Baltimore, a city known for its rich history, cultural diversity, and thriving entrepreneurial spirit, is home to a remarkable array of Black-owned businesses. From soulful eateries to eclectic boutiques and innovative service providers, these establishments are not only pillars of their communities but also represent the strength, resilience, and creativity of Baltimore’s Black business owners.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll journey through Baltimore’s most popular neighborhoods, where we highlight an assortment of Black-owned establishments. Whether you’re a resident looking to support your community or a visitor eager to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant culture, this guide will help you explore Baltimore’s diverse offerings.
Nestled in the heart of Baltimore, the Mount Vernon neighborhood is an energetic and historic gem, captivating locals and visitors with its architectural grandeur, cultural institutions, and diverse community. With beautifully preserved 19th-century architecture lining its tree-lined streets, Mount Vernon boasts an enchanting blend of iconic landmarks, including the original Washington Monument, surrounded by museums, art galleries, and renowned educational centers. The neighborhood’s culinary scene is equally enticing, offering a range of cozy cafes, trendy eateries, and fine dining establishments.
While exploring Mount Vernon, stop at Different Regard, a clothing store specializing in ready-to-wear and bespoke fashion for the modern man and woman. Opened in 2010 by stylists Steven White and Dominick Davis, the store provides affordable, tailored and luxurious garments to everyone from all walks of life. Book an appointment for custom design services and garment fittings to ensure you are dressed to impress. Wardrobe a fashion disaster? Different Regard’s stylists will assist you with finding a style that works best for all occasions.
Expect to be dressed to the nines at Keepers Vintage, a woman-owned business focusing on vintage and sustainable fashion. Born from the mind of Erica Bentley, the shop offers a vast selection of vintage clothing and accessories that are handpicked just for you. Awarded Best Vintage Baltimore, this establishment believes in connecting with the community and protecting the environment. From tunics straight out of the 70s to high-waisted trousers from the 80s, this place is a blast from the past.
If you journal, Paper Herald is the stationery store of your dreams. Inspired by the owners’ travels overseas, you’ll find a vast selection of stationery and notebooks beyond the classic Moleskins. From notebooks designed to look like passports to unique paper designed with floral prints, this one-of-a-kind shop should be on your must-visit list. Don’t miss one of the store’s exciting events, like meet-ups with the Baltimore Pen Club.
You’ll be dripping with style after shopping at the Doll House Boutique, a go-to spot for the hip fashionista who loves fun and funky fashion. From colorful frocks to elaborate gowns, blazers, jumpsuits and more, you’ll feel like a living doll playing dress up at this Baltimore hot spot. Whether you’re seeking an eclectic denim halter or a sassy graphic tee, no one will say your style isn’t daring when you step out on the town.
Vegan soul food? Yes, please. You’re bound to work up an appetite after all that retail therapy and Land of Kush is here to step up to the plate. Offering a 100% plant-based menu, this eatery is pure bliss for your taste buds with a menu featuring Southern classics with a vegan twist. Bite into savory black-eyed pea fritters, barbecue ribs (soy protein) smothered in a tangy sauce, or for lighter fare, enjoy a cucumber and tomato salad with a splash of plum vinegar.
Travelers with a sweet tooth should stop by Aunt Kelly’s Cookies, located on Antique Row. Kelly Simmons, aka “Aunt Kelly” on the marquee, started baking cookies in 1999 and since then has established her own shop that brings her delicious homemade cookies to the Baltimore community. From her famous butter crunch (the cookie that started it all) to classic chocolate chip, these cookies are a step above the rest.
On the southern side of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Federal Hill is a dynamic neighborhood renowned for its historic charm, stunning views and lively atmosphere. With its cobblestone streets, preserved rowhouses, and proximity to the waterfront, Federal Hill seamlessly blends old-world allure with modern urban vibrancy. Anchored by the picturesque Federal Hill Park, offering panoramic vistas of the Inner Harbor and downtown Baltimore, the neighborhood provides an idyllic setting for relaxation and community gatherings.
If you love ice cream, you don’t want to miss a scoop from Taharka Brothers Ice Cream. Known for being employee-owned, this ice cream shop is about giving back to the underserved communities in Baltimore. With flavors such as Black Cherry Chunk, Mintflix & Chillz and Keep Ya Head Up (vanilla swirled with house-made blackberry jam), this sweet spot is churning out unique flavors that are sure to please.
Another establishment serving sweet treats is Berries by Quicha, which offers a tasty selection of gourmet chocolate-dipped strawberries. And these aren’t your ordinary strawberries; Quicha goes above and beyond to design one-of-a-kind chocolate-covered creations. From berries stuffed with cheesecake to white chocolate Oreo, expect to go up a pant size after a box of these delicious treats.
Inspired by her mother’s 40 years of journaling, owner Alisa L. Brock opened the Drama MaMa Bookshop to inspire and create custom-made journals for writers seeking a place to hold their goals, hopes and dreams. Featuring an impressive selection of covers and stationery, this bookstore offers bookbinding workshops on Thursdays and Fridays, and you can purchase pens, stationery and notebooks online.
If you love comfortable bedding, don’t skip a trip to Phina’s Fine Linens. This luxury bedding boutique is open Thursday through Saturday and ensures a wonderful night’s sleep thanks to its fine European duvet covers sheets, shams and pillowcases. Whether it’s tailor-made embroidered bedding from Tuscany or luminous styles from France, prepare to sleep in style.
Need to refuel after a day of shopping? Grab a donut at Cloudy Donut Co. Considered some of the most sought-after donuts on this side of the Potomac, this Tik Tok famous shop serves up a variety of eight unique flavors each week, from strawberry basil to maple butter pecan, chocolate mousse and pistachio. Even better? All of their donuts are 100% vegan.
Stop by Pandora’s Box Boutique if you’re seeking the latest trends in women’s jewelry, gifts and accessories – all with a fun and funky sense of humor. Surprise your bestie with the “Your House Smells Like Dogs” candle or crack up at the wide selection of oven mitts featuring saying such as “I’ve Got a Knife” and “Oops, I’m Drunk.” The store also sells home fragrances, pet toys and more. It’s the perfect place to browse for an afternoon of laughs.
Home to John Hopkins University and the Baltimore Museum of Art, Charles Village is a neighborhood in North Baltimore. Known for its unique architectural identity, the area features homes and businesses with breathtaking stained glass windows, bowed fronts and Dutch gables. It’s also a center for culture and education, where art and academics thrive.
You’ll find a variety of delicious eateries in Charles Village, but Terra Café stands above the rest. Delivering soul food with a twist, this restaurant serves an all-day menu with mouthwatering dishes like chicken and waffles, sweet potato fries with mango ketchup and wraps stuffed with beef, fish and chicken. Vegan? No problem. This spot offers vegan brunch bowls and plant-based proteins for wraps and sandwiches. Beyond the food, this Baltimore joint celebrates its local community by featuring art by Black artists and celebrates Black talent with visiting DJs and performances throughout the week.
Seeking lighter fare as you explore the Charles Village? Green House Juice Cafe is exactly what you need for a grab-and-go snack. Serving up 100% vegan smoothies and bites, you’ll never feel guilty for indulging at this establishment. Sip on fresh juices like Krazy Karrot or Alka-Live with pineapple, cucumber, lime and ginger. Crave a smoothie? The Liquid Gold with pineapple and turmeric is the perfect palate cleanser. Don’t skip the plant-based burgers and wraps – the BBQ Ribs with soy “ribs” and spicy mayo is a must.
Love, respect, and loyalty. These are values to live by, and these are the values that embody LRL Clothing. Offering a wide selection of hats, hoodies, pants and tees, the store provides multiple styles such as swish-swish pants, T-shirt dresses and plaid caps. No matter what you choose, you’ll be vibing in the fashion from here.
Showcasing Baltimore-made fashion, Ouftur has stepped onto the scene with its clean-cut and comfortable sweatsuits and high-end streetwear. Upgrade your closet with styles featuring cutting-edge designs, from futuristic to retro and even pieces referencing pop culture. Need clothing for your kids? No problem. They have an entire collection of children’s fashion. And don’t miss out on the accessories, such as hats and woven beanies.
Selling both online and at their boutique storefront in Charles Village, NuLanguage believes clothing is the ultimate form of self-expression and political influence. After their “Black America” cap took off in 2016, the brand has expanded to offer a full line of outwear, from tees to hats, socks and sweatpants. From edgy designs that combine different fabrics, patterns and colorful messaging, this clothing shop makes a statement.
West Baltimore’s predominantly residential community, Druid Heights, may owe its notoriety to being the birthplace of the iconic R&B group Dru Hill. This neighborhood has heart and soul and classic row houses and isn’t far from downtown Baltimore.
For freshly baked confections, The Avenue Bakery is a go-to spot in the neighborhood. Home to the famous Poppay’s Rolls (large and buttery rolls baked fresh daily), this bakery has a mission to serve and rebuild the Black community in Baltimore. Order their delicious cinnamon buns, which also come in apple, cherry and raisin variations, or try a bite of their decadent bread pudding with peaches. Love muffins? Order the sweet potato – it’s made from scratch and provides a sweet and savory twist on a classic.
The next time you need to sage your house from bad vibes, head to Everyone’s Place African Cultural Center. Serving Baltimore for over forty years, this independent bookstore is family owned and sells many products beyond books, such as stones, crystals, candles, incense and oils. You’ll also find fabric, jewelry and clothing representing the broad spectrum of African cultures. Keep an eye out for the art on display that celebrates the talents of Baltimore’s BIPOC artists.
Located near Baltimore’s scenic waterfront, Harbor East is where chic and cool meet historic and cultured. From trendy bars and fusion restaurants to the Civil War Museum, this affluent neighborhood is perfect for an afternoon detour.
Considered one of the go-to places for brunch in Baltimore, Teavolve is home to great drinks, good eats and friendly vibes. The menu features diverse items, from cocktails and loose-leaf tea to breakfast staples, salads and sandwiches. Sit outside with views of the neighborhood and enjoy a pineapple rum cocktail. Bite into a savory breakfast crepe stuffed with eggs and smoked bacon. Or, indulge in the bananas foster French toast with chantilly cream.
For a memorable and Instagrammable night on the town, Blk Swan is the place to be. From the moment you walk into this restaurant, you’ll feel like a star, from the chandeliers hanging over the bar to the sleek and chic black and white décor. Taking New American cuisine to the next level, this restaurant serves “urban elevated” twists on American classics, like their Chicken Box with pomme frites and mambo sauce or cheesesteak spring rolls. Don’t miss dining on Friday or Saturday nights, when the restaurant transforms into a club-like atmosphere and popular DJs spin the latest hits under the glow of neon lights.
Bonus Stops You Don’t Want to Miss
Stop at Ice Queens or Serenity Wine Bar if you are in Locust Point. Serving twists on the summertime favorite, shaved ice, Ice Queens serves up vegan and eco-friendly snoballs. Named Baltimore’s Best Snoballs by Baltimore Magazine, this cute shop sells various flavors, from pineapple upside-down cake to mango tango. Beyond shaved ice, they also provide a seasonal breakfast menu featuring egg croissants and beignets.
Love wine? Check out Serenity Wine Bar & Cafe, the city’s only self-serve wine bar. Offering a selection of reds and whites on tap, Serenity also serves delicious bites, such as pizza, fish tacos and fried snapper. Don’t miss out on their event nights like Snaps & Sangria, an open mic night every third Thursday of the month.
In Baltimore’s bustling downtown, grab a sweet treat at Cajou Creamery, where they’ve taken the number one guilty pleasure and made it good for you. Their ice cream is handmade, dairy-free, plant-based and made with superfoods. Indulge on flavors such as sweet potato pie, baklava or horchata. Even better, they ship nationwide every Tuesday from their site (four-pint minimum).
If you’re hungry for more than a sweet treat, head to downtown’s Next Phaze Café for mouthwatering Southern food. Here you can dine on catfish fritters, cornbread and fried chicken platters. The restaurant and lounge is also home to live entertainment and events, such as Soulful Fridays and Monday Night Jam Sessions, for a bit of music while you dine.