Baltimore's Light City - A stunning festival that's not to be missed
Baltimore, our often overlooked neighbor to the north is proving that they should definitely not be ignored as a vibrant East Coast City. I spent the weekend there, and will be reporting back on their lovely food and drink scene, but for now wanted to talk about their current 9 day festival – Light City.
What is it?
It’s the second year of a large scale international light festival that includes installations from various artists, music performances, and innovation workshops/discussions. The festival, which includes a 1.5 mile Light Art walk around the Inner Harbor runs through the week, ending on April 8, and is free to the public. The “Neighborhood Lights” installations take you into 8 of Baltimore’s quirky neighborhoods, so you can go beyond the Inner Harbor and explore the local art scene as well. During the day, Labs@LightCity, a series of conferences focusing on innovation and featuring local and national leaders in various fields, will also be taking place.
Light Art Walk around the Inner Harbor
The large scale installations and projections around the Inner Harbor showcase local artists from Baltimore as well as from around the world, and is absolutely magical!
Bring out your playful self on the illuminated seesaws, “Impulse” - as you bob up and down, the seesaws illuminate and also produce beautiful sounds. Right next to it is the “Reflect” installation, where a series of concentric pads glow different colors. This was a super fun exhibit to enjoy as a group, with the pads changing colors as you step on them.
The“House of Cards”, a series of light box playing cards, each featuring an individual piece of art is a stunning piece. The accompanying music and light choreography presents this in a beautiful play of sound, light, and shadows – I literally stood here for minutes just watching things change.
Another crowd favorite is the “Ovo”, where you walk on a path of water to enter the interior of an egg shaped sculpture. Once you are inside, the surrounding mist and changing colors of the sculpture mesmerize you. Don’t forget to look up when inside!
Also make sure to stop by the “Kinetic Dekosofa”, which is literally a sofa that has been transformed into a bike. You sit on the sofa with one of the artist drivers, and pedal around! It’s eclectic, kitschy, and just a whole lot of fun! I absolutely loved this interactive fun experience – that transformed sofa and chandeliers are just brilliant!
While these are just some highlights, literally all of the installations are impressive and almost all of them are interactive in some way or the other, and many of them are thought provoking. If it says anything, I went to them 2 days in a row and had a spectacular time. Plus, they make for great photographs!
As you walk around from one exhibit to another, you can also grab food and drinks at the pop-up bars and stalls that are conveniently set up, showcasing a number of local food and drink vendors. Try the Sagamore Spirit Rye cocktail (the festival’s official drink) or a craft beer go alongside your walk – and YES, you can carry around your drinks all around the Inner Harbor as part of the festival’s open container policy.
If you plan to stay overnight, check out the Marriott Waterfront – located right at the Inner Harbor, it’s convenient to just walk out and start the Light Walk, and is easily accessible to other neighborhoods as well. The Baltimore Water Taxi also has a stop right outside the hotel.
I highly recommend a visit to Light City if you can make it, but if not, follow them on Instagram to check out what you are missing!
And stay tuned for more explorations from Baltimore!