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Last week I had the exciting opportunity to spend a couple days exploring Baltimore. (If you follow me @inspiredbycharm on Instagram or Snapchat, you probably already know this.) Baltimore is about four hours by car from my home in Central PA, so I was excited to get away for a few days and enjoy some of the sights and delights of this major American city.
I vaguely remember being in Baltimore once many years ago. I think it was when I was a tween, so my appreciation for certain things wasn’t quite developed. I was excited to go back and experience the city as an adult.
Since this is an urban center, there are myriad things to do and see. Even though I tried to cover a lot of ground in two days, I clearly didn’t get to everything, nor did I want to. However, I thought it would be fun to recap my trip and offer some recommendations based on my experiences.. Hopefully, if you find yourself in Baltimore, or decide to make a trip, you’ll be able to check out a few of my favorites. Good Morning, Baltimore!
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront – I recommend staying near the harbor, and the Marriott is a top choice. The views from the hotel are fabulous, and it is within walking distance of many of Baltimore’s well-known attractions, including the Inner Harbor, National Aquarium, Fells Point, and some cool shopping spots, such as Anthropologie, J. Crew, and Lush. Since it’s next to the harbor, the Marriott is also a great place to sit and people watch after dinner.
Fells Point – This is probably my favorite area of Baltimore. It’s a historic section of the city with homes and storefronts from the 18th and 19th centuries. It reminded me of a little waterfront neighborhood in the midst of a metropolis. It’s bursting with cute shops, restaurants, bars, and activities. It’s ideal to visit this area in the evening since many of the local restaurants and bars offer live entertainment. The evening I was there, they were even showing a free movie on the pier. Check out: Thames Street Oyster House, Rye, and Pitango
Federal Hill – This area of the city has a great view of the Inner Harbor and the Baltimore skyline. There are beautiful brick houses, cobblestone sidewalks, and quaint storefronts. You’ll also find a great public market and many small shops tucked in along the streets. Check out Cross Street Market, American Visionary Art Museum, and Midnite Confection’s Cupcakery.
Hampden – This is a very quirky neighborhood, but it’s the place that felt most like home to me. You’ll need to drive or cab it to get there, but it’s well worth the trip. There are many places to eat and shop, including my favorite shop, Trohv and my favorite eatery, Woodberry Kitchen. So much variety is packed into this small neighborhood. I only spent an evening here, but wish I had have planned more time. Check out: Woodberry Kitchen, Trohv, Artifact Coffee, and Union Craft Brewing
National Aquarium – When exploring the Inner Harbor, this is one “tourist attraction” you don’t want to miss. This beautifully maintained aquarium is packed with interesting and beautiful sea life – a must visit.
American Visionary Art Museum – I usually don’t love museums; I find them kind of boring. However, this one caught and kept my attention. Three buildings feature non-traditional artists in beautiful and unique ways.
Su Casa – A contemporary furniture / gift store located in Fells Point. You will love their beautiful furniture, wall decor, gifts and accessories. I especially liked their selection of tabletop items.
Trohv – This is one of my favorite spots in Baltimore! It’s a home goods store featuring furniture, gifts, books, stationary, vintage pieces, and so much more. If I was a shop, I would be Trohv. It’s a “must-visit” for any home decor lover. I seriously wanted to buy everything in the store.
Curiosity – Another visual treat is this boutique shop with its unique collection of home accessories, furnishing, apothecary, and gifts. It is bursting with beautiful merchandise. I recommend it for gift shopping.
Thames Street Oyster House – This kicked off my culinary experience in Baltimore. If you like oysters, this is the place to go. Dozens of fresh oyster varieties are available to taste. I wasn’t brave enough (and didn’t know what to order), so I stuck with the crab cake, which didn’t disappoint.
Woodberry Kitchen – Oh, Woodberry Kitchen … I think I’m in love. I could write an entire post about this experience alone. The list of restaurants I MUST return to isn’t very long, but this is at the top of my list. It’s sort of a farm-to-table-inspired restaurant where the focus is on using the freshest ingredients. Go early and enjoy a drink outside near the huge fire pit. Also go hungry and order as much as you can.
La Scala – Located in Little Italy, this place came highly recommended. It is exactly what you expect in a traditional Italian restaurant. The olive oil is ridiculously good. I ordered penne with vodka sauce, and it was probably the best I’ve ever eaten. Delizioso!
Family Meal – I stopped here for lunch, and it was just what I needed. It’s a modern take on a classic dinner and was created by Bryan Voltaggio. Definitely try the deviled eggs.
Midnite Confection’s Cupcakery – No IBC food guide would be complete without a place to get cupcakes, right? This place did not disappoint. The cupcakes were piled high with creamy frosting and the cake was wonderfully moist. If Sinnamon is on the menu, don’t think twice. Order it.
*Dinner reservations for all of these places are highly recommended.
Rye – You can’t go wrong with a sophisticated bar that offers a menu of unique, classic, and creative cocktails. It’s a great spot for before or after dinner drinks.
Artifact Coffee – Locally owned coffee shops are my jam, and this one didn’t disappoint. (It’s owned by the chef who runs Woodberry Kitchen, so naturally I’d love it.) I just got a coffee to go, but wish I could have stayed for a snack on a seat inside. The atmosphere alone is worth a visit.
Union Craft Brewing – This brewery is only open Thursday through Saturday. However, if you’re a fan of craft beer, you’ll want to visit. Situated behind an office building, this place was packed, and I quickly found out why: delicious brews and friendly service. It’s a winner.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences in Baltimore. Again, this is far from a complete list of all the great things to do in Baltimore. Have you visited Bmore? Add to this guide by sharing some of your favorite spots in the comments.
I’d also like to thank the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront for inviting me to stay with them during my visit to the city. The service and accommodations were exceptional!
Cheers to my home town! Great review, thanks so much for sharing!
When it comes to trying your first raw oyster, “small” and “crisp” are two descriptions to look for. I also opt for oysters raised in cold water regions vs. warm. Enjoy! When you get a good one, you’ll be hooked.
“Located in Little Italy, this place came highly recommend” *recommended
My Baltimore faves: You already mentioned Woodberry Kitchen (love, love, LOVE this place + anywhere that has deviled eggs on the menu gets a gold star in my book, not to mention they are awesome for people like me with multiple food allergies!), Lebanese Taverna (take a friend or five and make a meal of the mezza), The Golden West Cafe (for green chile cheeseburgers and garlic fries), off-the-beaten-path movies at The Charles Theatre. MD Science Center has really cool visiting exhibits sometimes, we have seen Body Worlds and Mummies there. (And the aquarium is great too but always busy!) Also: Druid Hill Park, tour the Evergreen House (some mighty interesting decor!) and gardens at Johns Hopkins, pop over to Fort McHenry. You can’t beat a Ravens or Orioles game– but embrace being a fan for the day, we can be rough on the rivals 😉
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite thing ever, the Baltimore Herb Festival, which falls on the Saturday of Memorial weekend. Oh my Lordy, if you love plants and buying artisanal goodies it’s a sure thing!
I fell in love with Baltimore thirty years ago during a summer-long road trip, and we go back nearly every year. I’d move there but for the summer humidity!
As someone who lives in Baltimore and was born and raised here, thank you for showing my beloved city in such a wonderful light. Like any place there are some areas that are questionable, but most of the city is still beautiful, safe, and thriving. I’m glad people are highlighting the latter.
Also Woodberry Kitchen is amazing. It’s one of my favorite places ever.
Glad you enjoyed your visit!!!
My husband is from Baltimore so we spent a lot of time there. It is a lovely city but to be truthful, I don’t feel safe there anymore and that is a pity. We visited when they built the Harbor. My mother-in-law lived near Federal Hill and my boys loved playing in the alley. We used to go to Light Street a lot but I have no desire to go back. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. Maybe some day we will go again.
I understand that Patty. To be honest, I felt completely safe the entire time. The areas I visited were so clean and maintained. Full of people too. I was impressed.
You have some wickedly good photography skills!!! The entire time I read your blog, the “Good Morning, Balitimore” song from HAIRSPRAY was playing in my head. Ha!
Michelle from simplysantabarbara.blogspot.com
Haha. That sound played in my head the WHOLE time I was there. Haha. And thank you! If you can believe it, all of these pictures were taken on my iPhone! Crazy, right!?
Great photos! Baltimore is on list of places to visit!
Glad you had fun in Charm City! That crab cake picture has me SALIVATING. I’ve yet to visit Woodberry Kitchen– I’ll need to correct that ASAP.