Travel Guide to Baltimore Maryland
While living in Washington, DC we knew Baltimore was the perfect getaway weekend or even day trip spot for us. Despite the fact that we have lived within a few hours of the city neither of us have had many opportunities to explore. Meg had visited a few time for work and I’ve been a few times with family. With the world-famous Inner Harbor, award-winning dining, and historic neighborhoods there was plenty of stuff for us to get into. We decided town spend two two full days there checking out the parts of the city we were less familiar with.
Getting to Baltimore, MD
Located just an hour from Washington, DC and central Pennsylvania, Baltimore is a great spot for long weekend trips. If you’re flying, Baltimore-Washington International airport is a well thought out airport with access to ground transportation. Baltimore is a driving city. You’ll either need to plan to take Uber/ Lyft or have access to a car for your adventures.
Best Budget Accommodations
Airbnb has some great budget friendly options for accommodations. One of the best parts about Airbnb is being able to find a space that accommodates your travel party no matter how big or small. This Vintage Luxury Apartment is perfect for getting ready for a night out. I mean look at it – think of all the potential Instagram shots! Or this house in The Heart of Fells Point if you’re traveling with some friends. If you’re new to Airbnb you can use this link to sign up and get $40 off your first stay.
Admiral Fell Inn
Admiral Fell Inn provides a cute historic backdrop when visiting Baltimore. It has everything that you need. Admiral Fell is located in Upper Fells Point and perfect for those looking for restaurants close to your hotel. As an adorable side note, they provide morning tea and warm muffins to get your day started.
Best Mid Range Hotels
Pier 5 Hotel
Pier 5 Hotel is located near the Baltimore convention center and other local attractions. With brightly colored guestrooms and incredible food options on sight, Pier 5 is a great spot to rest your head after a day of exploring. The upgraded rooms have gorgeous Harbor views. They also offer complimentary breakfast and a shuttle service to Fells Point.
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore Inner Harbor
Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco in the Baltimore Inner Harbor is in the perfect location to be near all the action. Plus Kimpton is super well known for supporting the LGBT community. Inside their grand, historic building, old meets new in the most aesthetically pleasing way. From the marble staircase to the stained glass windows they’ve nailed all the details. They offer complimentary morning coffee and free PUBLIC bikes. Enjoy nearby attractions like the National Aquarium, Camden Yards, and Convention Center.
Best Luxury Hotels
Inn at Henderson’s Wharf
Inn at Henderson’s Wharf is situated on a quiet cobbled street in Fell’s Point, a historic building that was once home to a tobacco factory is now a beautiful luxury hotel. The views of the Marina are truly beautiful. With boutique shops and various restaurants right around the corner. A fresh European Style continental breakfast enjoys fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, and fresh baked goods to get your day started.
Hotel Indigo Baltimore Downtown
We had an incredible stay at Hotel Indigo in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood in downtown Baltimore. As soon as you walk in the front door you notice the comfortable seating and lobby library. Our room was adorably decorated with a big window overlooking the neighborhood. We arrived late and enjoyed our first meal in the onsite restaurant Poets Modern Cocktails & Eats. Meg had Fish Tacos ($14) and I had a Crab Cake Sandwich ($16) because … well.. because Baltimore.
Things To Do
Walk the Inner Harbor
There are always things going on in the Inner Harbor. Check out the street performances or brush up on your historical knowledge or maybe you want to grab a bite to eat, the Inner Harbor has something for everyone. We loved watching the boats coming and going as the sunset. Bonus points if the walk includes and ice cream from The Charmery. Expect long lines but trust me, it’s worth it.
Visit Camden Yards
Catch the home team Orioles in action from one of Major League Baseball’s most beautiful Parks. Camden Yards sits just a few blocks off the Inner Harbor with my hotels offering a shuttle service. Eat at the ballpark – the options are endless. From the gourmet dogs, made to order burgers to dumplings the options go much further than stale popcorn.
Federal Hill Park
The Federal Hill Park is great for low-key hiking with photographic viewpoints. It was once used during the Civil War and the War of 1812 as a major lookout spot. Now it is a go to spot to take in views of the skyline and Inner Harbor. The Charm City Circulator is a free public bus that takes you from the Inner Harbor to local attractions including Federal Hill.
Baltimore Museum of Art
Spend a few hours wandering through this well-laid out Baltimore Museum of Art. The BMA is home to one of the largest Henri Matisse collections in the world. The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday and also host Jazz sessions through the summer.
Shop Fells Point
Fells Point is a Historic Waterfront Neighborhood along the north shore of the Baltimore Harbor. You can find a bunch of small shops, coffee bars, and restaurants. The Fells Point Surf Company and Hats on the Belfry were two of our favorites. The area really comes to life at night with Pubs and bars.
Take a Water Taxi
I can’t help it, I love a good boat ride, the Baltimore Water Taxi is the perfect excuse to skip the car and hop on a boat. There’s no better way to get around the harbor. The Baltimore Water Taxi has 13 stops including National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, Fell’s Point and The Anthem House Apartments. It’s just $14 for an All Day Pass.
If you’re in Maryland this is a must. Pickin’ crabs is as much an activity as it is a meal. The brown paper and bucket of ice cold drinks on the tables scream summer. Spend an evening with old bay covered fingers learning how to crack them like the locals. Bo Brooks has a great patio and Captian James Landing is a stop on the water taxi.
Union Craft Brewing
Situated along the Jones Falls river, in the Woodberry neighborhood, the UnionCraft Brewery makes great beer and great company. Open Thursday- Sunday stop in and enjoy a couple pints. They have snacks available but don’t be surprised to see some local food truck outside.
The Brewer’s Art
The Brewers Art serves its own brewed beer plus other drinks in a beautifully redone rowhouse. The historic interior has been preserved to create a stunning yet intimate environment. The interior is stunning with a large chandelier and exposed brick walls. They also have a brunch option that includes Monkey Bread ($8) that alone makes it worth the stop for me.
FLAVOR is an LGBT owned American bistro is known for intimate portions and handcrafted cocktails. Their cocktails include quality liquors, freshly squeezed juices, and house made purees. The peach- strawberry daiquiri is next level.
Poets Modern Cocktails & Eats
Poets Modern Cocktails & Eats has a warm, playful and contemporary vibe and is conveniently located in Hotel Indigo. Poets are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner serving eclectic regional cuisine and shared plates. Grab a made to order omelet meal for breakfast ($12) or stop by for a Soft Shell Crab Po’Boy for dinner ($16)
Modern Cook Shop
Modern Cook Shop is a restaurant, market, and bar, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Located in historic Fell’s Point, the team has created an ever-changing menu of dishes using the finest seasonal produce. Meg had the Creme Brulee Pancakes ($10) that she raved about and I had the Peach Cobbler Pancakes ($10) that were equally fantastic. The restaurant is adorable and made us want to linger and enjoy that extra cup of coffee.
Thames Street Oyster House
Located in the heart of Fells Point, Thames Street Oyster House is serving seafood on the waterfront. They are open for lunch and dinner, serving Maryland, Mid-atlantic, and New England classics. Always a favorite in our house Lobster Mac n’ Cheese ($15) and Cast Iron Crab Cake ($29).
I can’t even hide it, Meg and I are kind of obsessed with this place. The concept, the aesthetic and the food were all spots on for us. We’d only been there about 10mins before we were talking about how to wish there was a similar spot near our apartment in D.C. R. House is a launch pad for some of Baltimore’s most exciting chefs. Think REALLY food court. Each restaurant has its own concept from food to design. We had a gigantic chicken sandwich from BRD ($9) and Beef Shawarma from Arba (with a Spicy Feta sauce I would willingly bathe in) for lunch. For dessert, we each had a scoop of ice cream from Little Baby’s Ice Cream.
A Korean – inspired cafe serving breakfast through dinner in Mount Vernon. Doobys, serves a great variety of foods in tastefully done minimalist style space. Feeling a bit nostalgic about our time in Korea we both oped for the build your own bowls with the Korean BBQ Steak ($12) and Pork Buns ($7). Both dishes were incredibly tasty.
La Cuchara is located in a funky spot, I’m talking three lost uber drivers funky. The pro tip: don’t give up! Cross the little wooden bridge, and circle around the building until you see the deck, you won’t be sorry. The menu changes daily with delicious wood-grilled dishes, tasty two bites “pintxos,” inspired by the simplicity of Basque cuisine. Meg decided on the “Champagne Flight” and was not disappointed when that came to the table with a variety of Rose. Meg had the Bronzino ($27) and I enjoyed the Strip Steak ($39).
Festivals and Events
Maryland’s biggest pride celebration welcoming 30,000 people annually. The festival features a variety of live performances as well as the Lady Lisa Memorial Drag Stage and a Family Zone with kid-friendly activities. There are also several related events leading up to the festival including the Pride Block Party and the Pride Parade.
Artscape is the largest free arts festival in the US, attracting 350,000 over the three-day festival. With 150+ artists you will find sculpture, art cars, photography and fashion designers. There are also live concerts on outdoor stages. Of course, no festival would be complete without delicious food and beverage throughout the venue, expect an international menu.
Baltimore Seafood Festival
In mid-September along the Canton Waterfront Park, you will find the Baltimore Seafood Festival. Featuring some of Baltimore’s favorite chefs cooking up crab, shrimp, and fresh oysters.Enjoy live music while tasting local favorites like crab cakes, crab soup, shrimp salad and of course Maryland blue crab.
Sugar is an award-winning, friendly, education-focused adult toy boutique. Located in the trendy neighborhood of Hampden, Sugar sets the tone with welcoming vibes. They offer all types of toys at varying price points. The staff is super knowledgeable and willing to provide you with all the information you want. Workshops are also offered multiple times a month with the schedule posted on their website.
We visited Baltimore early in our relationship (2nd date so think early 2013) and stayed right off the Inner Harbor. We spent all of our time for those two days within walking distance of the hotel. We, unfortunately, dealt with two separate instances of LGBT related street harassment. We went into this visit a bit apprehensive but were pleasantly surprised to have a totally different experience. The hotel was incredibly accommodating and did not bat an eye at our request for one bed. We had a great overall experience.