Recently, I was asked what fun things there are to do in Baltimore and as I went to write out a list, I realized that it would make way more sense as a blog post! So whether you’re planning a trip to Charm City for the first or twentieth time, I hope you can find some new and interesting options for having fun in my favorite city in the world.
Just to be fair, these are all my opinions and things I have personal experience with. The places I’m listing might not be what shows up in the Best Of magazines, but it’s what I like. Doing these things will show you Baltimore through my eyes, not someone else’s.
Places To Eat
Paper Moon – Typical diner food in the quirkiest setting imaginable. Slurp down a milkshake among hundreds of Pez dispensers, mannequins covered in miniature toys, and dozens of other colorful and creepy displays.
Joe Squared – Delectable specialty pizzas, a fan of the arts, and great service. Make sure you visit the North Avenue location (not the one in the Inner Harbor), and may I recommend the crab pizza?
Lost City Diner – It’s open into the wee hours of the morning, so if you’ve had a long night of partying, you can stop into this comic themed diner to get some delicious breakfast foods.
Golden West Cafe – Beautiful decor, delicious food– and they serve breakfast all day! Order food till midnight and then head back to the bar to hang out with some of the coolest hipsters you’ve ever met. They also host local artists.
Nacho Mama’s – You’re going to have to wait at least an hour to get seated here (most likely), but its’ worth it. Not only is their food massive and oozing with cheese, but you can drink your margaritas out of a hubcap.
Sip & Bite – It’s been featured on your favorite Food Network shows for a reason! I recommend going in the middle of the night for the full effect. Cram you and your friends into one of their booths and order one of their signature dishes.
Annabel Lee Tavern – This Edgar Allen Poe themed restaurant has the best aesthetics and ambiance you could hope for, and some pretty bangin’ mac and cheese.
Johnny Rad’s – Excellent pizza and beer selections, plus skeeball? You can’t go wrong here.
Vaccaro’s – The best desserts in town. Cookies, cannolis, gelato… Visit any of their locations to treat yourself.
Dangerously Delicious Pies – Another one famous for a reason. If you know you want pie for dessert, make sure to check this place out. And since you’re here, you might as well get the Baltimore Bomb to ensure you get a taste of our famous Berger Cookies.
Places To Drink
Bad Decisions – This place makes all its cocktails with fresh fruit. Watch them squeeze it in front of you! I don’t know of anywhere that makes a more delicious fruity mixed drink.
Howl At The Moon – If you can handle the weekend party scene, head over to Power Plant to this dueling piano bar. They have fun group drinks and wonderful music, but beware of the cliches of bachelorette and birthday parties that will surely be partying beside you.
Sticky Rice – A really fun environment, especially if you hang out outside. They have great sushi and tots, plus some weeknight events you might want to check out including karaoke, video games, and Blingo.
Rockwell – This new place has the best soundtrack of anywhere in town. They project giant images on the walls and have a photobooth for you to use with your friends!
Grand Central – One of the famous LGBTQ bars in the city with three separate areas. Pub, fancy, or dance. Pick your poison and have a blast.
Owl Bar – It’s inside the Belvedere Hotel, and it used to be a speakeasy! Check out the first three lines of a poem hanging above the bar, and look up the fourth line online: that’s what you had to say to get into the speakeasy way back when. Cute ambiance and chill atmopshere.
Brewer’s Art – The downstairs area is fun to go to on weekends. Really dark, but not seedy. Beware that the upstairs dining is super fancy!
Max’s Taphouse – This place has more beer than you’ll know what to do with, but I really don’t recommend going here on a Friday or Saturday night. It’s way too packed.
Places To Shop
Hampden Junque – This tiny shop is crammed full with vintage ephemera, knick knacks, records and more. They’re not open when I want them to be, but it just makes shopping there extra special.
Sideshow – The gift shop at the American Visionary Art Museum is my favorite place to shop in the entire world. Yeah, they sell postcards and shirts from their current exhibits, but it’s so much more. Costumes, jewelry, toys, stationery, books, original art, miniature collectibles, gag gifts, stickers, and one million other things. I dare you to leave here empty handed.
Lovelyarns – My favorite yarn store in the city! They’re pro yarnbombing and very active in the community. If you need some yarn for your next project, be sure to check them out.
Killer Trash – A very unique vintage shop that defies the odds by staying open for weird people like me to enjoy. Get your clothes and accessories here, hon!
Soundgarden – The best record store you’ve ever been in. They have used CDs, DVDs, and vinyl and the staff is very helpful.
Antique Row – Take an hour or two to stroll through the antique shops on Howard Avenue. You might find a treasure.
Artist & Craftsman Supply – Check out the place that all the fancy MICA students get their art supplies! You’ll be inspired.
Atomic Books – The best store for zines, comics, graphic novels, stationery, and toys.
Places To Do Things
Federal Hill Park – Climb to the top of the hill and get one of the best views in the city. Day or night are both viable options, as both are incredibly beautiful. It’s full of history, but you might not be able to focus on the culture when you can see so many gorgeous lights.
Creative Alliance – See a show or take a class here. It’s a non-profit organization that continually blows my mind with how involved and supportive they are in the community. See improv comedy, burlesque, sideshow, and way more.
Patterson Park – Take your dog to the dog park, play frisbee or tennis or field hockey. Play on the playground, fly a kite, or take a walk and see some cool sculptures. This park is straight up huge. I recommend the Linden Avenue side.
Wind Up Space – See some art, attend an event, or just grab a drink! There’s tables for you to enjoy bands or performance art.
Ottobar – A great place for local shows and hanging out. It’s kind of a smaller venue, but it doesn’t stop famous bands from stopping here on their worldwide tours.
Walter Sondheim Fountain – Play in this interactive fountain in the Inner Harbor. You’re gonna get wet, but if you’re playing in it, it’s probably summer and we all know that means it’s probably stupidly humid out, too.
The Book Thing – A FREE BOOKSTORE. It’s true. It’s only open on the weekends, but you can come in and take as many books as you want. Seriously. It’s organized by category. Go crazy!
Open Walls – Explore the beautiful murals in the Station North area! Famous artists have given us artful gifts on the sides of buildings that will blow your mind.
Illusions – See a magic show with Spencer Horsman, who is brilliant enough to have been on America’s Got Talent. It’s super classy, and sometimes they have old black and white films on in the background.
Graffiti Alley – An “L” shaped alley that has been designated for graffiti. Every time you visit you will see something new. Every square inch of that place is covered in color, and it’s wonderful for photoshoots.
Places To Do Touristy Things
Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower – Go inside this beautiful piece of architecture and see some great art. I’d recommend going on Saturdays, though. They’re more liberal with tours and things.
Aquarium – It’s the National one. It’s pretty cool. There’s a dolphin show, and walking in a zig zag fashion down through the shark tanks is an experience you can’t replicate.
Zoo – If you’re into zoos, you’ll like this one. There’s a petting zoo and lots of interactive things to do, like feed the giraffes!
World Trade Center – Get an amazing 360 view of the city from 27 floors above the ground.
American Visionary Art Museum – My favorite place in the world. There are three buildings and the exhibits stay up for almost a year at a time. Experience everything as whole heartedly as you can. It’s weird and wonderful.
Inner Harbor – Walk around and go to chain restaurants if you must. The most interesting things to do here nowadays are going out on the dragon paddle boats or on a water taxi. If this is the only part of Baltimore you experience, you didn’t do it right.
Washington Monument – Isn’t that in DC? Yeah. This was actually the very first piece of architecture to honor him, though. It’s obviously much smaller, but it’s a beautiful sight. The park area around it is wonderful for taking a walk, too.
Science Center – Tons of interactive things to do, and even more things to learn. There’s also an IMAX theater, which is probably my favorite part. It’s always fun to see films like that.
Edgar Allen Poe House & Grave – These are actually two separate sights, but if you’re interested in his life at all, they’re both worth a trip. He was a cool guy.
Seasonal Things To Do
Kinetic Sculpture Race – AVAM hosts an event every year where amazing people-operated floats race around the city, but it’s more of a parade than anything else. A beautiful, strange parade.
Sports Game – See The Orioles or Ravens play at Camden Yard or M&T Bank Stadium, respectfully. People get pretty into it. You could even tailgate with the locals!
Festivals – There are an enormous amount of festivals, especially in the summer time. Check out Artscape, Honfest, and Pride to get started. We know how to party.
Flicks On The Hill – In the summer, AVAM projects movies on the side of their building on Thursday evenings for people to watch for free with friends on a blanket they bring from home.
You can also check out The Crazy Tourist’s list of his Top 25 Things To Do In Baltimore post!
Alright, hon. What did I miss?