Home to over 200 eclectic neighborhoods, the city of Baltimore is bustling with a significant contemporary subculture marrying the ultra modern with pre-existing old world charm. This transatlantic melting pot is filled to the brim with world-renowned museums, high-quality restaurants, and welcoming locals. Steeped in history, Baltimore was once called home by the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, Billie Holiday, Frederick Douglass, and the lyricist of our National Anthem, Francis Scott Key. You can see the echoes of their work throughout the city as it reflects on a new era of passionate entrepreneurs adding their mark to this historic locale. With several new attractions, exhibits, and a thriving food scene, Baltimore should hold down a well deserved spot atop your travel list!
Located in the heart of the city, Mount Vernon is one of Baltimore’s most iconic historic districts. As you stroll through the streets of this charming neighborhood you’ll be greeted by ivy-covered palatial homes, Beaux art style hotels, and a picturesque Gothic style Church that faces a series of small parks centered around the Washington Monument.
Right down the road you’ll find the George Peabody Library, the research library for The Johns Hopkins University, whose elegant 19th-century architecture was the inspiration for the library in the classic Disney film, Beauty And The Beast. After gushing over the library’s extensive collection of books, head on over to the United State’s nationally acclaimed best art museum, The Walter’s Art Museum.
If you need to stop for lunch or find a noteworthy place to lay your head, check out the newest property in town, Hotel Revival, whose vibrant decor, distinctive art, and excellent hospitality perfectly reflects the colorful history of downtown Baltimore.
The Walter’s Art Museum
Home to one of the world’s most extensively diverse collections of art, the Walters Art Museum features an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. On display, you can find collections ranging anywhere from Egyptian to medieval collections. The newly renovated Hackerman House recently reopened its doors after a multi-year transformation. This elaborately ornate mansion offers insight into the everyday life of 19th-century aristocrats featuring architectural marvels such as the grand spiral staircase which sits beneath an extravagantly dressed Tiffany stained-glass skylight.
In addition to restorations, this exhibition also gets a major upgrade into the 21st-century with an all-new app designed to give visitors an extended archive of information on the house, the objects on display, and the former residents who assisted in making this property the iconic landmark we know it to be today.
Hampden’s 36th St, “The Avenue”
Located just minutes from the Inner Harbor, Hampden’s 36th St is where the young urban professionals come to settle down in their brick row houses and luxury condos. Paying homage to Baltimore’s notorious 1950’s beehive days, this street is filled with lots of hidden gems and tons of character. On, “The Avenue,” you’ll find an array of shops that host everything from vintage clothing to quirky bookshops to stunning home goods. Some notable mentions include Atomic Books, Throv, and Hampden Junque. This area also boasts a budding culinary movement that hosts everything from creative food markets to craft cocktails. The Bluebird Cocktail room is a favorite for small bites and post-shopping late night beverages.
American Visionary Art Museum, Federal Hill
The American Visionary Arts Museum is both museum and education center, which celebrates the works of self-tutored artistry. The new exhibit, Parenting an Art Without a Manual, at the AVMA highlights the trials, tribulations and impactful influences of unconventional matriarch roles and how they play into shaping modern day society as we know it. Featuring beautiful works of human expression, this exhibition dares to be transparent as it displays several different emergent artists as they explore the contrasting effects of parenting through visual storytelling. No stone is left unturned as you venture through hallways lined with sculptures, photographs and paintings depicting stories of heartache, love and perseverance.
After you’ve taken everything in at the museum, opt for a quick hike to the top of Federal Hill Park where you’ll be able to enjoy panoramic views of the Inner Harbor. Formerly used as a battle fort in the Civil War, where the original cannons still remain, this park is now open to the public and is particularly lovely on a warm summer day.
After Federal Hill, make your way down to Harbor East. This rapidly growing area between Fell’s Point and the Inner Harbor is a shining example of where history meets urban development. Along these streets, you’ll find plenty of boutique shops and high-end restaurants. Visit the Loch Bar for lunch, located adjacent to the Four Seasons hotel, while enjoying stunning views overlooking the harbor, delicious seafood entrées and excellent service. After lunch, take the scenic route to your next destination via water taxi. You’ll have a chance to rest your feet and take in the stunning coastlines of the harbor as you head to your next destination.
Once you’ve arrived safe and sound by water taxi, enjoy the slow-paced atmosphere of Fell’s Point. Lined with cobblestone streets, this historic district is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Baltimore with homes and storefronts dating back as far as the 18th-century. Here you’ll find kitschy locally owned shops, plenty of pubs and the classic Chesapeake Bay cuisine.
No visit to Fell’s Point is complete without a visit to the newly renovated Sagamore Pendry hotel. A former recreational pier and warehouse that sat vacant for nearly 15 years before Under Armour CEO, Kevin Plank, backed the restoration of this vacancy transforming it into a stunning boutique hotel whose interior marries traditional architecture with modern elegance. From a stunning pool deck on the harbor to The Cannon Room Bar, the Pendry is the perfect place to unwind after a long day touring Baltimore.
Sagamore Spirit Distillery
In the early 19th-century, Maryland was once the rye whiskey capital of America. Fertile farmland, mild climate, and limestone-filtered spring water are all key factors in making this triple-distilled whiskey unique. Guests are encouraged to take a “hands-on” guided tour through the distillery which naturally ends with a sample in the tasting room. After you’ve had your pre-dinner drinks, make your way over to the Rye Street Tavern.
Just a few steps away from the distillery, the Rye Street Tavern pays tribute to the cities industrial era with a warm and rustic interior, locally grown ingredients, farm-raised meats, sustainable seafood, and craft cocktails. One of the highlights of the property is the outdoor lawn & patio seating that offers stunning views of the water that comes alive during sunset when locals and visitors alike come together to exchange stories over Sagamore Spirits.
Of course, no trip to Baltimore is complete without the city’s biggest attraction, Camden Yards. Located just a few blocks from the birthplace of baseball’s greatest legend, George Herman “Babe” Ruth, lies a stadium that is equal parts state-of-the-art as it is traditional. Enjoy a day at the ballpark watching the O’s while sampling the local vendors and craft brews which make the journey worth the trek whether you’re a baseball fan or simply a fan of fun.
Merissa Principe is a travel blogger from NYC. Teaching early childhood education has provided Merissa an opportunity to travel all over the world and live in new places. Be sure to follow her at Citygirlriss.com or on instagram @citygirlriss for all things travel, beauty, fashion.