Since traveling looks a bit different this year, I’ve been trying to explore more local destinations or driving distances. In addition to this, one of my favorite ways to explore more is to do short weekend getaways. Our weekend getaway to Baltimore, Maryland was so much fun! Baltimore is often overlooked as a travel destination because of its reputation from The Wire or the uprising of 2015, but trust me when I say it’s a city worth visiting. There’s more to Baltimore than the Orioles and crab cakes!
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How to get to Baltimore
Baltimore is nestled in the mid-Atlantic, making it easy to drive to from most places on the east coast. This is one of the reasons it makes such a great weekend destination! However, if you’re coming from further away, the Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) flies all over the world. There are taxis and rideshares from the airport, as well as buses and free shuttles!
How to get around Baltimore
Parking in Baltimore is expensive. Our hotel, the Hotel Indigo Baltimore, provided us with free parking (check out the full review here). However, parking in garages ranges from $10-25/night, which is not including any exits. Luckily, Baltimore has the Charm City Circulator (CCC) which can shuttle you around four routes in the central business district of the city. They also have the Harbor Connector which connects six piers!
We discovered the electric scooters by accident. To say that I loved them is an understatement. Whizzing by walkers, feeling the breeze in my hair, and not sweating during the August heat made these awesome.
Weekend Getaway to Baltimore: Day One
Start your day in Baltimore with breakfast at Miss Shirley’s Cafe in the Inner Harbor. This restaurant became famous after it was featured on Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives! It’s one of the most well-known places to eat in Baltimore, and for good reason! Our brunch appetizer (is that a thing? I feel like it should be. Let’s make it a thing.) Spencer had the Chicken and Cheddar Green Onion Waffles while I had the Grandpa’s BBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese! Of course, we shared with each other – and while I preferred mine – they both were delicious.
No visit to Baltimore is complete without a stroll along the harbor. The harbor is surrounded by a variety of restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions. Historic ships and even a submarine line the harbor. One of the ships is USS Constellation was built between 1853-1855 and was a part of the Mediterranean and Africa Squadrons. During the Civil War, it returned to the Meditteranean to patrol for Confederate ships. The submarine is the USS Torsk built for the Navy during World War II.
There is no shortage of museums near the Inner Harbor and you can spend hours exploring even just one of them. Many are closed or have odd hours because of COVID-19, so be sure to check their website before visiting. The American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Industry, and the Baltimore Civil War Museum are some of the bigger museums in the area.
Travel Tip: While the National Aquarium is located in the Inner Harbor, I was unable to tell if this is an ethical aquarium so tread lightly. They have a touch tank (unethical) but are planning on re-releasing dolphins into the wild in 2021 (ethical).
If you’re hungry for lunch, you can stop at one of the restaurants in the Inner Harbor (we recommend Phillips Seafood for the crabs). There are a variety of restaurants including Hard Rock Cafe, Rusty Scupper, Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse, Kona Grill and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Trust me when I say that Baltimore won’t let you leave hungry!
For a break from the city, head to Federal Hill Park. Federal Hill was home to many important events in Baltimore’s history and development. It got its name in 1788 when the district celebrated Maryland’s ratification of the Federal Constitution.
Travel Tip: Stop by The Horse You Came In On Saloon for a visit or a drink. It’s one of Edgar Allen Poe’s favorite bars and where he was rumored to have taken his last drink.
Fells Point Neighborhood
Spend a few hours in the afternoon strolling around the neighborhood of Fells Point to get your shopping on (or you can have lunch/dinner here). You can take a water taxi from Inner Harbor to Fells Point for easy access. Enjoy strolling through the boutique shops and galleries, realizing that you’re walking through history. Fells Point was populated before America was even a country!
Weekend Getaway to Baltimore: Day Two
Start your second day in Baltimore with breakfast at the quirky Papermoon Diner. We absolutely LOVED this restaurant and would recommend anyone in Baltimore visit here. Not only is the decor over the top and very unique. Not to mention, the food was amazing! My husband loves sausage and gravy over biscuits which he had here, and said that he would make the 3-hour drive just to have this meal again! Of all the restaurants we’ve eaten at, he’s never said that about anything! If we weren’t in public, I’m pretty sure he would have licked the bowl clean.
As a lover of street art, I had to visit Graffiti Alley, the only legal art space in Baltimore City for street and graffiti artists. They don’t have to worry about being prosecuted here. There is a lot of graffiti and it’s a bit overwhelming at first, so take your time really looking at it.
Fun Fact: The B&O Railroad was built in 1829, laying the first commercial long-distance track! B&O Railroad Museum is a great destination for train lovers!
George Peabody Library
This was closed during our visit due to Covid-19 (so I guess when we go back to Papermoon Diner I’ll have to stop by!) It’s considered one of the most beautiful libraries in the United States (and potentially the world). 300,000 volumes call the library’s shelves home. What makes it stunning is the black and white marble floor and gold leaf decor.
For lunch, explore the historic Lexington Market which boasts over 100 vendors! You’ll find the taste and personality of Baltimore all over it. If you are craving those famous Maryland crab cakes, head to Faidley’s Seafood here!
Travel Tip: Near Lexington Market, you can find Edgar Allen Poe’s house. Fans can go inside and enjoy personal artifacts including Poe’s personal writing deck! A few blocks away is the Westminster Burial Ground, the poet’s final resting place.
Druid Hill Park
Druid Hill Park is the third oldest established park in America! The Susquehannock Indians ceded land in the 1650’s to Lord Baltimore, who then began to parcel the land out. The area that is the park now was owned by the Rogers Family for three generations before being sold to the city of Baltimore in 1860. The park is home to the man-made Druid Hill Reservoir, the Maryland Zoo, and the Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens. There are plenty of athletic fields, pavilions, monuments, and even a disc-golf course!
Fun Fact: Before lawnmowers, the park employed a shepherd with a flock of sheep to tend to the lawns!
This impressive building is located near Druid Hill Park. It was built in 1870. It is over thirty feet tall with eighteen-inch wide solid marble walls. The tower is not open to the public – in fact the rusted staircase has been removed and the entrance has been sealed off due to safety reasons.
At this point it’s probably time to head home after two days in Baltimore, which were full of exploring! During our weekend getaway to Baltimore, I really felt a living city. A city with a complex past, moving forward continuously.
Where to stay in Baltimore
On a weekend getaway to Baltimore, location in accommodation is key. I can’t recommend the Hotel Indigo Baltimore enough. The staff was incredibly friendly, the COVID-19 policies made us feel safe and clean, and the community commitment was evident all over the hotel. They also got bonus points for having a dog welcome area with treats and water! Check out my detailed review of our stay.