If you’ve strolled through Harbor East or wandered around Fells Point and Hampden recently, you’ve likely noticed a trend that’s reshaping the commercial real estate landscape: the rise of experiential retail. This isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a movement that’s transforming how we shop, socialize, and spend our leisure time. As residents and a local commercial real estate brokerage, we’re excited to dive into this trend and explore how it’s making a significant impact in Baltimore.

What is Experiential Retail?

Experiential retail is all about creating memorable, engaging experiences that go beyond the traditional shopping transaction. It’s a shift from simply selling products to offering unique, immersive environments that encourage customers to connect with brands on a deeper level. Think of it as retail that’s not just seen, but felt and experienced.

Why is Experiential Retail Thriving?

Several factors contribute to the rise of experiential retail:

  • Changing Consumer Preferences: Today’s consumers, especially millennials and Gen Z, prioritize experiences over material goods. They seek out shopping environments that offer more than just products – they want entertainment, personalization, and social engagement.
  • The Digital Shift: With the convenience of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores need to offer something extra to attract foot traffic. Experiential retail provides a compelling reason for customers to visit in person.


  • Community Building: Experiential retail spaces often serve as community hubs, fostering connections and enhancing the local culture. They create a sense of place that purely online shopping can’t replicate.

Experiential Retail in Action

Baltimore is a prime example of how experiential retail is being embraced and celebrated. Here are a few standout examples:

  • Under Armour Brand House: Located in Harbor East, this flagship store offers more than just athletic apparel. It provides an interactive shopping experience complete with high-tech displays, fitness events, and personalized services. Customers can immerse themselves in the brand’s story and values, making it a destination in itself.


  • The Charmery: This local favorite in Hampden isn’t just an ice cream shop – it’s a place where families and friends gather for a fun, nostalgic experience. With unique, locally-inspired flavors and a vibrant atmosphere, The Charmery turns a simple treat into a memorable outing.


  •  R. House: Nestled in the heart of Remington, R. House is a food hall that redefines dining with a blend of culinary innovation and community spirit. It hosts events like cooking classes, pop-up markets, and live music, creating a dynamic, engaging environment that draws people in.


  •  Good Neighbor & Guest House: This coffee shop, home furnishing store, hotel, and community hang is the a perfect model of experiential retail. Good Neighbor cultivates community by hosting events, and providing a large inviting space to eat, drink, and chill. In addition to serving food and drink, it sells carefully cultivated home items, and even plants. Additionally, the Guest House boutique hotel above the coffee shop lets guests experience this gem overnight and purchase any furnishing they enjoy within the hotel.

The Benefits for Commercial Real Estate

 For commercial real estate in Baltimore, the rise of experiential retail offers several exciting opportunities:

  • Increased Foot Traffic: Experiential retail spaces attract more visitors, which can benefit neighboring businesses and boost overall area vitality. A study by Oracle found that 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for an enhanced experience.


  • Revitalization and Growth: Experiential retail can play a key role in the revitalization of neighborhoods, transforming underutilized spaces into bustling, vibrant destinations. Reports indicate that experiential retail can increase property values by up to 20% in revitalized areas .

Looking Ahead

As Baltimore continues to evolve, the growth of experiential retail promises to bring fresh energy and innovation to our city. For businesses, investors, and consumers alike, this trend is creating new opportunities and redefining what it means to shop, dine, and engage with our local community.

Let’s embrace the future of retail together, Baltimore. Here’s to more exciting experiences, vibrant communities, and endless possibilities!

If you are interested in a free broker opinion of value or just learning more about investing in commercial real estate in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC, please contact us. Avenue Real Estate is a leading full service commercial brokerage in the Baltimore and Washington DC areas and we would love to help you explore your options and make informed decisions about commercial real estate investments.