I was in Baltimore this past weekend for the Ravens game (I’m a Ravens fan from Pittsburgh who lives in DC – it’s complicated.) and after suffering a disappointing defeat, my friend and I left the game looking for some cheer. Luckily, we were a cheap cab ride away from Baltimore’s own brand of cheer: 34th Street in the Hampden neighborhood.
The Miracle on 34th Street as it’s come to be called is a Christmas tradition in Baltimore, and one that I’ve missed. (I called Baltimore home on and off in my early 20s and sometimes I really miss it. I’m a blue collar girl at heart and Baltimore is comfort food for me. Of course, there’s a reason existing on mashed potatoes and mac n’ cheese alone is inadvisable and I’m very happy living here and visiting from time to time.) This year it was just what I needed to put me back in a good mood after the game.
About 25 houses on one block participate, and some even let folks inside for a peek. On Sunday there was someone selling hot chocolate, an appearance by Biker Santa and a group of Japanese tourists. If you find yourself in Charm City before January 1, you should definitely make a stop in Hampden. Not just for the lights, but maybe the meatloaf at Cafe Hon, or a burrito at Holy Frijoles (which doesn’t serve alcohol on Sundays), or an afternoon of shopping the Avenue before hitting 34th Street after the sun goes down.