Seven ways to enjoy summer in the city

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Carol Sorgen

Decorated cars will be on display July 15 to 17 as part of Artscape, the country’s largest free arts festival, with dozens of visual projects and performances throughout the Baltimore City venue.
Photo courtesy of Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts

If you’re sticking close to home this summer, not to worry. There’s still plenty to do in the area. Grab a snowball to keep cool, and head on out to enjoy some of Baltimore’s favorite traditions.

1. Artscape

Artscape is the largest free arts festival in the U.S. (last year, over 350,000 attended), and it’s located right here in Charm City. There will be more than 150 fine artists, fashion designers and craftspeople with exhibitions.

In addition, the event includes live concerts by name performers on outdoor stages, and a full schedule of performing arts — including dance, opera, theater, film, experimental music and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. A delicious, international menu of food and beverages will be available throughout the festival site.

This year’s festival will be held Friday to Sunday, July 15 to 17. For details, visit www.artscape.org.

2. Farmers’ markets

Support your local growers by buying fresh at Baltimore’s farmers’ markets.

One of the oldest and most popular is the Baltimore Farmers’ Market, held every Sunday through Dec. 18, under the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga Streets from 7 a.m. until noon. This year, cooking demonstrations will be presented from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. each Sunday.

For a complete list of Maryland farmers’ markets, visit http://marylandsbest.net.

3. Belvedere Square concerts

Enjoy the sounds of the season every Friday evening through September 2, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Belvedere Square free summer concert series. It features live music by the region’s most popular bands, and food from Belvedere Square merchants and restaurants. For a schedule of performers, visit www.belvederesquare.com.

4. Little Italy Open Air Film Festival

When you’re talking about the “charm” in Charm City, it doesn’t get more charming than Little Italy’s annual film festival. The films are great and, of course, you can’t go wrong with all the great food nearby!

This year’s series runs every Friday in July and August, with live music at 7 p.m. and the film of the week — projected onto a wall near the corner of Stiles and High Streets — at 9 p.m. As is tradition, the series ends with the showing of Cinema Paradiso. For more details, visit www.littleitalymd.com.

5. Fourth of July

Greater Baltimore’s biggest Fourth of July celebration returns to the Inner Harbor on Monday, July 4, from 7 to 10 p.m. Enjoy live music from the U.S. Navy Band Cruisers, and fireworks produced by Pyrotecnico. The holiday fireworks can be viewed from several locations in downtown and the surrounding areas, including Federal Hill, Locust Point, Fell’s Point, Canton and Harbor East.

On the 27th floor of the World Trade Center at 401 East Pratt Street is the Top of the World Observation Level, offering the Picnic at the Top on July 4 from 7 to 10 p.m. Take in a 360-degree view of Baltimore while getting probably the best view of the fireworks. Tickets cost $50 for adults; $25 for children ages 3-12. For more information about Top of the World and its upcoming events, call (410) 837-VIEW (8439) or visit www.viewbaltimore.org.

This year, the BSO is celebrating Independence Day with performances of the “1812 Overture” and Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes,” under the skies at Oregon Ridge. Fireworks will cap off the evening. The concerts will be held on Sunday and Monday, July 3 and 4, at 8 p.m. Come early and pack a picnic. For more information, visit www.bsomusic.org.

6. Baltimore Summer Antiques Show

The largest indoor antiques show in the country, the annual Baltimore Summer Antiques Show will be held at the Convention Center from Thursday to Sunday, Aug. 25 to 28. More than 500 exhibitors from across the U.S. and four continents will be on hand. For details, visit www.baltimoresummerantiques.com.

7. Maryland State Fair

Sausage and peppers? Funnel cake? Cotton candy? Your favorite treat will be available at Maryland’s annual farewell-to-summer celebration held every year at the Timonium State Fairgrounds. This year’s Maryland State Fair will take place from Aug. 26 to Sept 5. As always, there will be rides, games, refreshments, animal exhibits, concerts and a jousting tournament.

 For a complete schedule of activities, visit www.marylandstatefair.com.