Exploring Baltimore's Charm
Collected by Elizabeth Doerr, AFAR Local Expert
There's a reason Baltimore is called Charm City. With its unique neighborhoods, vibrant art scene and its ever present local pride, there is much more to Baltimore than the Wire. Although typically people stop through the Inner Harbor as a side to a trip to DC, I urge visitors to get out of the touristy spots and check out the nuances of the many amazing neighborhoods. There you'll find the quirks, character, and sense of community that is true Baltimore.
2127 Boston St, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA
You can't leave Baltimore without trying crabs made in traditional Chesapeake fashion—steamed with Old Bay seasoning. Captain James Crabhouse has waterfront seating and even a menu with a "Crab Picking 101" tutorial to help the novices. Crabs are...
Fells Point, Baltimore, MD, USA
With the cobblestones and colonial architecture, I can't get enough of Fells Point and its historical appeal. To top it off, the main street, Thames, is right on the water, so you can wander along the promenade along the harbor. Across the harbor,...
1600 Thames St, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA
Amidst the colonial, cobblestoned streets of Fells Point, this is a hole-in-the-wall favorite. With its somewhat divey feel, you might not trust that they have the best bites in Baltimore as they boast, but truly, their food is excellent and...
1621 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA
Tucked away in Baltimore's historic Fells Point neighborhood, this funky and upbeat spot makes you fall in love with breakfast again. The Cap'n Crunch French Toast definitely lived up to the hype (as featured in the Food Network) with its three...
W 36th St, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA
Hampden is known for beehive hairdos, cat-eye glasses, kitchsy decor like the pink flamingo, and ladies who call everyone "hon." Now, though, Hampden is Baltimore's hipster neighborhood with an array of thrift stores, antique shops, boutiques, and...
921 W 36th St, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA
Looking for something different from the typical keychain or postcard to bring home as a souvenir? Then go to Trohv, an independently owned shop in Hampden that carries everything from furniture to home decor to gag gifts. This is where I go to...
801 W 36th St, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA
It seems Baltimore had some ice cream cravings only the Charmery could fulfill. The newest addition to Hampden's "Avenue," this little place has lines going out the door already. And their ice cream is worth a long wait! The Charmery creates hand...
700 W 34th St, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA
Every year from the weekend after Thanksgiving until New Years' Eve, the typically quiet street of 34th street in Hampden transforms into an over-the-top Christmas light display, affectionately called "Miracle on 34th Street." Folks moving into...
1520 Clipper Rd, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA
Birroteca is a newcomer in Baltimore's blossoming restaurant community. Beautifully situated in an old milling district of Baltimore, Birroteca is just a hop away from the ever crowded (though completely worth it) Woodberry Kitchen and its sister...
300 W 30th St, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA
The Dizz represents what I think Baltimore is: unassuming maybe a little divey on the outside; quirky, homey, and awesome on the inside. Their tagline says it all: "Baltimore in a Bar." Their homemade pub-style food is always surprisingly...
E Saratoga St & Holliday St, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
A parking lot during the week, on the weekend the lot transforms into a bustling market with vibrantly painted columns depicting the best of Baltimore. In the heart of the city, the market welcomes all and even accepts SNAP benefits (food stamps)....
221 N Gay St, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
The proprietress, her team, and the Mushroom Stand have become important staples at the Baltimore Farmers' Market. With a huge following in Baltimore, she is known to many as the "Mushroom Lady" because she sells the most amazing mushroom dishes....
10 E Baltimore St, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
The Curry Shack is usually our second stop (after Zeke's coffee) at the Baltimore Farmers' Market. Didi, who owns and runs the Curry Shack with her husband, is one of my favorite people to see each Sunday. They serve "hot pockets" with...
Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD, USA
Patterson Park is a great place to spend some time outside—especially if you're visiting Baltimore during the spring or fall (summers can be a bit muggy, but it's worth the sweat). Bring a picnic and plan an afternoon wandering the park. Check out...
2501 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA
During an outing to Patterson Park, stop by this local cafe along the south side for some coffee and maybe a bite to eat. Patterson Perk sits on the edge of Canton with a good view of the park. It's a small, homey establishment which is great to...
3134 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA
Located in Highlandtown (just down the street from Patterson Park), the Creative Alliance is an important cultural center. They offer entertainment that introduces audiences to Baltimore and the world beyond the city. From "the Night of 1,000...
3131 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA
Matthew's is a Baltimore institution, located in Highlandtown, and should not be missed, especially if you're taking in a show or an exhibit at the Creative Alliance directly across the street. In my opinion, Matthew's Pizza has the best pizza in...
406 N Paca St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
One might think that the best Italian fare in Baltimore is in Little Italy. Surely there are some good places there, too, but this local favorite is found where you least expect it—in a neighborhood where, honestly, you won't find much commerce...
400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
Open since 1792, Lexington Market is one of the world's longest running markets and the largest among Baltimore's 7 public markets. It's hard to imagine this space in the heart of urban Baltimore once was bustling with horse-drawn carriages...
851 Hollins St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
Leave it to Baltimore to have the quirkiest and best dance spot, the Lith Hall. This is the Lithuanian Hall in the pigtown neighborhood that hosts the best dance party every first Friday of the month called the "Save Your Soul" night where DJs...
1500 Union Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA
Artifact Coffee is located in the historic Union Mill in the Woodberry neighborhood, which was once the largest producer of cotton duck in the world. Renovated recently, the mill now holds non-profits and affordable living space, and it gave us...
1711 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
To be honest, this is usually the only theater I go to watch movies. Not only do they feature the typical Hollywood movies, but this is where you'll find the best indie and foreign films. Occasionally they'll have special screenings followed by a...
222 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
The Mekong Delta Café is host to some of Baltimore’s best Vietnamese food. This small, family-owned restaurant has all of the tasty classics that bring locals in the area in droves, with raving reviews over the very traditional (and delicious) pho...
800 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230, USA
Baltimore is host to a very unique artistic culture, and none may be more different than what is on display at the American Visionary Art Museum. They define “Visionary Art” as works by people who are self-taught. This leads to some off-the-wall...
1106 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
Fine dining and the perfect place to spend the rest of the night enjoying homecrafted beers is exactly the motif the Brewer’s Art is aiming at. This unique restaurant is located in an old Mt. Vernon style townhouse, giving it a rustic feel, in the...
Harbor East, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
With its central location and the waterfront promenade nearby, Harbor East is probably the best location to stay. Hotels in the area include: 4 Seasons, Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, Courtyard Marriott. It's a central location that is easy...
333 W Camden St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
Camden Yards, home to the Baltimore Orioles, offers a unique guided tour of their venue and facilities, a perfect day-trip for baseball fans and families. Visit the dugout where famous players like Cal Ripken have spent their career, go behind the...
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
This museum's art collection holds more than 90,000 pieces of varying artwork, including work by Picasso and Van Gogh. In addition, the collection of art is constantly updating, with new exhibits to explore year round. With this bountiful...
300 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230, USA
The ever-expanding Baltimore Beach Volleyball may be the ultimate recreation activity for travelers to get to know some locals. With six different courts, players are capable of choosing to join 2-vs-2, 4-vs-4, 6-vs-6, or tournament regulated...
1425 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230, USA
Baltimore has a seemingly endless amount of sailboats in the harbor, and at the Downtown Sailing Center anyone can join in the festivities on the water. With year-round guided sailing lessons, events, and equipment rentals, the Downtown Sailing...
Woodberry, Baltimore, MD, USA
Woodberry Kitchen's farm-to-table dishes are prepared with care and ingredients straight from the Chesapeake; making it one of the freshest, well-prepared meals you can find in Baltimore. Dishes are typically light and seasonal (like their...
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