The Rawlings Botanical Conservatory in Druid Hill Park
West Baltimore is a huge section of the city notorious for violent and other drug-related crime, but also for its unique culture, endless streets of old Baltimore rowhouses with their marble stoops, and sprawling parklands.
- Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, 203 Amity St, . An early home of the American author of mystery and the macabre. Located on Amity Street in a rough neighborhood, surrounded by public housing. Small fee.
- The Maryland Zoo, Druid Hill Park (From I-83, exit at Druid Park Lake Drive (exit 7)), ☎ +1 410 366 LION, . Daily 10AM-4PM, closed January, February, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Large zoo set in a classic victorian-era park. If you want to go on a weekend, purchase tickets in advance over the web to get the weekday rate; if purchasing tickets at the gate, you can save a buck by finding a Maryland Zoo flyer at the visitor's center that has a $1 off coupon. Adults $11 weekdays and online ticketing, $15 weekends; discounted for seniors and children.
- Bay Island Seafood Carryout, 1903 W Pratt St, ☎ +1 410 566-0200. This is another one of those real gems in West Baltimore, with some incredible seafood, boiled, broiled or fried. As is generally the case in this part of town, though, it is carryout only. If you've seen David Simon's The Corner, you might recognize the Sea Pride Crab House across the street (this is a really crabby intersection). DeAndre attempted to work an honest job here, but ultimately had to quit due to crab allergies!
- Fred's Carryout (Big T's), 4708 Gwynn Oak Ave, ☎ +1 410 664-5135. M-Sa 11:30AM-7:30PM. Fred serves up some really fine chicken box, with all chicken made-to-order, ensuring the crucial layer of grease between the chicken proper and the skin fried hard. With all due respect to the NYFC around the corner, this is the place to go. Run by Koreans, naturally. $3-7.
- Kimmy's Soul Food, 4426 Edmonson Ave, ☎ +1 410 566-4400. This much loved Soul Food buffet prices by the pound, and has especially good breakfast and vegetable dishes. Don't let the Korean ownership put you off the scent--Koreans seem to be the main purveyors of soul food in this city, and they've mastered the craft. $6-14.
- The Lake Trout, 4652 Edmonson Ave, ☎ +1 410 947-3223. Edmonson Village is a long trek from the center of Baltimore, but you'll find some excellent Lake Trout here, unkown to people like Anthony Bourdain or the various hipsters you might run into at The Roost. Distance has "saved" it from fame, despite it's write up in the City Paper as having the city's best trout. $4-10.
- The Roost (Lakeout or The Lake), 5275 Reisterstown Rd, ☎ +1 410 578-0232, . 7AM-3AM usually. The Roost. Any visitor interested in trying Lake Trout should come here, as it is arguably the best in the city, and in the most inviting eatery. A giant portion of fish comes for $5, but the rest of the menu is hard to ignore—each entry is named after a prominent African-Americans (with the exception of "The Wire" and "John Waters"), and the long soul food menu makes few errors. $3-7.
- Sunny's Chick 'n' Trout, 1141 W Baltimore St, ☎ +1 410 528-1339. West Baltimore really is the side of the city to be on for your chicken box and lake trout, and it's hard to do better than Sunny's. $3-8.
- World Wide Wings, 3020 Liberty Heights Ave, ☎ +1 410 578-0400. Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-2AM. Pizza too, but the wings are the reason to come. Lots of flavors and lots of flavor. While they do deliver, they tend to mess that up--best to pick up in person. Halal!
Polar bear wandering through Druid Hill Park