Maryland’s vibrant Arts & Entertainment Districts provide endless opportunities for dining, shopping, creating and exploring. From west to east, there are many A&E Districts filled with things to do.
Tucked in the Appalachian Mountains, the towns of Western Maryland benefit from a rural setting and strong cultural arts scene, so there are a number of places arts fans can experience great art. In Cumberland, catch a production at the Cumberland Theatre or attend a hands-on workshop at the town’s Graphicus Atelier printmaking studio. Check out the poetry slams at Dante’s Bar and find budget-friendly shows at the Frostburg Fine & Performing Arts. In Hagerstown, see a ballet or hear the Maryland Symphony Orchestra at The Maryland Theatre.
Just outside Washington, D.C., the A&E Districts of the Capital Region are home to their own unique experiences. If you’re a budding musician, you won’t want to miss shopping in Wheaton at Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center, the largest independent music store in the nation. Silver Spring boasts an impressive state-of-the-art moving image exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Stroll or stop by galleries during Bethesda’s buzzing Art Walk in the evenings of the second Friday of each month. Frederick is home to fascinating public art projects—past ones included “Pink Ribbon Path” where eighteen artists’ sculptures were displayed downtown and proceeds in part went to the FMH Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund.
The Central Maryland A&E Districts have something for everyone: arts and crafts, theater, improv and dance. Shop from 100 artists’ and crafters’ booths at Annapolis’s First Sunday Arts Festival, or celebrate theater, dance and puppetry at its annual Fringe Festival. Havre de Grace is hopping during Mardi Gras, Halloween, Graw Days and the holiday parade. In Bel Air, catch a provocative performance by the BOOM Theatre Company, or shop at Two Sisters Gallery for items made by artists specializing in glass, metal, jewelry and other materials. Learn how to make your own art by taking a pottery class in Elkton’s Art Space On Main. In Baltimore, take an improv workshop or cultural dance class at the Highlandtown’s Creative Alliance, or check out the installations and performance artists at Station North’s Final Fridays, a monthly event.
The Leonardtown A&E District combines traditional Southern Maryland charm with off kilter quirk and fine arts flair. At the Leonardtown Arts Center, visitors can see artists at work or take a class of their own. Fiber arts enthusiasts will love Crazy for Ewe, a yarn store that offers classes in knitting and crocheting.
New Year’s Eve in Berlin—the “Coolest Small Town in America” according to Budget Travel—is the place to be with its countdown to a midnight ball drop and New Year’s fireworks. Snow Hill, called “Arts on the River” because of its picturesque Pocomoke River view, is filled with art galleries and shopping areas. Take in a film screening at the Salisbury University Art Galleries or attend an antique evaluation night at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art. Cambridge is home to some of the most interesting gallery spaces around, as well as art organizations such as Wednesday Morning Artists. Historic Stevensville is a newly designated A&E District, and its Kent Island Federation of Arts, a community fine arts center, fits right in with its art programs for children and adults.