Published: October 10, 2011
We can’t write a three-sentence intro about shopping to save our life—If window shopping is no fun, imagine researching shopping!—so let’s quit pussy-footing around and get right to it: SHOPPING. If they dropped you in a strange town (with some $), it’s the first thing you’d do, right? Hitting any one of these unique Baltimore neighborhoods with your wallet full is dangerous stuff, but the often local and usually unusual items on display make any spending worth the money. And, really: Enjoy yourself.
Alliance Comics (904 Light St.,  685-0021, alliancecomicsonline.com) is the place to find comics and all the fun flotsam that goes with.
American Apparel (1125 Light St.,  244-7260, americanapparel.net) sells easy separates that take little thought to throw together, but sorta seem to last forever.
Book Escape (805 Light St.,  504-1902, thebookescape.com) is the perfect used book store to while away a long afternoon.
Doggie Style (1130 Light St.,  347-7575, doggiestyle2.com) is a pet-friendly pooch and kitty-cat boutique with excellent customer service and an insane numbers of adorable treats.
Light Street Cycle (1124 Light St.,  685-2234, lightstcycles.com) provides no thrills but plenty of expertise and equipment to keep you spinning your wheels.
Vanessa’s Treasures (1132 S. Charles St.,  752-3224) may specialize in vintage jewelry, but the selection of antique kitchen items and linens is also impressive.
Whimsy (1033 S. Charles St.,  234-0204, whimsyboutique.com) has one floor of pretty, girly, and chic clothing and accessories and one floor of unique household decorations and gifts.
AMuse (1623 Thames St.,  342-5000, amusetoys.com) yourself with this toy store’s whimsical selection of educational fun.
The Antique Man (1806-12 Fleet St.,  732-0932, theantiquemanltd.com) is only open to the public on weekends, so go for a beer at Max’s Taphouse around the corner and then for a browse.
Corduroy Button (1625 Thames St.,  276-5437) features such adorable clothes and accessories for children that your ovaries will ache.
Cupcake (813 S. Broadway,  522-0941, cupcake-shop.com) curates a tight collection of the perfect wardrobe, plus pretty baubles.
Fashion Attic (1926 Fleet St.,  276-0817, thefashionattic.com) offers gently used fine clothing and shoes at an incredible discount.
Joe’s Bike Shop (723-B South Broadway,  869-3435, mtwashingtonbikes.com) sells everything you need to get on two wheels and stay there.
Killer Trash (602 S. Broadway,  675-2449) rivals any big city vintage shop in scope but without an ounce of irony or pretension.
Poppy and Stella (728 S. Broadway,  522-1970, poppyandstella.com) offers Frye boots, the poshest flats, and every heel height in between.
Squidfire (1628 Thames St.,  327-3300, squidfire.com) is screenprinted cuteness personified via men’s hoodies, rough and tumble onesies, and tight ladies tees.
Su Casa (901 S. Bond St.,  522-7010, esucasa.com) and Pad (down the street at 1500 Thames St.,  563-4723, pad-furniture.com) offer amazing gifts for the home and modern furniture.
Fells Point Surf Co. (1631 Thames St.,  276-7873, fpsurfco.com) has everything your teenager craves, from sneaks to bracelets and cans of cold soda.
TAG Galleries (732 S. Broadway,  759-7639, taggalleries.com) sells skater and graffiti art and killer silk screened T-shirts.
Ten Thousand Villages (1621 Thames St.,  342-5568, tenthousandvillages.com) sells 10,000 ethnic items (OK, maybe not quite that many), from scarves and soap to housewares.
Trixie’s Palace (1704 Thames St.,  558-2195, trixiespalace.com) is like the closet of the coolest girl you know.
Bin 604 (604 S. Exeter St.,  576-0444, bin604.com) is a cozy wood-paneled wine library with a few bottles of beer and hard liqs thrown in the mix.
City Sports (809 Aliceanna St.,  837-4420, citysports.com) is a part of a small sporting goods chain out of Boston and will inspire your ass to just do it looking totally with it.
Glarus Chocolatier (644 S. Exeter St.,  727-6601, glaruschocolatier.com) sells delightful chocolates in modern and old-fashioned flavors, made just a few blocks away.
Hand Bags in the City (840 Aliceanna St.,  528-1443, handbagsinthecity.com) sells as many fancy brands as you’ll see in any issue of Vogue, but with a healthy sale rack in the back.
Sassanova (805 Aliceanna St.,  244-1114) may be the most feminine boutique around, with Tory Burch, Calypso, and lovely beaded things.
South Moon Under (815 Aliceanna St.,  685-7820, southmoonunder.com) offers Urban Outfitters-style easy to wear trends for a slighter more mature crowd.
Urban Chic (811 Aliceanna St.,  685-1601, urbanchiconline.com) offers a sweet jean collection along with some nice stuff for the guys and a supercute baby and kid section.
Whole Foods (1001 Fleet St.,  528-1640, wholefoodsmarket.com) for grocery shopping meets upscale and organic life style via yoga mat holsters and organic fruit.
Barnes and Noble (601 E. Pratt St.,  385-1709, barnesandnoble.com) still sells paper books!
Best Buy (600 E. Pratt St.,  234-3020, bestbuy.com) offers electronics for all your upgrading needs.
Filene’s Basement (600 E. Pratt St.,  685-2637, filenesbasement.com) for when you have the time to dig for department store favorites totally discounted.
The Gallery (200 E. Pratt St.,  332-4191, harborplace.com) is a fancy urban mall with Brooks Brothers, bebe, Bath and Body Works, etc.
Harbor Place Pratt Street Pavilion (200 E. Pratt St.,  332-4191, harborplace.com) is the place to his the touristy shops, with RA Sushi and 5 Guys all right on the water for after.
Harbor Place Light Street Pavilion (301 Light St.,  332-4191, harborplace.com) features a two-story Urban Outfitters and trends-on-the-cheap H&M.
Joseph A. Bank (100 E. Pratt St.,  547-1700, josbank.com) is for the chino-and-tie guys.
Beadazzled (501 N. Charles St.,  837-2323, beadazzled.net) is stocked with beads and nice jewelry already made.
Chained Desires (136 W. Read St.  528-8441, chaineddesires.com) markets handmade leather corsets, sexytime toys, and S&M gear.
Gian Marco Menswear (517 N. Charles St.,  347-7974, gianmarco.org) is a showcase of European clothing ranging from casual to suits made-to-order.
Katwalk (243 W. Read St.,  728-9255, myspace.com/katwalkboutique) deals in urban fashion with a kick.
OK Natural (11 W. Preston St.,  837-3911) is a tiny independent health food store with loads of tea and premade food.
A People United (516 N. Charles St.,  727-4471, apeopleunited.com) offers ethnic clothing, jewelry, scarves, and incense, plus a basement full of unique wood furniture.
Pretentious Pooch (1017 Cathedral St.,  524-7777, pretentiouspooch.com) will help you spoil your dog with the best in collars, food, and toys.
Red Emma’s Bookstore and Coffeehouse (800 St. Paul St.,  230-0450, redemmas.org) is a radical bookstore and coffee house with great bagels and political books.
Salamander Used Books (519 N. Charles St.,  209-2323, salamanderbookseller.com) is a quiet spot for the serious book lover.
Star Won Fashions (515 Cathedral St.,  878-0203, starwon.blogspot.com) offers a small but sharp selection of sexy clothing and very reasonably priced footwear.
The Woman’s Industrial Exchange (333 N. Charles St.,  685-4388, womansindustrialexchange.org) will exchange your money for your time selling an old-fashioned collection of handicrafts.
The Zone (813 N. Charles St.,  539-2817) demands some time to dig through racks and racks of their vintage clothing, jewelry, and wonderful purses.
Avenue Antiques (901 W. 36th St.,  467-0329, avenueantiques.com) covers three stories in dust and vintage dream-finds.
Atomic Books (3620 Falls Road,  662-4444, atomicbooks.com), co-owned by occasional City Paper contributor Benn Ray, is a fine independent book store with a record store, Celebrated Summer, in the back.
Dreamland (845 W. 36th St.,  467-1582, myspace.com/dreamlandclothing) sells fashion trends in vintage versions.
DoubleDutch (3616 Falls Road,  554-0055, doubledutchboutique.com) is cuteness overload in dresses, trousers, sweaters, blouses, shoes, bags, and baubles.
Hometown Girl (1001 W. 36th St.,  662-4438) is a shop full of Bawlmer stuff.
In Watermelon Sugar (3555 Chestnut Ave.,  662-9090, inwatermelonsugar.info) feels like an old French pharmacy/hipster house in, like, Kansas City.
K Staton Boutique (817 W. 36th St.,  400-9113, kstaton.com) makes big and beautiful look stylish too, plus they have personal shoppers.
Ma Petite Shoe (832 W. 36th St.,  235-3442, mapetiteshoe.com) is for quirky hells, boots, and flats along with chocolates to keep your blood sugar up while testing out a pair.
9th Life (833 W. 36th St.,  534-9999, 9th-life.com) is like a curated mini-thrift store for those who still like to dig.
Sturgis Antiques (3554 Roland Ave.,  262-5383, sturgisantiques.com) is a tiny showroom/front for an abundant stock of art and collectibles.
Sugar (927 W. 36th St.  467-2632, sugartheshop.com) is a friendly pro-sex shop you enter from the alley, HIYO!
Trohv (921 W. 36th St.,  366-3456, trohvshop.com), formerly known as Red Tree, offers nice furniture, great household goodies, and inspired gifts.
> Email Wendy Ward