Baltimore in Spring: A Travel Guide to Baseball, Blue Crab and Waterfront Festivals
ADVERTISERS coined Baltimore’s nickname “Charm City” in the 1970s to boost the morale of citizens. After the pandemic compromised its charms, the city promises to exude a palpable charisma this spring. It’s packed with new festivals like the monthly Baltimore by Baltimore series, featuring live music and crafts (May 7-October), and the Lost Weekend literary fair (May 13-15). Baltimore Orioles fans are on the loose, as are horse racing fans (the Preakness Stakes are held the third Saturday in May).
Sunny days also send more seafood seekers to emerging waterfront neighborhoods Harbor East and Harbor Point to satiate crab cake cravings at places like stylish Blk Swan. Children behind? Pass by the National Aquarium or refreshed Rash Field Park. For more ways to soak up Baltimore’s best deals, follow these five locals’ tips.
Musician: Dan Deacon
Electronic musician and composer
Mont Vert Cemetery: Most headstones are quite old, weather-worn. It really is a beautiful park. It is a pleasant place to stroll and reflect. 1501 Greenmount Avenue
Ekiben: The Neighborhood Bird Fried Chicken Bowl is the greatest gift the universe has ever given me. Their sambal mayo is so good. 1622 East Ave.
Druid Hill Park: There are very nice trails, especially for cycling. It’s just huge and you can easily forget you’re in town. 900 Druid Park Lake Dr.
Current space: Since 2004, it has been a true cornerstone of the music and artistic scene. They have a nice outdoor space where they host events and, inside, a recurring exhibition space. It’s the kind of place I would go to see a musical performance or an art exhibit and just trust the curation. 421 N. Howard Street
The Chef: Jesse Sandlin
Former “Top Chef” contestant and owner of Highlandtown restaurant Sally O’s
Ottobar Gallery or Metro: These are two solid choices for getting a real Baltimore vibe and seeing local bands. 2549 N. Howard St., 1700 N Charles St.
Visit the neighborhoods of Baltimore: One of the interesting things about Baltimore is the architecture of the various neighborhoods, from the cobblestones of Fells Point, over the water, to Highlandtown with its stone form. Mount Vernon has wrought iron mansions and when you get to Charles Village you see the Victorian “Painted Ladies”, colorful row houses.
Cocina Luchadoras: Their tacos al pastor and carnitas are amazing. It’s mainly take-out. A friend and I had lunch the other day and ate it on the waterfront in Fells Point. 253 S. Broadway
Baltimore Art Museum: The sculpture garden is really beautiful and there are some great exhibits. 10 Art Museum Walk.
Hoteliers: Eddie & Sylvia Brown
Owners of the luxurious Ivy Hotel and Magdalena, a bistro in Maryland
Free Enoch Pratt Library: They were always open, even during Covid. They did a major renovation of the central library and it is beautiful inside and well equipped. Main branch at 400 Cathedral St.
Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium: Catch a football game at M&T Bank Stadium or a baseball game at Oriole Park in Camden Yards: Baltimore has two major sports teams and I shoot for both. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon. 1101 Russell Street and 333 West Camden Street.
National Museum of Great Blacks in Wax: They have important figures from black history sculpted in wax. I haven’t seen that in many cities. 1601-03 Avenue North East.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: They represent the classics; they do opera; they make pop music. Their music program, OrchKids, serves nearly 2,000 school children.
Small Business Owner: Kalilah Wright
Owner of Mess in a Bottle, a t-shirt company and retail outlet
Hotel Revival Baltimore: I like the colors and the architecture, it’s a very good price and in a good area. It has a rooftop restaurant at the top, great service and people. 101 West Monument St., from around $150 a night
White Hall Market: There are a variety of options depending on what you want to eat. Heritage Kitchen is a Filipino restaurant and the food is just amazing. 3300 Clipper Mill Rd.
Nubian Hueman: They are owned by black women and they have great kimonos, African prints, incense and great products. 211 W Read St.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum: I love the design created by black architect Philip Freelon. Their exhibits amplify black culture and black art. 830 E Pratt St.
Rash Field Park as seen from Federal Hill Park
Steamed blue crabs on the deck of LP Steamers at Locust Point
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture
Once a private mansion in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, the Revival Hotel opened in 2018 with 107 rooms.
Bartender Zack Parker at natural wine bar Fadensonnen in the city’s Old Goucher district. The bar also has an interior garden, ideal on warm spring nights.
Also, don’t miss…
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Sanctuary: The bombardment of the fort inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem in 1814. Explore the exhibits in the visitor center, then the star-shaped fort, then grab an outdoor table nearby LP vapors for blue crabs. 2400 E Fort Ave.
Union collective: A cocktail bar, brasserie and urban winery make this former Sears warehouse one of the liveliest bars in town. 1700 W 41st St.
Fadenson: Sit in the dimly lit natural wine bar or the casual beer garden in the courtyard. 3 W. 23rd Street.
Ministry of Brewery: Drink IPAs while seated next to towering Romanesque Revival columns in this former 19th-century German Catholic church. 1900 E.Lombard St.
American Visionary Art Museum: Dedicated to self-taught artists, with quirky treasures like the 8-foot-tall “Cosmic Galaxy Egg.” 800 highway key.
The Walters Art Museum: The collections span over seven millennia, from ancient to contemporary, and include two Fabergé eggs. 600 N. Charles Street
Good neighbor: Make this carefully selected cafe and home goods store the first stop on your visit to Hampden. 3827 Falls Road
Alma Cocina Latina: This Station North spot serves up inventive South American specialties in a plant-filled oasis. 1701 N. Charles Street
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