Light City 2016

Baltimore’s own Inner Harbor is an awesome place to be; with a huge variety of restaurants, fun activities, and a killer view, the experience of going is never disappointing,

But imagine going there in the evening hours of the night and seeing the entire Harbor covered in lights, seeing thousands of innovative lit-up sculptures, attending outdoor music concerts, and walking around a familiar place that was made even more beautiful for a week.

Here’s my experience with Light City Baltimore 2016.

Source: Harboreast

Source: Harboreast

The first thing that caught me was the water – as lights lined the edges of the harbor, you could see each of their reflections. The harbor was like rainbow soup (if you will), and the currents kept shifting with colors and intensity. Across the water were mini light-up paper boats, and the background presented a glowing Ferris wheel, carousel, and myriad of other lights.

Voyage by Aether Hemera | Photo by: metroweekly

Voyage by Aether Hemera | Source: metroweekly

The second thing that struck me was the sheer amount of people that attended. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is pretty well populated on a day-to-day basis, and going at times that aren’t Friday evening or on the weekend allows you to explore even more. Maybe it was the fact that I went on the last weekend of the event, but the Inner Harbor was packed. My friends and I were unable to take the Charm City Circulator (free Baltimore running bus), and had to walk instead (approx. a 10-minute walk from Peabody). There were so, so many people and the sight of them just really added to the experience – people were curious about Light City, liked what they saw and heard, and stayed because of it.

Source: coolprogeny.com

Source: coolprogeny.com

Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch, but in these moments, I felt that Baltimore really felt like a community. It’s easy to stay within the comforts of Hopkins, finding some balance between staying in to study and going out to relax. It’s not hard to get caught up in the “daily grind”, as people call it (heck, we even have an on-campus coffee shop with the name), but Light City was the first time this sense of the entire Baltimore community really struck me. The sheer amount of people was exciting, and I was excited to be a part of it too.

My friend rippin' it on stage! | Source: Symphony One

My friend rippin’ it on stage! | Source: Symphony One

While I only really experienced the visual aspects of Light City, there were so many other components that I didn’t get to explore. In fact, Light City held multiple conferences spread out across days pertaining to social innovation, health, sustainability, and creativity. Leaders and CEO’s around the world came to talk about their ideas of change and innovation, like Reshma Saujani (Founders of Girls Who Code) or Dr. Leana Wen (Baltimore City Health Commissioner). Even the live music being played featured diverse interests like popular music, funk, jazz, cultural, and classical – my senior friend actually performed live too!

Light City didn’t feel so much like an event, but more like a platform to share human experiences. It felt like an excuse to get out of familiarity, and instead experience amazing, almost uncomfortably-wild feelings.

Until next year!