Baltimore in Spring: A Travel Guide to Baseball, Blue Crab and Waterfront Festivals

ADVERTISERS coined Baltimore’s nickname “Charm City” in the 1970s to boost the morale of citizens. After the pandemic compromised its charms, the city promises to exude a palpable charisma this spring. It’s packed with new festivals like the monthly Baltimore by Baltimore series, featuring live music and crafts (May 7-October), and the Lost Weekend literary fair (May 13-15). Baltimore Orioles fans are on the loose, as are horse racing fans (the Preakness Stakes are held the third Saturday in May).

Sunny days also send more seafood seekers to emerging waterfront neighborhoods Harbor East and Harbor Point to satiate crab cake cravings at places like stylish Blk Swan. Children behind? Pass by the National Aquarium or refreshed Rash Field Park. For more ways to soak up Baltimore’s best deals, follow these five locals’ tips.

Ekiben’s ‘Neighborhood Bird’, Taiwanese curry fried chicken topped with spicy sambal mayo, pickles and fresh herbs. It comes on a steamed bun or in a bowl.


Photo:

Shuran Huang

Musician: Dan Deacon

Electronic musician and composer

Mont Vert Cemetery: Most headstones are quite old, weather-worn. It really is a beautiful park. It is a pleasant place to stroll and reflect. 1501 Greenmount Avenue

Ekiben: The Neighborhood Bird Fried Chicken Bowl is the greatest gift the universe has ever given me. Their sambal mayo is so good. 1622 East Ave.

Druid Hill Park: There are very nice trails, especially for cycling. It’s just huge and you can easily forget you’re in town. 900 Druid Park Lake Dr.

Current space: Since 2004, it has been a true cornerstone of the music and artistic scene. They have a nice outdoor space where they host events and, inside, a recurring exhibition space. It’s the kind of place I would go to see a musical show or an art exhibit and just trust the curation. 421 N. Howard Street

The ‘Painted Ladies’ in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore.

The Chef: Jesse Sandlin

Former “Top Chef” contestant and owner of Highlandtown restaurant Sally O’s

Ottobar Gallery or Metro: These are two solid choices for getting a real Baltimore vibe and seeing local bands. 2549 N. Howard St., 1700 N Charles St.

Visit the neighborhoods of Baltimore: One of the interesting things about Baltimore is the architecture of the various neighborhoods, from the cobblestones of Fells Point, over the water, to Highlandtown with its stone form. Mount Vernon has wrought iron mansions and when you get to Charles Village you see the Victorian “Painted Ladies”, colorful row houses.

Cocina Luchadoras: Their tacos al pastor and carnitas are amazing. It’s mainly take-out. A friend and I had lunch the other day and ate it on the waterfront in Fells Point. 253 S. Broadway

Baltimore Art Museum: The sculpture garden is really beautiful and there are some great exhibits. 10 Art Museum Walk.

The New York Yankees playing the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park in Camden Yards.


Photo:

Justin T. Gellerson for The Wall Street Journal

Hoteliers: Eddie & Sylvia Brown

Owners of the luxurious Ivy Hotel and Magdalena, a bistro in Maryland

Free Enoch Pratt Library: They were always open, even during Covid. They did a major renovation of the central library and it is beautiful inside and well equipped. Main branch at 400 Cathedral St.

Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium: Catch a football game at M&T Bank Stadium or a baseball game at Oriole Park in Camden Yards: Baltimore has two major sports teams and I shoot for both. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon. 1101 Russell Street and 333 West Camden Street.

National Museum of Great Blacks in Wax: They have important figures from black history sculpted in wax. I haven’t seen that in many cities. 1601-03 Avenue North East.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: They represent the classics; they do opera; they make pop music. Their music program, OrchKids, serves nearly 2,000 school children.

Grilled calamari at the rooftop bar and restaurant at Revival Hotel, Topside.

Small Business Owner: Kalilah Wright

Owner of Mess in a Bottle, a t-shirt company and retail outlet

Hotel Revival Baltimore: I like the colors and the architecture, it’s a very good price and in a good area. It has a rooftop restaurant at the top, great service and people. 101 West Monument St., from around $150 a night

Whitehall Market: There are a variety of options depending on what you want to eat. Heritage Kitchen is a Filipino restaurant and the food is just amazing. 3300 Clipper Mill Rd.

Nubian Hueman: They are owned by black women and they have great kimonos, African prints, incense and great products. 211 W Read St.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum: I love the design created by black architect Philip Freelon. Their exhibits amplify black culture and black art. 830 E Pratt St.

Also, don’t miss…
  • Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Sanctuary: The bombardment of the fort inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem in 1814. Explore the exhibits in the visitor center, then the star-shaped fort, then grab an outdoor table nearby LP vapors for blue crabs. 2400 E Fort Ave.

  • Union collective: A cocktail bar, brasserie and urban winery make this former Sears warehouse one of the liveliest bars in town. 1700 W 41st St.

  • Fadenson: Sit in the dimly lit natural wine bar or the casual beer garden in the courtyard. 3 W. 23rd Street.

  • Ministry of Brewery: Drink IPAs while seated next to towering Romanesque Revival columns in this former 19th-century German Catholic church. 1900 E.Lombard St.

  • American Visionary Art Museum: Dedicated to self-taught artists, with quirky treasures like the 8-foot-tall “Cosmic Galaxy Egg.” 800 highway key.

  • The Walters Art Museum: The collections span over seven millennia, from ancient to contemporary, and include two Fabergé eggs. 600 N. Charles Street

  • Good neighbor: Make this carefully selected cafe and home goods store the first stop on your visit to Hampden. 3827 Falls Road / Alma Cocina Latina This Station North restaurant serves inventive South American specialties in a plant-filled oasis. 1701 N. Charles Street

  • Alma Cocina Latina: This Station North spot serves up inventive South American specialties in a plant-filled oasis. 1701 N. Charles Street

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