Baltimore's Best

Baltimore’s Best lifestyle and shopping destinations 2020

The Baltimore Sun’s readers and staff have weighed in on what’s the best in the region from art galleries to urgent care.

First, you’ll find critics’ picks from The Sun’s editorial team.


Then, you’ll see what readers think; the readers’ choice winners received the most votes during an online poll in March.

(Winners of the Readers’ Choice ballot were selected by readers.)


Find more categories at

Costume shop

Artistic Costumes & Dance Fashions

There’s no pretense in this masquerade shop. What you see is what you get — nearly 5,000 costumes for sale or rent, from Edgar Allan Poe to the Easter Bunny. And from Darth Vader to Donald Trump.

“You name it, we have it,” says owner Harriet Berlin, 69, who has been outfitting the public for parties and plays for 39 years. There are Southern belles and scary clowns, superheroes and Sacagawea. Baltimore Ravens players have come looking to be someone they’re not. For instance, lineman Tony Siragusa (all 340 pounds of him ) left the shop happy as an oversized Lawrence of Arabia ―or was it Arabia itself?

304 Goucher Blvd., Towson. 410-321-1121.

Ruth Shaw Inc.'s windows in The Shops at Kenilworth mall in Towson feature their clothing in graphically designed setting.

Window display

Ruth Shaw Inc.

The windows of Ruth Shaw Inc. remind you of the shop-until-you-drop days of old when retail was booming and fashion reigned. The windows make you feel better even if you didn’t make it to New York Fashion Week or to the shows in Paris, London and Milan. Peter Pilotto, The Row, Etro, Alexander Wang, and Aquazurra. All of the great names are here — artfully displayed — and ready to be purchased. It’s good to see that some boutiques still care about aspiration, glitz and glam. And Ruth Shaw Inc. certainly does.

800 Kenilworth Drive, Suite 852, Towson, 410-532-7886,


A display of new spring and summer offerings at Gian Marco Menswear.


Gian Marco Menswear

Having owners who also design collections in collaboration with European fashion houses is one way to ensure that you have fashion-forward items to offer. Owners John Massey and Marc Sklar continue to stock their Mount Vernon menswear boutique with fashion trends that are typically a couple of seasons ahead. They offer bold colors, luxury fabrics and a curated selection of clothes that include everyday wear and special occasions.

517 N. Charles St., Mount Vernon, 410-347-7974,

There are several rooms of antiques at Wishbone Reserve, an antique store in Hampden.

Thrift store for home items

Wishbone Reserve

You never know what treasures you will find at Wishbone Reserve. One day it could be a set of 11 Bayel Bacchus champagne glasses. The next it could be a Barbie-pink sofa. The 2,000-square-foot space on Falls Road in Hampden is jam-packed with plenty of drool-worthy finds. From taxidermy and chairs to quirky, contemporary art to a comfy pile Hamadan rug, this place is a trove.

3811 Falls Road, Hampden. 443-961-3376,


Angela Tandy, owner of Sassanova, a shoe, clothing and jewelry store in Harbor East.

Shoe store


One of the last remaining locally owned stores in Harbor East, Sassanova has remained relevant and in business by offering carefully selected designer shoes. That means offering bigger names such as Sam Edelman, Loeffler, Dolce Vita and Marc Fisher with rarer finds like Cecilia NYC, Andre Assous and the family-run Spanish line, Gaimo.

805 Aliceanna St., Harbor East. 410-244-1114

Outside The Pied Piper in the Village of Cross Keys shopping center.

Children’s clothing

The Pied Piper

When you want your youngster to be fashion-forward, The Pied Piper should top your list. With designers such as Lilly Pulitzer, Juicy Couture and True Religion for girls and Ralph Lauren Polo, Vineyard Vines and Ben Sherman for boys, the boutique is a must for fashionable children, whether for playwear or dressing up.

32 Village Square, The Village of Cross Keys, 410-435-2676.


Natalie Graham.

Street fashion influencer

Natalie Graham

Baltimore resident Natalie Graham isn’t afraid to take fashionable risks. She’ll wear a deconstructed and repurposed denim jacket one day and a tulle skirt the next. As a fashion designer, Graham bucks the stereotype that designers are dowdy and draped in black. She’s known for wearing color, sparkle and plenty of texture.

Prom wear

The Doll House Boutique

With their constant desire to stand out from the crowd, it’s no wonder that high schoolers flock to Doll House Boutique during prom season. The Mount Vernon boutique specializes in one-of-a-kind pieces and custom orders. Although it takes a couple of months from sketch to completion of the garments, the boutique also has a number of unique dresses right off the rack. Prices range from $250 to $900. Expect plenty of sparkle, feathers, bustles, tulle skirts and dramatic design-mixing fabrics, colors and silhouettes.

525 N. Charles St., #1, Mount Vernon. 443-874-7900.

Trohv is an eclectic gift shop on The Avenue in Hampden featuring home goods and gifts.




From the outside, the window at Trohv on Hampden’s Avenue is a bright-colored display eliciting smiles and wonder. Inside, the boutique home and gift store is the area’s go-to for cards, mugs, Scottish wool blankets, clever baby onesies and items that will have people saying, “Where on Earth did you find this?” (But, you know, in a good way).

921 W. 36th St., Hampden. 410-366-3456.

Maryland-themed gifts

E.C. Pops

Chances are, you didn’t realize that you needed an embroidered crab keychain or an Edgar Allan Poe T-shirt or a pair of Old Bay socks until you saw them at E.C. Pops in Fells Point. The store, which also has a branch in Ellicott City, where it originated, offers a delightfully over-the-top take on Maryland Americana that’s sure to please the Old Line State resident on your shopping list.

723 S. Broadway, Fells Point. 410-750-7677. 8143 Main St., Ellicott City. 410.988.5406.

Liz Vayda is the owner of B. Willow a trendy plant shop that's known for indoor plants, terrariums and for hosting workshops.


B. Willow


If houseplants are millennials’ answer to pets and children, B. Willow is their house of worship. The Remington shop with a stand at Fells Point’s Broadway Market offers indoor plants, terrariums and flowers, as well as, workshops and plant design classes to help individuals create the indoor landscape of their dreams.

220 W. 27th St., Remington. 443-873-8414.

— Mike Klingaman, Christina Tkacik and John-John Williams IV

Readers’ choice winners

Active adult/retirement community






The Beatnik Barbershop

Barre class

INLINE Barre – Perry Hall

Bike shop


Joe’s Bike Shop


Protean Books

Boot camp

Unboxed Strength

Bridal shop


K&B Bridals

Brow threading

ELV8 Brows & Beauty

Car dealership


Clothing boutique


Octavia Boutique

Consignment/resale shop

Uptown Cheapskate

Core class

Pilates House

Co-working space


Function Coworking Community

Dance lessons

Centre Pointe Performing Arts

Day spa

About Faces Day Spa & Salon

Grocery store chain




Merritt Clubs

Hair salon

Headlines Hair Salon

Health food/supplement store


MOM’s Organic Market


Lakein’s Jewelers of Hamilton

Kid parties

B&O Railroad Museum

Liquor store


The Wine Source

Martial arts classes

Kanjizai Academy of Jiu-Jitsu

Medical marijuana




LifeMed Institute

Mobile store/fashion truck


Music lessons

School of Rock Baltimore

New store


Found Studio

Pet goods store

Mutt Mart

Pick-your-own produce

Weber’s Cider Mill Farm and Peachberry Farn



acac Timonium Fitness & Wellness Center and Roosevelt Park Pool (tie)

Specialty grocer

MOM’s Organic Market

Spin class

REV Cycle Studio

Yoga studio


Aluma Yoga