The Nitty Gritty on Hampden

41st Street to the north, Clipper Mill to the south, Falls Rd. to the west and University Parkway to the east (these are estimates, Hampden has no official boundaries)

The MTA Hampden Shuttle Bug runs seven days a week to take you here, there and everywhere in Hampden. (Photo by Jessica M. Garrett, Special to SunSpot)

Robert Poole Elementary, Medfield Heights Elementary, Hampden Elementary, Western Senior High, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (includes surrounding areas)

St. Mary's Episcopal Church, First Free Methodist Church, St. Thomas Aquinas Church, St. Lukes Evangical Lutheran Church

Mark your calendars:
First Fridays offer special shop discounts, extended hours and live music; Baltimore rivals Macy's Herald Square with its own tacky version of the Miracle on 34th Street (first Saturday after Thanksgiving to January); The Annual Potter's Guild Holiday Show offers early holiday shopping in November; The Annual Mayor's Christmas Parade (early December) flaunts floats, celebrities and Santa; and big hair and "Bawlmerese" converge on Cafe Hon for the annual Hon Festival (summer).

In true "Bawlmerese," Cafe Hon sports a "Blieve Hon" sign. (Photo by Jessica M. Garrett, Special to SunSpot)

Movies filmed around the area:
David Mamet's "Homicide" (1991), "Pecker" (1998), "Runaway Bride" (1999)

Best place to buy live fishing bait:
Hampden's Bargain Center ($1.50 for a dozen night crawlers)

Best place to buy Groucho glasses:
The gift/novelty/Baltimore-paraphernalia galore shop (a bargain at $1.99, you get glasses with fake nose and bushy moustache)

Best place to get your hair cut while shopping for art to decorate your pad:
(salon of art and beauty)

Cheapest place to park in Baltimore:
Down the Avenue, hon. A quarter gets you an hour and 15 minutes.

Baltimore pride and novelites meet with this Hairspray display at Hometown Girl & Company. (Photo by Jessica M. Garrett, Special to SunSpot)

Getting around:
The MTA Hampden Shuttle Bug runs seven days a week to take you here, there and everywhere in Hampden. There are stops along Union Avenue, Keswick Road and The Avenue. Basic fare is 50 cents, senior and disabled riders pay 25 cents. Children under 6 ride free. Hours are Mon.-Fri. 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 7:45 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun./holidays 8 a.m.-7 p.m. For schedules, stops and general information, visit

High Points:
Baltimore's best kept secret is the view from the at the top of the Roland Towers apartments. This quiet spot provides an interesting alternative to Inner Harbor fireworks on July 4. Call ahead to reserve your bushel of crabs and when you're done eating, the staff will allow you on the roof, where you can simultaneously watch almost every fireworks display across the city.