Places with active HIV transmission may serve as key locations for targeted control. In 2008–2009, heterosexual sex partner venues in Baltimore, MD were identified using a three-phase process and characterized by the presence or absence of HIV cases. 1,594 participants aged 18–35 years were enrolled at 87 venues. The study yielded an overall HIV prevalence of 3.7 %; 42 % of venues had ≥1 case of HIV (i.e., HIV positive venues). In final age-adjusted models, HIV positive venues had 10 % more high HIV-risk sexual partnering (95 % CI 1.01, 1.19) and more than twice as much drug market activity (95 % CI 1.04, 6.46) compared to HIV negative venues. Commercial sex work, parenteral risk behavior and venue-level sex market activity were not significantly associated with HIV status of the venues. This study highlights characteristics of venues, such as drug market activity, that may be important in identifying places with active HIV transmission.