Visit Like A Local with Katie Caljean
Uncover the neighborhoods and museums Katie loves to spend time in, and where she goes to feel like she's stepped back in time at Baltimore's historic sites.
How would you describe Baltimore to someone who has never been here?
Baltimore is like a big town, small city. It’s “Smalltimore,” you are bound to bump into someone you know wherever you go. Compared to NYC, you can wrap your arms around it and really know what’s going on. Baltimore’s distinctive neighborhoods are what gives the city its unique personalities and makes the landscape more digestible.
What are your favorite neighborhoods in Baltimore?
Fell’s Point and Mount Vernon are my favorites because of their charm and historic character. Mount Vernon feels very European with the architecture and style of buildings. There are so many wonderful institutions in this neighborhood as well – the Peabody, the Walters, Pratt Library, and the Maryland Historical Society of course. It’s a great network.
Fell’s Point is wonderful because you could imagine it as a bustling dock with many people from all over the world conducting business in the age of sail. The cobblestone streets and hitching posts make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time and the views of the harbor are excellent. It’s great for strolling and popping into shops or local restaurants for an easy but delicious bite. Whenever I go to Fell’s Point my favorite gathering place is Bond Street Social – the atmosphere they create there being right on the water with the big fire pits is very warm and cozy and inviting. I also like Barcocina – it’s more of a casual place to meet up with friends, the food is delicious and you can get great cocktails there.
What’s your go-to thing to do on a rainy day? On a sunny day?
On a rainy day Baltimore is actually really beautiful. The best place to be is somewhere with a view of all the historic buildings in the city like at the top of the Washington Monument overlooking Mount Vernon. On a sunny day, one of the best places to be is aboard the Pride of Baltimore on a sail. It’s a ship that’s been created to represent the Baltimore clipper style schooners from 1812.
If you only had 24 hours in Baltimore what would you do?
I love to travel and any city I go to I find the best way to get a handle on the city and its neighborhoods is to visit as many museums as possible. Within a day it could take you from one extreme to another and you can see different exhibits that are changing so even if you go back you’ll see something new each time. And by visiting multiple museums you get to learn a little bit more about each neighborhood and maybe visit a restaurant or pop in a book shop that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
So if I only had 24 hours I would try to hit as many museums as possible. Like the Maryland Historical Society, the Walters Art Museum or Baltimore Museum of Art, the American Visionary Art Museum – they always have something really interesting going on – and I love the Baltimore Museum of Industry. It’s a great place to end because it’s right on the water and right by Little Havana, so you can stop there for a bite to eat or some drinks.
Where do you like to eat in Baltimore?
For my birthday, being an Italian girl, my favorite place to go is La Scala in Little Italy. Little Italy is another neighborhood that makes you feel like you’ve been transported to another place or another time. It’s quaint, it’s cute, it feels European but modern. La Scala is fun too because you might catch some people playing bocce ball while you’re eating, and their homemade pasta is just the best.
Quick Tips: What are your favorite historical sites in Baltimore?
1. Washington Monument – the oldest monument to George Washington, it was the first in the nation.
2. Fell’s Point – There is a lot of lore associated with Fell’s Point – some people say it was the last place Edgar Allan Poe was seen alive.
3. Fort McHenry – The culmination of the War of 1812 happened here, where America was defended against the British, and where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star-Spangled Banner.
4. Historic Ships – There are four ships and one light house in the Inner Harbor that you can take tours of that all have some significance in history, whether it was fighting in a war or defending the city from attack.