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Baltimore/Fells Point

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Central Maryland : Baltimore : Fells Point
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Fell's Point. is a historic maritime neighborhood east of Baltimore's Inner Harbor area that contains the city's densest collection of pubs, bars, and restaurants (good ones, that is).

Understand

Founded in 1763 and incorporated into the city in 1773, Fell's Point is comfortably Baltimore's most charming historic district—indeed, it was Maryland's first designated . The harbor rose to prominence in the early nineteenth century as both a principal destination for immigrants arriving from Europe and for the U.S. shipbuilding industry. Fell's Point was the birthplace of the first frigate of the Continental Navy, the Virginia, as well as the famed Baltimore Clipper: a fast ship used for privateering and blockade running to much success during the War of 1812. The wild success of the ships were in no small part responsible for the Battle of Baltimore—the British Navy targeted Baltimore in order to halt the production of these ships, responsible for so much damage to the Royal Treasury!

Fell's Point was largely spared the decline faced by the rest of the city in the second half of the twentieth century, owing to the fact that it is simply beautiful. Preservationist kept a close watch on the condition of local historic buildings, and had financial muscle to back them up from wealthy locals who stayed here for the beautiful historic streets, and by businesses, many of which are built on the important tourist sector.

There are a host of other small neighborhoods in and on the periphery of Fell's Point, the best known of which is Little Italy, a tiny neighborhood with a very tightly knit Italian immigrant community. Pretty, safe, authentic, and with wonderful food, it's a highlight of any Baltimore visit (as long as you dodge the odd couple of tourist trap restaurants).

Jonestown is now thoroughly off the tourist radar, having undergone serious economic decline after the construction of low income housing projects in the mid-twentieth century, but has a fascinating history as the one-time center of Baltimore's Jewish Community, and is today home to the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Beautiful Upper Fell's Point is quieter and more residential than its bigger neighbor, but does have a few fantastic cheap Mexican restaurants worth seeking out, as it is home to Baltimore's most rapidly growing Latino community. Butcher's Hill, a one-time German-American and Jewish stronghold, is pretty enough, and undergoing a wave of new construction and development near Johns Hopkins University Hospital, but does not have any significant attractions for visitors.

Film

Fell's Point was the principal filming location for the national crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street, which can make for interesting viewing before or after a visit. Don't expect your visit to share much in common with the stories on the show, though—you are highly unlikely to experience any crime, while walking the harbor and its restaurants and shops, really any time of the day.

Get in

Neighborhoods in the Fells Point area

By car

Parking is actually not that hard in Fell's Point, although you will need to hunt a little bit for a parallel parking spot. Residential parking is limited to two free hours, after that you may find your car towed. Read the signs carefully. There are also a good number of metered spots on Broadway and around the harbor, which you can pay via credit card at the meter machines.

Fleet St and Broadway are the main avenues, although they are usually terribly backed up with traffic.

By Circulator bus

The Orange route [1] comes in from the Inner Harbor and runs up Central Ave through Little Italy before returning Downtown.

By water taxi

Ed Kane's Water Taxi, [2] +1 410 563-3901, stops at the Broadway Pier, connecting to the Inner Harbor, as well as Fort McHenry in South Baltimore and Canton to the east. Day passes, adults: $9.00, kids under 10: $4.00. May-December only.

By bus

The quite useful public Bus #11 [3] runs along Fleet St going east to Canton and west to the Inner Harbor, and then on through Downtown to Midtown and on to Johns Hopkins Main Campus in North Baltimore.

See

  • Carroll Mansion and Phoenix Shot Tower (Old Baltimore Shot Tower), 801 E Fayette St, +1 410 396-5894, [4]. Sa-Su noon-4PM; tours of the tower begin at 4PM promptly from the museum. This is one of the more intriguing of the lesser-known historical attractions in the city. The Carrol Mansion was home to writer Charles Carroll, who was both the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence, and its only Catholic signer. Following his death, the mansion led a colorful life as a saloon, immigrant tenement, vocational school, and recreation center. The nearby Phoenix Shot Tower was built in 1828, and for eighteen years remained the tallest structure in the country. $5/$4.
  • Fell's Point Visitor Center and Maritime Museum, 1724 Thames St, +1 410 732-0278, [5]. Jan-March: Su,Tu-F noon-5PM, Sa 11AM-7PM; Apr-Dec Tu-Th noon-5PM, F 11AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-8PM. Run by the Baltimore Historical Society, the visitor center is a nice, sleek space to stop by, with exhibits and artwork related to the maritime history of the neighborhood, as well as information on what to do and see in the area. Free.
  • Jewish Museum of Maryland, 15 Lloyd St, +1 410 732-6400 (, fax: +1 410 732-6451), [6]. Tu-Th, Su noon-4PM; closed Jewish and Federal holidays. A museum dedicated to regional Jewish history, with lots of hands on, family-friendly exhibits, as well as artwork, historical photographs, and multimedia exhibits. Tours of two local historic synagogues are given at 1PM and 2:30PM. $8, $4/students, $3/children.
  • Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, 830 E Pratt St, +1 410 333-1130, [7]. W-F noon-5PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. This new facility is the largest museum on the East Coast that is devoted to African American history and culture, ranging from local Maryland history to national. Includes a 200-seat theater for performances theatrical, musical, dance, etc. $8, $6/seniors, children, and students, free under 6.

Do

  • Fells Point Ghost Tours, 731 S Broadway (no mail), +1 410 357-1186 (), [8]. March-Nov: F-Sa 7PM. A one hour walking tour of historic and haunted Fells Point in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Also has a 2 hour haunted pub tour. Reserve by phone or email. $13, $8/kids under 13.
  • Films on the Pier, High & Stiles St, [9]. July-Aug: W 8:45PM. Two months of free outdoor blockbuster films on the Fell's Point pier.
  • Little Italy Outdoor Film Festival, High & Stiles St, [10]. July-Aug: Tu 7PM. No shortage of outdoor films in this area in the summer! Two months of free Italian-themed outdoor films right in the heart of Little Italy.
  • The Vagabond Players, 806 South Broadway, +1 410 563 9135, [11]. The oldest and longest-running amateur theater in America.

Buy

Fell's Point is simply put the best shopping district in the city, with a clear focus on smaller boutique stores. It's not the cheapest section of town, but its unique stores make for a great browse even if you don't feel like maxing out your credit cards.

  • aMuse Toys, 1623 Thames St, +1 410 342-5000, [12]. M-Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 10AM-5PM. A small toy store for younger children, from which you are pretty sure to find a unique gift. The toys are geared towards the educational and interactive.
  • Broadway Market, 1640 Aliceanna St (On Broadway), +1 410 685-6169. M-Sa 7:30AM-6PM. A historic covered market dating back to 1785, in a very visible location on Broadway, this is a good place for a browse of its gift shops and flower store, and perhaps to grab a sandwich.
  • Fashion Attic, 1926 Fleet St, +1 410 276-0817, [13]. Su,Tu noon-5PM, W-Sa 11AM-6PM. A womens' designer consignment shop, which is probably going to have the best deals in the neighborhood on really nice fashion.
  • Hats in the Belfry, 813 S Broadway, +1 410 342-7480, [14]. M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 11AM-6PM. Nothing changes your look so dramatically as a distinctive hat, which makes this well stocked store a lot of fun. Regardless of whether you actually are planning to buy a hat, it's a great place to browse, and check yourself out in the mirror with various looks.
  • Karmic Connection, 508 S Broadway, +1 410 558-0428, [15]. Su-Th 11AM-8PM, F-Sa 11AM-9PM. Unaware that the 60s are over, this tobacco shop sells, ahem, "smoking accessories," spiritual goods, etc., as well as slightly less out-there cigarettes and cigars.
  • Killer Trash, 602 S Broadway, +1 410 675-2449, [16]. 11:30AM-6PM daily. A cool, funky vintage shop that will save you money in a big way compared to the pricey boutiques in this neighborhood. It's especially popular around Halloween time.
  • Natty Boh Gear, 1624 Thames St, +1 410 276-1038, [17]. Su-Th 11AM-5PM, F 11AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-8PM. Boh gear! What souvenir could be better than a Boh shirt? Aside from the shirts and hats, they also have some Boh art, mugs, beer glasses, and even shot glasses (who is shooting Boh?).
  • Own Guru Records, 728 S Broadway, +1 410 844-5896, [18]. 1PM-7PM daily. Is there such a thing as a boutique vinyl store? If so, this is that. The owner is absurdly knowledgeable, and stocks a really unique selection of jazz, rock, psychedelic, and a couple genres you might have never heard of before. It's not cheap, but you'll come out with some really unique records. Hit the buzzer to be let in.
  • Pedestrian, 1707 Aliceanna St, +1 410 534-7510, [19]. Hip hop/urban fashion, with a good selection of Baltimore-centric sporting goods as well.
  • Poppy and Stella, 728 S Broadway, +1 410 522-1970, [20]. M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 11AM-6PM. Regularly voted the number one womens' boutique in the city, this store will hit your pocketbook hard, but you'll come out with great items. Principally a high class-brand shoe store, Poppy and Stella also has an impressive selection of handbags and jewelry.
  • The Sound Garden, 1616 Thames St, +1 410 563-9011, [21]. Su-Th 10AM-10PM, F-Sa 10AM-midnight. Chosen by Rolling Stone as the second best record store in the country, this is a good stop. In addition to new and used vinyl, the store also carries DJ equipment, CDs, BlueRay, DVDs, and video games. Selections of jazz and hip hop are particularely noteworthy, as is the expert staff.
  • TAG Galleries, 732 S Broadway, +1 443 759-7639, [22]. A private art gallery with a collection of mostly urban, edgy, and accessible pop art for sale.
  • Trixie's Palace, 1704 Thames St, +1 410 558-2195. A little womens' boutique with a bohemian vibe and high class offbeat brands like Riot Apparel, and a host of Japanese street wear brands, all very carefully curated by the expert owners.
  • Ten Thousand Villages, 1621 Thames St, +1 410 342-5568, [23]. M-Th 10AM-7PM, F-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su noon-6PM. A bigger store for hand-crafted, artisanal, "fair trade" gifts collected here from around the world.

Eat

  • Amiccis, 231 S High St, +1 410 528-1096, [24]. Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight. It is all too easy to walk into an overpriced tourist trap in Little Italy, but that's why you brought this travel guide, right? Amiccis is one of the clear favorites, having won "best Italian restaurant" categories in various years across multiple Baltimore journals/websites. The setting seems somewhat fancy, but the atmosphere is decidedly casual and informal. Portions are enormous, wine flows plentifully, and those mixed drinks are stiff. They also have a nice new bar, which is a solid after hours option in the area. $16-32.


Drink

It is profoundly easy to find a drink in Fells Point, and to find others to share it with—there is an astounding number of pubs in the small neighborhood.

Walk around the main streets, and you'll find every other door is both open and bearing a chalk board listing their ridiculous specials, like $6 for all you can drink mimosas over a period of ten hours on Sunday. The bars here are less offbeat than you'd find in other parts of the city, with a bit wider appeal—they tend towards the more traditional faux-Irish pubs. While it's quite easy to go awry with the local restaurants (tourist traps abound), you can have a great bar experience just by walking around and following your intuition. Live music is commonplace throughout the bars every night of the week.

  • Ale Mary's, 1939 Fleet St, +1 410 276-2044, [25]. M-Th 4PM-2AM, F-Sa 11:30AM-2AM, Su 10:30AM-2AM. In most respects, this place is just yet another pub in Fell's Point, but there is one five star attraction that brings the crowds—the legendary Krispy Kreme bread pudding with vanilla ice cream! The rest of the heart-destroying menu is great as well, as are the Scottish beers.
  • Alexander's, 710 S Broadway, +1 410 522-0000, [26]. M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa-Su 10AM-2AM. With plenty of local beers on tap, a good selection of wines by the glass, great bar food, and a somewhat nicer atmosphere than most pubs in the area, Alexander's is a very reliable spot for a few drinks at night. The crab macaroni and cheese with bacon is decadent, and the salmon sliders and crab tater tots are popular as well.
  • Bad Decisions, 1928 Fleet St, +1 410 979-5161, [27]. M-Sa 5PM-2AM, Su noon-2AM. This is the place for high class personalized craft cocktails in Baltimore, without any of the pretension you'll find at other craft cocktail establishments (no faux-speakeasy gimmicks, no reservations needed, etc.). The mixologists here are not just the best in Baltimore, they are right up there with the best in the country. Atmosphere is very down to earth, and the crowds on a Saturday night are anything but subdued—it's a real fun place.
  • Cat's Eye Pub, 1730 Thames St, +1 410 276-9866, [28]. noon-2AM daily. One of the oldest establishments in the neighborhood, this is a great dive bar if you want to get a true Baltimore experience. It's eccentric, has a great sense of place, good prices on Natty Boh and other local craft beers, and live music—mostly blues, rock, or eclectic. Also haunted.
  • Dego Dames, 1018 Eastern Ave, +1 410 685-8649. M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa-Su noon-2AM. One of the only bars in Little Italy, this place is a real dive, and a good spot for sports on the TV. Order the pizza and wings, and you won't regret it.
  • Duda's, 1600 Thames St, +1 410 276-9719. M-Sa 11AM-1AM. One of many very solid, laid-back pubs on this strip, Duda's has a great craft beer selection, but it's a fine place to go downscale with a Natty Boh as well. The bar seafood is an excellent option as well, with cheap fried clam strips to soak up the booze, and tasty soft shell crab sandwiches, crab cakes, crab soup, etc.
  • Latin Palace, +1 410, [29]. A departure from the British Isles-centric nightlife culture of the neighborhood, this is a very successful Latin dance club, with salsa, bachata, samba, merengue, etc. As it is comfortably the best place for Latin dancing in the city, it's well attended with experienced dancers on the floor.
  • Max's Taphouse, 735 S Broadway, +1 410 675-6297, [30]. 11AM-2AM daily. The most famous bar in Fell's Point, Max stocks the largest beer selection on the East Coast (or so it is believed, anyway). Seriously, they have over 1200 bottled beers to choose from, and over 150 on tap. The clientele is not fantastic (popped collar crowd), but that's hardly enough to prevent this from being a great recommendation.
  • V-No Wine Bar, 905 S Ann St, +1 410 342-8466, [31]. Tu 4:30PM-9PM, W 4:30PM-10PM, Th 11:30AM-11PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-midnight, Su 11:30AM-6PM. The reasons to come to this wine bar are very straightforward: it gives you an opportunity to sip wine in a classy environment, and you can sit at a table right on the water of the Fell's Point harbor, to take in the great views.
  • The Wharf Rat, 801 S Ann St, +1 410 276-9034, [32]. 11:30AM-1AM daily. A good dive with good beers on tap isn't quite enough to distinguish a pub in this neighborhood, but the real claim to fame here is that the place sells growlers to go! Usually not found in the U.S., growlers are half gallon jugs of beer that you can fill up with the pub's British and Australian brews.

Sleep

Mid-range

  • 1840s Carrollton Inn, 50 Albemarle Street, +1 410 385-1840, [33]. 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. The location is a huge plus—it's in Jonestown within very easy walking distance of Little Italy and the Aquarium.
  • Admiral Fell Inn, 888 South Broadway, +1 410 522-7380, [34]. 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.
  • Inn at Henderson's Wharf, 1000 Fell Street, +1 410 522-7777, [35]. Right on the water, on a quiet wharf just beyond the attractions and pubs.

Contact

  • Daily Grind, 1720 Thames St, +1 410 558-0399 (fax: +1 410 558-0945), [36]. A nice coffee Shop with WiFi that's a little spotty and no outlets, but it's still a fine place to check your email.

Stay safe

For the most part, this is a very safe section of Baltimore, and you are unlikely to run into any trouble in the well-trafficked neighborhoods of Little Italy and Fell's Point. But as with much of Baltimore, rough neighborhoods are not far away—it's best to avoid walking through the Perkins Homes housing projects, and to remain vigilant in Jonestown. The one type of crime that affects visitors in this area is smash-and-grab theft of belongings from parked vehicles; you should keep your car clean, with any items tucked away in the trunk or glove compartment.

Get out

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