Baltimore, Maryland is known for many things. It has a number of historic sites, things to do, and unusual places to stay. However, it is also known for its unique boutiques and small stores. While the malls – both outlet and otherwise – have traditional chain shops, the four independent stores listed here will give you some insight on the “real” Baltimore, as well as give you a chance to buy things that you may not be able to find elsewhere.
1) Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road, Baltimore, MD 21211
It’s hard to pass up a bookstore that John Waters named as his favorite. This independently owned bookstore has an interesting past. It was founded in 1992 and closed in 2000. The current owners reopened the store (which, for the record, is not affiliated with Atomic Magazine, Atomic Record, or Atomic Comics) in 2001. The shop sells comics, art books, zines, books and a random assortment of other things. It’s hard to resist the lure of an independent bookstore, especially a quirky one like Atomic Books.
2) In the Details, 813 West 36th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211
In the Details describes itself as a “coed boutique.” It caters to both men and women, and sells clothing and accessories for each. Some items are vintage, such as those in the Galvanize Vintage section of the store. Others things for sale include locally made jewelry, clothing from national brands like Silver Jeans Co. and Alternative Apparel, and funky sunglasses, scarves and other accessories. The clothing sizes range from plus sizes to juniors and young mens, which means that there is literally something for everyone in this shop.
3) Shananigans Toy Shop, 5004-B Lawndale Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210
What’s better than a toy shop? One that sells toys for “children of all ages” of course. (By all ages, we mean for adults as well.) Shananigan’s Toy Shop has many different types of toys, including Matchbox cars, G.I. Joes, Transformers, Slinkies, Polly Pockets and Uglydolls. You’ll be able to find gifts for the children in your life, and you may pick up a cool collectible or two for yourself while you’re at it.
4) Poppy and Stella, 728 South Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231
Shoes, clothing, accessories, jewelry and excellent service are the hallmarks of this women’s boutique. The brands are mostly national, and consist of Fossil, Hobo International and others. However, despite this store’s tiny size, it sells a wide array of trendy things in a very sleek, organized manner. You may walk in not intending to purchase anything, but you’ll out with one of their cute shopping bags looped over your wrist.
If you want to go shopping while you’re in Baltimore, you have two choices: conventional malls and quirky independent shops. While you may not find everything that you’re looking for at one of the owner-operated stores, you’ll certainly have fun looking. The four stores on this list are just a few of the many in the area, so keep an eye out for other cool places to shop.