People walk along Charles Street while part of the street was closed off to car traffic during the Charles Street Promenade in October 2020.
The Charles St. Promenade, October 2020. Photo by Ed Gunts.

The Charles Street Promenade will return on Saturday June 3, giving pedestrians a chance to take over Charles Street temporarily so they can shop, dine or just explore without worrying about car traffic.

During the free event, Charles Street will be closed to vehicular traffic between Saratoga Street and Lafayette Avenue, from morning to evening, and many merchants and restaurants along the way will offer special promotions to encourage people to take part.

This will be the fifth Charles Street Promenade since the COVID-19 pandemic spread to the U.S. in early 2020, after events on Oct. 17, 2020; May 22 and Sept. 25 of 2021, and June 4, 2022.

The Promenade grew out of a desire by leaders of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and others to help businesses hurt financially by the government-imposed lockdowns of 2020 while promoting social distancing and other public health recommendations. It turned out to be so popular that organizers decided to keep it going and build on it.

“The Charles Street Promenade is not a festival; it’s a pedestrian takeover of the Historic Charles Street thoroughfare,” organizers say. “Initially created during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to safely bring awareness and encourage support of the many incredible small businesses along Charles Street, [the Promenade] has since evolved to include additional street-front activations, musical performances and so much more.”

Several organizations join the Downtown Partnership to make the Promenade happen, including the City of Baltimore; Central Baltimore Partnership; Charles Street Development Corporation; Midtown Community Benefits District; Metro Gallery; and the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy.

Businesses that have participated in the past include Viva Books; Differentregard clothing store; Lumiere Candle Studio; Adorn Vintage Furniture & Designs; Allora; Darker than Blue Grille; Marie Louise Bistro and EDR Eat.Drink.Relax. This year’s lineup is still coming together.

Participating attractions include: the Walters Art Museum; the Baltimore Basilica; the Washington Monument; and the Maryland Center for History and Culture.

More information is available at or

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.