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Ever since I got to Hopkins, I have been hearing about this neighborhood in Baltimore – Hampden.

My first year mentor mentions it to our group on our first night at Hopkins and all during Orientation, I hear about this mysterious, magical land called “Hampden” where Old Bay flavored ice cream exists and everyone calls you “hon.” Today, I heard that even the barbers are super cool and friendly (thanks for the tip, JHU_Joshua). According to the Hampden Village Merchants Association, “Hampden” is defined as “In Baltimore, a most popular, lively neighborhood and destination, notable for great shopping, dining, services, and just plain living” and is “used often to describe a ‘best’ neighborhood in Baltimore.” So when Hampdenfest 2014 rolled around the corner this past Saturday, I decided to see for myself if there was any basis behind this self-aggrandizement.

Every year, Hampden hosts “Hampdenfest”, a neighborhood festival that features local merchants and artists, live music, and even a “Toilet Bowl Race.” What would give a better first impression of Hampden than this?

My friends and I took a short hike through Wyman Park…


Action shot featuring a slightly frightening “Run He’s Here” tagged tree. Not sure if this was the most direct way to get to Hampden… but it was a pretty short walk from Homewood Field!

…and we found ourselves in the middle of an arts-music-food-shopping heaven!

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The street was lined with local vendors selling everything from handmade arts and crafts, to local food, to vintage clothing.

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Local artists show off their work.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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Hopkins gives away almost as many free t-shirts.

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Food trucks galore. Plus Tariro.

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An insanely graffiti-painted bus full of tons of vintage clothing to check out. Plus Andrew.

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Nothing beats local bands putting on live shows!

We took some time to sample some food…

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Golden West Cafe’s chorizo/banh mi tacos! I have a passion for fusion food.

…and discover some awesome street art.

The “Hon Mural”!

Giant tangrams are also cool.

We spent a pretty long time trying to figure this out...

We spent a pretty long time trying to figure this out…

The day was indeed well spent. Despite my love for Homewood and all the awesome activities that happen on campus, it is always fun to go out and experience Baltimore. Hampden is a very cool neighborhood, with tons of quirky shops and great food to taste, even when it isn’t Hampdenfest. I highly recommend a visit! And for places a little farther away than Hampden, the JHMI, the Blue Jay Shuttle, and the Charm City Circulator are free and easy ways to get around Baltimore. So until Hampdenfest 2015, explore Baltimore!