Normal's Books & Records shop offers a vast collection of small/regional press publications and second-hand titles. The inventory includes an impressive fiction and poetry section and children's books. You'll also find art books for the coffee table, and titles that cover a range of topics from African American culture to Zen. The store also stocks a large selection of records, compact discs, 45s and videos. The owners, a group of four men, also provide information on poetry readings and alternative music.
Since 1845, the Cross Street Market has been a vital part of the Federal Hill neighborhood. The present structure, built in 1952, is home to 28 vendors, selling everything from cheese to tobacco, donuts to health foods. In addition to fresh food, merchants also have prepared foods available, perfect for a picnic or day trip. For those who enjoy raw clams and oysters, the raw bar here simply can't be beat for freshness or atmosphere.
This independent book shop, the Book Escape, houses a huge selection of new and used books at the lowest prices. The neatly-shelved and sensibly-organized stock is complemented by comfortable chairs for relaxing and perusing before you buy. Their frequently displayed specials make your visit worth all the efforts you take.
Fresh meats, seafood and fruits, as well as baked goods, kosher-style corned beef and an array of international dishes can be found among the dozens of vendors at Lexington Market. The aromas and the variety of shoppers who flock to this 200-year-old market make for a colorful morning or afternoon visit. A food court surrounds a large stage, where events are held year round. Circus elephants visit the market in March, a crab race marks Preakness in May and an ice cream festival is held in July.
Enjoy a unique shopping experience at Baltimore Farmers' Market & Bazaar where visitors and tourists are exposed to the enormous quantity of fresh produce including fruits and veggies, poultry, seafood, beef, lamb, pork and specialty meats such as bison and rabbit. Organically grown herbs and spices along with dairy products such milk, yogurt, butter and gourmet cheeses are also found here. There are a number of vendors selling delicious hand-held snacks such as pit beef sandwiches, breakfast burritos, crepes, wood -fired pizzas, noodles, dumplings and many other multicultural cuisine offerings. There are also specialty vegan outlets where you get all things vegan friendly. You can also enjoy the occasional live music performances and cooking demonstrations. The bazaar also offers a variety of collectibles like jewelery, wooden items, stained glass, pottery, clothing and rugs. Ideal for a day out with the family, a visit to the farmers market is a great way of supporting small business.
Before all the mini-libraries popped up in neighborhoods all across the United States, the Book Thing of Baltimore had taken this idea to a whole new level with its store stacked floor-to-ceiling in books. The concept has always been simple, leave a book, take a book, and never, ever pay for one. Even if you try to pay for one, the volunteer workers will not accept your donation. It opened in 1999 and since then it has amassed a massive library of more than 150,000 books. It's located near the campus of Johns Hopkins University and it's definitely an impressively altruistic place to visit.
This eclectic music shop in the heart of Baltimore's historic Fells Point neighborhood, offers a great selection of new and used compact discs. You might not always find what you're looking for, but it's a good bet you'll leave with something. Sound Garden also scores points for its well-organized selection. You'll probably never have to ask for help in your search for a particular genre, but if questions do arise, the friendly sales staff is more than happy to assist.