One of the city’s cultural icons, Little Italy is a charming neighborhood that remains an ethnic enclave for Italian-American immigrants.
One of the biggest reasons why I love Baltimore is because you can experience a wide array of cultures without ever leaving the city.
This statement holds especially true when it comes to Little Italy – a vibrant little neighborhood filled with restaurants, bakeries, and more. A majority of the people who live there have been there for generations, holding on to the tradition of keeping homes within the family, which adds to its authenticity.
Fun fact, Nancy Pelosi – Speaker of the United States House of Representatives- grew up in Baltimore’s Little Italy! Explore her old haunting grounds with this guide!
Tips for Visiting Little Italy
- Little Italy is a small neighborhood situated in between Fells Point and Harbor East. There isn’t enough to make a day of it but do not skip on having a meal, or at least walking through, when in the area.
- Try out authentic Italian treats from the many bakeries in the neighborhood – you won’t regret it.
Parking in Little Italy Baltimore
There are tons of streetside parking in Little Italy but if you’re not used to driving in the city and feel overwhelmed (like I usually do) head over to one of these parking garages:
Little Italy Garage
- 400 S Central Ave, Baltimore, MD 21202
- Rates range from $5 to $18, with hourly and daily rates.
- Address: 324 Albemarle St, Baltimore, MD 21202
- Rates range from $5 to $25, with hourly and daily rates.
things to do in Little Italy, Baltimore
St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church
The heart of the neighborhood, St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church was built in the 1880s. Baltimore architect, E. Francis Baldwin, designed the church and is also famed for his work on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
It is one of the first churches in the nation that was founded by and specifically built for Italian immigrants. It gave immigrants a place for them to feel at home as they settled into Baltimore, overcome homesickness, and adjust to their new way of life.
To this day, it is the focus of Baltimore’s social and spiritual Italian community.
Pay special attention to the church’s unusual mix of Italianate, Romanesque and Classical architectural elements. Notable features include the decorative brickwork, mosaics on the exterior walls of the church, and a 2,000-pound bell that was an important way of communicating funerals and celebrations in the neighborhood.
Bocce Matches at D’Alesandro Park
The outdoor bocce courts at D’Alesandro Park are open between May and September, and you’ll often find it difficult to get into especially when the Little Italy bocce ball leagues are in action. The courts are open to the public and are popular places to hang out when the weather is nice – as either a player or a spectator.
If you’re in the mood for some bocce during the winter, head to La Scala – a famed Italian restaurant with indoor courts.
Cabaret at Germano’s
Germano’s is this great spot with a full bar and a kitchen that serves contemporary Italian small plates. The menu is fantastic, with several vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, but what everyone comes for is the cabaret upstairs.
The informal performance gets the crowd riled up and you’ll interact with singers, dancers, and other entertainers. It’s a really fun thing to experience in Little Italy but if that doesn’t interest you, you might opt for an in-house cooking class where you can see generations of talent at work firsthand.
Mustang Alley’s Bar, Bowling, and Bistro
As the name states, Mustang Alley’s has a vibrant bar, a bowling alley, and a bistro serving delicious cuisine under one roof. It’s one of Little Italy’s biggest hotspots and people flock there to bowl a round on one of the twelve lanes while feasting on delicious burgers and craft beer.
Don’t pass up on their hand-tossed pizzas; I often choose a cauliflower crust with mushrooms, jalapenos, and extra cheese and it always hits the spot.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture has over 400 years of African American history in the state on display. The museum’s permanent collection comprises artifacts and exhibits from industries such as the arts, sports, politics, education, the military, and more.
It’s a wonderful way to learn about the history and accomplishments of African American Marylanders and there are almost always exciting new rotating exhibits, performances, and workshops scheduled.
Annual Events in Little Italy
Feast of St. Anthony (June)
This annual festival honoring St. Anthony is hosted by St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church; it brings the community together with bingo, dancing, live entertainment, games, food, and more.
Madonnari Arts Fest (September/ October)
The highlight of this four-day cultural event is the detailed chalk illustrations that you’ll find on the streets. Artists come from all over and there are music and theater performances, wine tastings, and delicious Italian food.
Saint Leo’s Ravioli & Spaghetti Dinner (March & November)
Everyone comes together for this community event dinner, complete with beer, wine, desserts, games, book vendors, and jewelry stalls.
Little Italy Christmas Tree Lighting (December)
Tree trimming, lighting, singing Christmas carols, a visit with Santa, and complimentary roasted chestnuts, hot beverages, and Italian cookies await you at this annual holiday festival.
Our Favorite Little Italy Baltimore Restaurants
Italian cuisine is renowned throughout the world, and other than actually flying to Italy, no other place creates authentic dishes than Little Italy’s across the USA.
Most of these restaurants are family-owned and showcase the concoctions of chefs who grew up in Italian families, learning from the generations before them.
A neighborhood landmark since 1940, Chiapparelli’s is one of Little Italy’s most loved restaurants.
Dalesio’s Of Little Italy
Have a romantic meal with your significant other at this long-standing traditional restaurant in Little Italy.
La Tavola Ristorante Italiano
Contemporary Italian cuisine at its finest, try the Spaghetti Neri al Granchio which was voted the “Best Pasta Dish in Maryland 2020” by the Daily Meal.
Experience our favorite hotels in Baltimore
- Revival Baltimore: our favorite hotel in the Mount Vernon neighborhood
- Ulysses: Boutique hotel perfect for couples and girls getaways
- Baltimore Marriott Waterfront: Great city views, free Wi-Fi and laundry onsite
- Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel: indoor pool + great location
- Residence Inn by Marriott Baltimore Inner Harbor: perfect for families who need a little extra space.
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