John Waters once said about Baltimore “It’s as if everyone eccentric in the South decided to move north, ran out of gas in Baltimore, and decided to stay.” Know best for it’s love of crabs and Orioles, this town is filled with off-beat restaurants, pubs, museums, and most importantly people. This city often gets a bad rap for having a high crime rate. If one more person asks me if living in Baltimore is like the show The Wire, I swear I’m going to scream. Colloquially nicknamed “Charm City” this town will enchant you with it’s unique atmosphere, you just have to let it. Like the mugs in the specialty shops say, Baltimore, United States: there’s more than murder here. Here is a guide to the city’s most popular neighborhoods to help you get acquainted.
Named after George Washington’s estate and final resting place, Mount Vernon is a one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods filled with hip restaurants and is home to many young professionals. Walk around the many small parks, pay a visit to the Walters Art Museum and have a bite to eat at one of the neighborhoods many boutique eateries.
Places to Eat:
Milk and Honey- small market with high-end foods and cute tables with a great view of the bustling city street.
Dooby’s- hip restaurant on Charles street with a casual atmosphere. Stop in for their to die for Ramyun noodles and their amazing avocado toast. They also make a mean cup of coffee.
Ceremony Coffee Roasters- a high-end coffee house with minimalist decor. Their menu changes seasonally with sweet potato pie flavored coffee in the winter and rose water infused nitro-brew concoctions in the summer.
Things to See:
Walters Art Museum- This museum is the bequeathment of William and Henry Walters to the City of Baltimore, and contains art from the third millennium BC up until the 20th century. Work your way through the Egyptian treasures to the Medieval collection all the way to the extensive 19th century French collection. There is truly something for everyone here. Even better, admission is free.
George Washington Monument- Ladies and gentlemen, here comes the general! Make sure to check out this huge monument, which defines the neighborhood. Stop by to sit under your own vine and pear tree and reflect 0n his great contributions to our country. Also featured in the square is a statue of everyone’s favorite fighting Frenchman, Lafayette.
This neighborhood is the most touristy in the city, but it is certainly not to be missed. Walk along the harbor or take a paddle boat on the water to get the true Chesapeake Bay experience (but don’t put your hands in it-locals know this water is not exactly crystal clean).
Places to Eat
Phillips Seafood- A favorite of locals, this restaurant will give you a chance to try Baltimore’s favorite food: crabs. Crabs are served whole in the shell because the ritual of peeling open a crab and scraping out the meat is half the fun. Ask you waitress for help if you’re a first time crab eater.
Miss Shirley’s- A great choice for brunch, this restaurant will make you feel instantly at home. Be sure to try the born on the bay-o bloody mary with an Old Bay rim. You can’t get much more Maryland than that.
Things to See
The National Aquarium- This aquarium has it all, from sharks to octopuses to lively puffins. Be sure to stop by the world-famous mantis shrimp exhibit.
Camden Yards- If they’re in season when you visit, make sure to catch an Orioles game at Camden Yards for an authentic Baltimore-local experience. Just don’t be startled when everyone in the stadium shouts “OOO” on the “Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave” line of the national anthem. It’s a Baltimore tradition to pay homage to our beloved “O’s”
This historic neighborhood is full of vibrant boutiques, antique stores and most importantly pubs, of which there are 120 in the neighborhood. Walk the cobblestone streets and experience the history that lives in this place.
Places to Eat
Bertha’s Mussels- Another local favorite, this place is known for it’s classic green exterior that has punctuated the Fell’s Point neighborhood for many years. This place has the best seafood in the area, and is said to be haunted by the ghost of Bertha herself. Make sure to pick up a classic Eat Bertha’s Mussels bumper sticker on your way out.
Mezze- This tapas bar has fabulous small plates that are perfect for sharing. Make sure to try the Swordfish Kebob. Ask to be seated on the rooftop, you will be treated to one of the best views in the city.
Things to See
Original Fells Point Haunted Ghost Walk- Like every historic place, there are bound to be some skeletons in it’s closet. Go on an authentic ghost tour of the area with a trained guide, or if you want to add some 21 and older fun into the mix, try the haunted pub crawl.
Located in the east, this residential neighborhood is a step out of the busy hustle and bustle of the city center. Walk down the tree lined streets and go shopping at the local stores, this neighborhood has something for everyone.
Places to Eat
Nalley Fresh- This casual restaurant masters the art of the healthy-but-tasty lunch. With a choice of a salad, soup, or a rice bowl and a variety of toppings, you can either choose from the preset menu or build your own bowl. If the weather is nice, sit outside on the terrace to enjoy the Maryland sunshine.
Iron Rooster- This all-day breakfast restaurant is a local favorite for brunch. Try their classic chicken and waffles, housemade poptarts, or their decadent red velvet waffles topped with vanilla ice cream. The casual country chic atmosphere (the building is shaped like a big red barn) will make you swoon. make sure to show up early on the weekends- there is usually a line out the door by 10am.