A Weekend in Baltimore

Baltimore is a city of history. It’s in this city that the national anthem was written, The Great Bambino was born and an American poet resided. A city clinging to its working-class roots, ready to charm you with its culture-rich neighborhoods and noteworthy cuisine. An equal blend of past and present. If it’s your first time visiting or even your fifth, there are always hidden hideaways to uncover in Charm City.

Deemed “the city of neighborhoods,” Baltimore has over 50 neighborhoods filled with historic districts, artistic niches, unique shops and galleries, and vibrant cafes and restaurants. Neighborhoods of note: Inner Harbor, Mount Vernon, Fells Point, Hampden and Federal Hill.

Head Back in Time

Understanding the city’s history and its impact on our American culture is essential. In the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write a poem about the American flag waving above Fort McHenry in the Baltimore Harbor. Take the afternoon to visit the house where that flag was made, tour Fort McHenry National Monument and see the original “Star Spangled Banner” manuscript at Maryland Historical Society.

Just a short walk from Hotel RL Baltimore Inner Harbor, families and historians alike will love exploring the historic USS Constellation ship and other military vessels. Offering tours, live cannon firings and educational programs, this is worth a stop during your visit.

Though his tales were dark and mysterious, Edgar Allan Poe is fondly remembered by the city of Baltimore. His 1830s Baltimore home, a national historic landmark, has been preserved as a museum. Tours are available seasonally.  You can visit his burial sites (yes, sites, as in two!) at Westminster Hall. Poe was originally buried in 1843 in an unmarked grave in the back corner of the cemetery. When the people caught on about the condition of Poe’s grave in 1875, they raised money to have his remains reburied in a better plot on-site and with a proper memorial.

Also check out other attractions like Ripley’s Believe It or Not, B&O Railroad Museum, the National Aquarium and the American Visionary Art Museum.

Fresh is Best

Seafood reigns in this coastal city and Maryland’s blue crab is sure to delight. When you’re in Baltimore during the summer and early fall months, you should have a Crab Feast. What’s a Crab Feast? Simple as this: steamed Maryland Crab served family style with corn on the cob. Also, traditionally accompanied with ice-cold beer. You’ll thank us later. Head to Mo’s Crab & Pasta Factory or Rusty Scupper. Your server will be able to give you the 411 on how to pry all the crab from its shell. From one traveler to another, come dressed down for your Crab Feast. Only tourists don a crab bib.

If you love beer, discover Baltimore’s creations by picking up a Baltimore Beverage Passport from the Baltimore Visitor Center. Collect 10 passport stamps for a prize. Plus, indulge in all the wonderful brews and food pairings around the city.

For a lunchtime outing, the Thames Street Oyster House in the heart of historic Fells Point is one to savor. It’s a seafood lover’s dream, including a raw bar, soups, salads and sandwiches.

Another local favorite is Wicked Sisters in Hampden. Try the famed Insanity Burger, voted best burger in Baltimore. Plus, their happy hour specials are so good, they’re wicked.

Quirky Finds

Turn any corner and you will find eccentric statues, museums, events or alleyways. HONfest is one treasure that’s been celebrated by generations of Bawlmers (residents of Baltimore). Since 1944, what started as a beauty pageant turned into a nationally known festival celebrating women and the affectionate spirit of Baltimore. Women wear bright- colored clothes (often dawning leopard print) and beehive hairdos.

Seek out Graffiti Alley, where the view is continuously changing by street artists that come to put their mark on its walls. Located in the Station North neighborhood between N. Howard Street and W. 19 ½ Street is the nondescript L-shaped alley. It’s quite a spectacle – get your camera ready!

The iconic Charles Village “painted ladies” Victorian row houses are also fun to pass by. It all started as a house-painting contest back in 1998 that turned into a rainbow cacophony of homes.

There are many things – traditional or unique –  for one to fit in during a holiday in Charm City, but you’ll leave feeling like a local and eager to come back.