In Baltimore for the CIAA Tournament? Here’s where to shop, eat and visit.

Workers prepare CFG Bank Arena for this week's CIAA basketball tournaments.

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to arrive in Baltimore this week for the nation’s oldest historically Black athletic conference.

The five-day Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association men’s and women’s basketball tournaments return to Baltimore for a second year after attracting nearly 66,000 people to the city last year. The tournament starts Tuesday at the newly renamed CFG Bank Arena downtown, formerly known as Baltimore Arena and Royal Farms Arena. And between basketball games and cheerleading routines, there are a variety of events going on across the city.


Several events in walking distance to the stadium will be held downtown at The Power Plant building at 601 E. Pratt St., which formerly held Barnes & Noble, dubbed the “Center Court” during the CIAA Tournament.

“The tournament itself is an event that has become a celebration of family, culture and accomplishments that uplift and strengthen the African American community,” Al Hutchinson, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, said in a statement. “The CIAA is not only sports-focused, but community-focused.”


Hutchinson said last year’s CIAA Tournament brought in about 24,000 unique attendees, about 43% of whom came from outside Baltimore and largely stayed in the city overnight. He said the tourism department is hoping for an increase in those numbers this year, as the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down since last year.

Here’s a guide to where to shop, eat and tour across Baltimore this week.


Black-Owned Restaurant Tour Week: Highlighting a new restaurant every day, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and the local CIAA host committee are sponsoring a restaurant tour from Tuesday to Saturday. Stops include:

  • Magdalena from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at 205 E. Biddle St. Dress code is semi-formal.
  • RYMKS Bar & Grille from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at 819 E. Pratt St. Dress code is “relaxed casual.”
  • Papi Cuisine from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at 2 E. Wells St. #116. Dress code is “casual stylish.”
  • HoodFellas Bistro Catering from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at 7 N. Calvert St. Dress code is “relaxed casual.”
  • Unity Bar & Restaurant from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at 111 W. Centre St. Dress code is “casual stylish.”


BoP museum pass: With a free BoP pass, some of Baltimore’s museums, restaurants, shops and other attractions are available to explore at discounted rates. Museums include the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum and the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum.

Center Court Baltimore Hair Care and Beauty Expo: Baltimore-based Dreadz N’ Headz Natural Hair Care Center is throwing a beauty expo from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at Center Court. Hair services and spa treatments will be available.

Shopportunity: A pop-up mall with more than 30 minority-owned businesses will be held from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Center Court.


3-Point Pop-Up: Open Thursday through Saturday, this pop-up will feature food trucks, games, retail stores and music under heated tents.

Weekend Watch


Plan your weekend with our picks for the best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV shows and more. Delivered every Thursday.

Center Court Couture Fashion Show by Earle Bannister: Nine designers and more than 40 runway models will display over 120 looks for men and women during three free 45-minute showcases, according to fashion designer Earle Bannister. Catch the show during three time slots Friday at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. at Center Court.


Ticketed Center Court events: In the evenings, performances at Center Court boast cash bars, a cigar terrace, food vendors and VIP sections. Tickets, including multi-day passes, are available at

  • Biggest MF’ing Happy Hour: Running from 7 to 11 p.m. on Thursday, the ticketed performance will feature DJ Tanz and DJ Big L.
  • Hoop Dream: DJ QuickSilva and DJ P Drama Jamie will perform at this event hosted by Tyler and Joi Carter of “Love & Marriage: DC.” The show will go from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday.
  • Uptown Saturday Night: DJ SNS, DJ Farrah Flosscett and DJ Keebee will perform with Nick Storm hosting. The ticketed show will also include gaming tables offering craps, poker and roulette.
The Keystone Korner jazz bar and restaurant is decorated with jazz-themed art, such as this painting of Lester Young playing on the streets of Baltimore.

Keystone International Jazz Festival: A lineup of jazz performances will take place at the Keystone Korner, 1350 Lancaster St., from Wednesday to Sunday. Some of the performances will be broadcasted online for those who purchase a streaming pass. Tickets can be purchased online at

  • Hamilton de Holanda of Brazil and Nduduzo Makhathini of South Africa will present their project “Routes of Discovery,” an exploration of the musical diaspora from the slave trade to now, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
  • The Bad Plus, a jazz quartet out of Minneapolis, will perform at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Thursday. First formed as a piano trio in 2000, the group is now a piano-less jazz quartet.
  • A cappella sextet Take 6 will go on at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The group, which has won eight Grammy awards since forming in Alabama in 1980, is known for its fusion of jazz and gospel.
  • Sonido Solar will make their Keystone Korner debut and celebrate the release of their first album, “Eddie Palmieri Presents Sonido Solar,” at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. Special guest Sean Jones, an educator and Baltimore resident, will be on trumpet.

Anthony Hamilton and K Michelle: Live in Concert: Grammy award-winning R&B artist Anthony Hamilton will join singer and “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” star K. Michelle at the Lyric Performing Arts Center, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., on Saturday from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Lyric box office or online through Ticketmaster.


DJ Kool’s Big GoGo Day Party: This day party at Rams Head Live!, 20 Market Place, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday will feature DJ Kool and Rare Essence. Tickets can be purchased online through Rams Head.

StaDAYum Collection: Baltimore Edition: This six-hour day party at the north club level of M&T Bank Stadium, hosted by actor Terrence J, will consist of sounds by DJ Skillz, Lonnie B and the DMV area’s own DJ Quick Silva. Tickets for the event, which runs from 2 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, can be purchased online at