Where to Stay in Baltimore
Every nook and cranny of Baltimore exudes a sense of character and old-world charm that is hard to find elsewhere. And that's only one of the n number of things that makes the bayside city the great vacation prospect that it is.
Between the 65000-plus noteworthy buildings per the National Register of Historic Places, a bustling waterfront, repurposed warehouse districts and a burgeoning gastronomy, you are unlikely to find time for much else.
Baltimore is often referred to as the "city of neighborhoods" because of the sheer number of designated districts. And while the city has an efficient public transport system (see the Baltimore LightRail and Metro SubwayLink), you might still find yourself taking too many strolls around the extremely walkable (and picturesque) streets.
You will still need to pick an ideal place to base yourself at and that's where we step in. Here, we have listed some of the best neighborhoods of Baltimore and what they might have in store for you traveller!
Centred around an old city harbor that went out of use during the 1950s, the neighborhood of Inner Harbor and was one of the first to go under extensive redevelopment projects that have since been celebrated as model projects across the world.
It started out with old waterhouses being razed down and replaced with parks and green spaces, but grew into something much bigger. Today, the neighborhood is home to some of the biggest entertainment venues of Baltimore.
Among the chief draws are the National Aquarium, known for its marine life exhibits and dolphin shows and the Maryland Science Center, which has interactive exhibits, an IMAX and a planetarium!
Inner Harbor also mixes a burgeoning gastronomy with some live music; trendy bars and steakhouses dot the streets surrounding such major stages as the Baltimore Soundstage and Power Plant Live.
And then there's the Inner Harbor waterfront! Docked in the shallow waters here are historic ships, some of which have been converted into maritime museums.
Amongst the must see are the 1855-built U.S.S. Constellation, the last surviving ship from the Civil War; the USS Torsk, a WWII-era submarine; and the USCGC Taney, which fought in the attack of Pearl Harbor. Local service providers offer water taxis tours, a unique way to get to know Baltimore better!
As one of the major hubs for tourism, Inner Harbor has a lot of hotel options to choose from and you should not have any problem finding a decent match in all budget ranges.
If you choose to stay in the neighborhood, make sure you end your vacation with a visit to the Top of the World Observation Level, a central landmark that offers sweeping views of the city.
Lying adjacent to Inner Harbor is the compact neighborhood of Jonestown, a quintessential warehouse district with historic red brick buildings and warehouses. And in these old industrial architectural designs lies the neighborhood's real appeal.
Walking tours are the best way to discover Jonestown; while you're at it, marvel at the buildings despite having been repurposed as modern-looking apartment complexes and lofts have retained their original character.
Jonestown also has several museums that house memorabilia detailing the eventful history of the region.
Among the must-visits are Reginald F. Lewis Museum, known for its exhibits and art pieces on Baltimore's African American heritage; the Jewish Museum of Maryland, located next to the Greek revival-built Lloyd Street Synagogue; and Carroll Museums, a fine example of the red brick buildings that were the norm back in the day.
The Shot Tower Station on the Metro SubwayLink is the major transportation hub and offers connectivity to other parts of the city. While in Jonestown, you might want to try and look for a rental apartment to best experience the everyday mores of the neighborhood.
Mount Vernon, another one of the Downtown neighborhoods, is one that takes the city's historic appeal to a whole different level. The cityscape is characterized by leafy avenues lined with old-world rowhouses and mansions, which once housed some of Baltimore's most wealthiest residents.
And there are fewer better places to marvel at the immaculate quartets than from atop the Washington Monument, located at the central Mount Vernon Place.
Lying at a stone's throw are the Walters Art Museum and Eubie Blake National Jazz and Cultural Center, landmark venues popular for their art collection and exhibits on the namesake music legend respectively.
You can also drop by for a visit to the George Peabody Library, the Baltimore Centre Stage and the Belvedere Hotel, all of which further the architectural heritage of the neighborhood with their stunning facade and grand indoors.
Over the years, Mount Vernon has also picked up a few attributes outside of being the historic centre of Baltimore. The most prominent of these has to be the neighborhood's vibrant nightlife.
Bars and clubs with live music are in plenty and stay open till late into the night. Charles Street also has a variety of restaurants serving all sorts of cuisines starting from South Asian to Middle Eastern to Mexican, so you might want to take a tour before arriving at a decision!
The Penn Station is only about a 5 minute drive from Mount Vernon and you also have easy access through the twin LightRail stations at Centre Street Northbound and Southbound.
Accommodation prices can be on the higher end of the spectrum, but you should not have too much trouble finding a decent midrange accommodation either.
Rounding up the Downtown districts is Westside, the far west neighborhood with an artsy appeal. You might want to keep aside time to catch a Broadway show at the masterfully restored Hippodrome Theatre; local productions at the likes of Everyman Theatre and France-Merrick Center are also worth checking out.
The appeal doesn't end there as other draws including the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower and Edgar Allan Poe's grave will give the artistically inclined plenty to be excited about.
Westside is also home to the University of Maryland. It resultantly draws in a large chunk of the city's Gen Z crowds, who split their time between the art studios, thrift stores and food stalls in the vicinity of the 'as old as America' Lexington Market.
A huge indoors venue that has been operational since 1782, the market has vendors selling all sorts of snacks and take-out meals including Baltimore's famed crab cakes.
Westside is serviceable through the Lexington Market Station on the Metro SubwayLink as well as the Lexington & Light Station of the LightRail. Accommodation wise, you are likely to to find some of the more affordable hotels and a few other inexpensive hostels in this part of the city.
Back onto the city's serene waterfront then! And the small neighborhood of Harbor East is not only right for best experiencing that, but also Baltimore's gastronomy.
A variety of sea-facing cafes, fine-dining restaurants and wine bars dot the open spaces; the ones lying in close proximity to the neighborhood's eponymous marina can get really crowded so you might want to arrive early to book your seat in the house. Top pizza places and trattorias from the nearby Little Italy further widen your options.
As far as the waterfront is concerned, you'll find yourself spending a lot of time around the bustling promenades that are home to clothing stores and other home-grown businesses.
The Civil War Museum runs out of the President Street Station - a former rail terminal and the site of the Baltimore riots of 1862 often referred to as the "First Bloodshed of the Civil War" - and has artefacts and exhibits detailing the city's significance in context to the war.
President Street is the major road connecting Harbor East to Downtown Baltimore; the neighborhood is only about a 10-12 minute ride from the Penn and is by no means difficult to access. Hotels and resorts are largely concentrated around the central National Katyn Memorial Park.
Originally an industrial neighborhood, Canton underwent significant gentrification beginning in the 2000s and has since gone on to become one of the city's most prominent areas.
If you are looking for an outdoorsy vacation with a lot of things to do around Baltimore's waterfront, this might just be the place for you.
O'Donnell Square Park and the synonymous street are among the most frequented landmarks in not just Canton, but all of Baltimore.
The street is best known for its diverse range of restaurants and drinking holes; among some of the best known names are the Annabel Lee Tavern, Gunther & Co and the Alma Cocina Latina.
Canton also has come to be attached with a free-spirited vibe that comes to fore in the neighborhood streets, most of which are lined with art studios and galleries showcasing local artists.
Year-round street fairs/outdoor events, food festivals and open-air concerts hosted at local parks at the bustling Canton promenades ensure that you never run out of things to do in this part of the city!
And for the last neighborhood, we bring to you the eclectic Fell's Point. Sandwiched between Harbor East and Fell's Point, it borrows a lot of smaller elements from its neighbors to provide a rather wholesome Baltimore experience.
The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Park, the Slavic Museum and the Robert Long House are chief amongst the establishments running out of small brick houses and shipyards that have stood at the waterfront for years and celebrate the city's vibrant past.
The waterfront around Fell's Point comprises quaint cobblestone streets lined with indie boutiques and quirky stores, public squares that offer a fine mix of eateries as well as a few green spaces that double up as the perfect venues for outdoor lunches and sunset viewings.
The seafood restaurants around the central Broadway square are especially noteworthy, as they are known to serve some of the best crab cakes that the city has to offer!
Fell's Point is located right between Harbor East and Canton as mentioned up top. Besides that, the neighborhood also has easy access to other parts of the city; Eastern Avenue and Fleet Street are the major thoroughfares that connect it to President Street and inturn to Downtown.
For your accommodation, look for a nice sea-facing room at one of the waterfront hotels.
That then is our complete list of neighborhoods from Baltimore, traveller. Take your pick and get packing for your next vacation; the Charm City awaits!