Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is known as a beautiful focal point of the city. But are you familiar with the view from the Patterson Park Pagoda or the soulful history of the Pennsylvania Avenue Black Arts & Entertainment District? Charm City and its many distinctive neighborhoods are ready to welcome you. We’re expanding this guide all the time, so check back often—there is so much to discover.
Canton & Brewers Hill
The heart of this waterfront neighborhood is a quaint village square rimmed with restaurants, pubs and shops along O’Donnell Street. But wander off Canton Square to the surrounding blocks and find the quintessential Baltimore, from the nearly-lost Baltimore art form of the painted screen to rows of classic marble stoops on traditional Baltimore brick and formstone row houses. Canton Waterfront Park is a hot spots for events like WTMD’s First Thursdays, an outdoor summer concert series, and the annual Baltimore Seafood Festival.
Next door, Brewers Hill gets its name from the two landmark breweries it was once home to: National Brewery and Gunther Brewing. You’ll know you’re there when you look up and spot the winking Mr. Boh illuminated at the top of the tower where National Bohemian (or Natty Boh) was once produced.
Druid Hill Park
Dating back to 1860, Druid Hill Park is a 745-acre urban oasis located in the heart of Baltimore. Today, it’s home to several attractions including a public pool, disc golf courses, tennis courts, the Maryland Zoo and the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens. Friends of Druid Hill Park frequently schedule events to encourage use and enjoyment of the grounds including a farmers market, guided walking and biking tours, night hikes, live entertainment and outdoor fitness classes.
Known for its sweeping views of the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill is characterized by historic brick rowhomes and locally-owned shops and restaurants. It’s also home to a mix of newcomers and families that have lived here for generations. Must-sees include the American Visionary Art Museum, Cross Street Market and the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Plus, Federal Hill is right next door to Locust Point, where Fort McHenry beckons to history buffs.
One of the oldest neighborhoods in Baltimore, this area was once a bustling shipbuilding port. Fell’s Point’s visage has remained largely unchanged since its founding—picturesque stone streets, waterfront restaurants and cozy boutiques. Travel back in time with a stop at the oldest-standing residence in Baltimore City, the Robert Long House, which is open for tours by reservation. While you’re in the area, learn about Fell’s Point’s history at home to the first African American-owned shipyard in the country at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum. Then stop for a drink at the city’s oldest bar, The Horse You Came In On Saloon (rumored to be Edgar Allan Poe’s last stop before his mysterious death).
Once a 19th-century blue-collar mill town that has evolved into the epicenter of hipster Baltimore kitsch, Hampden’s main drag, aka “The Avenue,” is a great place to grab a bite, share a beer, check out some local shops and catch the overall vibe. Stop by Café Hon, a classic diner that celebrates the city’s working-class women of the 1960s who spoke “Bawlmerese.” (“Hon” is short for “honey” and is a favorite term of endearment for locals.) Each June, the spirit of the hons comes to life during Honfest which fills The Avenue with food, drinks, music and bee hive hairdos.
Luxe experiences await you in Habor East. Treat yourself to a massage at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, a shopping spree at a specialty boutique and dinner with a waterfront view at a high-end eatery. You’ll want to make a reservation ahead of your visit to Charleston, The Bygone and The Oceanaire Seafood Room. Love history? Be sure to stop at the Civil War Museum at President Street Station, where President Abraham Lincoln once stopped to avoid an assassination attempt.
Little Italy is a small but mighty community full of families that have lived here for generations, many of which own the plethora of delicious Italian restaurants on every block. To name a few: Germano’s Piattini has an active cabaret line-up, Café Gia is known for its colorful mural and balcony, Aldo’s Ristorante and La Tavola are top picks for fine dining, and family-owned favorite Sabatino’s has been around for generations. The neighborhood also hosts a number of events throughout the year, like the Feasts of St. Anthony and St. Gabriel and the Madonnari Arts Festival in the fall.
Mount Vernon is an elegant neighborhood filled with grand old mansions that once belonged to Baltimore’s 19th-century industrialists. Today, the neighborhood is a National Landmark Historic District filled with museums, shops, restaurants and boutique hotels. There is so much to see and do in this neighborhood, but we recommend a stop at the Washington Monument, the Walters Art Museum, the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Maryland Center for History & Culture. Then stay for a performance from the world-renowned Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
Think of this as Baltimore’s backyard! Patterson Park is as well known for its green space, large trees, paved walkways, historic battle sites, a lake, playgrounds, athletic fields, a swimming pool, an ice-skating rink and its observation tower—the Instagram-worthy Patterson Park Pagoda. Enjoy an ice cream or a snowball from Bmore Licks while walking the grounds or grab a slice at local favorites Verde or Matthew’s Pizzeria.
Pennsylvania Avenue Black Arts and Entertainment District
While this area’s designation as an arts and entertainment district may still be in its infancy, the neighborhood has had a long history as a cultural center for the city’s African American community. During the 1940s, 50s and 60s, Pennsylvania Avenue was the place to go to see the latest singers and musicians perform, most notably at the Royal Theater, which hosted entertainers like Cab Calloway, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles and James Brown. Unfortunately, the theater no longer exists, but a monument stands in its honor. Keep an eye on this neighborhood for big things to come soon—proposed ideas for include a museum devoted to jazz legend Cab Calloway, or a museum for Black women’s history.
Pigtown was named in the late 1800s when cargo railcars from the Midwest would let loads of pigs out, which created a spectacle as they ran through the streets to their final destination. The neighborhood is now home to the annual Pigtown Festival which honors that heritage with the “Squeakness” pig races during a weekend full of food, drinks and music. Here you’ll also find the Mount Clare Museum House in Carroll Park, Mobtown Ballroom and the B&O Railroad Museum.
Port Covington is the site of a master redevelopment plan started by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank that is transforming this formerly industrial port area into a hub of economic growth. Currently it’s home to Sagamore Spirit Distillery, Americana restaurant Rye Street Tavern, maker space City Garage, seafood restaurant Nick’s Fish House and waterfront hangout South Point. Soon it will be filled with a food hall, hotel and updated green space.
Home to artists, musicians and makers, the Remington neighborhood has maintained a laid-back attitude while experiencing a boom in recent development. Hip hot spot R. House is a perfect place for families and friends to grab a bite. The 10-stall food hall boasts Baltimore chefs, each offering distinct cuisines from Japanese and Korean to Mexican and Italian. While you’re here, check out cake decorating classes at Chef Duff Goldman’s Charm City Cakes, pick up a new plant baby at B.Willow and shop for fresh duds at Get Shredded Vintage.
Known for its educational institutions, green spaces and architecture, Roland Park is also home to an abundance of local shops and restaurants. Classic French bistro, Petit Louis, and Johnny’s, serving west coast cuisine, are both co-owned by James Beard award-nominated chef Cindy Wolf. Miss Shirley’s Café, one of two locations in Baltimore, offers southern-influenced breakfast and lunch and has been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”