The communities surrounding UMBC are rich and full of culture and fun — as well as very accessible! From Baltimore to Catonsville, to Washington, D.C., and everywhere in between, UMBC students are exploring new places off campus to eat, play, and enjoy time with friends. Getting off campus is key to taking full advantage of your college experience. So, get out there and have fun!
Baltimore is full of fun things to do — with delicious food, cultural activities, and plenty of professional sports options to enjoy. And the UMBC bus makes it easy to get right into the heart of the Inner Harbor with the Downtown Route. Art lovers will enjoy the gorgeous Walters Art Museum, the contemporary and provocative American Visionary Art Museum, as well as the comprehensive Baltimore Museum of Art, where you can get into the special exhibit for free with your UMBC Red Card. Walk among fish and sharks – and even a sloth! – at the National Aquarium, or listen to a masterpiece at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at a discounted price as a student. And don’t miss a game at Camden Yards and M&T Stadium to watch the Baltimore Orioles or the Ravens!
In Little Italy, try hidden gem Isabella’s Brick Oven Pizza, and Panini for a great slice. Flying Fruit Fantasy is a dessert and juice bar for after dinner treats. And, if you’re sticking around town in the summer, Artscape, in June, is the largest free arts festival in the country! During the spring semester, Light City lights up the April night sky. Take the UMBC bus into the city and wander around, enjoying local art and the city as an exhibit of light art.
Our Own Backyard
Right in UMBC’s backyard, Catonsville, Arbutus, Ellicott City, and Halethorpe all just a quick UMBC bus ride away. The UMBC shuttle is a great free resource for all students (with your red card, of course). In Catonsville, local vinyl store Trax on Wax supplies a plethora of new and used records, as well as an interesting history. If you’re feeling hungry, the Catonsville Farmers Market, located at the Christian Temple, has been around since 2002, serving up fresh foods to the whole community. In May, Arbutus’ Food Truck Festival, one of the biggest one-day festivals in Maryland, showcases more than just food. It also features local art, restaurants and crafts! Also opening soon in Arbutus will be Ocamocha, a student-run cafe where you can hang out and enjoy a latte.
Ellicott City is the perfect place to go if you’re looking to get outside when the weather’s nice. The Outdoors Club takes trips to Patapsco Valley State Park, and you can also go solo or with friends to hike and enjoy nature (when you’re not studying, of course). For music lovers of all sorts, Merriweather Post Pavilion is less than 20 minutes from UMBC by car, and hosts great artists and even a whole music festival, Sweetlife.
Our Nation’s Capital
There are about one million guides of what to do in Washington, DC, but in addition to the National Mall, and all the amazing Smithsonian museums to explore, there’s so much more. It’s not difficult to get into DC from UMBC with public transit. The UMBC bus goes to the BWI MARC train station, and that goes straight into Union Station, where the metro can take you anywhere you need to go. The music scene in DC is incredible and varied. From the 9:30 Club, to the U Street Music Hall, to the Anthem and the Songbyrd Record Cafe, many of your favorite artists come to DC to perform.
The National Zoo is free, apart from parking, and the Phillips Collection offers some free days to explore the beautiful art there, including the iconic Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir. For more art, head to the National Portrait Gallery to see the famous portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama. If you’re interested in journalism, walk to the Newseum, where you can interactively learn about the stories covered by journalists and view Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs. The Newseum offers 15% off their ticket price for students. And among the many delicious eateries, Jeni’s Ice Cream, Ben’s Chili Bowl, Georgetown Cupcakes and &Pizza are standouts.
Water and Wonder in Annapolis
Maryland’s capital, Annapolis, is a short drive from campus offering a charming waterside experience rich in history. Explore Main Street, or go to the Maryland State House to see democracy in action. Vida Tacos Bar is a great eccentric restaurant specializing in flavorful tacos with twists. Sofi’s Crepes offer delightful sweet or savory crepes like The Nutty Banana or The Turtle.
Not sure about the transportation situation? These quick links will make it easy for you to get up and go!
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Photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC Magazine.