The Best Things To Do and Eat in Baltimore, Maryland
Let’s get this out of the way: Baltimore is a foodie city.
Yes, it’s called Charm City and it is quite charming. Being by the water is breathtaking, and there’s so much beauty everywhere (forget what you saw on The Wire). The people are warm, experts at making you feel welcome. Travel + Leisure said that Baltimore has quietly become the coolest city on the East Coast. But to me, it is a foodie city through and through, especially for folks like me who LOVE crab. Crab cakes, crab pasta, crab legs, crab dip, crab everything all day every day.
Here are the best things we ate and my favorite things we did over a long weekend in Baltimore:
Stay at the beautiful Sagamore Pendry hotel.
The Sagamore Pendry is a boutique hotel right by the river, all steel and glass and brass fixtures and natural light. It’s located in Baltimore’s historic recreational pier (“rec pier”) There’s an infinity pool, attentive service with some personalized touches (they surprised us with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries on our anniversary), luxury amenities, and the location in Fells Point is unbeatable. It was named as the Best Hotel in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler.
Eat at Rec Pier Chop House.
Chef Andrew Carmellini’s Rec Pier Chop House boasts soulful Italian cooking and prime cuts of meat, but since we were in Baltimore, we decided to feast on dishes featuring Maryland blue crab. I couldn’t get enough of the linguini with spicy crab – sweet chunks of crab atop al dente pasta, made even zestier by lemon and jalapenos. We also loved the Maryland blue crab cake – pure crab, no fillers or additives, topped with hollandaise. My husband Matt suggested that we each get our own because so we won’t fight for the last bite and he was very right. It’s also very convenient that this restaurant was located right in the Sagamore Pendry hotel.
Get Margs and Tacos at BarCocina.
As soon as we arrived in Baltimore, Matt and I met up with our friends Anthony and Sean and the four of us wasted no time in getting ourselves to BarCocina, which came highly recommended to me. I loved the strawberry margarita (and for $7 each during lunch/brunch, you better beliee I had more than one!) and we shared a bunch of tacos: buffalo chicken, Korean beef, blackened lemon fish. Plus the obligatory guac and salsa (we tried the habanero salsa and smoked tomato – both were outstanding).
Go to the American Visionary Art Museum.
The AVAM is one of the most interesting museums I’ve ever visited. It specializes “outsider art” or intuitive, self-taught artistry. It’s not quite folk art, but it’s not fine art of the academic art, either. It is filled with eccentric, avant garde pieces, with plenty of fascinating oddities. I really enjoyed reading the little bits of trivia on each piece. Plus the exterior of the main building is covered in dazzling mosaic art, which has a Gaudi-esque quality.
Catch an Atlanta Braves baseball game at Camden Yards. (And eat chesapeake fries!)
Long-time readers know that my husband Matt is a baseball afficionado and one of his life goals is to see a game in every stadium. So when we are travelling, we make it a point to align with the home team’s baseball schedule – bonus points if they are playing his team (Yankees – boo) or my team (Red Sox – yay). The Orioles were playing the Yankees when we were in Baltimore, but I didn’t mind at all because my attention was on the chesapeake fries. These are crab dipped-topped fries, perfectly hot and melty, deliciously messy. Matt and I and our friend GP inhaled it in minutes.
Make a reservation at Woodberry Kitchen.
This was our favorite meal in Baltimore. Woodberry Kitchen is a farm-to-table pioneer in Baltimore’s dining scene. We loved everything about it: the casual vibe, the pretty outdoor seating that comingles with the historical industrial building, the warm service, the cocktails, and the food – everything from crab dip to homemade ice cream. For our entrees, I had the juiciest and most perfectly seasoned pork chop, served with polenta, while Matt had a scallop dish that he still raves about.
Wall around Fell’s Point.
We spent the most time in this national district, where our hotel was located, and really enjoyed walking around and ducking in and out of small shops. There were plenty of restaurants and bars, boutiques, and picturesque Colonial-style houses. One day (I) found an ice cream parlor one day and ate red velvet ice cream, the next day we walked into a tavern and had two types of crab soup (Maryland crab and cream of crab). It was all very relaxing and exactly what we wanted in a short vacation.
Did I eat crab everyday for three days? Yes. Was it enough? No. I Baltimore is now cemented firmly in my heart and mind as one of my favorite foodie destinations. I am looking forward to coming back… and eating more.