Artscape is the premier festival experience in Baltimore, Maryland. If you love live music and eclectic arts, you won’t want to miss this event.
But with so many fairs to choose from around the country, what makes this one so unique?
Today, we’re diving into the details of Artscape so you can start planning your next trip to Charm City.
Artscape isn’t just Baltimore’s biggest art festival. It’s the largest free event of its kind in the country. Exhibitions, marketplaces, and immersive activities take place over three days in late September each year.
About 100 visual artists present their crafts, while over 200 performance artists take the stage. This event celebrates all manner of creative expression. Fashion, live music, poetry workshops, and a conversation series are just a few examples. You’ll also find plenty of activities for kids and families too.
In fact, the festival includes a Kidscape and a separate Teenscape. Both happen only on Saturday and provide hands-on and interactive fun that’s sure to spur creativity. The younger ones will have the opportunity to watch a magic show or fun dance performances. Teens can join in with creative writing or interactive theater. You wouldn’t believe the long list of other offerings available to people of all ages.
The organizers advise against bringing pets since it gets pretty crowded, but service dogs are welcome.
Know Before You Go: Check the Artscape website for more details, including a schedule.
Where Is Artscape?
Mount Vernon and Bolton Hill are two of Baltimore’s most beloved neighborhoods. Nineteenth-century brownstones line the streets, with cute pocket parks throughout the area.
You can explore the city’s culture in many different ways. Museums, galleries, and theaters are abundant here. Statues and historic architecture keep the past alive.
Bolton Hill is a National Register Historic District where rich traditions are preserved. Jazz music was once a staple of this area. And the civil rights movement saw its heyday here.
What Is the Best Way to Get to Artscape?
Both Mount Vernon and Bolton Hill are just north of downtown. This area is bustling with people, and traffic congestion is a concern. It can be difficult to navigate during Artscape when so many folks flock to the neighborhood. But the city offers plenty of alternative means of transportation.
CityLink buses will get you close to the action. So will the SubwayLink and the Light RailLink. You can get a day pass for less than five dollars through the CharmPass mobile app.
Several parking garages are nearby if you’d rather drive. You might want to arrive early to make sure you find a spot. And be prepared to pay a premium for a good location.
Looking for more art festivals around the country? 5 Great Art Festivals in April.
Other Fun Things To Do Near Artscape
Artscape has plenty of entertainment to keep you occupied throughout the weekend. But Baltimore has so many attractions you won’t want to miss. Here are some of our top picks.
Explore the Inner Harbor
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is part of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Living history performers re-enact scenes from the 1800s, so you can get a feel for what the city was like long ago. Tour historic ships and visit the nearby Reginald F. Lewis Museum to immerse yourself further.
The area also has great restaurants, an aquarium, and a visitor’s center. Check out the Maryland Science Center and the Port Discovery Children’s Museum if you’re visiting with kids. Both locations can keep the whole family entertained for hours.
Visit the American Visionary Art Museum
The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) is like no other institution in the country. While traditional museums feature classically trained creators, AVAM takes a different approach. Here, self-taught artists, such as prison inmates, mathematicians, and people with mental illnesses, are all celebrated for their unique contributions.
Paintings, sculptures, textiles, and even upholstery are on display throughout the museum. They offer workshops and scavenger hunts for kids and adults alike. A holiday craft market also takes place later in the year. No matter when you visit Baltimore, be sure to stop by AVAM for an unforgettable experience.
Grab some lunch while you’re in Baltimore: The Best Places to Get Chicken and Waffles in the USA.
Check Out Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
By now, you know that Baltimore is rich in American history. And Fort McHenry might be the most patriotic locale in the city. Here, US troops defeated the British in the War of 1812, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner.
Entering the grounds is free, but you must purchase a ticket to tour the fort. Stop by the visitor’s center for a Junior Ranger booklet that’ll keep the kids engaged during your visit. You can even pack a picnic to enjoy in the park and make a whole day of it.
Best Places to Stay Near Artscape
You’ll want plenty of time to enjoy this eclectic city! Fortunately, Baltimore offers a variety of great places to stay. Here are a few options we recommend.
Hollofield Area Campground
If you want to feel far away from the city while staying within minutes of civilization, Patapsco Valley State Park is the place to be. This natural escape is in the middle of the suburbs, but it’s hard to remember that while you’re there.
The Hollofield Area Campground is at the park’s southern end, along the Patapsco River’s shores. RV sites have partial hookups, toilets, showers, and a dump station. Plus, you’ll find a playground, picnic area, and a recreational trail to explore.
Rachael’s Dowry Bed and Breakfast
Step back in time at this boutique bed and breakfast in the Inner Harbor. The Warner family originally owned this historic home. They helped African Americans escape enslavement through the Underground Railroad and hosted George and Martha Washington in 1798.
The house has been renovated but retains its quaint charm. Take a stroll through the gardens, relax in the library, and enjoy a fresh, homemade breakfast each morning.
Hotel Revival Baltimore
For a wider range of amenities, the Hotel Revival Baltimore might be the perfect accommodation. They offer a rooftop restaurant, a cocktail lounge, and a grab-and-go cafe.
Co-working spaces and free WiFi are available if you’re working during your visit. And a 24-hour concierge service means you’ll never go without necessities.
Hotel Revival prides itself on its curated art selection and views of the city’s most famous monuments. If you’re in town for Baltimore’s cultural experience, this hotel is worth checking out.
Keep the kids’ creativity flowing with the Crayola Table Top Easel & Art Kit.
Is a Road Trip to Artscape Worth It?
Baltimore has much to offer you during a visit, and Artscape is just the beginning. This famous festival alone is a wonderful excuse to head into the city. But once you’re here, you’ll find much more to explore.
Whether it’s for the area’s history, arts, or food scene, you won’t run out of things to do and see!
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