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'''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.
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'''Baltimore''' is a popular tourist destination in [[Maryland]], in the [[Mid-Atlantic (United States of America)|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.
 
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.
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===Geography===
 
===Geography===
  
Baltimore lies in an arm of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the world.  The eastern two-thirds of the metropolitan area lie on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, between 15 and 50 feet above sea level, and contain many peninsulas jutting out into the bay.  The western third of the city slowly rises into rolling hills, and leads to the piedmont region.  It is located about 40 miles from [[Washington, D.C.]], and approximately 100 miles from [[Philadelphia]].  The Atlantic Ocean lies about 2 hours to the southeast.
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Baltimore lies in an arm of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the world.  The eastern two-thirds of the metropolitan area lie on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, between 15 and 50 feet above sea level, and contain many peninsulas jutting out into the bay.  The western third of the city slowly rises into rolling hills, and leads to the piedmont region.  It is located about 40 miles from [[Washington (D.C.)]], and approximately 100 miles from [[Philadelphia]].  The Atlantic Ocean lies about 2 hours to the southeast.
 
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* '''CityPaper''', [http://www.citypaper.com], Baltimore's weekly alternative newspaper
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* '''Urbanite''' the free montly magazine, [http://www.urbanitebaltimore.com/]
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* Baltimore Fun Guide [http://www.baltimorefunguide.com/calendar/home.do]
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===Climate===
 
===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 factor's 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 cool to mild and moist, with highs in the upper 40s to low 50s, and lows in the 30s and 40s.  Temperatures in the winter will wander into the high 10°F on a rare occasion, and 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 4 or 5 years a coastal storm can dump over 8 inches on the city.  Spring and fall bring pleasant temperatures in the 50s-70s(°F), and southern breezes.
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Baltimore's climate 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 factor's 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 80-90°F and lows in the 60-70°F.  Winters are cool and moist, with highs in the 40-50°F and lows in the 30-40° F.  Temperatures in the winter will wander into the high 10°F on a rare occasion, and 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 4 or 5 years a coastal storm can dump over 8 inches on the city.  Spring and fall bring pleasant temperatures in the 50s-70s(°F), and southern breezes.
 
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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 November and ending in early December.  The long warm weather season means that swimming pools are very popular for much of the year as well.
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==Film==
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For a relatively small and poor US city, Baltimore boasts a surprisingly influential, albeit small-scale, film industry. Self-dubbed the "grandfather of filth" native '''John Waters''' is the Baltimore equivalent of [[New York (city)|New York's]] Woodie Allen—he has directed movie after movie, set and filmed on location in Baltimore, drawing heavily for inspiration from Baltimore's most bizarre subcultures and its strangest neighborhoods. He became famous for his "gore" flicks in the 1970s, which combine the single-minded purpose of grossing-out (or perhaps scarring-for-life) the viewers along with intensely bad acting, outrageous Baltimore accents, subversive humor, general trashy perversion and violence, and one enormous Baltimore drag queen named Divine. Of this era, ''Pink Flamingos'' achieved a certain cult-classic status, although it is absolutely not for the faint of heart (or the pure of spirit).
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Waters' films post-1970s mellowed out dramatically, albeit still maintaining his signature interest in subversive campiness, culminating in his most famous work, '''''Hairspray''''', a 1962-fabulous story of a plus-size girl with plus-size hair who wanted to bring a black boy to the locally-televised dance show against the forces of racial segregation and bigotry. He has gained considerable success within the [[New York (city)/Manhattan|Manhattan]] art world for his more recent work across all sorts of mediums—but he rails against that same art world in ''Pecker'', a movie soaked in the local colors of Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood. His dogged loyalty to his city has earned him a lot of goodwill here. A recent mayor proposed creating a local John Waters holiday, and the Hampden neighborhood erected a giant pink flamingo statue up on the main street. But don't let all this lull you into a sense of complacency—unless it's ''Hairspray'' or perhaps ''Crybaby'' and maybe ''Serial Mom'', don't show his films to your kids!
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'''Barry Levinson''', is perhaps the most well-known film maker to come out of and make films about Baltimore. His directing career began with ''Diner'', a movie set in the Baltimore of his youth, and a movie that would begin the famous four-movie series of "Baltimore films" along with ''Tin Men'', ''Avalon'', and ''Liberty Heights''.
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Another big name in Baltimore film-making is undoubtedly '''David Simon''', famous for his Baltimore-centric crime dramas ''Homicide: Life on the streets'' (which he co-produced with Barry Levinson), and, of course, '''''The Wire''''', which has been called by nearly every major journalistic publication in the English language "the best show on television"—although several have contended this doesn't go far enough, calling it the best TV series of all time. The Wire is set principally in the most blighted neighborhoods of West Baltimore, dealing with startlingly realistic, cliché-less portrayals of the life of the city's (and America's) underclass and the drug crime that pervades the neighborhoods and housing projects that underclass lives in. A veteran reporter for the ''Baltimore Sun'' and a novelist in his own right, Simon also turns his camera on the city government, the police department, and the public schools, and never in too favorable of a light. For an even starker portrayal of life and drugs in Baltimore's most blighted neighborhoods, check out his documentary-style miniseries, ''The Corner''.
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Don't let these crime dramas get you down, though, most city visitors are unlikely to have any encounters with the drug trade or really much anything to do with Baltimore culture for that matter. All the more reason why ''The Wire'' is practically required reading for a serious visitor—the show is filmed on location throughout the whole city, and nowhere else will you be so quickly and delightfully introduced to Baltimore in all its local character and sense of place: Baltimore club music, beautiful and dilapidated old row houses with marble stoops, the legendary horse-cart fruit vendor, coddies and pit beef, bottles of rye by the docks, the East-West rivalry, all sorts of local hip hop, a few good corrupt Polish cops, some angry young boys in the projects, and above all that sense of restlessness that keeps this city alive.
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==Get in==
 
==Get in==
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and you can ride it to the convention center, three blocks from the harbor. Some Amtrak trains also stop at the BWI (airport) station which is a few miles south of the main Penn Station.
 
and you can ride it to the convention center, three blocks from the harbor. Some Amtrak trains also stop at the BWI (airport) station which is a few miles south of the main Penn Station.
  
The [http://www.mtamaryland.com/ MARC] train system provides inexpensive service between Baltimore and [[Washington, D.C.]] (and from Washington to Frederick, Maryland and Martinsburg, West Virginia).  It is, however, meant to be a commuter system, and runs mostly during work days/hours.  Check to be sure it is available when you need it.
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The [http://www.mtamaryland.com/ MARC] train system provides inexpensive service between Baltimore and [[Washington (D.C.)]] (and from Washington to Frederick, Maryland and Martinsburg, West Virginia).  It is, however, meant to be a commuter system, and runs mostly during work days/hours.  Check to be sure it is available when you need it.
  
 
===By plane===
 
===By plane===
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==Get around==
 
==Get around==
  
Public transportation in Baltimore is nothing spectacular. Fares to ride light rail, buses and subway are $1.60 each way, and $3.50 buys you a day pass that gets you unlimited rides on all three.  However, most sights you'll probably be seeing can be walked to.   
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Public transportation in Baltimore is nothing spectacular. Fares to ride light rail, buses and subway are $1.60 each way, and $3.00 buys you a day pass that gets you unlimited rides on all three.  However, most sights you'll probably be seeing can be walked to.   
  
 
The [http://www.mtamaryland.com 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 [http://www.mtamaryland.com 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.
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<!--Some of these are districts; the article needs to be re-organized treating them as such.-->
 
<!--Some of these are districts; the article needs to be re-organized treating them as such.-->
 
* '''Harbor'''. The harbor area is the busy center to the city, a major tourist attraction, a must-see, often featuring live music by jazz groups and crooners.  
 
* '''Harbor'''. The harbor area is the busy center to the city, a major tourist attraction, a must-see, often featuring live music by jazz groups and crooners.  
 +
* '''National Cryptologic Museum''' at '''Fort Meade''' in [[Maryland]], between [[Washington (D.C.)]] and Baltimore. [http://nsa.gov/museum/], [http://www.cia.gov/csi/studies/vol47no3/article04.html].
 
*'''American Visionary Art Museum''', Inner Harbor, [http://www.avam.org/]. Tu-Su. The most eclectic and interesting collection of contemporary art from professional and amateur artists alike. Adults $9 / Concessions $6.   
 
*'''American Visionary Art Museum''', Inner Harbor, [http://www.avam.org/]. Tu-Su. The most eclectic and interesting collection of contemporary art from professional and amateur artists alike. Adults $9 / Concessions $6.   
  
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* '''Fort McHenry''', [http://www.nps.gov/fomc/]. Birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner
 
* '''Fort McHenry''', [http://www.nps.gov/fomc/]. Birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner
 
*'''Federal Hill.''', A historic neighborhood containing several bars and restaurants, named after the site of a famous Civil War confrontation that gives the large green hill in the neighborhood it's name.
 
*'''Federal Hill.''', A historic neighborhood containing several bars and restaurants, named after the site of a famous Civil War confrontation that gives the large green hill in the neighborhood it's name.
*'''Hampden.'''  An eclectic, recently gentrified area in North Baltimore that boasts an ice cream soda fountain, many restaurants, several antique stores, unique shops, and hosts the two-day 'Honfest' each Spring.  John Waters filmed "Pecker" and "Crybaby" here. During the weeks before Christmas, the residents of 34th Street put up amazing light displays.
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*'''Hampden.'''  An eclectic, recently gentrified area in North Baltimore that boasts an ice cream soda fountain, many restaurants, several antique stores, unique shops, and hosts the two-day 'Honfest' each Spring.  John Waters filmed "Pecker" and "Crybaby" here.
 
*'''Fell's Point.''', Historic maritime neighborhood in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area.
 
*'''Fell's Point.''', Historic maritime neighborhood in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area.
 
* '''Port Discovery - The Children's Museum''', Voted one of the top 5 childrens' museum in the US - directly off of the Inner Harbor, [http://portdiscovery.org].
 
* '''Port Discovery - The Children's Museum''', Voted one of the top 5 childrens' museum in the US - directly off of the Inner Harbor, [http://portdiscovery.org].
*'''Baltimore Maritime Museum''', [http://www.baltomaritimemuseum.org]. At the piers near the National Aquarium is a genuine Chesapeake Bay lighthouse and a collection of historic ships that you can tour on your own. The ships include the USS Torsk (a World War II era submarine), the USS Taney (a coast guard cutter that survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), and the Lightship Chesapeake (a floating, mobile lighthouse).
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*'''Baltimore Maritime Museum''', [http://www.baltomaritimemuseum.org].
*'''Maryland Science Center''', [http://www.mdsci.org]. Great family outing, full of hands-on, interactive science exhibits for kids of all ages.
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*'''Maryland Science Center''', [http://www.mdsci.org].  
 
*'''National Aquarium''', [http://www.aqua.org]. One of the best aquariums in the nation, the Baltimore Aquarium is famous for its tropical rain forest exhibit, its efforts to saving marine mammals, and its large shark tanks. Well worth the price of admission, it's a draw for marine scientists and civilians alike.  
 
*'''National Aquarium''', [http://www.aqua.org]. One of the best aquariums in the nation, the Baltimore Aquarium is famous for its tropical rain forest exhibit, its efforts to saving marine mammals, and its large shark tanks. Well worth the price of admission, it's a draw for marine scientists and civilians alike.  
*'''Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum''', [http://www.borail.org]. Located in a beautiful historic railroad roundhouse is a large collection of locomotives and railcars dating back to the very earliest railroads of America. Train rides are sometimes available. Very kid friendly.
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*'''Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum''', [http://www.borail.org].
* '''Baltimore Museum of Art''', on the campus of Johns Hopkins University, [http://artbma.org].  W-Su. Fantastic collection with surprising breadth. Free.  
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* '''Baltimore Museum of Art''', on the campus of Johns Hopkins University, [http://artbma.org].  W-Su. Fantastic. Free.  
* '''The Walters Art Museum''',  in mid-town, [http://www.thewalters.org/html/home.asp]. Excellent museum with a large, diverse collection, though it is best known for its collection of 19th century European masterpieces. Free.
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* '''The Walters Art Museum''',  in mid-town, [http://www.thewalters.org/html/home.asp]. Free.
* '''Johns Hopkins University''', [http://www.jhu.edu/]. The Homewood campus was a property purchased in 1800 by Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence, as a wedding present for his son, who designed and oversaw the building of the outstanding federal style country house. The Johns Hopkins University was the first research university in the United States. Tourists will enjoy the Homewood House, a historic home built by Charles Carrol for his son, now a history museum, and the Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame.
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* '''Johns Hopkins University''', [http://www.jhu.edu/]. The Homewood campus was a property purchased in 1800 by Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence, as a wedding present for his son, who designed and oversaw the building of the outstanding federal style country house. The Johns Hopkins University was the first research university in the United States.  
  
 
  [[Image:johns_hopkins_university.jpg|thumb|The Johns Hopkins University at the Homewood campus]]
 
  [[Image:johns_hopkins_university.jpg|thumb|The Johns Hopkins University at the Homewood campus]]
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*'''Top of the World'''. An observation deck in the I. M. Pei-designed 31-story "World Trade Center". It is located directly on the water front and is the tallest pentagonal building in the world. It is about 5 dollars a person to go up and it is a great way to view downtown,the inner harbor and bay, and all of the little neighborhoods surrounding downtown. It is on the 27th or 28th floor and it provides amazing views.
 
*'''Top of the World'''. An observation deck in the I. M. Pei-designed 31-story "World Trade Center". It is located directly on the water front and is the tallest pentagonal building in the world. It is about 5 dollars a person to go up and it is a great way to view downtown,the inner harbor and bay, and all of the little neighborhoods surrounding downtown. It is on the 27th or 28th floor and it provides amazing views.
  
*'''Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum''' [http://www.eapoe.org/balt/poehse.htm]. An early home of the American author of mystery and the macabre. Located on Amity Street in a rough neighborhood, surrounded by public housing. Admission fee, limited hours.  
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*'''Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum''' [http://www.eapoe.org/balt/poehse.htm]. An early home of the American author of mystery and the macabre. Located on Amity St. surrounded by public housing. Admission fee, limited hours.  
  
 
*'''Westminster Hall and Burying Ground''' Corner of Lafayette and Greene Streets, burial place of famous Baltimore residents including Edgar Allan Poe, James McHenry (signer of the U.S. Constitution), former city mayors, and others.
 
*'''Westminster Hall and Burying Ground''' Corner of Lafayette and Greene Streets, burial place of famous Baltimore residents including Edgar Allan Poe, James McHenry (signer of the U.S. Constitution), former city mayors, and others.
 
*'''Maryland Zoo''' (formerly the Baltimore Zoo) Druid Hill Park, I-83 Jones Falls Expwy, exit at 28th Street/Druid Hill Park. Large zoo set in a classic victorian-era park. 
 
  
 
*'''Mount Vernon Cultural District''', [http://www.mvcd.org/].
 
*'''Mount Vernon Cultural District''', [http://www.mvcd.org/].
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* '''Shot Tower'''
 
* '''Shot Tower'''
 
* '''Inner Harbor'''
 
* '''Inner Harbor'''
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==Do==
  
==Do==
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There is no shortage of things to do in Baltimore!  Whether you are visiting for an afternoon, a day, a weekend or longer, you have many options to choose from.
  
 
===Sports===
 
===Sports===
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* Baltimore Symphony, [http://www.baltimoresymphony.org/].
 
* Baltimore Symphony, [http://www.baltimoresymphony.org/].
 
* Ram's Head Live, [http://www.ramsheadlive.com/].
 
* Ram's Head Live, [http://www.ramsheadlive.com/].
* 8x10 Club, [http://www.the8x10.com/index_content.html]
 
  
 
===Events===
 
===Events===
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A highlight for beer lovers is Mahaffey's pub in Canton.  The owner is almost always there to answer questions and rotates his taps weekly with hard to find beers from around the country and from around the world.  The atmosphere is cozy and the people are all friendly, it is truly Baltimore's version of "Cheers"
 
A highlight for beer lovers is Mahaffey's pub in Canton.  The owner is almost always there to answer questions and rotates his taps weekly with hard to find beers from around the country and from around the world.  The atmosphere is cozy and the people are all friendly, it is truly Baltimore's version of "Cheers"
  
Fells Point has dozens of options 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 Cats Eye pub on Thames 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.
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Fells Point has dozens of options for both eating and drinking, it is located about a 15 min walk from downtown, or a short cab ride.
  
 
The DuClaw Brewing Company has an excellent selection of locally made craft beers, with rotating styles depending on the season.   
 
The DuClaw Brewing Company has an excellent selection of locally made craft beers, with rotating styles depending on the season.   
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Cross Street Market in Federal Hill has a sushi and raw bar, and an excellent happy hour on Friday.
 
Cross Street Market in Federal Hill has a sushi and raw bar, and an excellent happy hour on Friday.
  
===Coffee===
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<B>COFFEE</B>
Baltimore has lots of great independent coffee shops to choose from:
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If you are jonesin' for a cuppa joe, Baltimore has lots of great independent coffee shops to choose from:
* '''Donna's''', [http://www.donnas.com/] multiple locations including Mt. Vernon (800 N. Charles Street) and Charles Village (3101 St. Paul Street).
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* Donna's, [http://www.donnas.com/] multiple locations including Mt. Vernon (800 N. Charles Street) and Charles Village (3101 St. Paul Street).
* '''Red Emma's''', 800 St. Paul St. (near Spotlighter's Theater and CenterStage) [http://www.redemmas.org/] Bookstore and Coffeeshop.
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* Red Emma's, [http://www.redemmas.org/] Bookstore and Coffeeshop, 800 St. Paul St.  (near Spotlighter's Theater and CenterStage)
* '''Patterson Perk''', 2501 Eastern Ave, across from Patterson Park.
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* Patterson Perk, 2501 Eastern Ave, across from Patterson Park.
* '''Common Ground''', 819 West 36th, on The Avenue (36th St) in Hamden
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* Common Ground, 819 West 36th, on The Avenue (36th St) in Hamden
* '''Daily Grind''', [http://www.dailygrind.com/] 1720 Thames St, Fells Point
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* Daily Grind, [http://www.dailygrind.com/] 1720 Thames St, Fells Point
* '''Zeke's''', [http://www.zekescoffee.com/] sells beans only, but they are the BEST coffee beans money can buy!
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* Zeke's, [http://www.zekescoffee.com/] sells beans only, but they are the BEST coffee beans money can buy!
*'''Red Canoe''', 4337 Harford Road, Lauraville, NE Baltimore, [http://www.redcanoe.bz/]. Bookstore and cafe in sells Zeke's coffee by the cup.
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** Red Canoe, [http://www.redcanoe.bz/] bookstore and cafe in Lauraville, NE Baltimore, 4337 Harford Road, sells Zeke's coffee by the cup (in liquid form)
  
 
==Sleep==
 
==Sleep==
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* '''Brookshire Suites'''  120 E Lombard Street, ''410'' 625-1300, [http://www.harbormagic.com/Brookshire?brookshire_default.asp]. Brookshire Suites is the perfect place to revel in the beauty and magic of Charm City. In the heart of the city’s famous Inner Harbor, Brookshire Suites is just steps away from many of Baltimore’s fabulous attractions, restaurants and the thriving business district.
 
* '''Brookshire Suites'''  120 E Lombard Street, ''410'' 625-1300, [http://www.harbormagic.com/Brookshire?brookshire_default.asp]. Brookshire Suites is the perfect place to revel in the beauty and magic of Charm City. In the heart of the city’s famous Inner Harbor, Brookshire Suites is just steps away from many of Baltimore’s fabulous attractions, restaurants and the thriving business district.
  
* '''Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore''' 20 West Baltimore Street, ''410'' 539-8400, [http://www.radisson.com/lordbaltimore].
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* '''Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore''' 20 West Baltimore Street, ''410'' 539-8400, [http://www.radisson.com/lordbaltimore]. Built in 1928, the 22-story hotel is three blocks from the National Aquarium and Hioppodrome theater and directly across the street from the Metro station.
  
 
* '''The Mount Vernon Hotel''' 24 West Franklin Street, ''410'' 727-2000, [http://www.mountvernonbaltimore.com]. Enjoy its historic atmosphere, stunning architecture, warm hospitality and accommodations. Since 1907, the Mount Vernon Hotel has been providing visitors with distinctive lodging with easy access to the city’s cultural sites and attractions.  
 
* '''The Mount Vernon Hotel''' 24 West Franklin Street, ''410'' 727-2000, [http://www.mountvernonbaltimore.com]. Enjoy its historic atmosphere, stunning architecture, warm hospitality and accommodations. Since 1907, the Mount Vernon Hotel has been providing visitors with distinctive lodging with easy access to the city’s cultural sites and attractions.  
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== Stay Safe ==
 
== Stay Safe ==
  
Baltimore has quite the reputation for crime. 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 prominent, nationally-acclaimed crime dramas. The reputation is warranted, but the average traveler should not get overly concerned. The high murder rate needs to be informed by the awful (albeit not awful ''for travelers'') context that nearly all the homicides in the city are of young black men&mdash;most of them just in their teens&mdash;located in parts of the city that few travelers have ever laid eyes upon. Muggings are the violent crime to be concerned with for tourists, and they very rarely occur in any of the popular tourist areas.
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It is undeniable that Baltimore has a high murder rate. While most of the murders are related to the illegal drug trade and rarely affect the downtown area, the rate of armed robberies is still high. As a visitor, you should be safe if you are prudent and know where you are going and how you are getting there. Common sense and precautions should be taken when walking around at night: walk in groups; do not carry large amounts of money; and avoid poorly lit and seedy neighborhoods.
  
Those areas of Baltimore that attract tourists are '''very safe'''. You are simply not in danger when going to the opera, museums, aquarium, etc. The popular waterfront areas in particular are ''saturated'' with police day and night, as the city government relies heavily on these areas to generate much needed tax revenues. Some areas just north of the waterfront (Downtown above the Inner Harbor and big public housing projects just northeast of Little Italy) can get a little too quiet after dark. If 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.
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Cabs can be expensive, but are safe.
  
Above all, though, just exercise the usual precautions for urban America: know where you are going and how you are getting there, at night walk in groups and do not carry large amounts of money, avoid poorly lit streets, and call a cab if the trip back at night seems beyond your comfort zone.
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== Cope ==
 +
 
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* '''CityPaper''', [http://www.citypaper.com], Baltimore's weekly alternative newspaper
 +
* '''Urbanite''' the free monthly magazine, [http://www.urbanitebaltimore.com/]
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* Baltimore Fun Guide [http://www.baltimorefunguide.com/calendar/home.do]
  
 
==Get out==
 
==Get out==
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{{geo|39.2865|-76.6149}}
 
{{geo|39.2865|-76.6149}}
 
[[pt:Baltimore]]
 
[[pt:Baltimore]]
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[[WikiPedia:Baltimore]]
 
[[WikiPedia:Baltimore]]
  
{{usablecity}}
 
  
{{hasDocent|Peterfitzgerald}}
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{{outline}}

Revision as of 15:32, 14 April 2008

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.

Downtown Baltimore on a beautiful October day.


Contents

Understand

Baltimore has a very long and rich history. It is perhaps most well-known for being the site of the historic Battle of Baltimore. During this battle, the British invaders bombed Fort McHenry with rockets as Francis Scott Key wrote the American national anthem. Baltimore was also the site of the first casualty of the American Civil War.

It has a large African-American population that has played an important role in its history. African Americans have had a major presence in Baltimore since the Revolutionary War. During that time they were brought to Baltimore as slaves from Africa. Baltimore was also one of the hotbeds during the American Civil Rights movement and famous African-Americans such as Thurgood Marshall and Kweisi Mfume have made Baltimore their hometown. R&B artists such as Tupac, Dru Hill and Mario have also emerged from Baltimore. Currently, African-Americans form a majority (within the city limits) at 64%.

Geography

Baltimore lies in an arm of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the world. The eastern two-thirds of the metropolitan area lie on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, between 15 and 50 feet above sea level, and contain many peninsulas jutting out into the bay. The western third of the city slowly rises into rolling hills, and leads to the piedmont region. It is located about 40 miles from Washington (D.C.), and approximately 100 miles from Philadelphia. The Atlantic Ocean lies about 2 hours to the southeast.

Climate

Baltimore's climate 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 factor's 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 80-90°F and lows in the 60-70°F. Winters are cool and moist, with highs in the 40-50°F and lows in the 30-40° F. Temperatures in the winter will wander into the high 10°F on a rare occasion, and 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 4 or 5 years a coastal storm can dump over 8 inches on the city. Spring and fall bring pleasant temperatures in the 50s-70s(°F), and southern breezes.

Get in

By bus

Greyhound serves most major cities, and the stop in Baltimore's downtown is a few blocks south of the Inner Harbor

Also check out Apex Bus if you're travelling from New York. They offer pretty competitive rates especially if you are travelling on a shoestring budget.

By car

Car parking is expensive in the inner city, roughly $5/hr around the harbor area. The 395 turn-off from the I95 will take you right into the harbor area, but traffic can be slow in the center of the city at rush hour and on game days.

By train

Amtrak offers frequent services into Baltimore. The main station (Penn Station) is on Charles Street in the center of the city, but a considerable distance from the harbor area. However, a spur of the light rail system connects to the train station, and you can ride it to the convention center, three blocks from the harbor. Some Amtrak trains also stop at the BWI (airport) station which is a few miles south of the main Penn Station.

The MARC train system provides inexpensive service between Baltimore and Washington (D.C.) (and from Washington to Frederick, Maryland and Martinsburg, West Virginia). It is, however, meant to be a commuter system, and runs mostly during work days/hours. Check to be sure it is available when you need it.

By plane

The Baltimore-Washington International Airport is located a few miles outside of the city and is accessible by car or light rail. Shuttles connect BWI to an Amtrak train station just off the airport grounds.

BWI has a somewhat unique car rental system. Car rental facilities are located in a centralized facility located away from the airport. Airport shuttle buses must take travelers to and from the facility and it is advisable to plan an extra 10 to 15 minutes to get out of the airport. Also, if heading to Washington DC, 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).

Get around

Public transportation in Baltimore is nothing spectacular. Fares to ride light rail, buses and subway are $1.60 each way, and $3.00 buys you a day pass that gets you unlimited rides on all three. However, most sights you'll probably be seeing can be walked to.

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.

There is also a single line subway [1] which runs from Johns Hopkins hospital, through downtown, and out to the northwest suburbs of Pikesville and Owings Mills.

Parking is plentiful near all major sights, usually with pay lots and garages charging parking rates commensurate with most major cities. The harbor area and the public transportation systems are safe and patrolled.

One of the most popular (and unique!) modes of transportation in Baltimore is the water taxi system. The water taxi is an especially nice way to get around during the warmer months, and offers unique views of the Baltimore skyline. $8.00 buys you unlimited rides all day long, and you can hop on and off at any of the stops throughout the harbor area (which covers areas like Fort McHenry, Fells Point, Little Italy, the Science Center and Aquarium). Hours of operation vary throughout the year; check the schedule for details.

Cabs can be expensive, but are safe.

See

Baltimore's Inner Harbor skyline
  • Harbor. The harbor area is the busy center to the city, a major tourist attraction, a must-see, often featuring live music by jazz groups and crooners.
  • National Cryptologic Museum at Fort Meade in Maryland, between Washington (D.C.) and Baltimore. [2], [3].
  • American Visionary Art Museum, Inner Harbor, [4]. Tu-Su. The most eclectic and interesting collection of contemporary art from professional and amateur artists alike. Adults $9 / Concessions $6.
U.S.S. Constellation
  • U.S.S. Constellation, [5]. The last all-sail warship built by the U.S. Navy and the only Civil War-era vessel still afloat.
  • Fort McHenry, [6]. Birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner
  • Federal Hill., A historic neighborhood containing several bars and restaurants, named after the site of a famous Civil War confrontation that gives the large green hill in the neighborhood it's name.
  • Hampden. An eclectic, recently gentrified area in North Baltimore that boasts an ice cream soda fountain, many restaurants, several antique stores, unique shops, and hosts the two-day 'Honfest' each Spring. John Waters filmed "Pecker" and "Crybaby" here.
  • Fell's Point., Historic maritime neighborhood in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area.
  • Port Discovery - The Children's Museum, Voted one of the top 5 childrens' museum in the US - directly off of the Inner Harbor, [7].
  • Baltimore Maritime Museum, [8].
  • Maryland Science Center, [9].
  • National Aquarium, [10]. One of the best aquariums in the nation, the Baltimore Aquarium is famous for its tropical rain forest exhibit, its efforts to saving marine mammals, and its large shark tanks. Well worth the price of admission, it's a draw for marine scientists and civilians alike.
  • Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, [11].
  • Baltimore Museum of Art, on the campus of Johns Hopkins University, [12]. W-Su. Fantastic. Free.
  • The Walters Art Museum, in mid-town, [13]. Free.
  • Johns Hopkins University, [14]. The Homewood campus was a property purchased in 1800 by Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence, as a wedding present for his son, who designed and oversaw the building of the outstanding federal style country house. The Johns Hopkins University was the first research university in the United States.
The Johns Hopkins University at the Homewood campus
  • Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture 830 E. Pratt Street, (410) 333-1130, [15]. Tues-Sun 10am - 5pm, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day and Easter Sunday. This new facility is the largest museum on the East Coast that is devoted to African American history and culture. Admission $8, seniors and college students $6, 6 and under free.
  • Top of the World. An observation deck in the I. M. Pei-designed 31-story "World Trade Center". It is located directly on the water front and is the tallest pentagonal building in the world. It is about 5 dollars a person to go up and it is a great way to view downtown,the inner harbor and bay, and all of the little neighborhoods surrounding downtown. It is on the 27th or 28th floor and it provides amazing views.
  • Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum [16]. An early home of the American author of mystery and the macabre. Located on Amity St. surrounded by public housing. Admission fee, limited hours.
  • Westminster Hall and Burying Ground Corner of Lafayette and Greene Streets, burial place of famous Baltimore residents including Edgar Allan Poe, James McHenry (signer of the U.S. Constitution), former city mayors, and others.
  • Mount Vernon Cultural District, [17].
  • Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower [18].
  • Enoch Pratt Library [19].
  • Patterson Park [20].
  • Gwynns Falls Trail [21].
  • Jewish Museum of Maryland, [22].
  • Power Plant Live!
  • Shot Tower
  • Inner Harbor

Do

There is no shortage of things to do in Baltimore! Whether you are visiting for an afternoon, a day, a weekend or longer, you have many options to choose from.

Sports

  • Baltimore Orioles, [23]. The local baseball team plays at the Camden Yards.
  • Baltimore Ravens, [24]. Football.
  • Charm City Roller Girls, [25].
  • Chesapeake Women's Rugby, [26].

Tours

  • Fells Point Ghost Tours, [27]. A one hour walking tour of historic Fells Point in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Also has a 2 hour haunted pub tour.
  • Water Taxi. Circumnavigates the harbor.
  • Ride the Ducks of Baltimore
  • Baltimore Heritage Walk

Performance

  • CenterStage, [28].
  • Theatre Project, [29].
  • Everyman Theatre, [30].
  • Baltimore Shakespeare, [31].
  • Hippodrome Theatre, [32].
  • Toby's Dinner Theatre. A great musical theatre which has presented the musicals Beauty and the Beast, Footloose, Ragtime, It's A Wonderful Life, The Full Monty, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, and is currently presenting Dreamgirls. It will present Holiday Hot Nostalgia, La Cage aux Folles, The Wizard of Oz, West Side Story, The Phantom of the Opera, A Christmas Carol, and Sophisticated Ladies in their 2008-2009 season. [33].
  • Lyric Opera House, [34].
  • Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
  • Morris A Mechanic Theatre
  • Creative Alliance, [35].
  • Single Carrot Theatre,[36].
  • Vagabond Players,[37].

Music

  • Baltimore Symphony, [38].
  • Ram's Head Live, [39].

Events

  • Maryland Film Festival, May [40].
  • Artscape, July [41].
  • Baltimore Book Festival, September [42].


LGBT

  • GLCCB,[43] Gay and Lesian Community Center Baltimore
  • FrontRunners, [44]
  • Pflag [45]
  • Lesbihons, [46] Guide for Baltimore Lesbians
  • Baltimore Pride, [47] in June
  • Lambda Rising Bookstore, [48].
  • Grand Central [49].
  • Club Hippo, [50].
  • Charm City Kitty Club, [51]

LGBT media

Eat

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! Though by and large the crabs no longer come from the Chesapeake Bay (they are shipped from North Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas due to overfishing of the Bay), it remains a popular summertime activity to spend the afternoon with family and friends at a crab feast. 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.

The excellent market place, near the harbor, is full of fresh seafood and great 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.

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.

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 some of the best desserts found anywhere in the world. 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. 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.

Drink

The two neighborhoods with the largest concentrations of drinking establishments and clubs are Fells Point and Powerplant Live!/Inner Harbor. Other areas are 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.

A highlight for beer lovers is Mahaffey's pub in Canton. The owner is almost always there to answer questions and rotates his taps weekly with hard to find beers from around the country and from around the world. The atmosphere is cozy and the people are all friendly, it is truly Baltimore's version of "Cheers"

Fells Point has dozens of options for both eating and drinking, it is located about a 15 min walk from downtown, or a short cab ride.

The DuClaw Brewing Company has an excellent selection of locally made craft beers, with rotating styles depending on the season. The Greene Turtle is an acceptable sports bar. Max's on Broadway has one of the best selection of beers from around the world. Dozens of beers on tap and even more in bottles. If you are looking for a hard to find beer, Max's is your place in Baltimore.

Powerplant Live! is an area just off of the harbor in downtown 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.

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

COFFEE If you are jonesin' for a cuppa joe, Baltimore has lots of great independent coffee shops to choose from:

  • Donna's, [54] multiple locations including Mt. Vernon (800 N. Charles Street) and Charles Village (3101 St. Paul Street).
  • Red Emma's, [55] Bookstore and Coffeeshop, 800 St. Paul St. (near Spotlighter's Theater and CenterStage)
  • Patterson Perk, 2501 Eastern Ave, across from Patterson Park.
  • Common Ground, 819 West 36th, on The Avenue (36th St) in Hamden
  • Daily Grind, [56] 1720 Thames St, Fells Point
  • Zeke's, [57] sells beans only, but they are the BEST coffee beans money can buy!
    • Red Canoe, [58] bookstore and cafe in Lauraville, NE Baltimore, 4337 Harford Road, sells Zeke's coffee by the cup (in liquid form)

Sleep

  • Clarion Hotel - Peabody Court, 612 Cathedral St, 410 727-7101, [59]. Located in the historic Mt Vernon Arts and Cultural District. Cultural and historic venues such as Meyeroff Symphony Hall, The Lyric, the Engineers Society of Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore Opera, Center Stage, Maryland Historical Society and Antique Row are just steps from the front door.
  • Marriott - Waterfront, 700 Aliceanna St, 410 385-3000, [60]. Located on the water beside the pier six pavilion, within walking distance of Little Italy, The National Aquarium, The Hardrock Cafe, and other places of interest.
  • Marriott - Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, 410 962-0202, [61]. Located near Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the M&T Bank Stadium (where the local football team, The Ravens, play), within walking distance to the Baltimore Convention Center.
  • The Inn at 2920, 2920 Elliott St, (about 1/2 hour walk, or 7-10 minute drive from the Harbor), [62]. Although the price might be a bit steep for a bed and breakfast, it is definitely worth it. The place makes you feel pampered, the food is cooked by an excellent chef and the B&B is located in a cool, hip neighborhood (if somewhat yuppie-like), named Canton.
  • Sheraton Baltimore City Center, 101 W Fayette St, 410 752-1100, fax 410 752-0832, [63]. Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel offers a great location for business and pleasure. Directly across from the 1st Mariner Arena and only 2.5 blocks from the Baltimore Convention Center. Baltimore's fun, beautiful, and historic Inner Harbor is only three blocks away.
  • Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, 300 South Charles Street, 410 685-3362, [64]. Surround yourself with the best of Baltimore at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel. Connected to the Convention Center and a brief walk from the magnificent Inner Harbor and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, it is convenient to many attractions.
  • Hyatt Regency Baltimore, 300 Light St, 410 528-1234, fax 410 685-3362, [65]. Perfectly located, this AAA Four-Diamond Inner Harbor hotel offers a luxurious haven in the midst of the city's premier attractions. Stroll to Camden Yards, the National Aquarium or the Baltimore Convention Center, and then return to this downtown Baltimore harbor hotel to enjoy its distinctive features.
  • Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, 202 East Pratt Street, 410 547-1200, fax 410 539-5780, [66]. Discover a jewel situated just steps from the areas most unique sights and attractions. Experience the rich culture of Charm City in a place that's destined to delight you. Modern, sophisticated, and stylish, this four-star Baltimore hotel offers upscale amenities and services in a distinct atmosphere, where fresh impressions and new experiences unfold at every turn.
  • InterContinental Harbor Court, 550 Light Street, 410 234-0550, [67]. For business and pleasure, this hotel is the premier choice among Baltimore Inner Harbor hotels, offering elegant accommodations in a landmark setting. Located along the picturesque waterfront, this downtown Baltimore hotel is within walking distance of the business district and many popular attractions. Treat yourself to impeccable guest service and European-style elegance in a superb location.
  • Tremont Plaza Hotel, 222 St. Paul Place, 410 727-2222, [68]. This 37-story all-suite hotel is 1 block from Charles Street’s businesses, shops, and restaurants; the Inner Harbor, National Aquarium, and Baltimore Convention Center are within 8 blocks. Within minutes of exciting shopping, dining, and historical sites.
  • Admiral Fell Inn, 888 South Broadway, 410 522-7380, [69]. Step into a place in history. Where folklore, fantasy and more than a few ghost stories thrive in the historic waterfront village of Fell’s Point, a charming neighborhood full of eclectic shops, restaurants, and taverns. And in the middle of it all is the Admiral Fell Inn, a quaint, European-style hotel that boasts stately rooms, an intimate pub, and a new innovative food experience.
  • Pier 5 Hotel, 711 Eastern Avenue, 410 539-2000, [70]. As you pull up Harbor Magic Drive and pass the Power Plant entertainment complex and the National Aquarium, you’ll realize just how fabulous the Pier 5 Hotel’s waterfront location really is. The Pier 5 Hotel is an enthralling blend of comfortably hip designs, vibrant colors and some gorgeous harbor views.
  • Brookshire Suites 120 E Lombard Street, 410 625-1300, [71]. Brookshire Suites is the perfect place to revel in the beauty and magic of Charm City. In the heart of the city’s famous Inner Harbor, Brookshire Suites is just steps away from many of Baltimore’s fabulous attractions, restaurants and the thriving business district.
  • Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore 20 West Baltimore Street, 410 539-8400, [72]. Built in 1928, the 22-story hotel is three blocks from the National Aquarium and Hioppodrome theater and directly across the street from the Metro station.
  • The Mount Vernon Hotel 24 West Franklin Street, 410 727-2000, [73]. Enjoy its historic atmosphere, stunning architecture, warm hospitality and accommodations. Since 1907, the Mount Vernon Hotel has been providing visitors with distinctive lodging with easy access to the city’s cultural sites and attractions.
  • Inn at Henderson's Wharf 1000 Fell Street, 410 522-7777, [74]. Ideal for those who enjoy a location within walking distance to curio shops, pubs and restaurants... yet seek a peaceful, quiet retreat. With an abundance of attractions and activities, experience the incomparable charm of this modern masterpiece.
  • Gramercy Mansion, 1400 Greenspring Valley Road, 410 486-2405, [75]. Plan a romantic getaway, corporate retreat or seminar, wedding, party or special celebration at Gramercy Mansion B&B and the Carriage House at Gramercy. Just minutes from Baltimore and an hour from D.C., the secluded location is even more treasured for it's convenience.
  • 1840s Carrollton Inn, 50 Albemarle Street, 410 385-1840, [76]. Centrally located in the heart of downtown Baltimore, within walking distance of the Inner Harbor. The 1840s Carrollton Inn is a series of interconnected rowhomes, some dating back to the early 19th century, surrounding a central courtyard. Next door to the winter home of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signer of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Hostelling International Baltimore, 17 West Mulberry Street, +1 410 576-8880, [77]. Beds start at $25 per night.

Stay Safe

It is undeniable that Baltimore has a high murder rate. While most of the murders are related to the illegal drug trade and rarely affect the downtown area, the rate of armed robberies is still high. As a visitor, you should be safe if you are prudent and know where you are going and how you are getting there. Common sense and precautions should be taken when walking around at night: walk in groups; do not carry large amounts of money; and avoid poorly lit and seedy neighborhoods.

Cabs can be expensive, but are safe.

Cope

  • CityPaper, [78], Baltimore's weekly alternative newspaper
  • Urbanite the free monthly magazine, [79]
  • Baltimore Fun Guide [80]

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