‘Baltimore: Actually, I like it.’ Give the gift of Charm City snark this holiday season

Rat merchandise for sale at Zelda Zen gift shop in Fells Point in response to comments made by President Donald Trump. Trump has called Baltimore a 'rat and rodent infested' city.

Baltimoreans are used to being underestimated, overlooked or even castigated by the President of the United States on Twitter. You might say that’s contributed to an attitude of knee-jerk defensiveness over the years. Those of us who live and work here have a tendency to express our love for the city with a certain edge, even snarkiness. That often shows up in our merchandise. (What other American city has a trash wheel as its mascot? And rats on bumper stickers?)

Below, your guide to a few gifts that scream “Baltimore Attitude.”


“Not bad for a running back” T-shirts and hoodies

What makes Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson a Baltimore hero isn’t just how he plays the game — though the MVP contender certainly does that well. It’s his attitude. In response to his passing numbers, he retorted that his performance was “Not bad for a running back," a slightly snarky response to the many critics who wrote him off as a poor passer. It’s an ethos that perfectly suits many in a city that’s forever playing the underdog. The slogan is available on a T-shirt ($29.99) and hoodie ($65) Jackson sells through his apparel line.


“Baltimore vs” T-shirts

“Unapologetically Representing Charm City” is the slogan for this line of T-shirts, which say in bold lettering “Baltimore vs y’all whores” and have been seen on the likes of former mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake. In recent months, the brand launched a few new versions, including “Baltimore vs Healthy Holly” and “Baltimore vs Trump.” $20 each.

“Baltimore: Actually, I like it" bumper stickers

At Sideshow, the gift shop of the American Visionary Art Museum on Key Highway, customers can buy Baltimore paraphernalia like a mug that says “There’s more than murder here.” Another item is a bumper sticker that says “Baltimore: Actually, I like it" ($3). The sentiment may resonate with many shoppers, said owner Ted Frankel. “We get mostly visitors [to the city] and I think they’re surprised how much they love Baltimore,” said Frankel.

800 Key Highway, Federal Hill. 443-872-4926.

A bumper sticker for sale at Sideshow, the gift shop of the American Visionary Art Museum.

“I love my disgusting rat and rodent infested mess" travel mugs

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s tweets this summer calling Maryland’s seventh congressional district a “rat and rodent infested mess," Chase Street Accessories and Engraving produced a line of travel mugs featuring a map of Maryland and a response to Trump’s comments. Find them for $20 at Zelda Zen in Fells Point.

1634 Thames St., Fells Point. 410-625-2424.

Beth Hawks, owner of Zelda Zen, holds a mug engraved by Chase Street Accessories & Engraving in response to Trump's comments about Baltimore.

Baltimore rat sticker

Designed by artist Matt Fouse, the $4 decal, which resembles oval, European style-stickers, have become a familiar sight on cars across the city. Fouse copyrighted the design and started an online store:

After Trump’s tweets this summer, Fouse gave his signature rodent a tuft of Trumpian yellow hair and a new address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Fouse is donating all the proceeds from the rat Trump stickers to a charity that brings showers and laundry facilities to homeless people.


“Stay Trashy, Baltimore” Mr. Trash Wheel Shirt

Part of the Healthy Harbor Initiative, the water wheel that cleans Baltimore has attracted its own cult following over the years. At Baltimore in a Box and Route One Apparel, you can buy $30 t-shirts with Mr. Trash Wheel wearing a Ron Burgundy style 'stache, urging Baltimore to “stay trashy.” Concerned that the message might inadvertently endorse littering? Opt instead for the “Please Don’t Feed the Trash Wheels” tees sold online. All funds raised for the latter will go directly to Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore.

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Baltimore in a Box, 857 W. 36th St., Hampden. 410-910-9666.

“Healthy Holly goes to prison” T-shirt

A bitingly satirical take on the Healthy Holly scandal is available in T-shirt form from online retailer Wear Maryland. In a nod to the misspellings and typos rampant in the books authored by former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh, who pleaded guilty to four federal counts of conspiracy and tax evasion, the fictional book here has even misspelled the word “autobiography.” Shirts are $14.99 and buy one, get one free.

“Don’t mess with Baltimore” T-shirt

Within days of Trump’s tweets this summer, local clothier Brightside Boutique began carrying T-shirts that say “Don’t mess with Baltimore," a riff on the more classic “Don’t mess with Texas" slogan. Get it for $30 at their branch in Federal Hill, Hampden or Fells Point.


1133 S. Charles St., Federal Hill and two other Baltimore locations.

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