One of the best things about our studio is that we get to enjoy being in two great cities, Washington, DC and Charleston, SC. However, both cities are destinations themselves and during these long summer months, it becomes necessary to escape the tourists. As part of our Summer of Workhorse, we will be sharing a few of our favorite destinations that are close enough to make for a good weekend, or even, day trip. This installment holds a very special place is Abe’s heart. So grab a Natty Boh and listen to him tell us about what Baltimore has to offer.
As a resident of DC, it’s not uncommon to meet other longtime residents who still think Baltimore is a real-life episode of The Wire. Or they’ve only been to Inner Harbor. Either way, they’re doing it wrong. I’ve always loved Baltimore more than DC—it’s more laid back, the art scene is more interesting, and the food is just as good. PLUS, it’s so much cheaper. Though, I may be a bit biased because I actually got to live in Baltimore for a few years, while I was in grad school at MICA. Living there really gave me an appreciation for the region and helped me learn to not take things as seriously as DC takes itself.
24 Hours in Baltimore
Baltimore is full of great neighborhoods, each with its own character and quirks. If you’re trying to stay somewhere centrally located, with plenty to do right outside your door, I would recommend Federal Hill or Fells Point. If you’re looking for a spot that a bit outside of downtown, that has a bit of its own culture, Hampden is the place to set up base. It all depends on what you’re into.
Baltimore has so much good food. There are a ton of local favorites, so whatever I tell you about here, I know for sure someone is going to write and tell us how wrong we are. However, for those trying to sample various parts of the city and different spots, here are a few of my personal favorites.
Pete’s Grill: A quintessential greasy spoon diner. Comfort food at its finest.
Faidley’s Seafood: Located in Lexington Market, this place has been here forever and serves the best crab cake in the country.
Woodberry Kitchen: Opened by James Beard Award winner, Chef Spike Gjerde, in 2007, Woodberry Kitchen is one of the most highly decorated restaurants in the mid-Atlantic. Great food, delicious cocktails.
Clavel Mezceleria: You’d miss this place if you walked by it, but this gem in the Remington neighborhood is not to be missed. Tacos and cocktails are on point. But don’t tell anyone.
Walt’s Inn: If you don’t like cheap beer, jello shots, karaoke, and fun, you are going to hate this place.
The Book Thing: A completely volunteer run trading post for books. They will take any books off your hands and if you’re looking for something to read while on your trip, all of books here are free. Free! What a concept.
Station North Arts & Entertainment District
There’s no better way to experience Baltimore art than out on the street. For a one-stop view of some the best local and international street art, head out to Station North. Thanks to the Open Walls Baltimore project, the neighborhood is home to more than 20 gigantic murals completed by some of the most renowned street artists from all over the world. You’ll also find, tucked away in the same district, Graffiti Alley, which is a haven for local and visiting graffiti artists.
When to Go
If you are very against taking my advice and recommendations, at least listen to this. If you live in the area and have never been to Baltimore, please go check out Artscape. Artscape is an annual free 3-day arts festival that happens in mid-July. It’s billed as “America’s Largest Free Arts Festival.” I’m no expert on American arts festivals but I am an expert in FREE. I have absolutely no idea how they get away with not charging money for all the concerts, food, and art, but they do, and it’s amazing!