Despite being overshadowed by nearby New York and Washington DC for years, the humble Maryland city of Baltimore is fast becoming a destination of choice, among tourists and permanent arrivals alike.
Much of this is owed to the impressive work done by the city to attract young entrepreneurs who have in turn unleashed a huge demand for new attractions, cultural events and dining experiences. Baltimore’s somewhat more relaxed work culture, which encourages residents to maintain a healthy work-life balance, also allows people to make the most of the city’s diverse range of lifestyle offerings.
New residents of the ’Charm City’ will most certainly be pleasantly surprised by the wealth of activities available to keep them suitably entertained during their leisure time.
Arts and culture in Baltimore
Baltimore is home to a thriving arts scene. From quirky modern art exhibits at the American Visionary Art Museum to more traditional works at the Baltimore Museum of Art, there is something to suit everyone’s taste. Not to mention the ever-changing street art that continuously pops up around the city.
History buffs will marvel at Baltimore’s past which is encased in the city’s beautifully preserved 19th-century architecture- and heritage landmarks. Mount Vernon is the city’s cultural district where visitors will find the famous Peabody Library, the Walter’s Museum, and the prominent Washington Monument.
Eating out in Baltimore
Foodies are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out in Baltimore. Each neighbourhood is host to its own set of cosy cafes and eclectic eateries, so Baltimore residents don’t necessarily have to travel far to find unique dining experiences.
Long leisurely weekend brunches have become quite the Baltimore institution and newcomers will soon learn that eating out in the ‘Charm City’ is very much a social pastime. Crab, in all its forms, is what Baltimore is famous for, so be ready to get those hands dirty when cracking open the daily catch.
Baltimore may not be as cosmopolitan as its neighbours, but it does have its fair share of ethnic restaurant offerings. From French, Italian, and Spanish eateries to Korean, Japanese and Indian restaurants, Baltimore residents won't find it hard to satisfy an international range of food cravings.
For special occasions, there really is no need to travel to New York as some may mistakenly assume. Baltimore actually boasts a solid selection of excellent fine dining establishments for those who are really looking to push the boat out.
Nightlife in Baltimore
Baltimore is a university town so it comes as no great surprise that the city has a vibrant nightlife. For a big night out head to Federal Hill, where most of Baltimore’s bars and clubs are found. Other neighbourhoods such as Inner Harbour, Hampden and Mount Vernon all have their own evening entertainment spots and part of the fun is discovering these hidden gems.
Those looking for a more subdued evening out should visit Fell’s Point for sundowners and live music with a view. While it may not be Broadway, Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre is a great place to catch a show. For something memorable take an evening dance class at the famous Mobtown Ballroom or enjoy a sunset cruise in the harbour.
Sports and outdoor activities in Baltimore
Outdoor enthusiasts needn't fret, as Baltimore and its surrounds present many opportunities to get a fresh air fix. Baltimore has its fair share of walking trails, lush green parks, gardens, and lakes to draw residents out into nature.
The Cylburn Arboretum, located just a few miles from Baltimore City, is a vast property housing a stunning period mansion and several beautiful gardens for guests to explore at leisure. Holt Park with its labyrinth and meditation path is great for a peaceful retreat from the busy city.
Those looking for something more intense to get the blood pumping can explore scenic cycling routes such as the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail, which is not too far outside the city. Hikers will be in their element as they take to the trails in nearby Patapsco Valley and Rocks State Parks.
Shopping in Baltimore
When it comes to retail therapy, Baltimore has a slew of shopping options. From local boutiques to those high-street stalwarts and bargain outlets, shoppers are sure to find something to suit their taste and budget.
Prominent shopping precincts include Harborplace and Gallery on the Inner Harbour, while Federal Hill, Fell’s Point and Hampden are good for thrift shopping and boutiques. Antique Row, as the name suggests, is the place to trawl through pieces from bygone eras.
Maker culture is big in Baltimore, and exploring the city’s markets, which brim with various food and craft items, is quite a social affair. Taking a wander through Lexington Market, the oldest in the USA, is always an experience. Other popular markets in Baltimore include Broadway Market at Fell’s Point and Federal Hill’s Cross Street Market.
►To learn more about the best attractions in the Charm City read the See and Do in Baltimore page
Are you an expat living in Baltimore?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Baltimore. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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