From the creepy brilliance of Edgar Allan Poe to the dark, irreverent humor of John Waters, Baltimore's quirk factor is undisputed. Whether you are a sci-fi nut, a horror junkie, or simply a fan of good, old American kitsch, you'll find weird, cool and quirky sights throughout our city. Ignite your curiosity with a day-long tour of some of our city's most unusual attractions.
Poe House and Museum
When Edgar Allan Poe, writer of prolific prose and gruesome tales, moved to a tiny brick duplex on Amity Street, he was 23 years old. It was 1832, and Poe, who had enlisted in the Army, had just returned to Baltimore after a brief stint at West Point. The Amity Street residence was the home of his widowed aunt, Maria Poe Clemm. It is believed that while living in this home (from 1832 to 1835), Poe wrote several poems and stories for the Baltimore Saturday Visiter and the Southern Literary Messenger. Throughout his difficult life, Poe was a writer, editor, literary critic, publisher and lecturer. Today, the Amity Street address is a modest museum housing personal items reputed to be used by the author, along with items belonging to his foster father, John Allan.
National Museum of Dentistry
Travel further west to the National Museum of Dentistry at the University of Maryland. The surprises that await will make you smile - or shudder. Ever wonder what dental care was like in the 19th century? What kind of toothbrush did Queen Victoria use? And by the way, where can you find George Washington's dentures? Experience all of this and more at the National Museum of Dentistry. The museum offers a memorable array of morsels from short films on dentistry in American pop culture (including old toothpaste commercials) to exhibits on master masticators - human and other.
Now that you've been properly schooled on the inner workings of the human mouth, get ready to use those choppers at Café Hon in Hampden. A giant, pink flamingo hangs above the café's entrance to greet you, and that's only the beginning. The restaurant's fun, laid-back vibe, along with the gift shop next door, will introduce you to the culture and lore of the Balwmor hon.
Geppi's Entertainment Museum
From Café Hon, head to Camden Yards for a whole new take on American history. Explore the kitschy delights of American pop culture at Geppi's Entertainment Museum. The museum is packed with more than 6,000 objects and artifacts including comics, toys, dolls, games and memorabilia. Looking for that obscure cartoon character from your childhood? Chances are you'll run into it at Geppi's. The museum spans decades of American pop culture, including radio and television shows, films and cartoons.
American Visionary Art Museum
Head for the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM), for a lively celebration of quirkdom and one-of-a-kind creativity. This national museum is drawing visitors from around the world with engaging programs, special exhibits and a permanent collection that includes Fifi, a giant pink poodle in pearls, and a 10-foot-tall statue of Divine, the famous star and drag diva of John Waters' films such as Hairspray, Polyester and Pink Flamingos.
Illusions Magic Bar
From AVAM, make your way to Illusions Magic Bar and Lounge. On Friday and Saturday nights, you'll find magician Spencer Horsman, (son of owner and magician, Ken Horsman,) suspended upside-down, attempting an amazing escape from the confines of a strait-jacket. Will Spencer prevail in his quest for freedom from restraint and excessively long sleeves? You'll have to visit Illusions to find out.
Many sites require groups to make advanced reservations for tours and visits. Please contact each site before your group tour.
Plan your trip!
- In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland during the War of 1812 June 10, 2012 - December 31, 2014 | All Day
- A Very Visionary Star-Spangled Sidewalk July 1, 2013 - September 1, 2014 | All Day
- Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and Her Quest for an Imperial Legacy June 9, 2013 - June 9, 2014 | All Day
- The War Came By Train: American Civil War 150th Anniversary April 30, 2011 - December 31, 2015 | All Day
- Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause February 11, 2014 - September 1, 2014 | 10:00am - 5:00pm