The Hippodrome Baltimore is a magnificent old theater that fans of the performing arts will want to keep in mind when planning a visit to Maryland's largest city. Originally a vaudeville and movie house, the Hippodrome Theater Baltimore now hosts Broadway-style shows, and was remodeled and reopened in 2004. You can find this lovingly refurbished theater at the revamped France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, which in turn can be found on the campus of the University of Maryland Baltimore. Due north is the renowned Lexington Market if you want to grab something to eat before you see a show, and there are plenty of hotels close by should you wish to stay in the vicinity.
As is true of the history of Baltimore in general, the history of the Hippodrome Theater is an interesting one. The first Hippodrome Theater events were movies and vaudeville performances, after the theater opened in 1914. The 3,000 seats often filled up fast in the early days, with weekly attendance averaging around 30,000. In 1931, renovations were made, and they included the addition of a giant marquee. The marquee was needed to announce all the big name performers.
Among the personalities that graced the stage at the Hippodrome Theater Baltimore in the 1930s were Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Milton Berle, Dinah Shore, and the Andrews Sisters. Frank Sinatra also dropped by to perform with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the Harry James' Band. Live performances, many of which featured top acts, continued until 1959, though movies continued to be shown through the '60s. Business declined in the 70s and 80s. In 1990, the Hippodrome Baltimore closed, only to reopen to much fanfare in 2004. Between the theater and the other venues that can be found at the dazzling France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, performing arts enthusiasts can choose from a number of high-quality events, and there is no shortage of shops and restaurants close by if you want to stay busy before the show begins.
Hippodrome Theater events are offered throughout the year, so it can be a good idea to consult the events schedule regardless of when you are thinking of taking your Baltimore vacation. Tickets for the now 2,300 seats tend to go fast for weekend shows, and since they can sell out for any given performance, buying well in advance is recommended. You can search for events and buy tickets using the booking tool located on this site.
There is a café at the Hippodrome Baltimore, so you can grab some drinks or food there before you see a show. The café is popular and usually crowded, though there are plenty of other dining options close by and across the downtown area. Ample parking is also easy to find near the Hippodrome Theater Baltimore, and should you be looking for a place to stay close by, the Sheraton Baltimore City Center is just one of many excellent hotels that is but a few blocks away. Anyone coming to town to catch one of the Hippodrome Theater events might also keep the Inner Harbor hotels on the radar, as they also offer easy access to the venue.