’s Point.
Need a pick me up? Take a break while shopping to enjoy the brews and baked goods at one of these Baltimore cafes.
Since 2013, Bazaar has been Baltimore’s one-stop shop for all things strange and unusual. Though their inventory is always evolving, you can expect to encounter a plethora of oddities like antique medical equipment, framed insects and spooky-smelling candles. Visit their store in Hampden, or shop their bizarre collection online.
Nothing says Baltimore like Old Bay. This zesty blend of 18 spices, some of which are still kept secret, took the city by storm when German immigrant Gustav Brunn invented it over 75 years ago, and to this day it remains many Baltimoreans’ preferred blue crab seasoning. Not a fan of seafood? Not a problem. Try adding a dash of one of their Old Bay Flavor Inspirations, like the Caramel Seasoning, to your popcorn or chicken. But Old Bay isn’t just for foodies. Shop McCormick’s website for some seriously spicy merchandise, from Old Bay-branded inflatable pools to baseball caps and dog collars.
Treat the animal lovers in your life to apparel, tote bags, koozies and, of course, pet supplies from Dogs of Charm City. Founded on a mission to develop a community of pet parents in Baltimore, DOCC offers professional dog walking, training and sitting services in addition to hosting events and providing free resources on their website. All of their products are designed and printed in Maryland, from the sleek cat or dog mom caps to the vibrant candy-colored stickers that comically proclaim “girls just want to have dogs” and “there’s probably dog hairs in this.” For your four-legged friends, be sure to pick up a Baltimore-inspired dog or cat toy; we’re partial to the “Greatest City in America” bench plushy ($2 from each purchase goes to Friends of Patterson Park) or the orange crush catnip toy.
Planning a trip to Baltimore with your furry friend? Check out our pet-friendly guide to Charm City for hotel and restaurant recommendations.
Don’t have time to hunt high and low for the perfect souvenir gift? Find a wide assortment of locally-made products at Made in Baltimore, an organization that supports artists, makers and manufacturers around the city. In addition to selling their members’ products at pop-ups and online, Made in Baltimore provides free business development resources, creates robust marketing campaigns and advocates for urban policy on behalf of their members. Made in Baltimore products range from wooden furniture to engraved kitchenware to metallic jewelry, skincare solutions and more! See their website for details about vendors and pop-up locations.
Bring a little piece of Baltimore with you wherever you go with clothing and artwork from Visit Baltimore’s online store. From soft hooded sweatshirts to cozy beanies and baseball caps, our clothing items are designed with Charm City in mind. Show your walls some love, too, with our vibrant posters featuring poetry by two Baltimore-based creatives, Mecca Verdell and Kondwani Fidel. Not only do their poems celebrate Baltimore’s culture and resilience, but the posters’ rainbow background and lettering were printed using historic materials from the Globe Collection and Press at MICA.