Baltimore Essentials

As a visitor or new resident, this guide to Baltimore's restaurants, shopping, entertainment and more has all the info you'll need.

Food and Drink

BUY LOCAL

Baltimore Farmers’ Market
Every Sunday beneath the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga streets

Waverly Farmers’ Market
Barclay and East 32nd streets
While the “eat local” movement has gained ground nationally in recent years, Baltimore has always boasted fabulous markets that capitalize on the city’s close proximity to regional farms. The city has two outstanding farmer’s markets; the Baltimore Farmers’ Market near the city center and the Waverly Farmers’ Market on the north side of town.

GET A LATTE

Daily Grind
1720 Thames St.
410-558-0399
Don’t let the motorcycles parked out front or the locals loitering on the sidewalk scare you off. This is a gem -- a worn-in, unpretentious coffee house right on the waterfront in historic Fells Point.

Teavolve Cafe & Lounge
1401 Aliceanna St.
410-522-1907
A new contender in the caffeine arena, Teavolve is sleek and modern, just like its location in Harbor East, one of the most recent mixed-use developments in the city.

STOCK UP ON GROCERIES

Eddie’s of Roland Park
5113 Roland Ave.
410-323-3656
While new urban development has brought numerous chain stores to Baltimore City, those who value old-fashioned customer service shop at Eddie’s of Roland Park. It has been family owned for over 60 years and offers special services such as personal shopping and delivery.

GRAB A BEER

The Brewer’s Art
1106 N. Charles St.
410-547-6925
Located in a row house in the city’s Mount Vernon neighborhood that evokes the area’s old grandeur, this restaurant and bar brews its own draft beers on site and offers an impressive array of brews from around the world. Check out the unique taps made by a former employee.

HAVE A KILLER CRABCAKE

J.W. Faidley
In Lexington Market on Lexington Street (between Eutaw and Greene streets)
Every restaurant in Baltimore claims to have the best crabcakes but the crowds at Faidley’s attest to their quality. Tourists, locals from the neighborhood and doctors from University of Maryland Medical Center all jostle for prime position in line. A jumbo lump crabcake is the perfect excuse to get to historic Lexington Market, which has been in continual operation since 1782.

EAT A CANNOLI

Vaccaro’s Italian Pastries
222 Albemarle St.
410-685-4905
This bakery in the heart of Little Italy is the destination to satiate a sweet tooth after a meal in one of the neighborhood’s restaurants or to grab a gelato in the summer during the Little Italy Open Air Film Festival.

Entertainment

SEE A MOVIE

The Senator Theater
5904 York Road
410-435-8338
A remnant of a bygone era, the historic Senator harkens back to the days of glittering marquees and true big-screen cinema. The single-screen theater is still the destination for major Baltimore premieres. The recently revitalized Belvedere Square across the street gives moviegoers many options for pre- and post-viewing eats and drinks.

The Charles
1711 N. Charles St.
401-727-FILM
The distinguished brick facade of The Charles encompasses the city’s only destination for first-run specialty films, foreign movies, classics and Hollywood blockbusters. After a show, moviegoers frequently drop into the attached Tapas Teatro restaurant for a bite to eat.

DO STUFF FOR FREE

Baltimore is home to two world-class art museums, The Walters Art Museum (600 N. Charles Street, 410-547-9000) and the Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Drive, 443-573-1700), both of which are free to the public thanks to recent grants. Stargazers can enjoy a complimentary view of the night sky through the high-powered telescope at the Observatory on the roof of the Maryland Science Center (601 Light St., 410-685-5225) on Friday nights (weather permitting), while history buffs can visit the birthplace of the national anthem at Fort McHenry (2400 E. Fort Ave., 410-962-4290) where access to the grounds is free (there’s a fee to enter the historic fort).

TAKE YOUR PET

Dogma: Life with Your Pet
3600 Boston St.
410-276-3410
Not your average pet store, Dogma gives pet owners and their four-legged friends a chance to mix and mingle over refreshments the first Friday of each month at “Yappy Hour” from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

DO STUFF WITH THE KIDS

The National Aquarium in Baltimore
501 E. Pratt St.
410-576-3800
This aquarium has more than 16,000 animals in a variety of exhibits, many that mirror the creatures traditional habitats, from the soaring, glass-enclosed “Animal Planet Australia” down to the murky blue depths of the ocean.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
830 E. Pratt St.
443-263-1800
One of the newest museums in the city, which emphasizes the contributions Maryland's African-Americans made to history and culture not only here but in the nation, including such luminaries as Thurgood Marshall, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass.

SHOP AT A FUNKY BUSINESS

Ma Petite Shoe
832 W 36th St., Hampden
410-235-3442

Funky Beehive
906 S. Charles St., Federal Hill
410-685-4483
Baltimoreans cherish all things wacky so the list of funky businesses is long, but consider visiting Ma Petite Shoe, every woman’s dream come true, where one can buy designer shoes and gourmet chocolates under one roof. Or Funky Beehive where there’s an impressive selection of weird kitchen gadgets, local art and gifts.

MEET IN THE CROWD

Cross Street Market
Cross Street between Light and Charles Streets
During the day, this market in Baltimore’s Federal Hill neighborhood is a destination for buying fruits, vegetables and meats from local purveyors. The scene transforms after dark when young locals descend on the market to drink reasonably priced beer and eat from raw bar offerings.

The Baltimore Sport and Social Club
Games at locations all over town
You don’t need to be an athlete to compete on any of the BSSC’s highly social teams, which include football, dodge ball and whiffle ball. The coed teams bring together some 7,000 participants each year and are a great way to make friends.

Nightlife

MINGLE WITH THE YOUNG AND HIP

PAZO
1425 Aliceanna Street
410-534-7296
This tapas restaurant and nightclub (owned by nationally acclaimed restaurateurs Tony Foreman and chef Cindy Wolf) is located near the Inner Harbor in a circa 1880s warehouse that received an uber chic interior design makeover to become one of the city’s hottest nightspots.

Rocket to Venus
3360 Chestnut Ave.
410-235-7887
A stronghold of Baltimore’s hipster scene, Rocket to Venus (named for a neighborhood man’s effort to launch a homemade rocket in 1928) serves up an eclectic mix of food in an art house atmosphere with sure-to-please people watching.

HAVE A LATE NIGHT BITE

Papermoon Diner
227 West 29th Street
410-889-4444
This is not your typical late-night diner. While the food sounds like standard issue grub, this is diner food made with fresh ingredients and flair, with many vegetarian options. And the decor -- a quirky blend of vibrant colors and strange objet d‘arte -- is far cooler than the typical stainless-steel atmosphere.

Outdoors

TAKE A WALK

Gwynns Falls Trail
Fresh air is never far away with the Gwynns Falls Trail meandering through the city. The 15-mile trail system winds along the path of the Gwynns Falls Stream Valley and is part of one of the largest woodland parks in the Eastern U.S.

FLOAT YOUR BOAT

Downtown Sailing Center
1425 Key Highway
410-727-0722
Some of the best views of Baltimore can only be enjoyed by boat, and one of the advantages to living in the city is easy access to the Chesapeake Bay. This nonprofit community sailing center is a great place to get your feet wet in the Maryland boating tradition.

ENJOY THE SKYLINE

Federal Hill Park
300 Warren Ave., Baltimore
410-396-6132
The panorama of Baltimore is best seen from the elevation of this park, which takes in the full sweep of Harborplace’s shops, the U.S.S. Constellation at dock, the breathtaking modern architecture of the National Aquarium, the industrial age smokestacks of The Power Plant and the many high-rises that soar up from the deep water harbor.

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