Fun in the sun

A night out

Literary Finds for Mutated Minds

An independent bookstore for readers with eccentric tastes, come by Ivy Book Shop if you feel like swapping your textbook for indie comics, zines, or other small-press treasures. It’s also the only place where you can send fan mail to filmmaker/Baltimore native John Waters (he swings by to pick it up).

Start at Square One

The twinkly lights over Belvedere Square provide the perfect backdrop to a date night or evening with family visiting from out of town. Catch a flick at the historic Senator Theatre, dine at one of the many restaurants, or de-stress with a manicure or martial arts class. With various events throughout the year, there are almost too many opportunities to make your new favorite memories.

Bienvenidos al Barrio

There’s no need to leave Baltimore to immerse yourself in a lively Latine community. Dig into an empanada or try Peru’s signature dish, lomo saltado, at Chicken Rico. Peruse markets like Hecho en Baltimore to find beautiful, handmade crafts. For other ways to get involved, CIELO (Creative Immigrant Educators of Latin Origin) offers programs like Tianquiztli, a marketplace with local artisans and a cooking competition, and Artesanas, a group made up of Latin American women who honor their roots by demonstrating, sharing, and teaching traditional crafts.

Greetings, Sci-Fi Fans

Science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts should look no further than the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Mingle with folks who appreciate the genre in all its forms whether that’s by joining the writer’s circle or attending a movie screening, author reading, or book discussion. And don’t miss BSFS’ biggest annual event: Balticon. For more than 50 years, it has been the premier fan-run Sci-Fi convention in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Where Legends Come to Life

Icons loom large in the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum—the only wax museum in the U.S. that’s dedicated to Black historical figures. Featuring more than 150 life-like statues along with their stories, the museum is committed to studying and preserving African American history. It’s a cultural institution like no other.

Treat Yourself

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then you’re in luck! Nibble on some vegan goodies from Cloudy Donut or have a “proper British experience” at Emma’s Tea Spot. The Hamilton-Lauraville neighborhood features family-owned businesses like Fenwick Bakery and Woodlea Bakery, which have served traditional desserts for generations alongside newer spots, such as Maillard Patisserie, which specializes in Vienoisserie as well as classic American baked goods.

Ye Ole Revolution

Dive into the history of Baltimore from a hands-on perspective at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. These exhibits tell the stories of workers and entrepreneurs, those whose ideas and efforts ushered Baltimore into a manufacturing powerhouse. As a major industrial center, the city is home to the first passenger railway, oldest gas company, and first traffic light in the U.S. as well as many other inventions.

The Hero of the Harbor

He’s not just a sustainably powered, semi-autonomous trash interceptor—he’s a local celebrity with his own merch. Mr. Trash Wheel keeps the Inner Harbor water litter-free using solar and hydro power, all while rocking a pair of googly eyes. Who knew an ocean-cleanup project conceived by Hopkins students could be so adorable? See what Hopkins is doing to create a sustainable campus.

Next Door to the Nation’s Capital

Baltimore is less than an hour away from Annapolis—Maryland’s state capital—and just a short train ride to Washington, DC. Exploring the Smithsonian museums, historic monuments, or our new Bloomburg Center (located on the same street as the White House and the U.S. Capitol) are great excuses for a day trip.

Each year, Hopkins unites activists and political leaders at our Foreign Affairs Symposium.

Unique Shopping and Cobblestone Charm

Once home to the sailors, captains, and merchants of Baltimore’s past, Fells Point is packed with local legends, quirky boutiques, and seafood hotspots. Hopkins students are often found cooling off by the water with an ice cream in the summer. For special occasions, The Pendry is a great place to get dressed up and enjoy a meal at one of the poshest restaurants in town.

A Cornerstone of Black Culture

Arch Social is the oldest continuously operating Black men’s social club in the U.S. Originally founded out of a necessity for brotherhood in the midst of segregation, it was considered the cultural heart of Black Baltimore. Now, it serves as a hub for a new generation of activists, artists, entrepreneurs, and patrons.

Transcend the Everyday

Challenge your definition of art at the American Visionary Art Museum. This gallery specializes in original exhibits that boldly meld art, science, philosophy, humor, and social justice. Each work is created by a self-taught artist, usually without formal training. You’ll find intuitive art that’s both awe-inspiring and head-scratching as well as a unique gift shop jam-packed with curiosities.

The Oldest Market in America

Founded in 1782 and still going strong in its original location, Lexington Market boasts more than 100 vendors. Stroll through to learn about its storied history, sample fresh seafood, or shop for produce grown by local farmers.

Marvel at the Cathedral of Books

The George Peabody Library is consistently ranked among the most beautiful libraries in the world, and it’s part of the Hopkins network. A massive skylight soars over six tiers of cast-iron balconies and a collection of more than 300,000 volumes dating from the Renaissance through the 19th Century. The sprawling anthology includes first editions by Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Baltimore’s own H. L. Mencken; early editions of Don Quixote; and a first edition of Darwin’s Origin of the Species.

A Front Seat to the Back Streets

In this hidden alley, brick walls and garage doors transform into color-splattered canvases, making it one of the most instagrammable spots in the city. Check back often, as no mural stays the same for long.

Welcome to “Bawlmer,” Hon

Every year during HONFest, Baltimore celebrates the working women who helped shape our great city. Hopkins students can frolic with pink flamingos, snap pics with the giant Baltimore LOVE Project mural, and glimpse the infamous “beehive” hairdo—a throwback to ’50s working-class fashion.

Speaking of fashion, Hopkins students run their own fashion magazine.

For History and Nature Buffs

Across the Inner Harbor from Fells Point, you’ll find Fort McHenry—the site of the 1814 Battle of Baltimore and other historic battles. The fort, shaped like a giant star, is a favorite destination of history-buffs and its grassy lawns are the perfect place to take a walk, fly a kite, and enjoy beautiful views of the harbor.

For the student-journalists behind the Johns Hopkins News-Letter, history is happening now.

An Ode to Our Favorite Crustacean

There’s nothing like sharing a bushel of steamed crabs with friends at a waterfront crab deck; it’s a Maryland tradition. For Baltimoreans, learning to pick a crab starts as young as learning their ABCs. So, get ready for a blast of Old Bay seasoning, grab a bib, and dig in.

A Walk on the Wild Side

The Maryland Zoo is home to over 1,500 animals, including the most successful breeding colony of endangered African black-footed penguins in North America. And after an up-close animal hang, students can spend a day in the surrounding 745-acre Druid Hill Park—one of the city’s best-kept secrets and a great place for a picnic, tennis match, or frisbee tournament. 

Incubators aren’t just for baby animals: The Social Innovation Lab is an early-stage incubator founded by Hopkins students for entrepreneurs across the university and Baltimore.

Good Eats on Every Block

Remington, Charles Village, Hampden, and more neighborhoods near campus have much to offer to the culinarily curious. From Korean BBQ and upscale tacos to sushi burritos and hearty breakfast bagels, fulfilling cravings of all kinds is convenient and affordable.

No Car, No Problem

Hop on the light rail, pick from over 60 bus routes, grab an electric scooter, or treat yourself to a water taxi ride—the Homewood campus is surrounded by public transportation options. Baltimore’s Charm City Circulator is a free downtown bus system for residents and visitors. Hopkins also provides free shuttles, day and night, around the Homewood campus, East Baltimore campus, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and the surrounding vicinity.

The Arts Are Everywhere—Start Here

Mount Vernon is Baltimore’s preeminent historic arts district. Its 19th-century architecture and cobblestone streets are home to the Peabody Institute, the (free!) Walters Art Museum, and the towering 178-foot Washington Monument—yes, it’s climbable. From tiny coffee shops to tulip-lined parks and local theatres, you can find musicians and performers everywhere.

Check out “The Peabody Ballroom Experience,” a collaboration with Baltimore’s ballroom and voguing community. 

The Inner Harbor: Beautiful Views and Lots to Do

Ride a dragon boat, explore a Blacktip Reef at the National Aquarium, or nerd out at the Maryland Science Center. Just across the harbor, discover the enchanting American Visionary Arts Museum, home to Fifi, the giant kinetic sculpture poodle.

Explore more downtown favorites, and check out Allie’s tips for exploring Baltimore on a budget.

East Coast Beach Vibes

Borrow a car and hit the road: Ocean City, MD is a perfect weekend adventure just three hours away. Blue Jays can dip their toes in the Atlantic Ocean, get matching airbrush tee shirts, and gorge on delicious boardwalk snacks.

Never Far from Nature

Hikers and nature lovers have plenty of options: colorful deciduous landscapes, beautiful waterways, and many state park campgrounds are just a short drive from campus. Blue Jays can trek a little farther to Western Maryland for sweeping mountain views and historic towns like Frederick and Harpers Ferry. 

You’ll find that the the Experiential Education team at the Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center offers a variety of outdoor events including hiking, canoeing, as well as sailing, paddleboarding, and kayaking.

Traditions on Horseback

Pimlico Race Course is home to the Preakness Stakes—the second “jewel” in Thoroughbred Horseracing’s Triple Crown. The sprawling venue, which also hosts the annual Moonrise Festival, is the second oldest horse racing track in the United States—an important landmark to Maryland’s rich equestrian heritage. The first few weeks of May are always buzzing with excitement and quirky traditions as the city prepares for the big event at “Old Hilltop.”

Get to Know Poe

Edgar Allan Poe: writer, poet, master of the macabre, and Baltimore’s “favorite son.” 

While there’s no shortage of legend and lore surrounding the life of this infamous literary pioneer, one thing is for sure: his influence on our imagination is never-ending. A visit to his former house on North Amity Street is a great place to start.

Though he may not have been directly inspired by Poe, Hopkins medical student JP Senter was recently awarded the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts for his poetry.

Spend a Day on the Eastside

A favorite for dog walkers, picnic-goers, and pick-up sports, Patterson Park’s 137 acres feature an ice rink, boat lake, and the iconic Pagoda—a Victorian-era observation tower that offers fantastic views of the surrounding neighborhoods. Nearby, students can try their hand at Duckpin bowling, chow down on tasty pizza at Johnny Rad’s, and pop in for a screening at the Creative Alliance gallery and theatre.

Get Ready for Game Day

At M&T Stadium (Go Ravens!) and Camden Yards (Go Orioles!), you can pair any color with black as long as it’s purple or orange. Cheering on the home team is a great way to spend a summer night in the city. Plus, fireworks are a frequent postgame treat at one of the country’s most celebrated stadiums.

Sing Like Everyone’s Listening

Karaoke-lovers and hesitant performers agree, there’s still no better way to spend a Friday night than with a group of new friends in a private karaoke room in Baltimore’s Station North neighborhood. After overcoming your stage fright, share a hotpot feast or some spicy fried chicken as you explore Baltimore’s thriving Korean food community. 

Consider yourself a vocal prodigy, or interested in meeting some new karaoke partners? Join one of Hopkins’ 13 on-campus a capella groups.

Rock the Boat

Climb aboard and learn the ropes on these 19th-century military vessels. In addition to daytime tours, the ships host overnight adventures for groups where you sleep in hammocks, take part in a submarine scavenger hunt, and get the full experience of a sailor’s life.

No More Debating

Where to Eat This trendy food hall features ten stalls that answer the ultimate question: what are you in the mood for? If it’s something savory, get a chicken sando or a sushi burrito. Craving something sweet? Help yourself to a scoop of cult-favorite Honey Graham ice cream from Taharka Bros. Plus, R House has a pop-up kitchen that regularly rotates between local vendors, so there’s always something new to try!

Live From Baltimore

This performing arts center is the spot for live entertainment. Built in 1894, the Lyric is steeped in history with past performers including Robin Williams, Bo Burnham, and Aretha Franklin. Laugh, dance, and sing along to the hottest comedy and musical acts in town.

And All That Jazz

The songstress grew up in Baltimore and became one of the greatest jazz vocalists of all time. This statue, located in the Pennsylvania Avenue Black Arts and Entertainment District, honors “Lady Day” by depicting a famous performance of her historic song “Strange Fruit.” She used to grace venues along Penn Ave. like the prestigious Royal Theater, which was a must-play stage for the biggest African American stars of the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s. The Black Arts and Entertainment District is full of other cultural landmarks that are designated Baltimore National Heritage Areas.

Got the jazz bug? Consider joining a student group like the Jazz Band or Jazz Ensemble.

Nice to Meat You

Pit beef—Maryland’s BBQ of choice—was first enjoyed by working-class neighborhoods in the 1970s, especially on Baltimore’s eastside. These days, you can enjoy a delicious pit beef sandwich at a backyard BBQ, roadside stand, or at the annual Maryland State Fair.

Crushin’ on the Cinema

Local theatre and independent film are alive and well in Baltimore. Admire the retro marquee at The Senator, catch an indie flick at The Charles, and don’t miss the annual Maryland Film Festival at the SNF Parkway. 

The JHU-MICA Film Centre, located in the vibrant Station North neighborhood, hosts academic film programs for both Hopkins and the Maryland Institute College of Art that share resources and collaborative curricula. 

Down to a Science

The Maryland Science Center sits on the Inner Harbor and offers much to do for the curious. Feed your imagination with interactive exhibits from the Davis Planetarium to the Dinosaur Mysteries or even try your hand at making furniture in the Shed.

Spooky Night Out

Fells Point: quaint by day, haunted by night. Grab your bravest buddies and sign up for the infamous Ghost Walk to learn about the ghosts of Baltimore’s waterfront. While you’re about and about, we recommend trying some steamed mussels or oysters on the halfshell—you won’t regret it.

We Love Our Local Artists

Baltimore is full of creatives, makers, dreamers, and doers. Creative Alliance is a theater and community arts space where students can enjoy local films, live music, and art shows. Plus, their hands-on workshops are excellent resources for up-and-coming artists: learn how to start your own fashion line, practice the intricate art of papercutting, or exchange ideas with fellow filmmakers.

Parade of Lights

Every December, a single block in north Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood collaborates on an annual spectacle known as “Miracle on 34th Street.” Christmas lights, inflatables, flamingos, and artistic sculptures (don’t miss the hubcap tree!) decorate row homes, and the entire block shuts down for holiday revelry.

Don’t Forget the Marshmallow

Baltimore’s favorite treat is the snowball; no contest. With a refreshing consistency somewhere between shaved ice and a snowcone—and strange-but-delicious flavors like Egg Custard, Skylite, and Tiger’s Blood—you’ll find yourself flocking to a roadside snowball stands the moment the clock strikes summer. 

Speaking of traditions, Spring Fair is Hopkins’ highly anticipated annual festival featuring games, contests, food, drinks, and live music. Past headliners include The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, and Krewella.

Meet the Neighbors

What do the Goucher Gopher, Towson Tiger, and Loyola Greyhound all have in common? They’re mascots for a few of Hopkins’ neighboring colleges. Day and night, Baltimore is brimming with college town energy, creativity, and fun.

Check out the convenient, free shuttle available from Collegetown Network that connects Hopkins to universities across Baltimore.

Midnight Visit with a Raven

Visit Edgar Allen Poe’s grave late at night if you dare. Baltimore’s “favorite son” is entombed at Westminster Hall. A gravestone engraved with a raven marks his original grave, a nod to his famous poem, “The Raven.”

Show Us Your Best Swing

Give “clubbing” a new meaning with an evening of TopGolf. At this premier sports entertainment complex, you and your friends can take aim at the giant outfield targets (the high-tech balls score themselves!) and see just how hard you can swing.


Blue Jays know how to have fun after dark, too. From outdoor food markets, comedy and improv shows, karaoke showdowns, and potlucks with friends to free live music and learning how to bowl duckpin, it’s easy to find the fun after class.

Sip, Snack, Climb

Where else can you enjoy freshly roasted coffee, local ice cream, and a 20,000 square foot rock climbing gym? Only at Union Collective, an old warehouse retrofitted to accommodate some of Baltimore’s most beloved small businesses.

Wanna get outside the gym? The Johns Hopkins Outdoors Club runs trips during the academic year that include backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing, caving, and mountain biking.

Chill Vibe in Canton

The Canton waterfront area has much to offer in the way of shopping, dining, nightlife, and recreation. Meet new canine friends at the dog park, watch giant ships as they enter the harbor, or eat your way through the many restaurants—just don’t miss the free, Thursday-night concert series between June and September at Canton Waterfront Park.

Catch a Bite at Cross Street Market

What began as an open-air market in 1845 is now a modern food exploratorium. You can try local seafood, vegan take out, French crepes, and classic Maryland pit beef sandwiches—all under one roof