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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Your Guide to Shopping Small in Baltimore

Emma Straus

The local shopping scene in Baltimore is thriving, with many of the city’s neighborhoods filled with amazing small businesses that have unique gifts, decorations, and everything you would ever need. 

Shopping small not only helps the businesses, but by making a commitment to shopping local, you cycle money back into your community. Supporting these businesses also contributes to the economic vibrancy and diversity of Baltimore’s many unique neighborhoods.

If you want to make your shopping habits more local in the new year, check out these small businesses where you’ll be guaranteed to find unique goods for yourself and your loved ones. 

For the Fashion Lover 

A favorite in Hampden is Double Dutch Boutique, which features a curated selection of modern, retro-inspired clothing and gifts. If someone in your life loves anything retro, stop in and search for gifts. Along with clothes, Double Dutch has a variety of Baltimore-made items, curated jewelry, and accessories. The shop is also women-owned. 

Owner Lesley Jennings speaks to the shop’s unique curation. 

Our pieces are chosen with the idea of our customers cultivating their own distinct style. We feature sought after independent designers from around the world as well as assorted goods produced by local artists and markers.” Jennings said. 

The shop offers a full aesthetic beyond their clothes.

Emma Straus

“We promise a shopping experience just as unique as our clothes!” Jennings said.

If you have someone in your life that loves fashion, stop into Brightside Boutique. A well-known shop with locations in Hampden, Federal Hill, and Harbor East. The shop has clothing and accessories, as well as other small gifts like candles and cocktail books. 

Another clothing store is Poppy and Stella. Similar to Brightside, the shop offers a variety of modern looks, perfect for anyone in need of a winter wardrobe upgrade. 

Students of Loyola frequent the boutique. Ally Gately ‘24 is one of those students. 

“They have something for every occasion. I bought my favorite pink glittery dress from there. I’ve introduced it to some of my friends and family and they love the store now!” she said. 

Home Decor and Stationery 

Emma Straus

If you are looking for eccentric stationary for cards, a mix of home decor items, bath products, or jewelry, In Watermelon Sugar is the place to go in Hampden. The shop features seasonal decor all year round. In Watermelon Sugar has a wide selection of cards and stationery for all of your loved ones. 

While stopping in, visitors always have smiles on their faces as they search through the trinkets, gifts, and magical displays. The shop offers what you might see in a boutique and gift shop, but also adds its own flair. The shop offers 15% off every first Friday as well. 

In Watermelon Sugar also offers special reserved shopping hours.

Emma Straus

“Our Private Shopping Hour has made a return again this year!” Owner Leslie Stevenson said. 

“If you and your friends want the shop all to yourself, we will have the shop open from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. It’s perfect for shopping without the crowds!” 

You can call the shop at 410-662-9090 to reserve your special shopping hour if you prefer to shop away from the crowds. 

Just down the road from In Watermelon Sugar is Milagro. Milagro carries a curated collection of locally & internationally sourced items. There is a selection of trinkets and unique goods, perfect for those that love to add a special flair to their home. 

Book Lovers 

For the book lovers in your life, Atomic Books of Hampden is lined from floor to ceiling with different genres, novels, cookbooks, and even comic books. The shop offers a wide selection of comic books that you might not see elsewhere. And for guests 21 and older, you can visit Eightbar while you shop, Atomic Books’ bar that serves local and craft beer, wine, ciders, meads and more.

Bird in Hand Cafe is another bookstore where you can find gifts for the readers in your life. While you shop, you can grab a coffee or tea and browse their shelves. Their coffee is sustainable as well. The shop also features Baltimore-made goods from stationary, spirits, and items like tea towels with prints of iconic Baltimore locations on them. 

Locals from Johns Hopkins University, Loyola, and even beyond college students, love to visit. Those in the Baltimore area visit Bird in Hand to do work, browse the shelves, or sip on coffee. And the cafe has become a favorite of those even outside of Baltimore. 

Emma Straus

Lynn Winter, who was in town for the week, fell in love with the cafe immediately. Winter’s loved visiting the cafe and bookstore for its multipurpose space. 

I love this place. Today was my third day in a row stopping by for coffee and a baked good. And I purchased graphic novels and coffee beans to take home. The coffee and food are delicious, the atmosphere is relaxing, and the people working there are friendly and helpful,” she said.

Other locals have made this a staple in their daily routine. The staff are always happy to see regulars, and the shelves are always stocked and ready with old favorites and new releases. 

For Music Enthusiasts

With a selection of vinyl from the 1920s, to the ‘60s, and to new releases, The Sound Garden is the place to go. Find a gift for music lovers whether they like classic rock or modern pop. The Sound Garden has a wide variety of genres and musicians, some you might not usually see. Stop in to find gifts for the music enthusiasts in your life. 


There are so many small businesses throughout Baltimore’s neighborhoods. Whether you go to Hampden, Fells Point, Fed Hill, or somewhere else, there are so many unique gifts waiting to be discovered. Many of these small businesses include goods from artists and creators native to Baltimore. If you are looking for something unique for yourself or others, take a trip to any of these shops and neighborhoods, you never know what you’ll find in a small shop.

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