Baltimore Insider: Your Guide to Hidden Gems and Local Favorites
Traveling to Baltimore promises an enriching journey through a city steeped in history, culture, and vibrant energy. As you wander the cobblestone streets of neighborhoods like Fells Point and Federal Hill, you’ll encounter a captivating blend of colonial architecture, charming boutiques, and eclectic eateries. Dive into the city’s maritime heritage at the Inner Harbor, where iconic attractions like the National Aquarium and the USS Constellation beckon visitors to explore. From the lively bustle of Lexington Market to the serene beauty of Patterson Park, Baltimore offers a diverse tapestry of experiences that will leave travelers enchanted and eager to uncover more of its unique charms.
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Three Fun Facts About Baltimore
The National Anthem
Baltimore is where Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812. The song was inspired by the sight of the American flag flying over Fort McHenry after a pivotal battle against the British.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Legacy
The renowned poet and writer Edgar Allan Poe called Baltimore home for several years and is buried in the city’s Westminster Hall and Burying Ground. Each year, Poe enthusiasts gather at his gravesite to commemorate his life and works.
Baltimore boasts one of the most distinctive flags in the United States, featuring a unique design with alternating black and gold patterns and the city’s iconic Battle Monument in the center. It is the only U.S. city flag to incorporate battle flags.
Must See Attractions
The Inner Harbor is a bustling waterfront district filled with attractions, dining options, and entertainment venues, offering visitors a vibrant and scenic destination to explore.
Fort McHenry is a historic star-shaped fort that played a pivotal role in defending the city during the War of 1812 and inspired the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.
American Visionary Art Museum
Marvel at the quirky and unconventional art on display at the American Visionary Art Museum, which celebrates the work of self-taught artists and showcases unique, outsider art.
Nature & parks
Relax and unwind in Patterson Park, a sprawling urban oasis featuring walking paths, a lake, playgrounds, sports fields, and the iconic Pagoda offering panoramic views of the city skyline.
Water Taxi Cruise
See Baltimore from a different perspective on a water taxi cruise along the harbor, offering scenic views of the city’s skyline and waterfront attractions.
Mount Vernon Place
Admire the historic architecture and cultural landmarks of Mount Vernon Place, including the Washington Monument, Walters Art Museum, and the Peabody Institute.
Lakes Near Baltimore
1000 Lakeside Drive, Baltimore, Maryland
Located just north of Baltimore City, Lake Roland is a 100 acre lake surrounded by scenic woodlands and hiking trails. It offers opportunities for fishing, kayaking, hiking, and picnicking.
Distance from Baltimore: 36 miles
Activities: Kayaking, fishing, hiking, picnicking
2598 Bollinger Mill Road, Finksburg, Maryland 21048
Situated northwest of Baltimore, Liberty Reservoir is a sprawling body of water spanning over 3,100 acres. It provides ample opportunities for fishing, boating, hiking, and birdwatching amidst picturesque surroundings.
Distance from Baltimore: 37 miles
Activities: Fishing, hiking, mountain biking, swimming
10000 Clarksville Pike (Main/South) Ellicott City, Maryland 21042
Situated southwest of Baltimore in Columbia, Centennial Lake is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and walking. The 54 acre lake is surrounded by a paved trail, making it ideal for leisurely strolls and outdoor recreation.
Distance from Baltimore: 20 miles
Activities: Boating, hiking, cycling, picnicking
Secret Fishing Spots Near Baltimore
Gunpowder Falls State Park
7200 Graces Quarters Rd, Middle River, Maryland 21220
Just a short drive north of Baltimore, Gunpowder Falls State Park offers excellent trout fishing opportunities along the Gunpowder River. The river’s cool, clear waters are stocked with brown and rainbow trout, making it a favorite among fly fishermen.
Fishing: Shoreline, fly fishing
Species: Brown, rainbow, and brook trout
8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, Maryland 21043
Located southwest of Baltimore, Patapsco Valley State Park encompasses over 16,000 acres of wooded terrain and several miles of the Patapsco River. Anglers can find a variety of fish species here, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish.
Fishing: Shoreline, fly fishing
Species: Small and largemouth bass, panfish, catfish, trout
Beckleysville Rd, Hampstead, Maryland 21074
Located northwest of Baltimore, Prettyboy Reservoir offers excellent fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, and catfish. The expansive reservoir is surrounded by scenic woodlands, providing a tranquil setting for anglers.
Fishing: Shoreline, pier, kayak
Species: Small and largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, pickerel, bluegill
Best Hiking Trails Within 1 Hour From Baltimore
Lake Roland Park Red Trail
221 Woodbrook Ln, Baltimore, Maryland 21212
Lake Roland Park, nestled in the picturesque woodlands of Baltimore County, offers outdoor enthusiasts an array of scenic trails to explore, including the popular Red Trail. Meandering through lush forests and alongside the tranquil waters of Lake Roland, the Red Trail provides hikers, joggers, and nature lovers with a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Distance: 2.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 46 m
Time to Complete: 1 hour
Stony Run Walking Path
Stony Run Walking Path, Baltimore, Maryland 21210
The Stony Run Walking Path, nestled amidst the urban landscape of Baltimore, offers a serene escape for nature lovers and fitness enthusiasts alike. Following the scenic Stony Run stream, this hidden gem winds through charming neighborhoods and verdant greenery, providing a peaceful retreat from the bustling city streets. As visitors traverse the pathway, they’re treated to the soothing sights and sounds of nature, from the rustling of leaves to the gentle babbling of the stream.
Distance: 5.5 miles
Type: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 80 m
Time to Complete: 2 hours
Baltimore Waterfront Promenade: Canton Waterfront Park to Fells Point
1401 S Linwood Ave, Baltimore, Maryland 21224
Starting at Canton Waterfront Park, visitors are greeted by stunning views of the Patapsco River and the city skyline, with ample green spaces and recreational amenities for picnics, sports, and family gatherings. The lively atmosphere of Fells Point beckons with its cobblestone streets, waterfront bars, and eclectic boutiques, providing a perfect ending point for a leisurely stroll or a day of exploration along Baltimore’s picturesque waterfront.
Distance: 4.7 miles
Type: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 18 m
Time to Complete: 1.5 hours
Best Golf Courses Around Baltimore
Baltimore Country Club (Five Farms)
11500 Mays Chapel Rd, Timonium, Maryland 21093
Baltimore Country Club’s Five Farms location stands as a beacon of golfing excellence in Maryland. Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Baltimore, this prestigious club boasts championship golf courses designed by the legendary architect A.W. Tillinghast. The East Course, in particular, is renowned for its challenging yet scenic layout, featuring undulating fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and immaculate greens.
Designer: A.W. Tillinghast
Visit their website for more information
Caves Valley Golf Club
2910 Blendon Rd, Owings Mills, Maryland 21117
Caves Valley Golf Club, situated in the scenic landscape of Owings Mills, just northwest of Baltimore, stands as a testament to golfing excellence. The meticulously crafted layout features strategically placed bunkers, undulating greens, and natural water hazards, providing a test of skill for golfers of all levels. Caves Valley has earned numerous accolades and is consistently ranked among the top golf courses in Maryland and the nation.
Designer: Tom Fazio
Visit their website for more information
Hunt Valley Country Club
14101 Phoenix Rd, Phoenix, Maryland 21131
Hunt Valley Country Club, located amidst the scenic landscapes of Hunt Valley, offers a premier golfing experience in the Baltimore area. The meticulously maintained fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and scenic views create an unforgettable golfing experience. Beyond golf, Hunt Valley Country Club offers a host of amenities, including practice facilities, dining options, and social events, making it a cherished destination for members and guests seeking relaxation, camaraderie, and sporting excellence amidst the beauty of Maryland’s countryside.
Designers: Dick Wilson and Ault, Clark & Associates
Visit their website for more information
Tips on Renting a Vacation Property in Baltimore
Baltimore is a city of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own character and attractions. Research different neighborhoods to find one that suits your preferences in terms of location, atmosphere, and amenities.
Book in Advance
Baltimore is a popular tourist destination, especially during peak seasons and holidays. To ensure availability and secure the best rates, book your vacation rental well in advance.
Traveling to Baltimore offers a multifaceted experience that combines rich history, vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and scenic waterfront views. As Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore boasts a compelling blend of old-world charm and modern amenities, making it an enticing destination for visitors of all interests.
At the heart of Baltimore lies its historic Inner Harbor, a bustling waterfront district teeming with attractions, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Here, visitors can explore iconic landmarks like the National Aquarium, USS Constellation, and Historic Ships in Baltimore, or simply stroll along the waterfront promenade, taking in the sights and sounds of the bustling harbor.
Beyond the Inner Harbor, Baltimore’s neighborhoods offer a diverse array of experiences waiting to be discovered. From the cobblestone streets of Fells Point to the hipster vibe of Hampden and the cultural hub of Station North, each neighborhood has its own distinct personality and charm. Visitors can immerse themselves in Baltimore’s vibrant arts and music scene, explore historic landmarks and museums, or simply wander the streets, soaking up the city’s unique atmosphere.
No visit to Baltimore would be complete without indulging in its culinary delights. From mouthwatering Maryland crab cakes to savory pit beef sandwiches and Old Bay-seasoned seafood, Baltimore’s food scene is a melting pot of flavors and influences. Visitors can dine at waterfront restaurants overlooking the harbor, sample street food from local vendors, or explore the city’s eclectic mix of eateries, from upscale dining establishments to hidden gems tucked away in neighborhood corners.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Baltimore offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature and recreation. The city is home to beautiful parks, gardens, and green spaces, including Druid Hill Park, Patterson Park, and the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens. Visitors can also explore scenic hiking and biking trails, paddle along the Patapsco River, or simply relax in one of the city’s many parks and public squares.
Above all, what sets Baltimore apart is its sense of community and hospitality. Whether you’re chatting with locals at a neighborhood bar, attending a street festival, or exploring the city’s historic landmarks, you’ll find that Baltimoreans take pride in their city and are always eager to welcome visitors with open arms. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality, Baltimore offers a truly unforgettable travel experience for all who visit.
Frequently Asked Questions about Baltimore
The best time to visit Baltimore is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild, and outdoor activities are enjoyable. Summer can be hot and humid, while winter can be cold with occasional snow.
Baltimore has a public transit system operated by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), including buses, light rail, and the MARC train service. Additionally, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are widely available, and many areas are walkable.
Some must-visit attractions in Baltimore include the Inner Harbor, National Aquarium, Fort McHenry National Monument, Baltimore Museum of Art, Walters Art Museum, and the historic neighborhoods of Fells Point and Federal Hill.
Like any city, Baltimore has areas that are safer than others. It’s essential to exercise caution, especially at night, and to be aware of your surroundings. Stick to well-lit areas and avoid walking alone in unfamiliar neighborhoods.
Baltimore is known for its rich history, vibrant cultural scene, delicious seafood (especially Maryland crab cakes), and historic landmarks like Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Some of the best places to enjoy seafood in Baltimore include Lexington Market, Faidley’s Seafood, Thames Street Oyster House, and Phillips Seafood.
Depending on the time of year, pack clothing suitable for the weather, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and an umbrella or rain jacket, as Baltimore’s weather can be unpredictable.