Travellers to the US’s East Coast might well head straight for the Big Apple or Boston, or perhaps pop in on Donald and chums in DC, but if you are looking for something a bit different, then why not try some festivals in Baltimore or Maryland this Autumn.

Here are our pick of seven festivals in Baltimore and Maryland from September to November.

Madonnari Arts Festival

Spread over three days (6 to 8 September), this outdoor chalk festival has street performers, live music, participatory artists, markets and dining. Paying homage to the street painting of 16th Century Italy, the festival organisers invite artists from round the world to the city’s Little Italy to paint the pavements.

National Folk Festival

National Folk Festival in Salisbury MD- Tremé Brass Band
National Folk Festival in Salisbury Maryland, Tremé Brass Band, Credit Edwin Remsberg

From 2018 to 2020, Salisbury, Maryland will host the National Folk Festival (6 to 8 September, 2019), the longest-running multicultural traditional arts celebration in the US. Multiple stages will provide music and dance, traditional crafts, storytelling, regional cuisine, parades and demonstrations. Free to enter, the outdoor event introduces festival goers to traditional musicians and dancers, as well as other cultural custodians.

SunFest, photo Rachel Smith
SunFest, photo Rachel Smith

Ocean City, Maryland, says goodbye to summer in a spectacular four-day, free beach festival (19 to 22 September). SunFest opens with a boardwalk parade and concludes with a massive end-of-summer concert, as well as hayrides on the beach, and what organisers claim is the best seafood on the planet.

Hampden Fest

Hampden Mural, credit Jason Varney
Hampden Mural, credit Jason Varney

Initially a local community event, the Hampden Fest (21 September) is now a major neighbourhood arts festival. With three music and art performance stages, arts and crafts vendors and local Baltimore and Chesapeake Bay cuisine, there is plenty to draw people from far and wide. Try crab cakes, local craft beer and pit beef.

Edgar Allan Poe Festival, Baltimore

Edgar Allan Poe House
Edgar Allan Poe House

Held on the 170th anniversary of the death of the poet in Baltimore (5 to 6 October), the International Edgar Allan Poe Festival is a free event spread over two days with Poe-inspired performances and art. Celebrating Poe’s life and the important role he played in the arts, the festival takes place just across the street from his former house, which has been turned into a museum.

Baltimore Running Festival
Festivals in Baltimore Running Festival
Baltimore Running Festival

Now in its nineteenth year, the Baltimore Running Festival (19 October) is regarded as one of the best running events on the East Coast. Races range from a 5k to the full Baltimore Marathon. All the races conclude at the stunning Inner Harbour, where the celebration visit hosts live music and food, as well as restorative drinks.

U.S. Oyster Festival Maryland
Fish the Bay Charters gives dockside oyster tonging demonstration.
Fish the Bay Charters gives dockside oyster tonging demonstration, photo Maryland Office of Tourism.

The US Oyster Festival is now into its 53rd year. Celebrate the opening of the oyster season in Chesapeake Bay in St Mary’s from 19 to 20 October, with the US National Oyster Shucking Championships and the National Oyster Cook-Off.

Baltimore Book Festival and Light City Baltimore

Light City 2017 Light City 2017
Light City, credit Baltimore Office Promotion & the Arts

For the last couple of decades the Baltimore Book Festival has featured many a cutting-edge author. This year’s festival will include Dave Cullen bestselling author of Columbine and Parkland, TV host and chef Carla Hall, and actor Hill Harper from The Good Doctor. It’s part of the Brilliant Baltimore celebration (1 to 10 November), which will also feature Light City Baltimore, with 20 light installations across the city. The festival will end with a Fireworks Finale on 10 November in the Inner Harbour basin.

Hotels in Baltimore and Maryland

If you are looking to book accommodation in Baltimore or Maryland during the period, why not try our hotel booking page, which scours all the best hotel – and flight – booking sites so that you don’t have to:

For more information on festivals in Baltimore

Visit the official Baltimore tourism website.

For more information on things to do in Maryland

Click here.

Cover Photo: Sunfest Festival by Rachel Smith