The once-vital Howard Street through the western side of downtown used to be one of Baltimore’s  finest shopping districts. Department stores and specialty retailers lined the streets, which buzzed for decades with nattily attired men and women, until the city’s decline began in the 1960s. It fell into such disrepair that planners decided to run the Baltimore area’s light-rail cars and tracks right down the middle of it, since it would be the least disruptive place to put a mass transit rail line. But there’s one good reason to still venture over here: antiques.
A steadfast group of dealers have held their ground and continue to serve a devoted public, many of whom journey from across the region for a trip to Baltimore’s famous Howard Street. The 800 block is where the action is these days; heading north up Howard Street, from the corner of Madison and Howard, start at Crosskeys Antiques (801 N. Howard St.), which specializes in decorative items and furniture from Europe.
Across the street is Dubey’s Art and Antiques (807 N. Howard St.), which showcases Chinese Export and Japanese ceramics. Next door is Antique Row Stalls (809 N. Howard St.), a large multi-dealer (more than 20) exhibition space featuring all sorts of antiques from all sorts of eras, with a concentration on porcelain and paintings.
Vintage and first-edition children’s and illustrated tomes and other printed treasures are well represented at Drusilla’s Books (817 N. Howard St.). And you can resolve troublesome incomplete family silverware patterns at The Imperial Half Bushel (831 N. Howard St.), which sells amazing collections of 18th- and 19th-century American and English silverware, including a good array of famous Maryland silverware from the same time period.
Not sated? There are lots of other small stores scattered along the 800 block that are worth peering into as well. Check each store’s closed days, as they vary between Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays.