Federal Hill in Baltimore, MD

Visitor Information

42 E. Cross Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230

Website: http://www.historicfederalhill.org/

One of Baltimore's oldest neighborhoods, Federal Hill dates back to the 18th century when it was a thriving center of maritime and commercial activities. Its once-vibrant neighborhood shopping district all but disappeared in the face of competition from Baltimore's Inner Harbor, with its nationally recognized shops, restaurants and sparkling new ballpark. 

Enter Main Street: 

Then came Federal Hill Main Street (FHMS), and now this historic neighborhood is rapidly becoming the "Hip Side of the Harbor". Its popular street festivals like the Spring Block Party, the Jazz & Blues Festival, and the Street Beat Festival attract thousands of people by offering live music and activities for young and old alike. Unique boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and trendy bars give festival-goers reasons to come back and keep the district humming all hours of the day and night.

Since its founding in 2000, Federal Hill Main Street has stabilized the once-threatened business district, reducing its vacancy rate from 20 to 4 percent. Streetscape improvements, private-sector building rehabs, and partnerships that address clean and green issues are all part of FHMS' successful revitalization program. The historic downtown is now listed on the National Register and one of its landmark buildings was rehabbed by FHMS: an abandoned Public Comfort Station now houses its offices and a neighborhood Visitors Center.

But Federal Hill has not only transformed its physical appearance; it has successfully rebranded itself as the city's premier shopping and entertainment district, a feat recognized by Baltimore Magazine, which recently named Federal Hill "Baltimore's Best Shopping Neighborhood."

Optimism abounds as Federal Hill Main Street leads this historic commercial district out of stagnation into an era of extraordinary growth. Its successes have come through the work of dedicated, caring, visionary volunteers who have embraced the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Main Street Four-Point Approach--and used it to breathe life back into one of Baltimore's most distinctive neighborhoods.

Revitalization By the Numbers

  • Population: 2,402
  • District Size: 20 blocks
  • Year of Incorporation: 2000
  • Net jobs gained: 270
  • Net new businesses: 84
  • Number of rehabilitation projects: 58
  • Number of new buildings: 0
  • Vacancy rate when program began: 20%
  • Vacancy rate today: 4%
  • Public investment: $30,000
  • Private investment: $170,000

If you go...

Interested in visiting Federal Hill? Check out the Federal Hill Main Street website and the Convention and Visitors Association page.  Stay at an Historic Hotel of America and tour the city's other neighborhood Main Street programs. They'll show you a side of Baltimore you can't see from downtown's Inner Harbor!

Now it's your turn!

Already familiar with this Great American Main Street? Then share your personal impressions and favorite experiences there. What makes this place special to you?


This story is closed to new comments.

Submitted by Terry at: May 2, 2010
I haven't had the pleasure yet. I intend to visit soon. Thanks for the information. Wonderful success story.