Shopping in the Baltimore area during the holidays can be a most stressful endeavor if you don’t plan your trip correctly. And shopping is supposed to be nothing but fun. That’s why we shopaholics call it “retail therapy”. However, there’s nothing therapeutic about long lines and grouchy consumers mixed in with cold weather and taxed salespeople.
So where are the best places to go shopping in Baltimore and the best times to get it done? Well, in my opinion, the best time to shop in the area is from 10am-11:30am on weekdays. Friday can be suspect, but if you get there as soon as the stores open at 10am and make your trip quick, you can avoid the madness. And as far as shopping on the weekends goes, in general, the early bird gets the worm so get to the stores as soon as they open. Some stores have extended holiday hours, opening earlier than the standard 10am start, so be wise and check the store’s website ahead of times. You’ll be glad you did when you get rock star parking on a crisp morning, just inches away from the entrance.
As far as the best places to shop, the best stores are any store that has a decent sale, right? You can usually find great prices for name brand items at the outlets. Baltimore’s local outlets include Arundel Mills and Owings Mills malls. Both malls are within 30 minutes from the downtown area by car. If you’re willing to sit in the car for more than an hour, you can also visit the Premiun Outlets at Hagerstown and Queenstown. Shopping at the outlets can easily turn into an all-day event. In addition to shopping, the Mills have recreation, entertainment, and dining. Again, if you arrive early, you can squeeze everything in to one day.
If you’re looking for smaller malls with a few higher-end stores check out: Towson Town Center in Towson, MD; Westfield Annapolis mall in Annapolis, MD; White Marsh mall in White Marsh, MD; and Columbia Mall in (you guessed it) Columbia, MD. They all offer a nice variety of stores to choose from. I’m not sure that they’re that much smaller than the Mills malls, square footage-wise, but they do offer hard to find stores like Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Burberry, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s Home store, Vera Bradley, and Adidas. Talk about shopaholics’ heaven!
If you’d prefer the more boutique shopping experience, then your best bet would be to check out “The Avenue” in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood around West 36th street and Falls road. Here you will find artistic store fronts housing antiques, jewelry, and unique fashion pieces. You can also find a few small shops on North Charles Street, and if you happen to be in the downtown Annapolis area, you’ll find a few boutique stores on the City Dock as well as at the new Annapolis Towne Center.
All in all, a trip to Baltimore could be completely centered around a full itinerary of shopping if you’re looking for major retail therapy. The city has no shortage of opportunities to relieve your stress or your wallet.