Like many neighborhoods in Baltimore, Pigtown provides options for the shopper seeking a gift for the recipient less likely to be wowed by standard mall-sourced goods. But with stores where you can find items like, say, a faux tombstone from the set of “The Wire” (recently spotted at Second Chance) or a stained glass window from an old church (Housewerks), Pigtown might be your best bet to find a truly unexpected gift.
And though Pigtown Main Street has tried its best to feel like a shopping destination, it still feels like anything but that—and when you're drowning in the oversaturated capitalist frenzy of the holidays, that's not such a bad thing. For example, to walk from Washington Boulevard—where you can find boutiques, restaurants, and specialty stores—to Second Chance, you have to cross a stretch of train tracks surrounded by deserted street corners, totally silent until an engine whistles past. While you breeze through the relatively peaceful gift-hunting experience, you may still feel the need to fuel up with a burger or bowl of soup at Breaking Bread (771 Washington Blvd., breakingbreadllc.com), Ethiopian fare at Ebenezer (821 Washington Blvd.,  939-4399), or a slice of pie at the newly opened Culinary Architecture (767 Washington Blvd.), where you can also purchase gourmet gifts and next-level kitchen tools and appliances.
Unfortunately, one of the neighborhood's best-loved shops and one of the city's best sources for vintage apparel, Debois Textiles, closed up just before the holiday season. But there are still plenty of apparel sources on and around Washington Boulevard—like the men's clothing store Fashion Kings (777 Washington Blvd.,  962-0038, facebook.com/fashion.kings), Afro Fashion and Art (787 Washington Blvd., afrofashion-art.com), and designer consignment shop 2 Chic Boutique (761 Washington Blvd.,  449-7916, facebook.com/2chicboutiquebaltimore), the latter owned by mayor-elect Catherine Pugh and reelected Comptroller Joan Pratt—not to mention the not-so-hidden, gargantuan gem that is Second Chance. If you go to Pigtown without making stops at Second Chance (1700 Ridgely St.,  385-1700, secondchanceinc.org) or the smaller nearby architectural salvage Housewerks (1415 Bayard St.,  685-8047, housewerkssalvage.com), you're doing it wrong. If you're driving, just make sure not to go on a game day—you won't find parking anywhere. (Maura Callahan)
Ravens Snapback ($27.99), Fashion Kings Urban Boutique, 777 Washington Blvd., (443) 961-3617
Ornamental Instrument ($16), Afro Fashion and Art, 787 Washington Blvd., (410) 989-5124
Hats ($10), Afro Fashion and Art, 787 Washington Blvd., (410) 989-5124
BAPE Monkey Hoodie ($100), Fashion Kings Urban Boutique, 777 Washington Blvd., (443) 961-3617
Vermont Maple Sriracha All Natural Small Batch Hot Sauce (from $10-$14), Culinary Architecture, 767 Washington Blvd., (443) 708-8482, culinaryarchitecture.com
Old Bay Crab Pot by Golden Rabbit ($130), Culinary Architecture, 767 Washington Blvd., (443) 708-8482, culinaryarchitecture.com