12 N. Eutaw St., 410/837-7400,
In the 1940s, the western side of downtown was home to the city’s thriving arts scene, with movie theaters, stages, music halls, and nightclubs on every street. As Baltimore  declined, this neighborhood was particularly hard hit, but recent rebirths have included wonderful rehabs like this project.
The original Hippodrome Theater, which opened in 1914 as a movie house and vaudeville palace, saw stars like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Benny Goodman take the stage. In 2004, a larger complex (The France-Merrick Performing Arts Center) was opened here, and the heart of the operation is the gorgeously renovated and rebuilt Hippodrome.
There’s an enormous mural above the stage, incredible detail in everything from the seats to the ceiling, and a sense of ceremony for the audiences who fill the 2,286-seat auditorium for musicals, holiday performances, comedians, and other entertainers.