I've heard more often than not that Baltimore is such a boring city. Nothing exciting happens here, the crime is ridiculous (kind of true), and it's too small of a city for continuous fun-filled activities. I'd beg to differ. Not because I am a born and bred Baltimore girl, but because Baltimore's charm is defined by its under-the-radar events, the happenings that are tucked away in the most eccentric corners of the city.

There is virtually something to check out every weekend in the Baltimore area. Some are family friendly, some are for a mature crowd only. But there is something for everyone. An awesome source I refer to for fresh ideas on how and where to spend my free time is Baltimore Magazine. Each week on Friday morning, they post a weekend lineup article which outlines some of the best things to check out that weekend. If nothing there suits your fancy, you can also refer to their reviews on restaurants and retail shops. The magazine also does a monthly round-up of openings, events, and news from the arts world.

I've found really dope events like monthly meet-ups hosted by Sunsets. And from those get-ups, I've found out about other events at spaces like Red Emmas and Dovecoate. You will find inclusive, eclectic people at these venues and through sharing space with them, chatting with them, sharing a drink with them, you get to know Baltimore's charm.

This weekend in particular, I attended Sunsets' December session at MICA. This time, I heard speakers such as Paul Coates, father of author Ta-Nehisi Coats, who was a black Panther in the 60's in Baltimore. Coates spoke about his interactions with the Panther party and how the relationships he built earned him respect and conviction in his pursuits. To make the event even better, a young poet performed some of his work on blackness and the constraints of being black in America today. An older griot from West Baltimore told playful tales of his youth in the 50's during the holidays. He says Santa is the people who love you. The evening closed out with a soulful jazz singer who freestyled to the sounds of a violin. This was all in less than two hours.

I'd say Baltimore is the town for enthusiasts of the lesser known, and for the dreamers dreaming just to stay alive and indulge everything around them. Baltimore isn't a popular city; it's a unique city, an emerging city experiencing new birth. Its arts scene is underrated and often overlooked. This is why you must seek out its gems. Authenticity is all you will find.