Insiders Share What Makes Baltimore So Charming

Once dubbed the ‘City of Neighborhoods’ for its more than 100 identified districts, Baltimore, MD is a true East Coast gem. Though often recognized for its iconic rowhouses and rich industrial history, this city is further defined by a unique mix of Southern hospitality, urban charm and coastal flavor.

Whether you’re thinking about capitalizing on the buyers’ market, or just planning a visit, you won’t be disappointed. Between its vibrant waterfront, local arts scene and irresistible seafood, Baltimore truly lives up to its other nickname, “Charm City.”

We asked six locals what it’s like to live in such charm. Here’s what they had to say.

If you were a Baltimore tourist for a day, what are three attractions you’d make time to visit?

If I were a tourist, I would first visit the Inner Harbor. There are plenty of restaurants, sightseeing and the world famous water taxis. Second, I would check out the beer scene in Baltimore. We have multiple breweries brewing everything from traditional IPAS to Old Bay-infused drinks. Lastly, I would check out the LOVE murals. They are all around the city and geotagged online. – Keisha Reed of City Girl Goes Digital

I would go straight for the Inner Harbor. The Maryland Science Center is one of my favorite places; it has so much “play” learning for the whole family, and everything is interactive. I also love the National Aquarium and the American Visionary Art Museum by Federal Hill. The Visionary is wonderful – it’s all self-taught artists expressing themselves in often unconventional methods. I can easily lose myself in the hallways there. – Jen Snyder of Jen Snyder Photography

What does the nickname “Charm City” mean to you?

Charm implies a depth of purpose. Baltimore is a place that you don’t really understand until you visit and stay awhile. This city has grit; local haunts might not look like much from the outside, but come inside and you’ll find unexpected flavors, fascinating people and bar stools that immediately feel like home. The city is for those willing to look beneath the surface, and once they do, they become part of the charm it creates. – Steph Moore and Jasmine McNeil of Stay Classy Canton

I grew up here, and what I like about it is that Baltimore tends to stick together. It’s a true community. – Tim Ellis of T.W. Ellis

Baltimore is full of charm. Each neighborhood has its own vibe – from artsy to trendy, classic to modern. –  Jen Snyder of Jen Snyder Photography

What’s the best spot to get a taste of Maryland’s famed blue crab?

We often find ourselves about 45 minutes west of Baltimore for crabs, at Liberty Road Seafood in Frederick, MD. They have all-you-can-eat specials for great prices, and the steamed crabs just keep coming and coming. It’s not a fancy place, and lots of locals go there – exactly what you want in a crab house! – Liza Hawkins of (a)Musing Foodie

We’d head over to Bo Brooks to sit outside on the water and enjoy the view while consuming as many crabs as possible. You’re going to want to have an Orange Crush at the tiki bar before you leave. If you happen to be visiting family and can convince them to host your crab feast, we get ours to go from Gaffney’s in Highlandtown. – Steph Moore and Jasmine McNeil of Stay Classy Canton

What is the biggest misconception about Baltimore that you’d like to set straight?

The downtown’s reputation as a “bad area.” Baltimore is more than a statistic. It’s more than the downtown area; it also includes the county, etc. Throughout the area, people truly do care about their neighbors. – Tim Ellis of T.W. Ellis

Like any big city, there are safe places and not-so-safe places. So much of Baltimore is fun, walkable, and safe, so I always hate to hear that people are “afraid to visit,” because they’re missing out on so much the city has to offer! – Liza Hawkins of (a)Musing Foodie

Does the term of endearment “Hon” really have roots in Baltimore?

“Hon” has deep roots in Baltimore – we even have a yearly festival every summer dedicated to the Hon! A Baltimore Hon is a caricature of the working woman in Baltimore in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. She wore brightly printed clothes, bright cat-eye glasses and her hair in a beehive. – Jen Snyder of Jen Snyder Photography

Yes, it’s short for “honey.” If you come to Baltimore and sit on your stoop in neighborhoods with older adults who’ve made Baltimore what it is, “Hon” will roll off their tongues as a term of endearment as they pass. If you visit in June, you can see the Hons in action at HONfest in Hampden. – Steph Moore and Jasmine McNeil of Stay Classy Canton

What’s a pro tip for someone catching a ball game at Camden Yards for the first time?

Definitely visit the museum and take the tour – there’s a lot of history there. It’s situated in the old B&O Railroad warehouse, which is the longest building on the East Coast.  Also, check out the small circular plaques on the street outside the stadium that indicate where home runs have landed throughout the ball stadium’s history. – Tim Ellis of T.W. Ellis

There are no bad seats! Be sure to come early on giveaway days. You can bring outside food and un-opened, non-alcoholic beverages into the stadium, but we recommend grabbing a Natty Boh (there are craft beers as well) and maple-glazed bacon-on-a-stick at the stadium. Though we’ve never turned down a hotdog or peanuts from one of the many vendors outside. – Steph Moore and Jasmine McNeil of Stay Classy Canton

Where is the best place to get a cold ‘Natty Boh?’

Any local dive bar will do. I recommend Ropewalk Tavern. – Keisha Reed of City Girl Goes Digital

Not sure I have a best place – just make sure they give you the cap along with the bottle! – Liza Hawkins of (a)Musing Foodie

Your corner bar. It’s everywhere, that’s what makes it great. – Steph Moore and Jasmine McNeil of Stay Classy Canton

Since Baltimore is a craft beer hotspot, where do you recommend tasting the best local brew?

Local brew is best served cold at The Brewers Art. They serve a full line of their house-made brew in an eclectic space. – Keisha Reed of City Girl Goes Digital

Frederick, MD (about 45 minutes west of Baltimore) is a suburb with a great craft beer presence. Flying Dog Brewery is my favorite for a fun vibe with tasty craft brew options, including some that are only available on-site! – Liza Hawkins of (a)Musing Foodie

What are the best Baltimore neighborhoods for relocating young professionals?

I hear lots of love for Hampden and Federal Hill from young professionals. – Liza Hawkins of (a)Musing Foodie

I think it depends on your lifestyle. You could live in the dog-friendly neighborhoods like Patterson Park, or the sleepy, almost suburb-like Lauraville neighborhood. – Keisha Reed of City Girl Goes Digital

Canton area in downtown. It has the urban industrial feel. – Tim Ellis of T.W. Ellis

What are the best family-friendly neighborhoods in Baltimore?

I’m a bit biased, but I love the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello area. – Keisha Reed of City Girl Goes Digital

I love Belvedere, Mt. Washington and Charles Village. – Jen Snyder of Jen Snyder Photography

While I do know some families downtown in Baltimore (Hampden and similar neighborhoods), many young families move a little farther out to suburbs like Parkville, Frederick, Reisterstown, Ellicott City and Catonsville. – Liza Hawkins of (a)Musing Foodie

What is the best way to get acquainted with Baltimore’s local art scene?

Station North and any neighborhoods partnering with our local art institution, MICA, are your best bet for catching the local art scene. We host the Maryland Film Festival in the spring, and various art showings and festivals all year long. – Keisha Reed of City Girl Goes Digital

The entire Hampden neighborhood is lovely for the arts, with plenty of restaurants and little art galleries to explore. There are festivals all year long across the city: Artscape happens every summer, HONFest, Hampdenfest, etc. There are also plenty of races, craft fairs, and film and music festivals. Baltimore always has a reason to party. – Jen Snyder of Jen Snyder Photography

When is the best time of year to visit Baltimore, and why?

April through October, so you can catch a game. People in Baltimore are diehard fans for football and baseball, and it’s fun to experience. – Tim Ellis of T.W. Ellis

There is no bad time. You’ll always find something to do in Baltimore. Even during the ‘snowpocalypse,’ restaurants opened and people gathered. – Steph Moore and Jasmine McNeil of Stay Classy Canton

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