Published: September 4, 2013
We love shopping and if you think that’s shallow you can just stop judging—we don’t have to justify a little retail therapy when it comes to Baltimore. Whether it’s tourist-like window shopping in a ’hood across town, getting inspiration from the chicest boutiques, or avoiding the same old cheaply made Target wares, shopping locally is where it’s at. We love a cheap thrill, and they aren’t hard to find in Charm City neighborhoods teeming with fabulous shops and keeping-it-real stores.
Alliance Comics (904 Light St.,  685-0021) joins the forces of print and three dimensions, all for the good of comics and their fans.
American Apparel (1125 Light St.,  244-7260, americanapparel.net), although known for trendy ’80s pieces that really only work if you were too young to wear them in the ’80s, does sell perfect basics.
Apothecary Wellness (1200 Light St.,  540-4022, apothecary-wellness.com) is a spa with a well-turned-out boutique of holistic body and facial items, soaps, and oils.
The Book Escape (805 Light St.,  504-1902, thebookescape.com) is definitely one of the city’s best used bookstores—plus points for the romance section nestled in the old fireplace.
Brightside Boutique and Art Studio (1133 S. Charles St.,  244-1133, with a second location in Fells Point, brightsidebaltimore.com) offers well-curated clothing, shoes, and pretty little gold necklaces up front, and a tattoo parlour in the rear.
Cottage Kidz (1129 Light St.,  962-5556, cottagekidzboutique.com) sells some freaking cute clothes for the city kidz you know.
Dan Brothers Shoes (1032 S. Charles St.,  752-8175) is a Baltimore shoe institution and with good reason, selling only brands that will last you forever and never go out of style.
Doggie Style (1130 Light St.,  347-7575, federalrestoration.net) is like PetSmarter, with a green bent and two cats licking each other in the window!
Klein’s Antiques (912 S. Charles St.,  752-6562, kleinsantiques.com) keeps a tight selection of antiques minus the crippity-crap that seems to collect in similar shops. Plus, shop cat.
Light Street Cycles (1124 Light St.,  685-2234, lightstcycles.com) keeps your two wheels rolling and offers a steady selection of refurbished rides when yours won’t.
Lovelace Showroom (1201 Light St.,  528-5978, lovelacetoujours.com) rolls with urban looks for both men and women and totally unique smaller designers.
Morstein’s Jewelers (1114 Light St.,  727-3232, morsteinsjewelers.com), the oldest jewelry store in Bmore, probably has your wedding rings, should you be in the market.
Pandora’s Box (50 E. Cross St.,  244-1442, facebook.com/shoppandorasbox) contains great gifts for your mom and fun Baltimore stuff for out-of-towners.
Protean Records (925 S. Charles St.,  227-3006, proteanrecords.com) sells used media of all kinds from a good-sized selection.
Tobacco Hut and Gifts (1003 S. Charles St.,  244-0023) smells tobacco-dy delicious and offers well-worn leather armchairs for testing out the rolled goods.
Art Gallery of Fells Point (1716 Thames St.,  327-1272, fellspointgallery.org), a nonprofit artist cooperative organization, sells art from locals.
AMuse (1623 Thames St.,  342-5000, amusetoys.com) will amuse every kid in your life if you let yourself shop out-of-control in its super-fun toy emporium.
Another Period in Time (1708 Fleet St.,  675-4776, anotherperiod.com) sells antiques on one of Baltimore’s oldest and most scenic streets.
The Antique Man (1806-12 Fleet St.,  732-0932, theantiquemanltd.com), see above.
Babe. (a boutique) (1716 Aliceanna St.,  244-5114, babeaboutique.com) keeps a fab rotation of fashion trends and solid basics for the well-turned-out babe.
Capitol Mac (714 S. Broadway,  657-8000, capitolmac.com) keeps you in slick Apple gear and will work yours over if you let them.
Corduroy Button (1625 Thames St.,  276-5437, thecorduroybutton.com) could NOT BE CUTER. Seriously, this kids clothing shop has every look under the sun for your wee one, from sporty to nerdy to hippie-green girlie.
Cupcake (813 S. Broadway,  522-0941, cupcake-shop.com) keeps the sweetest dress selection around with everything from work chic to black-tie wedding on their hangers.
El Suprimo Records (1709 Aliceanna St.,  276-5455, elsuprimo.com) has more used records for sale than anyone really should.
Fashion Attic (1926 Fleet St.,  226-9628, thefashionattic.com) for all of your gently used-clothing, shoe, and accessory needs.
Fells Point Surf Co. (1631 Thames St.,  276-7873, fpsurfco.com) will make you want to live in the sun in shorts, tanks, and hang-ten jewelry all year round.
Freesia (1643 Thames St.,  732-0039) is where the Real Housewives of Baltimore would shop if they had a show. (Which we would totally watch, btw.)
A Good Yarn (1738 Aliceanna St.,  327-3884, agoodyarn.com) spins a tale of crafty with knitting paraphernalia, yarn, and classes too.
Gorilla King Comics (1711 Aliceanna St.,  327-0181) has new, classics, and graphic novels too.
Hats in the Belfry (813-B S. Broadway,  342-7480, hatsinthebelfry.com) is crazy with sporty lids, classy wools, all-season fedoras, and the like for female and male heads.
Inka Kuya (817 S. Broadway,  276-5396, inkakuya.weebly.com) proves Peruvian clothes, accessories, and toys are some of the most colorful around. (Their kids sweaters are ridic.)
Joe’s Bike Shop (723-B S. Broadway,  869-3435, joesbikeshop.com) smells like rubber, and you best get yours here for a necessary reboot or new bike light.
Katwalk (1709 Aliceanna St.,  669-0600, facebook.com/KatwalkFashionShowroom) goes the extra mile, finding women’s clothing that looks one-of-a-kind.
Killer Trash (602 S. Broadway,  675-2449) makes the hunt as fun as the finds in this stellar secondhand clothing boutique.
Maja (1744 Aliceanna St.,  327-9499, majacollections.com) needs only this reiteration of their sign: Flax is here.
Party Dress (723 S. Broadway,  675-5105, partydressboutique.com) sells more than party dresses, but it’s what they are especially good at. Check them out in Hampden too.
PeDX (1715 Aliceanna St.,  276-0038, pedxbaltimore.wordpress.com) is too cool for school. Pure street fashion, with more style than flash and the smartest T-shirts we’ve seen in forever.
Polina’s Priv� Fine Lingerie (724 S. Broadway,  276-0205, polinasprive.com) carries pretty little underthings in lace, satin, silk, and soft cotton.
Poppy and Stella (728 S. Broadway,  522-1970, poppyandstella.com) can’t make a wrong move. They are spot-on, with a recent expansion, offering really cute clothes, handbags, and baubles along with covetable shoes.
The Sound Garden (1616 Thames St.,  563-9011, cdjoint.com) is Baltimore’s best place to buy new and used music along with cheap DVDs of shows, movies, and concerts you may have missed the first time around or can’t remember.
Su Casa (901 S. Bond St.,  522-7010, esucasa.com) wants to fill tu casa with stylish home goods, kitchen and office supplies, and more.
Ten Thousand Villages (1621 Thames St.,  342-5568, tenthousandvillages.com) brings the world to your debit card.
Anthropologie (280 International Drive,  332-4012, anthropologie.com), making the boho lifestyle almost affordable since 1992.
Bin 604 (604 S. Exeter St.,  576-0444, bin604.com) is good for killer mixed-dozen boxes of seasonal wine for a benjamin.
City Sports (809 Aliceanna St.,  837-4420, citysports.com) inspires the city jock and jockette.
Handbags in the City (840 Aliceanna St.,  528-1443, handbagsinthecity.com) is getting tighter and tighter to move around in as their inventory of designer bags, clothing, and sunglasses gets better and better.
J.Crew (120 International Drive,  637-8281, jcrew.com) is getting higher and higher fashion since Jenna Lyons came aboard.
Lululemon Athletica (820 Aliceanna St.,  528-5485, lululemon.com) sells a fitness and health lifestyle through gear for yoga, running, and other athletic pursuits.
Sassanova (805 Aliceanna St.,  244-1114, sassanova.com) has got to be the girliest shop around. Bring your BFF and your Visa.
South Moon Under (815 Aliceanna St.,  685-7820, southmoonunder.com) offers an easy take on trends for both men and women.
Urban Chic (811 Aliceanna St.,  685-1601, urbanchiconline.com) takes the prize for best city boutique, hands down and pants off, because you will need a new pair of jeans after walking in.
Whole Foods (1001 Fleet St.,  528-1640, wholefoodsmarket.com) also sells a whole lotta other stuff to spend your money on like beauty and health products, candles, cards, and kitchen goods.
Barnes and Noble (601 E. Pratt St.,  385-1709, barnesandnoble.com), for good old-fashioned books and periodicals along with tablets, stationery, journals, and calendars.
The Gallery (200 E. Pratt St.,  332-4192, thegalleryatharborplace.com) offers premier shopping at stores like Brooks Brothers, Coach, LOFT, and Victoria’s Secret, along with a Claire’s and Nail Trix for fun.
Harborplace Pratt Street Pavilion (201 E. Pratt St.,  323-1000, harborplace.com) is fairly food focused with a Five Guys, Cheesecake Factory, Edo Sushi, and Tír Na NÓg Irish Restaurant & Pub.
Harborplace Light Street Pavilion (201 E. Pratt St.,  323-1000, harborplace.com) has H&M and Urban Outfitters, enuff said.
Joseph A. Bank (100 E. Pratt St.,  547-1700, josbank.com) can’t go wrong when you just need a men’s suit and all the fixins.
Beadazzled (501 N. Charles St.,  837-2323, beadazzled.net) will dazzle you with beads, jewelry-making supplies, and lovely Asian flotsam.
Chained Desires (136 W. Read St.  528-8441, chaineddesires.com) may sound like a secret, but City Paper has known of their leather corsets and “adult” toys for longer than we care to remember. Also: Notary Public.
The Doll House (525 N. Charles St.,  874-7900) highlights the designer/owner’s couture taste and urban feel in loads of original pieces.
Gian Marco Menswear (517 N. Charles St.,  347-7974, gianmarco.org) features a European flair to their sportswear and bespoke suiting.
OK Natural (11 W. Preston St.,  837-3911, oknaturalfoods.com) is the kind of neighborhood health-food store reminiscent of the original co-ops of the ’70s.
Paris West (521 N. Charles St.,  528-1877, pariswestoptical.com) will ruin you for chain eyeglass joints forever, their frames are that fabulous.
A People United (516 N. Charles St.,  727-4471, apeopleunited.com) is so hippie, it positively smells like patchouli and has more rainbow colors in linen, silk, and cotton than Mount Vernon during Pride.
Star Won Fashions (823 N. Charles St.,  547-7827, starwon.blogspot.com) always has a tight array of women’s fashions you won’t find anywhere else.
The Woman’s Industrial Exchange (333 N. Charles St.,  685-4388, womansindustrialexchange.org) has been crafting since before it was cool and their store sells the kinds of fun you find on Etsy but without shipping charges.
The Zone (813 N. Charles St.,  539-2817) somehow manages to carry closets from every fashionable era—which means all of them.
Avenue Antiques (901 W. 36th St.,  467-0329, avenueantiques.com) fills three floors with a multitude of peddlers of ye olde goodes.
Atomic Books (3620 Falls Road,  662-4444, atomicbooks.com), co-owned by occasional City Paper contributor Benn Ray, took over the neighboring storefront, moved Celebrated Summer used records in there, and now sells used books too.
The Bottom Drawer (1001-A. W. 36th St.,  783-8998, bottomdrawerboutique.com) sells lingerie in a tucked-away little corner of the Avenue, (s)natch.
Hometown Girl Inc. (1001 W. 36th St.,  662-4438) features Maryland-centric gifts for when you want to say “hon” without irony.
Hunting Ground (3649 Falls Road,  243-0789, shophuntingground.com) is so hip it almost hurts, with well-curated racks of new and used clothing for young adults.
In the Details (813 W. 36th St.,  889-0380, inthedetailsshop.com) didn’t skip any with their eclectic mix of very comfortable looking clothing.
In Watermelon Sugar (3555 Chestnut Ave.,  662-9090, inwatermelonsugar.info) feels like a French pharmacy on one side and a Brooklyn home-goods boutique on the other—both in the best of ways!
K Staton Boutique (1007-A W. 36th St.,  400-9113, kstaton.com) for the most fashion-forward plus-sized superfox.
Kiss N’ Make-Up (827 W. 36th St.,  467-5477) makes shopping for makeup way more fun than being a drugstore.
Ma Petite Shoe (830 W. 36th St.,  235-3442, mapetiteshoe.com), a shoe store with a European look, sells delicious chocolates plus sunglasses and cute baby footwear.
Milagro (1005 W. 36th St.,  235-3800) travels to Mexico so you don’t have to—with stops in Japan and places that sell the softest cotton—resulting in a nicely stocked international playland.
Min�s Gallery and Boutique (815 W. 36th St.,  732-4258, minasgalleryandboutique.com) stocks new and used men’s and women’s clothing on the street level and a gallery space up a flight.
9th Life (833 W. 36th St.,  534-9999, 9th-life.com)sells clothes and crap for the superhero.
16 Tons and DoubleDutch (1021 36th St.,  554-0101, shop16tons.com;  554-0055, doubledutchboutique.com) are married in a two-story shop with ladies on top, where they should be.
Soft and Cozy Baby (915 W. 36th St.,  467-2229, softandcozybaby.com), a baby store, will crush your heart with cute overload.
Sturgis Antiques and Collectibles (3554 Roland Ave.,  262-5383, sturgisantiques.com) packs a historical tome’s worth of local and international antiques and artifacts in a collection that goes far deeper than the storefront.
Sugar (927 W. 36th St.,  467-2632, sugartheshop.com) encourages you to poke, handle, and ask questions about their adult toys, books, gag—in all ways of the word—gifts, and things to wear, lick, look at, and feel.
Trohv (921 W. 36th St.,  366-3456, trohvshop.com) will show you two floors’ worth of ways to purchase home comfort and happiness—no exaggeration.
Union Skate Shop (3608 Falls Road,  523-6113, unionskate.com) keeps your four wheels turning with skateboards, accessories, and the dopest sneaker collection.
On the Road
Gogo’s Retread Threads ( 810-7512, gogosretreadthreads.com) is a rolling vintage-clothing shop housed in a psychedelic bus—catch her at farmers markets and on Facebook for the latest locale.
> Email Wendy Ward