By Julekha Dash
So you’re looking for the perfect gift for Aunt Judy and your finicky sister and hard-to-please brother-in-law. But you don’t want to wade in a jam-packed parking lot fighting for a spot near the mall entrance.
Consider shopping along one of greater Baltimore’s main streets where you’ll find mom-and-pop stores selling everything from antiques to women’s accessories to artisan jewelry while strolling along cobblestone streets. Around the holidays, many of these stores stay open later and greet visitors with hot chocolate and other treats.
Here’s a peek at some of the Main Street alternatives to the mall.
Howard County Tourism
8267 Main Street, Side Entrance
Ellicott City, Md. 21043
Located on the banks of the Patapsco River, historic Ellicott City is known for its stone-façade buildings, winding streets and antique stores. They include Caplan’s Auction Company, Taylor’s Antique Mall and Joan Eve Classics and Collectibles. With its big blue marquee sign, you can’t miss auctioneer and art appraiser Caplan’s. At Taylor’s, you’ll find furniture, clocks and knick-knacks. Joan Eve features vintage jewelry, chandeliers, mirrors, linens and rugs. If antiques aren’t your thing, you can find plenty of other options, including gift shop La Boutique de Mon Amie, toy store All Time Toys and jewelry store Craig Coyne.
Federal Hill Main Street
Located just south of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, this neighborhood has plenty of boutique clothing, home décor and jewelry stores. The town’s Main Street folks also organize a couple of events to get you in the mood for holiday shopping. Today you can check out the 16th Annual Festive Flavors of Federal Hill. For $55, you get a walking tour of shops, galleries, restaurants and bars. The ticket includes all food and drink. Dec. 9, the area is decked out with sparkling lights, decorations and a tree lighting at 7 p.m. Strolling carolers will serenade you as you check out stories like Mark Cottman Gallery, Phina’s for the Home and Alexandra Webb Artisan Jewelry.
Fells Point Main Street
Phone Number: 410-675-890
Leave the high-heel boots at home. Fells Point’s cobblestone streets give the neighborhood its unique historic character, but they can be unkind to the lady who chooses form over function. Besides, as you wander the streets to pick up the perfect holiday gift, you want to be comfortable as you hold a bevy of shopping bags in hand. The neighborhood contains many well-known art galleries, including TAG Galleries, Todd Conners and Robert McClintock Gallery. McClintock is known for his watercolor paintings of quintessential Baltimore scenes. Music lovers head to Sound Garden, one of the last remaining CD shops that continues to thrive in a digital age. If you’re looking for home décor, head to Su Casa. If you’re already dreaming of summer, swim over to Fells Point Surf Co.
Batimore County Tourism
400 Washington Avenue
Towson, Md. 21204
Downtown Catonsville has become a more popular place to hang out, thanks to a slew of new restaurants and cafes, like Atwater’s and the Catonsville Gourmet. But before you sit down for your meal, head over to one of the local stores. Ann & Steve’s Music sells musical instruments and accessories, while One World Emporium sells eco-friendly and fair trade home décor and other gifts. Consignment shop Objects Found sells art, furniture and antiques.
Julekha Dash is the managing editor of BmoreMedia.com, a website that covers innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in Baltimore. She lives in Ellicott City, Md.