BALTIMORE

Maryland, United States

Baltimore is the largest city in the U.S. state of Maryland, and the 29th-most populous city in the country. It was established by the Constitution of Maryland and is not part of any county; thus, it is the largest independent city in the United States. Baltimore has more public monuments than any other city per capita in the country and is home to some of the earliest National Register historic districts in the nation, including Fell's Point (1969), Federal Hill(1970) and Mount Vernon Place (1971). More than 65,000 properties, or roughly one in three buildings in the city, are listed on the National Register, more than any other city in the nation.

Info Baltimore

introduction

Baltimore is the largest city in the U.S. state of Maryland, and the 29th-most populous city in the country. It was established by the Constitution of Maryland and is not part of any county; thus, it is the largest independent city in the United States. Baltimore has more public monuments than any other city per capita in the country and is home to some of the earliest National Register historic districts in the nation, including Fell's Point (1969), Federal Hill(1970) and Mount Vernon Place (1971). More than 65,000 properties, or roughly one in three buildings in the city, are listed on the National Register, more than any other city in the nation. 

Founded in 1729, Baltimore is the second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic. Baltimore's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and a major manufacturing center. After a decline in major manufacturing, industrialization and rail transportation, Baltimore shifted to a service-oriented economy, with the Johns Hopkins Hospital (founded 1889), and Johns Hopkins University (founded 1876), now the city's top two employers.

Baltimore had a population of 621,849 in 2015; in 2010, that of Baltimore Metropolitan Area was 2.7 million, the 21st largest in the country.

With hundreds of identified districts, Baltimore has been dubbed "a city of neighborhoods". Famous residents have included the writers Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Hamilton, Frederick Douglass, and H.L. Mencken; jazz musician James "Eubie" Blake; singer Billie Holiday; actor and filmmaker John Waters; and baseball player Babe Ruth. In the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote The Star-Spangled Banner, later the American national anthem, in the city.

Almost a quarter of the jobs in the Baltimore region are in science, technology, engineering and math, in part attributed to its extensive undergraduate and graduate schools.

info
POPULATION :• Independent city 620,961
• Estimate (2015) 621,849
• Urban 2,203,663 (US: 19th)
• Metro 2,797,407 (US: 21st)
• CSA 9,625,360 (US: 4th)
FOUNDED : Founded 1729
Incorporated 1796–1797
Independent city 1851
TIME ZONE :Time zone EST (UTC-5)
Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
LANGUAGE : English
RELIGION : 
AREA :• Independent city 92.1 sq mi (239 km2)
• Land 80.9 sq mi (210 km2)
• Water 11.1 sq mi (29 km2) 
ELEVATION : 0–480 ft (0–150 m)
COORDINATES : 39°17′N 76°37′W
SEX RATIO :
ETHNIC :African American 395,781 
White 183,830 
Asian 14,548 
Two or More Races 12,955 
Other 11,303 
American Indian 2,270 
Three or more races 1,402 
Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander 274
AREA CODE : 410, 443, 667
POSTAL CODE : 21201–21231, 21233–21237, 21239–21241, 21244, 21250–21252, 21263–21265, 21268, 21270, 21273–21275, 21278–21290, 21297–21298
DIALING CODE : 
WEBSITE :City of Baltimore

Tourism

Baltimore is a popular tourist destination in Maryland, in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America, near Washington, D.C. It is perhaps most famously known as the city where Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics for the Star Spangled Banner, and today has become a major center for tourism and travel.

It lies on the juncture of the Chesapeake Bay. With continuous nightlife, temperate climate, and plenty of hospitality, any time of the year is a great time to visit.

As Baltimore is a predominantly African-American city, there are many opportunities to experience African-American history in this town. The most prominent is the Great Blacks in Wax Museum located on East North Avenue in East Baltimore close to Johns Hopkins University. This museum showcases African American History through art. Another site of interest may be the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Black History located close to the Harbor Area.

The Baltimore Harbor is the busy center to the city, a major tourist attraction, a must-see, often featuring live music by jazz groups and crooners and plenty of eating and shopping. While locals scorn the Inner Harbor as a pre-fabricated tourist mecca devoid of true Baltimore culture, visitors should see the harbor, and especially should visit some of its excellent museums and other attractions. Highlights range from the Historic Ships in Baltimore (including the USS Constellation), the kid-mesmerizing Maryland Science Center, to the crowded and enormous National Aquarium, to the radically eccentric American Visionary Arts Museum.

The tourist district of the Inner Harbor is a great destination, where you will have a great time. But it is oddly ahistoric in one of America's most historic cities. The most prominent historical attraction is Fort McHenry across the harbor at the tip of Locust Point. It gained an iconic status in American history by successfully defending the Baltimore harbor from the British naval bombardment in the War of 1812, at which time Sir Francis Scott Key was inspired by the tattered but still waving American flag on the fort to write the poem that would later become the national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.

The other very rewarding historical destination in Baltimore is just east of the Inner Harbor in Fells Point, once a separate town founded in 1730, which became wealthy throughout the 18th and 19th centuries on shipbuilding and the maritime trade (and anti-British privateering). Architecturally, little has changed for more than a century, and the cobblestone streets, old pubs, and quaint harbor area are more than enough to lure visitors.

While you won't run out of attractions to visit in the Inner Harbor, there are a bunch of big attractions throughout the city that you should not miss. Look especially for Westminster Hall and Burying Ground Downtown, the Maryland Zoo in Druid Hill Park, the original Washington Monument and the Walters Art Museum in Mount Vernon, and the Baltimore Museum of Art up by Johns Hopkins University.


Visitor information

History

Etymology

The city is named after Cecil Calvert, second Lord Baltimore, (1605–1675), of the Irish House of Lords and founding proprietor of the Province of Maryland. Baltimore Manor was the name of the estate in County Longford on which the Calvert family lived in Ireland. Baltimore is an anglicization of the Irish nameBaile an Tí Mhóir, meaning "town of the big house."


17th century

In 1608, Captain John Smith traveled 210 miles from Jamestown to the uppermost Chesapeake Bay, leading the first European expedition to the Patapsco River The name "Patapsco" is derived from pota-psk-ut, which translates to "backwater" or "tide covered with froth" in Algonquian dialect. A quarter century after John Smith's voyage, English colonists began to settle in Maryland. The area constituting the modern City of Baltimore and its metropolitan area was first settled by David Jones in 1661. He claimed the area known today as Harbor East on the east bank of the Jones Falls stream, which flows south into Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

In the early 1600s, the immediate Baltimore vicinity was sparsely populated, if at all, by Native Americans. The Baltimore County area northward was used as hunting grounds by the Susquehannocks living in the lower Susquehanna River valley who "controlled all of the upper tributaries of the Chesapeake" but "refrained from much contact with Powhatan in the Potomac region." Pressured by the Susquehannocks, the Piscataway tribe of Algonquians stayed well south of the Baltimore area and inhabited primarily the north bank of the Potomac River in what is now Charles and southern Prince George's south of the Fall Line.The Baltimore area had been inhabited by Native Americans since at least the 10th millennium BC, when Paleo-Indians first settled in the region. One Paleo-Indian site and several Archaic period and Woodland period archaeological sites have been identified in Baltimore, including four from the Late Woodland period.During the Late Woodland period, the archaeological culture that is called the "Potomac Creek complex" resided in the area from Baltimore to the Rappahannock River in Virginia.


18th and 19th centuries

The colonial General Assembly of Maryland created the Port of Baltimore at old Whetstone Point (now Locust Point) in 1706 for the tobacco trade. The Town of Baltimore was founded and laid out shortly thereafter on July 30, 1729, and is named after Lord Baltimore (Cecilius Calvert), who was the first Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland. Cecilius Calvert was the oldest son of Sir George Calvert, (1579–1632), who became the First Lord Baltimore of County Longford, Ireland in 1625. Previously, he had been a loyal agent of King Charles I of England (1600–1649) as his Secretary of State until declaring himself a follower of Roman Catholicism. Regardless, the King still gave his heir Cecil the 1632 grant for the Maryland colony. The colony was a followup to his earlier settlement inNewfoundland, known as "Acadia" or "Avalon", (future Canada), which he found too cold and difficult for habitation.

Baltimore grew swiftly in the 18th Century as a granary for sugar-producing colonies in the Caribbean. The profit from sugar encouraged the cultivation of cane and the importation of food. It was also during this time when Baltimore saw the establishment of its public market system in 1763. Lexington Market, founded in 1782, continues to be known as one of the oldest continuously operating public markets in the United States today. Other firsts include: the first Post Office System in the United States (inaugurated in 1774) and the first water company chartered in the United States (Baltimore Water Company, 1792).

Baltimore played a key part in events leading to and including the American Revolution. City leaders such as Jonathan Plowman Jr. moved the city to join the resistance to British taxes, and merchants signed agreements to not trade with Britain. The Second Continental Congress met in the Henry Fite House from December 1776 to February 1777, effectively making the city the capital of the United States during this period. After the Revolutionary war, the Town of Baltimore, nearby Jonestown, and an area known as Fells Point were incorporated as the City of Baltimore in 1796–1797. The city remained a part of surrounding Baltimore County, where it had also served as the "county seat" since 1768, until 1851 when it was made an independent city, with the same status in state government as the other 23 counties of Maryland.

The city was the site of the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. After burning Washington, D.C., the British attacked Baltimore outside the eastern outskirts of town on the "Patapsco Neck" on September 12, at the Battle of North Point, then on the night of September 13–14, 1814. United States forces from Fort McHenrysuccessfully defended the city's harbor from the British. Francis Scott Key, (1779–1843), a Maryland lawyer from Georgetown and Frederick, was aboard a British ship where he had been negotiating for the release of an American prisoner, Dr.William Beanes.

Key witnessed the bombardment from this ship and after seeing the huge American flag on the morning of September 14, 1814, he wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner", a poem recounting the attack. Key's poem was set to a 1780 tune by British composer John Stafford Smith, and "The Star-Spangled Banner" became the official national anthem of the United States in 1931.

Following the Battle of Baltimore, the city's population grew rapidly and was the first American city to illuminate its streets with hydrogen gas in 1816. The construction of the federally funded National Road(which later became part of U.S. Route 40) and the private Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B. & O.) made Baltimore a major shipping and manufacturing center by linking the city with major markets in theMidwest. A distinctive local culture started to take shape, and a unique skyline peppered with churches and monuments developed. Baltimore acquired its moniker "The Monumental City" after an 1827 visit to Baltimore by President John Quincy Adams. At an evening function Adams gave the following toast: "Baltimore: the Monumental City—May the days of her safety be as prosperous and happy, as the days of her dangers have been trying and triumphant." Baltimore suffered one of the worst riots of the antebellum South in 1835, when bad investments led to the Baltimore bank riot. Soon after the city pioneered in creating the world's first dental college the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in 1840, and sharing Samuel Morse's invention of the world's first telegraph line between Baltimore and Washington DC in 1844.

Maryland remained part of the Union during the American Civil War despite being a slave state, in addition to popular support for secession in its southern and eastern regions, along with Baltimore, all of which benefited greatly from both the tobacco and slave trades. When Union soldiers from the Sixth Massachusetts state militia and some unarmed Pennsylvania state militia known as the "Washington Brigade" from Philadelphia with their band marched through the city at the start of the war, Confederate sympathizers attacked the troops, which led to the first bloodshed in the Civil War during the Baltimore riot of 1861. Four soldiers and twelve civilians were killed during the riot, which caused Union troops to later occupy Baltimore in May under Gen. Benjamin F. Butler of Massachusetts. Maryland came under direct federal administration—in part, to prevent the state from seceding—until the end of the war in April 1865.

Following an economic depression known as the Panic of 1873, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad company attempted to lower its workers' wages, leading to the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. On July 20, 1877, Maryland Governor John Lee Carrollcalled up the 5th and 6th Regiments of the National Guard to end the strikes, which had disrupted train service at Cumberland in western Maryland. Citizens sympathetic to the railroad workers attacked the National Guard troops as they marched from their armories in Baltimore to Camden Station. Soldiers from the 6th Regiment fired on the crowd, killing 10 and wounding 25. Rioters then damaged B&O trains and burned portions of the rail station. Order was restored in the city on July 21–22 when federal troops arrived to protect railroad property and end the strike.


20th century

On February 7, 1904, the Great Baltimore Fire destroyed over 1,500 buildings in 30 hours, leaving more than 70 blocks of the downtown area burned to the ground. Damages were estimated at $150 million—in 1904 dollars. As the city rebuilt during the next two years, lessons learned from the fire led to improvements in firefighting equipment standards.

The city grew in area by annexing new suburbs from the surrounding counties, the last being in 1918, when the city acquired portions of Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County. A state constitutional amendment, approved in 1948, required a special vote of the citizens in any proposed annexation area, effectively preventing any future expansion of the city's boundaries.

The relative size of the city's black population grew from 23.8% in 1950 to 46.4% in 1970. The Baltimore riot of 1968 occurred following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Coinciding with riots in other cities, public order was not restored until April 12, 1968. The Baltimore riot cost the city of Baltimore an estimated $10 million (US$ 68 million in 2016). A total of 11,000 Maryland National Guard and federal troops were ordered into the city.

Lasting effects of the riot can be seen on the streets of North Avenue, Howard Street, Gay Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue, where long stretches of the streets remain barren. The city experienced challenges again in 1974 when teachers,municipal workers, and police officers conducted strikes.

By the beginning of the 1970s, Baltimore's downtown area known as the Inner Harbor had been neglected and was occupied by a collection of abandoned warehouses. The nickname "Charm City" came from a 1975 meeting of advertisers seeking to improve the city's reputation. Efforts to redevelop the area started with the construction of the Maryland Science Center, which opened in 1976, theBaltimore World Trade Center (1977), and the Baltimore Convention Center (1979).Harborplace, an urban retail and restaurant complex, opened on the waterfront in 1980, followed by the National Aquarium, Maryland's largest tourist destination, and the Baltimore Museum of Industry in 1981. During the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in the United States, Baltimore City Health Department official Robert Mehl persuaded the city's mayor to form a committee to address food problems; the Baltimore-based charity Moveable Feast grew out of this initiative in 1990. By 2010, the organization's region of service had expanded from merely Baltimore to include all of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. In 1992, the Baltimore Orioles baseball teammoved from Memorial Stadium to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, located downtown near the harbor. Pope John Paul II held an open-air mass at Camden Yards during his papal visit to the United States in October 1995. Three years later the Baltimore Ravens football team moved into M&T Bank Stadium next to Camden Yards.


21st century

In January 2004, the historic Hippodrome Theatre reopened after significant renovation as part of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture opened in 2005 on the northeast corner of President Street and East Pratt Street, and the National Slavic Museum in Fell's Point was established in 2012. On April 12, 2012, Johns Hopkins held a dedication ceremony to mark the completion of one of the United States' largest medical complexes – the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore – which features the Sheikh Zayed Cardiovascular and Critical Care Tower and The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center. The event, held at the entrance to the 1.1 billion 1.6 million-square-foot-facility, honored the many donors including Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, first president of the United Arab Emirates, andMichael Bloomberg.

Maryland's Star-Spangled 200 celebration, launched as the "Star-Spangled Sailabration" and crescendo "Star-Spangled Spectacular" festivals, was a three-year commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the penning of The Star-Spangled Banner. The Star-Spangled Sailabration festival brought a total of 45 tall ships, naval vessels and others from the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico to Baltimore's Harbor. The event, held June 13–19, 2012, was the week encompassing Flag Day and the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of War. The Star-Spangled Spectacular was a 10-day free festival that celebrated the 200th anniversary of the United States National Anthem from September 6–16, 2014. More than 30 naval vessels and tall ships from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Norway, Germany, Spain and Turkey berthed at the Inner Harbor, Fell's Point and North Locust Point. An air show from the Navy's Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels performed during both festivals. Special guests such as President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, were in attendance at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. During the course of the Star-Spangled 200 celebration the city was showcased on three separate live television broadcasts. Visit Baltimore CEO, Tom Noonan, was quoted in theBaltimore Sun as calling the Spectacular, "the largest tourism event in our city's history." Over a million people visited Baltimore during both festivals.

Following the Death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, the city experienced major protests and international media attention, which resulted in a temporary curfew being enforced, as well as a drastic rise in murders.

Climate

Baltimore lies within the humid subtropical climate zone, and weather is primarily affected by three factors: its proximity to a warm marine estuary, its low elevation, and the wall of mountains to the west and northwest. These factors make the area's climate milder and less extreme than other U.S. cities at this latitude. Summers are humid and hot, but not extremely so, with highs reaching the high 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit and lows in the 60s to low 70s. Winters are cold to mild and moist, with highs in the upper 40s to low 50s, and lows in the 30s and 40s. It is almost never below 10°F in the city proper. Light snow can sometimes fall in winter, although some years there is no significant accumulation and once every few years a coastal storm can dump 8 inches to a foot of snow on the city. Spring and fall bring pleasant temperatures in the 50s-70s(°F), and southern breezes.

While weather in the region can vary, Baltimore does not experience the extremes of weather change that occur further north and inland. Visitors will be able to venture outdoors without a jacket from approximately mid-March to late November. The hot humid summers invite the wearing of shorts on many days. The Baltimore area experiences pleasant fall foliage, usually beginning in mid October and ending in early December. The long warm weather season means that swimming pools are very popular for much of the year as well.

Climate data for Baltimore

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °F (°C)42.4
(5.8)
45.7
(7.6)
53.9
(12.2)
65.5
(18.6)
75.2
(24)
85.0
(29.4)
89.0
(31.7)
87.0
(30.6)
80.3
(26.8)
68.4
(20.2)
57.7
(14.3)
46.1
(7.8)
66.4
(19.1)
Average low °F (°C)29.2
(−1.6)
31.4
(−0.3)
38.8
(3.8)
47.6
(8.7)
56.9
(13.8)
67.1
(19.5)
72.5
(22.5)
70.9
(21.6)
63.8
(17.7)
51.8
(11)
42.9
(6.1)
32.8
(0.4)
50.5
(10.3)
Source: NOAA

Geography

Baltimore is in north-central Maryland on the Patapsco River close to where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The city is also located on the fall line between the Piedmont Plateau and the Atlantic Coastal Plain, which divides Baltimore into "lower city" and "upper city". The city's elevation ranges from sea level at the harbor to 480 feet (150 m) in the northwest corner near Pimlico.

According to the 2010 Census, the city has a total area of 92.1 square miles (239 km2), of which 80.9 sq mi (210 km2) is land and 11.1 sq mi (29 km2) is water. The total area is 12.1 percent water.

Baltimore is almost completely surrounded by Baltimore County, but is politically independent of it. It is bordered by Anne Arundel County to the south.

Economy

Once a predominantly industrial town, with an economic base focused on steel processing, shipping, auto manufacturing (General Motors Baltimore Assembly), and transportation, the city experienced deindustrialization which cost residents tens of thousands of low-skill, high-wage jobs. The city now relies on a low-wage service economy, which accounts for 90% of jobs in the city.  Around the turn of the century, Baltimore was the leading US manufacturer of rye whiskey and straw hats. It also led in refining of crude oil, brought to the city by pipeline from Pennsylvania.

As of March 2015 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates Baltimore's unemployment rate at 8.1% while one quarter of Baltimore residents (and 37% of Baltimore children) live in poverty. The 2012 closure of a major steel plant at Sparrows Point is expected to have a further impact on employment and the local economy. The Census Bureau reported in 2013 that 207,000 workers commute into Baltimore city each day. Downtown Baltimore is the primary economic asset within Baltimore City and the region with 29.1 million square feet of office space. The tech sector is rapidly growing as the Baltimore metro ranks 8th in the CBRE Tech Talent Report among 50 U.S. metro areas for high growth rate and number of tech professionals. Forbes ranked Baltimore fourth among America's "new tech hot spots".

The city is home to the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Other large companies in Baltimoreinclude Under Armour, Cordish Company, Legg Mason, McCormick & Company, T. Rowe Price, and Royal Farms. A sugar refinery owned byAmerican Sugar Refining is one of Baltimore's cultural icons. Nonprofits based in Baltimore include Lutheran Services in America and Catholic Relief Services.


Port

The center of international commerce for the region is the World Trade Center Baltimore. It houses the Maryland Port Administration and U.S. headquarters for major shipping lines. Baltimore is ranked 9th for total dollar value of cargo and 13th for cargo tonnage for all U.S. ports. In 2014, total cargo moving through the port totaled 29.5 million tons, down from 30.3 million tons in 2013. The value of cargo traveling through the port in 2014 came to $52.5 billion, down from $52.6 billion in 2013. The Port of Baltimore generates $3 billion in annual wages and salary, as well as supporting 14,630 direct jobs and 108,000 jobs connected to port work. In 2014, the port also generated more than $300 million in taxes. It serves over 50 ocean carriers making nearly 1,800 annual visits. Among all U.S. ports, Baltimore is first in handling automobiles, light trucks, farm and construction machinery; and imported forest products, aluminum, and sugar. The port is second in coal exports. The Port of Baltimore's cruise industry, which offers year-round trips on several lines supports over 500 jobs and brings in over $90 million to Maryland's economy annually. Growth at the port continues with the Maryland Port Administration plans to turn the southern tip of the former steel mill into a marine terminal, primarily for car and truck shipments, but also for anticipated new business coming to Baltimore after the completion of the Panama Canal expansion project.


Tourism

Baltimore's history and attractions have allowed the city to become a strong tourist destination on the East Coast. In 2014, the city hosted 24.5 million visitors, who spent $5.2 billion. The Baltimore Visitor Center, which is operated by Visit Baltimore, is located on Light Street in the Inner Harbor. Much of the city's tourism centers around the Inner Harbor, with the National Aquarium being Maryland's top tourist destination. Baltimore Harbor's restoration has made it "a city of boats", with several historic ships and other attractions on display and open for the public to visit. The USS Constellation, the last Civil War-era vessel afloat, is docked at the head of the Inner Harbor; the USS Torsk, a submarine that holds the Navy's record for dives (more than 10,000); and the Coast Guard cutter Taney, the last surviving U.S. warship that was in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, and which engaged Japanese Zero aircraft during the battle.

Also docked is the lightship Chesapeake, which for decades marked the entrance to Chesapeake Bay; and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, the oldest surviving screw-pile lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay, which once marked the mouth of the Patapsco River and the entrance to Baltimore. All of these attractions are owned and maintained by the Historic Ships in Baltimore organization. The Inner Harbor also is the home port of Pride of Baltimore II, the state of Maryland's "goodwill ambassador" ship, a reconstruction of a famous Baltimore Clipper ship.

Other popular tourist destinations throughout the city include Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Fort McHenry, the Mount Vernon and Fells Point neighborhoods, and museums such as the Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Industry, and the B&O Railroad Museum.

Subdivisions

Baltimore has an absolutely staggering number of officially designated neighborhoods, some just several blocks large, and each with its own character. They are administratively separated into nine larger regions. The following list is further simplified for the traveler and contains some of the neighborhoods you are most likely to visit.

Inner Harbor

If you are a tourist, you come here. Most of Baltimore's excellent museums are here, as are most of its major hotels and the magnificent National Aquarium. The harbor views are nice too. But watch out for the tourist trap bars and restaurants!

Fells Point

(Little Italy, Corned Beef Row)

Fells Point could not be more complementary to the Inner Harbor—historic, with great pubs, nightlife, and restaurants, especially in tiny but very authentic Little Italy.

Downtown 

(UMB, Lexington Market)

An incongruous mix of Baltimore's central business district, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, the awe inspiring Lexington Market, the infamously seedy "Block," a host of jewelry shops specializing in grillz, and charming Seton Hill, an area rich in religious, architectural and African-American history.

Midtown 

(Mount Vernon, Station North Arts, Charles St, Bolton Hill)

One of the nicest sections of the city, home to the performing arts district, Penn Station, and a host of other attractions (Walters Art Museum, the original Washington Monument, dining and wining on Charles St, etc.) that most visitors foolishly pass over.

South Baltimore 

(Federal Hill, Locust Point, Pigtown, Fort McHenry)

Industrial blue-collar South Baltimore is dying, and is quickly being replaced with upscale gentrified neighborhoods like Federal Hill. That's not so bad from a traveler's perspective—some of the city's best restaurants and bars have sprung forth in the booming areas.

North Baltimore 

(Station North Arts District, Hampden, Johns Hopkins, Mount Washington)

Most visitors to the area know only Johns Hopkins University and the always interesting commercial strip along Charles St nearby. But it is unfortunate that they overlook the quirkiest of quirky neighborhoods, Hampden.

Southeast Baltimore

(Canton, Patterson Park, Highlandtown, Greektown)

A heavily industrialized section of the city, home to several very enjoyable Polish, Irish, and Greek ethnic enclaves, and other surprises. Cantonites will place their neighborhood up against Federal Hill in the gentrification derby.

West Baltimore 

(Druid Hill Park, Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park, Pimlico)

Infamous West Baltimore. If you have watched the Wire, this was where the crime was taking place! But don't be fooled. There are some major tourist draws here, like the Maryland Zoo in Druid Hill Park, Pimlico Racecourse, and Edgar Allen Poe's House. And the endless old Baltimore rowhouses, no matter how rundown, remain beautiful throughout.

East Baltimore

 (Johns Hopkins Hospital, Clifton Park Golf Course, Herring Run Park)

Baltimore's great rivalry between east and west is certainly an example of the narcissism of small differences. Attractions in the east are very few and far between, but things are changing fast as booming Johns Hopkins Medical Campus expands and demolishes in its wake.

Internet, Comunication

Some restaurants and many libraries have WiFi in Baltimore. There is free City WiFi in parts of the Inner Harbour, and it's available in other areas of Baltimore by subscription.

Prices in Baltimore

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter$1.00
Tomatoes1 kg$3.30
Cheese0.5 kg$5.80
Apples1 kg$4.10
Oranges1 kg$4.55
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$1.75
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$12.00
Coca-Cola2 liters$1.81
Bread1 piece$1.25
Water1.5 l$1.50

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2$33.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$55.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2$
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$7.00
Water0.33 l$1.52
Cappuccino1 cup$3.65
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$5.00
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$4.00
Coca-Cola0.33 l$1.58
Coctail drink1 drink$10.00

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets$26.00
Gym1 month$45.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut$15.00
Theatar2 tickets$146.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.$0.10
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$7.00

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack$30.00
Tampons32 pieces$5.40
Deodorant50 ml.$3.00
Shampoo400 ml.$3.70
Toilet paper4 rolls$
Toothpaste1 tube$1.95

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)$51.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1$44.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1$81.00
Leather shoes1$95.00

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter$0.56
TaxiStart$2.00
Taxi1 km$1.40
Local Transport1 ticket$1.70

Tourist (Backpacker)  

82 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

238 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

BWI Airport—or, in full, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (IATA: BWI) is located about 10 miles from the city center and offers non-stop flights from just about every major airport in the country, with a handful of international flights. (More international flights are available at the two D.C. airports.).

Car rental facilities are located in a centralized facility located away from the airport. To get there, you must take a free airport shuttle bus between the facility and the terminals. Plan an extra 10 to 15 minutes to get out of the airport. Also, if heading to Washington D.C., the signage from the airport's car rental facility is very poor and confusing, especially to Route 495. However, all roads ultimately lead to highway access in either direction (north or south).

You have two options for getting into the city by transit. One is to take the free shuttle to the BWI Amtrak/MARC station, where you can take either an Amtrak ($11–28 one way) or MARC commuter train ($4, runs weekdays only) to Penn Station, a 15-minute ride. The other is to take the Light Rail, which departs directly from the terminal. The ride to the Inner Harbor is about 30 minutes and the fare is $1.60.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

Amtrak offers frequent, fast, and comfortable services into Baltimore along its Northeast Corridor route; the city is also served by several long-distance trains to cities in the South, with connections to trains headed west in New York and Washington. Taking the train to Baltimore from New York, Boston, or Philadelphia will be much more expensive than a bus, but seats on the long-distance trains are often comparable to bus fares. All Amtrak trains arrive and depart at Penn Station on Charles Street in Midtown, about two miles from the Inner Harbor. You can ride the Light Rail or the free Circulator bus to get to downtown and the Harbor. Some Amtrak trains also stop at the BWI Airport station, which is in a suburban area not convenient for tourists.

The MARC commuter train system runs trains between Baltimore and Washington, DC. At $7 each way, it's much cheaper than Amtrak, and considerably faster than driving. The Penn Line serves Penn Station, running throughout the day roughly once per hour on weekdays up until about 10:30 at night. On weekends, Penn Line service operates at much reduced frequencies. The Camden Line serves the Camden Yards station, adjacent to the Orioles stadium and three blocks from the harbor proper; however, it runs only during the morning and evening rush hours. Both routes depart from Union Station in Washington.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

Buses are an affordable way to get in to Baltimore if you are already in the Eastern Seaboard, especially if you are coming from New York or Philadelphia. There are also routes to Baltimore from outside the region on Greyhound and Megabus.

  • Greyhound offers connections to most major cities in North America. The terminal is in an industrial area a few blocks south of the stadium district, about a 30-minute walk to the Inner Harbor. Another option to get to downtown or Mt. Vernon is MTA's route 27, which serves the station directly; there are also usually cabs waiting.
  • BoltBus runs a service from New York's Penn Station to Baltimore's Penn Station in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood. From there, the light rail or Circulator can get you Downtown or to the Inner Harbor.
  • Megabus picks up and drops off at a mall parking lot in suburban White Marsh, about a 25-minute drive or one-hour bus ride (MTA route 35) from the city center. Although the stop location is considerably less convenient than BoltBus, this is made up for by the much greater variety of destinations Megabus offers, including cities across the Northeast, upper South, and even Toronto.
  • NY-DC Express is a Chinatown bus service that offers buses from New York, with rates that are sometimes less than BoltBus and Megabus. You can find other Chinatown bus services between New York and Baltimore at GoToBus.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

Baltimore is served by several interstate freeways: I-83 from Harrisburg and points north; I-70 from Pittsburgh and points west; and I-95 from Philadelphia,Washington, D.C., and other East Coast cities. If arriving from the south, the I-395 spur from I-95 will take you right into the harbor area. If arriving from the north on I-95, you will have to pay a $4 toll to take the Fort McHenry Tunnel under the harbor before you hit 395. You can avoid the toll and see more of the city by exiting I-95 at Eastern Avenue (exit 59), which will take you through the diverse neighborhoods of Southeast Baltimore before terminating in Harbor East.

Car parking is expensive in the inner city, roughly $5/hour around the harbor area. If you’re planning to stick to the central part of the city and don’t mind walking, you can save money and stress by parking for free at one of the suburban Light Rail or Metro stations and taking transit into the city.

Both of the freeways between Baltimore and Washington, DC (I-95 and MD-295, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway) can be extremely congested on weekdays: although the cities are just 40 miles apart, the drive can take up to two hours at peak times, roughly 6AM to 9:30AM and 3:30PM to 6:30PM The MARC commuter train can be a better option.


Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

By MTA

Public transportation in Baltimore is nothing spectacular. Fares to ride light rail, buses and subway are $1.70 each way, and $4.00 buys you a day pass that gets you unlimited rides on all three. You can buy the pass from any bus operator or vending machine at subway/light rail stations.

As a general rule, the light rail system is far more useful for getting into the city than getting around it. You may wish to park outside the city (for free!) and take the light rail in. The one useful section runs from Camden Yards up past Lexington Market to the Station North Arts District.

There is also a single line subway which runs from Johns Hopkins Hospital, through downtown, and out to the northwest suburbs of Pikesville and Owings Mills. The subway does not pass many tourist destinations and is mostly used by commuters.

To get around Baltimore on the cheap by public transport, especially outside of the harbor area, you will sacrifice convenience, but the MTA buses are the way to go. MTA puts out very handy interactive maps of the downtown and regional bus routes, so you can plan ahead. Buses, like all of Baltimore's public transit, are well patrolled and safe.

Transportation - Get Around

By Charm City Circulator

Unlike the MTA, the recently launched Charm City Circulator is a city-run service. And unlike the MTA, the Circulator is free.

Funded by parking taxes, several routes are now online. The Orange Route runs east to west from Hollins Market to Harbor East. The Purple Route runs north to south between Penn Station and Federal Hill.

A third route, The Green Route, runs mostly east of downtown, serving Power Plant Live, Fells Point, and the Johns Hopkins medical complex. The Banner Route, running from the Inner Harbor to Ft. McHenry hits the roads in June 2012. The buses, smaller and quieter than the MTA trains, but more stylish and fun to ride, are ideal for people staying downtown looking for a very economical way to get out towards Fells Point, Federal Hill, Mount Vernon and other areas underserved by the MTA.

If staying outside the city and taking Light Rail or Metro Subway in, the ?Circulator routes were thankfully designed to coordinate with key stops like Baltimore Street, North Howard Street (along which the Light Rail runs), Charles Center and the Convention Center.

Transportation - Get Around

By Car

You don’t need a car to visit Baltimore, but it helps, especially if you’re planning to visit some of the more outlying areas of the city which are poorly served by public transit.

Baltimore has an incomplete freeway system: protests in the 1970s halted the construction of a proposed east-west freeway that would have destroyed neighborhoods including historic Fells’ Point, so I-83 (known within the city as the "Jones Falls Expressway") and I-395 both terminate downtown without connecting to each other. This accounts for heavy traffic downtown during rush hours and on game days. Pratt and Lombard streets can be particularly slow due to the confluence of car and pedestrian traffic around the harbor. If you’re headed east or west across downtown, it’s often quicker to drive a few blocks north to take U.S. Route 40, even if your destination is south of Route 40.

Streets in the central region of the city follow a grid pattern, with alternating one-way streets in many neighborhoods, particularly downtown and on the East Side. In the outer parts of the city, the street pattern becomes more suburban, centered around radial roads. Charles Street divides “East” streets from “West,” and Baltimore Street divides “North” from “South” (early city planners clearly had no idea of how far north the city would grow!). Streets that don’t cross Charles Street or Baltimore Street don’t have a directional label. Most Baltimore street signs have the block number on them, which helps with navigation.

It’s not hard to find paid parking garages and lots near all major sights in the city center, usually charging parking rates commensurate with proximity to the Inner Harbor. Beyond the central neighborhoods, on-street parking is widely available. You pay for street parking at electronic kiosks which take your money (they accept cash or credit cards) and issue a receipt stating the time at which your parking will expire, which you display on your dashboard. Parking enforcement in Baltimore is known to be ruthless.

If you don't have a car, Baltimore has several reliable taxi companies. Taxi fares start at $1.80 and increase by $.20 for each 1/11 mile ($2.20 per mile) or for 30 seconds of waiting time. It’s easy to hail a cab on the street downtown, in Fell’s Point and Mt. Vernon, but elsewhere you’ll have to call.

Transportation - Get Around

By Bicycle

Biking is a fun way to explore Baltimore’s neighborhoods as well as an activity in itself. Scenic areas to explore by bike include the affluent neighborhoods of North Baltimore, the Gwynns Falls Trail and Druid Hill Park on the West Side, and East Baltimore’s Patterson Park. The city center is fairly flat, although the northern part of the city can get quite hilly.

Although Baltimore hasn’t achieved the bicycle-friendliness of its neighbor to the south, the city government is making an effort, slowly installing new bike lanes and marked bicycle routes. Drivers are generally tolerant, although some are liable to pass uncomfortably close (Maryland law requires drivers to allow at least 3 feet when passing a bicyclist, but it’s rarely enforced). The city publishes a handy Bicycle Map, available online and in print at bike shops.

You can bring bicycles on Metro and Light Rail (but not MARC) trains. All MTA buses (but not the Circulator) have a front-loading bike rack.

Three excellent bike shops are located in areas frequented by visitors: Light Street Cycles, located at 1124 Light Street in Federal Hill, less than a mile walk from the Inner Harbor; Baltimore Bicycle Works, at 1813 Falls Road near Penn Station; and Joe’s Bike Shop at 723 S. Broadway in Fells Point. Light Street Cycles and Baltimore Bicycle Works offer bike rentals by the day.

Baltimore’s bike scene has an irreverent side. Instead of a Critical Mass ride (where large groups of cyclists take over the street during rush hour to promote biking), Baltimore has the Baltimore Bike Party, a slow-paced, carousing mass ride replete with costumed riders, decorated bikes, and noisemakers. The Bike Party meets at 7PM at the Washington Monument in Mt. Vernon the last Friday of every month; there’s always an afterparty (and sometimes a pre-party) with food and beer.

Bicycle theft is a serious concern. You must have a strong, solid lock—a cable lock makes your bike easy prey. In 2010 and 2011 there were reports of gangs assaulting cyclists and stealing their bikes after dark in the area between Midtown and Charles Village, North Avenue to 25th Street. Although such reports have been less frequent in the past couple years, it’s safest to stick to well-lit, heavily-travelled streets after dark.

Transportation - Get Around

By water taxi

One of the most popular (and unique!) modes of transportation in Baltimore is the water taxi system +1 410 563-3901. Rarely a useful mode of transport for everyday life, it is an especially nice way of touring the city's main sights for a day (and admiring the skyline from the water). From May–September, it stops throughout the Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Fort McHenry, and even Canton, at intervals of about 15–20 minutes. Day passes, adults: $9.00, kids under 10: $4.00.

In cooperation with the Charm City Circulator system, some routes across the harbor are also free from 7AM to 7PM, including Maritime Park, Tide Point, and Canton Waterfront Park.

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Shopping

You will find that the Inner Harbor area has most of the stores. There are often souvenir shops in many of the interesting attractions, providing expensive, but unique, items. However, many of these are tourist traps. There are some interesting stores in the suburbs, for those of you who are touring the surrounding area. A drive to the nearby Wegmans or IKEA may be well worth it.

Restaurants

A wide variety of dining options can be found in Baltimore, but no visit to Maryland is complete without a sampling of the local favorite:steamed crabs! During the summer harvest season (May to September), picking crabs is a popular way to spend the afternoon with family and friends at a crab feast. However, crab may be imported from as far away as Texas during the off-season. Often crabs are accompanied by steamed shrimp, corn on the cob, and beer.

If steamed crabs are too adventurous, you should at least sample a crab cake, crab bisque, or vegetable crab soup.

Then again, if crabs aren't adventurous enough, there is an impressive range of strange local foods that most visitors never hear about, the preeminent among which is the Baltimore pit beef sandwich. An odd tradition born of the meeting of the American barbecue world with the culinary tastes of Baltimore's Polish immigrants, the pit beef is slowly barbecued all day and night in a deep pit, then put on a kaiser roll, plus onions and horseradish to your liking (don't wuss out on the horseradish—it's an integral part of the experience). It's best served very rare. Unfortunately, pit beef can be hard to come by within the city limits. The favorite pit beefery is probably Chaps, located next to an industrial area on the extreme east of the city.

Vying for local fast food preeminence is Baltimore lake trout. It's not trout (rather, whitefish), and it doesn't come from a lake. But it is impressively fresh, lightly breaded, surprisingly not so greasy, and just all around finger-licking good. It is sort-of served in a sandwich, but you get such a huge quantity of fish in there (for chicken-feed), it's not possible to eat it like a sandwich. Lake Trout takes you far from East Baltimore's pit beef into the west side, but where to get the best fish is a matter of contention. The most accessible, and visitor friendly, is a regular contender for the crown—The Roost.

Coddies represent the final major player in local fast food lore. Nothing fancy here—it's a thick, satisfying codcake served in a sandwich of two saltine crackers, and the coddie should be topped with simple yellow mustard. They can be hard to find, but you'll get great ones at Faidley's for absurdly low prices.

The market place, near the harbor, is full of fresh seafood and food bars. But for a more local experience, head to the neighborhoods surrounding it: Little Italy, Fells Point, Federal Hill, Canton, Mount Washington, etc. all feature both local and international cuisine.

Lexington Market is an especially popular lunchtime destination, with countless vendors selling all kinds of food imaginable. There are standing tables in an open area on the ground floor, as well as a large seating area on the upper level above that. If you are looking for a deep Baltimore culinary experience, head to standing room only Faidley's, where you can get your coddies, some of the world's most acclaimed jumbo lump crab cakes, and even local artifacts like terrapin, raccoon, and muskrat! (Those artifacts are available only seasonally, and only to take home to cook.)

Canton Square offers a diverse selection of good restaurants, but one of the standouts is Nacho Mama's (2907 O'Donnell St). Fun atmosphere, good Mexican food, and many "priceless artifacts" representing everything Baltimore. There also the must-see Greektown, which hosts a wealth of authentic Greek restaurants and coffeehouses.

Vaccaro's in Baltimore's Little Italy is a place to die for when it comes to desserts. This intimate Italian bakery is a little on the high side but features a wide variety of traditional Italian pastries. Located two blocks from the inner harbor area at the corner of Albemarle and Stiles street. They also have a location in Canton Square.

Don't miss the Helmand Restaurant in Mt. Vernon. Owned by Mahmood Karzai, brother of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, the cuisine here is from Afghanistan and delicious! The prices are inexpensive (around $15.00 for an entree), and they boast 4 star quality service. Try the pumpkin appetizer.

In Hampden, there are several (quirky) dining options, including Suzie's Soba (Asian fusion), Cafe Hon (featuring kitschy retro decor and a blue plate special menu), Holy Frijoles (a dark, hip margarita-and-burritos place), Rocket To Venus (eclectic rock-n-roll bar/restaurant) and Golden West (featuring eclectic Southwestern cuisine in equally eclectic surroundings, known for excellent food, a laid-back bar scene, and family-friendly seating. Be warned: it's nicknamed "Golden Wait" by locals for the lackadaisical service.) If you wish for a more formal (and expensive), dinner, try the business district. Also of note is the local dinner theatre, Toby's, which for a sizeable price will give you a fancy three-course buffet dinner and a roughly two hour theatre production. Baltimore recently passed a smoke-free ordinance, so be aware that all restaurants and bars are completely non-smoking.

Sights & Landmarks

As Baltimore is a predominantly African-American city, there are many opportunities to experience African-American history in this town. The most prominent is the Great Blacks in Wax Museum located on East North Avenue in East Baltimore close to Johns Hopkins University. This museum showcases African American History through art. Another site of interest may be the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Black History located close to the Harbor Area.

The Baltimore Harbor is the busy center to the city, a major tourist attraction, a must-see, often featuring live music by jazz groups and crooners and plenty of eating and shopping. While locals scorn the Inner Harbor as a pre-fabricated tourist mecca devoid of true Baltimore culture, visitors should see the harbor, and especially should visit some of its excellent museums and other attractions. Highlights range from the Historic Ships in Baltimore (including the USS Constellation), the kid-mesmerizing Maryland Science Center, to the crowded and enormous National Aquarium, to the radically eccentric American Visionary Arts Museum.

The tourist district of the Inner Harbor is a great destination, where you will have a great time. But it is oddly ahistoric in one of America's most historic cities. The most prominent historical attraction is Fort McHenry across the harbor at the tip of Locust Point. It gained an iconic status in American history by successfully defending the Baltimore harbor from the British naval bombardment in the War of 1812, at which time Sir Francis Scott Key was inspired by the tattered but still waving American flag on the fort to write the poem that would later become the national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.

The other very rewarding historical destination in Baltimore is just east of the Inner Harbor in Fells Point, once a separate town founded in 1730, which became wealthy throughout the 18th and 19th centuries on shipbuilding and the maritime trade (and anti-British privateering). Architecturally, little has changed for more than a century, and the cobblestone streets, old pubs, and quaint harbor area are more than enough to lure visitors.

While you won't run out of attractions to visit in the Inner Harbor, there are a bunch of big attractions throughout the city that you should not miss. Look especially for Westminster Hall and Burying Ground Downtown, the Maryland Zoo in Druid Hill Park, the original Washington Monument and the Walters Art Museum in Mount Vernon, and the Baltimore Museum of Art up by Johns Hopkins University.


Itineraries

  • The Wire Tour — a grand 3.5 hour driving tour of prominent filming locations for the highly acclaimed HBO series, The Wire.
  • Tour the Baltimore Basilica, at 409 Cathedral St. Benjamin Latrobe was the architect for this incredible cathedral, built in neo-classical style. Latrobe went on to redesign the US Capitol after it was burned by the British. The first Catholic Cathedral in the United States, the building has been completely restored. Docents are available to give free tours, or you may walk around on your own. The dome, whose design was influenced by Thomas Jefferson, is worth the visit, even if you don't have time for a tour. Be sure to check out the undercroft, where the large brick foundations that support the dome are clearly visible. Architectural and religious beauty... this place has it all... right in downtown Baltimore.

Things to do

  • Creative Alliance3134 Eastern Ave,  +1 410-276-1651. The Creative Alliance is a vibrant arts center with over 200 events a year ranging from costume dance parties, to folk music performances, rap, world music, and indie film screenings. The space holds two art galleries, a theater, classroom, media lab, live/work studios for 8 artists, and a bar/restaurant.

Sports

Baltimore has several professional sports teams and events.

Professional Sports Teams

  • Baltimore Blast. The city's Major Indoor Soccer League team. They play their home games at 1st Mariner Arena.
  • Baltimore Orioles. The city's Major League Baseball team. They play their home games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
  • Baltimore Ravens. The city's National Football League team. They play their games at M&T Bank Stadium.

Notable College Teams

  • Johns Hopkins Blue Jays Lacrosse. Are one of the most successful, oldest, and well known men's college lacrosse teams in the United States. Currently they have 9 NCAA Division I championships.
  • Loyola Greyhounds Lacrosse. Are a team that found a lot of their success in the late 1980s and 1990's, but finally won their first NCAA men's Division I in 2012.

Sporting Events

  • Baltimore Marathon. Is the flagship race of several races collectively known as the Baltimore Running Festival.
  • Preakness Stakes. Is an American flat Thoroughbred horse race held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course

Festivals and events

  • Baltimore Pride. A two-day weekend festival in June of each year celebrating Baltimore's LGBT community. There is a parade through the city, a festival in Druid Park, and a block party in Mt. Vernon, as well as other events.
  • Maryland Deathfest. For those who enjoy a good headbang, an annual metal festival is held at the city's SONAR venue at the end of May.
  • Artscape: This festival to showcase the arts is held every July in Mt Vernon. This festival features opportunities to experience and purchase arts and craft produced by Baltimore artisans and tailors. It also features concerts of both local and national talent. Past performers have included Common, India Irie, The Temptation and Patty Labelle
  • Afram: This festival to celebrate African American culture is held every June downtown. It feature vendor selling seafood, soulfood and other American favorites. It also has concerts by African American artists and carnival rides.
  • Otakon. One of the largest and longest-running anime conventions in the United States, held over a three-day weekend in July or August (varies depending on the year). Even if you are not into anime, you'll get to see throngs of Japanese cartoon-inspired costumed attendees (cosplayers) take over the Baltimore Convention Center and Inner Harbor during the convention.
  • StoneSoul Picnic: This festival is held every August in Druid Hill Park to celebrate African American heritage. It usually appeals to youth but has vendors, clothing and other items for sale that can be purchased by all ages. There is also usually a concert by a younger hip hop artists. Past performers have included J Holiday, Tiffany Evans and Mario.
  • Baltimore Book Festival. 3 day book festival with over 100 exhibitors/booksellers, author signings, cooking demos and other events and activities held in late September at the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore (it used to in Mt Vernon) to celebrate reading. Free admission.

Nightlife

The two neighborhoods with the largest concentrations of drinking establishments and clubs are Fells Point and Powerplant Live!. Other fine wining (or boozing) and dining neighborhoods include Canton Square, Mt. Vernon, Federal Hill, Hampden, and the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Baltimore is also the home of the oldest Irish pub in the United States, Patrick's of Pratt Street, established in 1847.

Fells Point is the city's most popular district for both eating and drinking, it is located about a 15 min walk from downtown, or a short cab ride. Many bars in this area feature live music and most have excellent selections of Maryland and imported craft beers. The Full Moon Saloon on Aliceanna Street brings outstanding blues artists to the stage, while the Cat's Eye pub on Thames (pronounced as it is spelled, not like the river in London) has jazz and blues. Also be sure to visit Bertha's on Broadway, John Steven Ltd. on Thames, and Max's Taphouse for the widest beer and shooter selection plus Quiz-a-ma-jig trivia every Thursday night.

Max's on Broadway is Baltimore's veritable beer museum, with a long list of hard-to-find beers from around the world.

Powerplant Live! is an area just off of the Inner Harbor that has two blocks of nothing but bars, clubs and restaurants. It has an outdoor area that has music and other events during good weather. Drinks and food are low quality and overpriced (since there is an unending stream of tourists unfamiliar with the city strolling in), but even the most hip Baltimore hipsters will find themselves here every now and then for the free live performances.

Brewer's Art on Charles St specializes in Belgian ales. Cross Street Market in bar-saturated Federal Hill has a fine sushi and raw bar, and an excellent happy hour on Friday.

National Bohemian (affectionately known as 'Natty Boh') is the popular local cheap beer. They are generally no more than $2–3 anywhere in Baltimore, and most places serve them in cans.

Please note that all bars in Baltimore (and the state of Maryland) are completely non-smoking.

Safety in Baltimore

Stay Safe


Baltimore's reputation as a dangerous city was cemented internationally by the HBO series The Wire, and this is not far from the truth. Its nickname, the "Charm City", has been updated by local cynics as the "Harm City," and you can probably find an I *heart* Baltimore t-shirt for sale in which the heart is made of guns and knives. An even less inviting nickname of recent years is the grisly "Bodymore." This reputation is in no small part due to its very high murder rate and its status as a major transit point for drugs. The reputation is warranted, but the average traveler should not get overly concerned. Most crime occurs between individuals that know each other, or in high crime-ridden areas of the city, in which tourists will have little reason to go to. Few if any travelers will have any experience with that isolated culture of drug and gang-related activity, where the murders are occurring. Muggings are the crime for tourists to be concerned with, however.

The areas of Baltimore that attract tourists are safe. You shouldn't worry when going to the opera, museums, aquarium, etc. The popular Inner Harbor area in particular is saturated with police day and night, as the city government relies heavily on this area to bring in locals and tourists and generate tax revenue. Some areas just north of the waterfront (downtown above the Inner Harbor around Lexington Market, and around the big public housing projects just northeast of Little Italy) can get a little dodgy after dark, and even during the day sometimes. If you're parking your car on street in the Charles Street entertainment district or even in Fells Point, don't leave anything — even trash — visible in your car, in order to deter smash-and-grab robberies. Generally, the worst annoyance for tourists and residents around downtown are the homeless and/or drug addicts, who ask for money. Most will leave you alone if they do or don't receive anything from you. But if one follows you asking for money, it's best to ignore them and keep walking, as they almost always give up after a few seconds. Avoid confrontations or yelling back.

Above all, though, just exercise the usual precautions for any large city in the world: know where you are going and how you are getting there. At night, walk in groups if possible and on well-lit streets, and do not carry large amounts of money. Call a cab if the trip back at night seems beyond your comfort zone.

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