When I want to go to places in Baltimore where I can still in some way, even briefly, buy into American ideals of pluralism and democracy—and that seems both more necessary and more fruitless right now—I’ll head to Druid Hill Park and Mondawmin Mall (2401 Liberty Heights Ave.,  523-1534, mondawmin.com). At Druid Hill Park, you can witness public space actually being utilized by nearly everybody: nerds like me walking their dogs, aspiring boxers training on the outdoor exercise equipment, plenty of people biking and walking to stay in shape or drop off a few pounds, kids playing (Safety City is a weird Baltimore anomaly), maybe a birthday party over in the grass, and always some serious hooping. In the evening, you might even see a few dirt bikers and on weekends, the city’s car clubs slowly rolling through the park. Within walking distance of the park is the Baltimore Zoo (1876 Mansion House Dr., marylandzoo.org), which has a nice gift shop and the opportunity to buy passes; and across from the park is Reservoir Hill’s Dovecote Cafe (2501 Madison Ave. #1f,  961-8677, dovecotecafe.com), a relatively new coffee and food spot and community-building center where you can also buy literature including local poet Kondwani Fidel’s “Asperous Artistry” ($20) and smaller gifts such as a smudge stick and, often, fresh vegetables. If you’re feeling up to it, you can walk over to Mondawmin Mall, which, like Druid Hill Park, seems to capture the multitudes that American ideals supposedly celebrate—all framed under the gut-level need to buy lots and lots of shit (also very American). My favorite spot is Music City, a mixtape stand that offers up the latest releases from Baltimore rappers in physical copies, which is a nice alternative to streaming them on say, Spinrilla, and is often where these albums make their first appearance before they sneak onto the Internet. Among recent releases over at Music City, there is Lor Choc’s “Worth The Wait” ($10), CTM Ball’s “Sandwich Bags & Scales Reloaded” ($10), Twon O.D.’s “Dirty World 2” ($5), and YGG Tay’s “Everybody Eats” ($7.