Thinking about planning a trip to Baltimore, but don't know where to start? Or perhaps you are worried about the bad rep Baltimore often gets and are wondering if it's a safe spot to visit. Well then stick around because I am going to do a deep dive into our most recent trip to the infamous Charm City.
Here's a summary of what you will find below in case you want to jump ahead!
Thoughts on Baltimore
Where We Stayed (Hilton Inner Harbor)
What to Do
Where to Eat + Drink
Outfits I Packed with links!
THOUGHTS ON BALTIMORE
Baltimore earned its nickname Charm City back in the 70s in an effort to get rid of the looming bad reputation the city had come to be known for. An advertising agency came up with the nickname to help promote the city in a positive light. The idea behind it was simple— Baltimore has so much hidden charm tucked away and ready to be explored. At the time the city didn't have the funds nor the attractions to support the nickname, but the name stuck. Over the years, especially more recently, Baltimore has built up its city and truly does have hidden gems and tons of charm sprinkled throughout. After spending a weekend there I can attest to this. There are so many unique and incredible bars and restaurants that line the streets.
Now don't get me wrong Baltimore is still a city and with any city there are very dangerous sections, so you still need to be careful. I wouldn't recommend walking around at night, unless you know the neighborhood that you're in because it's very easy to make a wrong turn and end up somewhere you don't want to be. Personally, we used Uber to get around pretty much everywhere at night, but we did walk around during the daytime.
Would I recommend a visit? Absolutely.
WHERE WE STAYED
There are SO many options to stay in Baltimore and they're all located in different parts of the city, so it gets a bit confusing to choose one if you have never been! We stayed at the Hilton Inner Harbor and it was in a perfect location. It was within a ten minute ride from pretty much everywhere on our itinerary which made getting around to see everything on our list very easy. The rooms were spacious, very clean, and updated with modern furnishings, but my FAVORITE part about our hotel room was that it overlooked the Oriole's Baseball Field— such a cool view!!
The hotel also has parking on site, so if you have a rental car there is somewhere convenient to park. It is $35 a day FYI, but that's with most places around the city. There is also a coffee/breakfast bistro in the downstairs lobby which is perfect if you need a quick pick me up or bite to eat in a hurry!
WHAT TO DO
FEDERAL HILL/FELLS POINT
These two neighborhoods were so pretty and are filled with so many bars and restaurants lining the streets. If you're looking for a picturesque area to walk around in, definitely check out these neighborhoods.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ON 34TH STREET
This is a quick 15-20 minute activity, but if you're big on Christmas then you definitely want to check it out. A long strip of houses on 34th street are decked out literally from top to bottom in Christmas lights. Each house was a different theme and it was fun to walk around and check them all out. It's also great to take your kids to see!
INNER HARBOR CHRISTMAS VILLAGE
This was in walking distance from our hotel and was a huge strip of pop ups that had local goods, food, and drinks. Be forewarned the lines are LONG. We waited in a line for 35 minutes for cheesy fries, but they were SOOOO good. This is also kid friendly, as they have amusement park rides there too!
We didn't get a chance to squeeze this in, but it was definitely on our list! We both heard so many amazing things about this aquarium and it's a great activity to do when its too cold outside or raining.
WHERE TO EAT + DRINK
Coming up with this list was incredibly difficult because there are so many fantastic spots to visit, but I couldn't recommend the places we went to enough.
For all my donut lovers that follow me this is 100% my Baltimore donut recommendation. The flavors are insane, toppings are beyond photo worthy, and they are SO delicious. They are also vegan! My personal favorite was the Strawberry and Shaun's was the Butter Chocolate Chip.
If you're looking for a romantic and cozy cocktail bar with great tapas, add this to your itinerary. The literary themed space with beautiful crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling make it so whimsical and sophisticated feeling. It's the kind of place you would imagine Hemingway to frequent back in the day.
Recommendations: Order the Sunlight and Shadows for an awesome table side presentation and the Be Like the Fox
This spot is perfect for those who appreciate a large and unique Belgian beer selection. They also have a few cocktails on their menu as well, if beer isn't your thing. It's located directly next to The Bluebird, so it's the perfect spot to head for after dinner drinks.
The line to get into this place speaks to the quality of the food itself, but the wait is SO worth it. Their menu takes ordinary breakfast and turns it into drool worthy masterpieces. There is a reason they have over 902 reviews with an overall 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor.
This little gem is a true speakeasy completely tucked and hidden away. If you don't have plans to go here, you would likely pass it on the street not even knowing that it's there. To get inside you go through a black door that simply has the word "Enter" written on it, with no signs indicating what the place is. On the other side of that door is a cocktail bar truly set back in time. I HIGHLY recommend checking this spot out. It's one of the most unique bars I've ever been to. The cocktails were elaborately constructed and so delicious. FYI there is no food on the menu, but it's right next to Clavel which is next on my list below!
If you know me, then you know my obsession with Mexican food and margaritas runs deep. I always try and seek out the more authentic places on my trips. I will be dreaming about the queso fundido for the foreseeable future because it was soooo freaking good. Their menu is so inventive and the prices are so affordable. Be warned that there will likely be a wait, but it's so dang worth it. If you're a mezcal lover like myself try the Mezcalita!
After checking out W.C. Harlan and Clavel head to Faden Sonnen for a night cap as it's also located on the same street (talk about a perfect little bar crawl). They're known for their sake and unique cocktails here!
Fare-warning this place is pricey, but if you're looking for some sushi and saki that is worth the money then this is the spot for you. It's also located in an awesome area with tons of shopping, so it's the perfect lunch spot!
OUTFITS I PACKED
As always here is exactly what I wore on my trip in case you need inspo, all outfit details are linked below!
OUTFIT 1 (linked here)
OUTFIT 2 (linked here)
OUTFIT 3 (linked here)
OUTFIT 4 (linked here)
OUTFIT 5 (linked here)