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Guidebook for Baltimore

Louie

Guidebook for Baltimore

Restaurants
These are the places where we regularly dine out. Our picks for best pizza, tacos, ramen, breakfast food, and more.
This Mexican hole in the wall offers arguably the best -- and certainly most authentic -- tacos in Baltimore. The family who runs the restaurant lovingly makes their corn tortillas by hand each morning. While their al pastor and chorizo tacos are highlights, the pozole -- Mexican hominy soup -- is an extra special treat on cold weather days.
Cocina Luchadoras
253 S Broadway
This Mexican hole in the wall offers arguably the best -- and certainly most authentic -- tacos in Baltimore. The family who runs the restaurant lovingly makes their corn tortillas by hand each morning. While their al pastor and chorizo tacos are highlights, the pozole -- Mexican hominy soup -- is an extra special treat on cold weather days.
This neighborhood coffee shop -- which operates out of the first floor of a rowhouse -- is a great place to start your day. Get your caffeine fix and baked goods opposite the park. They set up outside seating in fair weather, too.
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Patterson Perk
2501 Eastern Avenue
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This neighborhood coffee shop -- which operates out of the first floor of a rowhouse -- is a great place to start your day. Get your caffeine fix and baked goods opposite the park. They set up outside seating in fair weather, too.
This hidden gem is little-known to folks outside Upper Fells Point. Two rowhouses are conjoined to form Henninger's Tavern: one is an ancient bar loaded with bric-a-brac, and the other is a white tablecloth restaurant. Stop in for a cocktail or a fine dinner -- they excel at both.
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Henninger's Tavern
1812 Bank Street
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This hidden gem is little-known to folks outside Upper Fells Point. Two rowhouses are conjoined to form Henninger's Tavern: one is an ancient bar loaded with bric-a-brac, and the other is a white tablecloth restaurant. Stop in for a cocktail or a fine dinner -- they excel at both.
Pitango is a popular waterfront spot serving up rustic Italian sandwiches, homemade breads, and fantastic coffee. Stop in for breakfast or lunch -- they don't do dinner -- and take in views of the harbor.
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Pitango Bakery + Cafe
903 S Ann St
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Pitango is a popular waterfront spot serving up rustic Italian sandwiches, homemade breads, and fantastic coffee. Stop in for breakfast or lunch -- they don't do dinner -- and take in views of the harbor.
This modern Japanese ramen house is the best in town. While they offer sushi and other small dishes, stick to their calling card and go for the ramen -- especially if you like it spicy. On weekends this place can get packed at lunch and dinner, so time your visit accordingly.
Kippo Ramen
606 S Broadway
This modern Japanese ramen house is the best in town. While they offer sushi and other small dishes, stick to their calling card and go for the ramen -- especially if you like it spicy. On weekends this place can get packed at lunch and dinner, so time your visit accordingly.
This is a handsome bar and restaurant on the main waterfront drag in Fells Point. Penny Black has it all -- unique cocktails, craft beer, and a stellar menu from top to bottom. Unusually, they are known for both their seafood dishes and smoked meats, so it's hard to go wrong. here Their elegant bar and dining room is a throwback to a simpler time, which makes sense since a bar has been operating here for decades.
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Penny Black Bar & Restaurant
1800 Thames St
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This is a handsome bar and restaurant on the main waterfront drag in Fells Point. Penny Black has it all -- unique cocktails, craft beer, and a stellar menu from top to bottom. Unusually, they are known for both their seafood dishes and smoked meats, so it's hard to go wrong. here Their elegant bar and dining room is a throwback to a simpler time, which makes sense since a bar has been operating here for decades.
While Baltimoreans debate who has the best pizza in town, this place is always in the running. This swank Neapolitan pizzeria has killer deals -- 1/2 off pizzas on Monday nights and 1/2 off bottles of wine on Tuesdays -- but feel free to pop in for just a cocktail as those are notable, too.
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Verde Pizza Baltimore
641 South Montford Avenue
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While Baltimoreans debate who has the best pizza in town, this place is always in the running. This swank Neapolitan pizzeria has killer deals -- 1/2 off pizzas on Monday nights and 1/2 off bottles of wine on Tuesdays -- but feel free to pop in for just a cocktail as those are notable, too.
Matthew's has been serving traditional pan pizza to the neighborhood for generations. This spot is famous in Baltimore, known for their sassy waitresses and huge pies -- come hungry and be prepared to take home leftovers!
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Matthew's Pizzeria
3131 Eastern Avenue
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Matthew's has been serving traditional pan pizza to the neighborhood for generations. This spot is famous in Baltimore, known for their sassy waitresses and huge pies -- come hungry and be prepared to take home leftovers!
This German bakery has been operating humbly but successfully for generations, and people come from miles away for their superb donuts and pastries. This place is not for the calorically faint of heart, so be prepared for the richest baked goods in Baltimore!
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Hoehn's Bakery
400 South Conkling Street
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This German bakery has been operating humbly but successfully for generations, and people come from miles away for their superb donuts and pastries. This place is not for the calorically faint of heart, so be prepared for the richest baked goods in Baltimore!
Snake Hill is a popular bar and restaurant specializing in sausages and craft beer. They make their own mustards and sauces in-house, and are a great place to grab a hearty but inexpensive lunch near Patterson Park.
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Snake Hill
418 S Clinton St
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Snake Hill is a popular bar and restaurant specializing in sausages and craft beer. They make their own mustards and sauces in-house, and are a great place to grab a hearty but inexpensive lunch near Patterson Park.
Looking for legit Mediterranean eats? Visit Fareed's tiny restaurant on the South Baltimore peninsula near Fort McHenry for superb falafel, lamb, tabbouleh, and spanakopita. Mostly a lunch spot, the meals are as affordable as they are sharable -- come hungry.
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Baba's Mediterranean Kitchen
745 East Fort Avenue
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Looking for legit Mediterranean eats? Visit Fareed's tiny restaurant on the South Baltimore peninsula near Fort McHenry for superb falafel, lamb, tabbouleh, and spanakopita. Mostly a lunch spot, the meals are as affordable as they are sharable -- come hungry.
This hipster/yuppie mecca is one of Baltimore's most polarizing Mexican restaurants. It's always packed with people who want to be seen, but the food is also outstanding. Dig into a superb mezcal collection, the best chips & salsa in town, and gourmet tacos that still manage to be under $4. Unless you want to wait an hour or more for a table, get there right when it opens and be ready to chow -- the food comes out quick!
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Clavel
225 West 23rd Street
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This hipster/yuppie mecca is one of Baltimore's most polarizing Mexican restaurants. It's always packed with people who want to be seen, but the food is also outstanding. Dig into a superb mezcal collection, the best chips & salsa in town, and gourmet tacos that still manage to be under $4. Unless you want to wait an hour or more for a table, get there right when it opens and be ready to chow -- the food comes out quick!
Arguably the best breakfast in Baltimore, this classic diner is usually packed but the line moves quickly. The omelets are hearty, and Saturday's special -- sausage & biscuits -- is the best in town.
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Pete's Grille
3130 Greenmount Avenue
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Arguably the best breakfast in Baltimore, this classic diner is usually packed but the line moves quickly. The omelets are hearty, and Saturday's special -- sausage & biscuits -- is the best in town.
This ultra-modern coffee emporium wins our vote for best espresso in the city. Visit the original in Mount Vernon -- adjacent to the Mount Vernon Marketplace -- or the latest outpost closer to our neighborhood in corporate Harbor Point.
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Ceremony Coffee Roasters - Mt. Vernon
520 Park Ave
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This ultra-modern coffee emporium wins our vote for best espresso in the city. Visit the original in Mount Vernon -- adjacent to the Mount Vernon Marketplace -- or the latest outpost closer to our neighborhood in corporate Harbor Point.
This is a sleek, ultra-modern bakery specializing in innovative cakes and macaroons. A little on the steep side for dessert (by Baltimore standards), but definitely worth it. The espresso offerings here are also notable.
SACRÉ SUCRÉ
2001 Fleet St
This is a sleek, ultra-modern bakery specializing in innovative cakes and macaroons. A little on the steep side for dessert (by Baltimore standards), but definitely worth it. The espresso offerings here are also notable.
Di Pasquale's is an Italian neighborhood institution in nearby Highlandtown. With dozens of sandwich options (hot and cold), fresh pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and inventive salads, there's something for everyone at this casual lunch spot.
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Di Pasquale's Marketplace
3700 Gough Street
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Di Pasquale's is an Italian neighborhood institution in nearby Highlandtown. With dozens of sandwich options (hot and cold), fresh pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and inventive salads, there's something for everyone at this casual lunch spot.
This neighborhood Thai spot is fashioned out of a former corner pub, with its huge mahogany bar intact. While the Thai food here is among Baltimore's best, their cocktails are also notable: equal parts strong and unique!
Mayuree Thai Tavern
2318 Fleet St
This neighborhood Thai spot is fashioned out of a former corner pub, with its huge mahogany bar intact. While the Thai food here is among Baltimore's best, their cocktails are also notable: equal parts strong and unique!
Drinks & Nightlife
Where we do our drinking! We tend to favor dive bars and other unpretentious places, so you're looking to take it up a notch you might need a fancier guide than this.
Bertha's is one of Baltimore's most notable dive bars, revered by locals and tourists alike. Featuring free live music most nights of the week, this legendary place is famous for its mussels (and its cream of crab is great, too!).
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Bertha's
734 South Broadway
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Bertha's is one of Baltimore's most notable dive bars, revered by locals and tourists alike. Featuring free live music most nights of the week, this legendary place is famous for its mussels (and its cream of crab is great, too!).
If you want to take a step back in time, visit the last of Upper Fells Point's once-ubiquitous corner bars. This unpretentious, cash-only spot is good for cheap beers and strong whiskey -- no craft anything here. Jim, who lives upstairs, has been tending bar here for decades, and the older demographic that patronizes this place enjoys quiet time and old shows on TV -- Bonanza, M*A*S*H*, etc. Don't be afraid to put some money in the jukebox, though. They have a great selection of tunes and Jim will gladly turn down the TV.
Mary's Tavern
2057 Gough St
If you want to take a step back in time, visit the last of Upper Fells Point's once-ubiquitous corner bars. This unpretentious, cash-only spot is good for cheap beers and strong whiskey -- no craft anything here. Jim, who lives upstairs, has been tending bar here for decades, and the older demographic that patronizes this place enjoys quiet time and old shows on TV -- Bonanza, M*A*S*H*, etc. Don't be afraid to put some money in the jukebox, though. They have a great selection of tunes and Jim will gladly turn down the TV.
The last bastion of old Baltimore in the vicinity of MICA, this cash-only dive is clinging to life as the area around it rapidly gentrifies. Often voted among the best bars in America, it still attracts a mostly local crowd and most Baltimoreans don't even know it exists. Nicknamed the "Dirty Church" for its reproduction of the Sistene Chapel on the ceiling, it may be the most atmospheric bar in all of Baltimore.
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Mt Royal Tavern
1204 West Mount Royal Avenue
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The last bastion of old Baltimore in the vicinity of MICA, this cash-only dive is clinging to life as the area around it rapidly gentrifies. Often voted among the best bars in America, it still attracts a mostly local crowd and most Baltimoreans don't even know it exists. Nicknamed the "Dirty Church" for its reproduction of the Sistene Chapel on the ceiling, it may be the most atmospheric bar in all of Baltimore.
There's a picture of Franklin Roosevelt behind the bar because the Venice Tavern has been open since he was president. This cash-only dive is one of the few places in Baltimore where you'll see a cross-section of the whole city. Beers are cheapest in town -- $1.50 for a can of National Bohemian, Baltimore's local brew -- but the fourth-generation owner also serves a dozen craft beers on rotating tap for $3-5, and we mean GREAT stuff! With the building long paid off, the owner keeps prices down to maintain the spirit and integrity of the bar, and locals reward him with loyalty. Shoot some pool and play some tunes in the jukebox -- they sound great on the vintage Bose stereo system.
Venice Tavern
339 S Conkling St
There's a picture of Franklin Roosevelt behind the bar because the Venice Tavern has been open since he was president. This cash-only dive is one of the few places in Baltimore where you'll see a cross-section of the whole city. Beers are cheapest in town -- $1.50 for a can of National Bohemian, Baltimore's local brew -- but the fourth-generation owner also serves a dozen craft beers on rotating tap for $3-5, and we mean GREAT stuff! With the building long paid off, the owner keeps prices down to maintain the spirit and integrity of the bar, and locals reward him with loyalty. Shoot some pool and play some tunes in the jukebox -- they sound great on the vintage Bose stereo system.
This local dive looks forbidding from the outside but is friendly on the inside. The 1919 frequently offers live music (check their Facebook page) and is a great place to take in local characters. With its faded tin ceilings and twinkling lights, the 1919 draws young adults, old timers, and everyone in between.
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1919 Fleet St
1919 Fleet St
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This local dive looks forbidding from the outside but is friendly on the inside. The 1919 frequently offers live music (check their Facebook page) and is a great place to take in local characters. With its faded tin ceilings and twinkling lights, the 1919 draws young adults, old timers, and everyone in between.
In true Baltimore fashion, since Belgian beer was nowhere to be found naturally somebody opened a Belgian bar next to a VFW. This moody place has a long, beautiful wooden bar and the selection of Belgian and trappist ales you're looking for. Mostly a quiet place, sometimes they screen movies here. A good place to converse and enjoy the finer things in life.
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De Kleine Duivel
3602 Hickory Avenue
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In true Baltimore fashion, since Belgian beer was nowhere to be found naturally somebody opened a Belgian bar next to a VFW. This moody place has a long, beautiful wooden bar and the selection of Belgian and trappist ales you're looking for. Mostly a quiet place, sometimes they screen movies here. A good place to converse and enjoy the finer things in life.
One of Baltimore's first (and best) micro breweries, this elegant mansion hosts a stately bar upstairs and a dark, bunker bar downstairs. Happy hour starts at 4:00 every day -- all beers $4! -- and don't be afraid to try the food (it's excellent).
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The Brewer's Art
1106 North Charles Street
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One of Baltimore's first (and best) micro breweries, this elegant mansion hosts a stately bar upstairs and a dark, bunker bar downstairs. Happy hour starts at 4:00 every day -- all beers $4! -- and don't be afraid to try the food (it's excellent).
This legendary, maritime dive bar features one of Baltimore's best live music scenes. Several classic rock and blues bands play daily, and while there are occasional $5 cover charges on weekends it's otherwise free during the week. This bar skews older and gets pleasantly sloppy by closing time, but the regulars foster a welcoming community that ensures no one feels out of place.
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Cat's Eye Pub
1730 Thames St
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This legendary, maritime dive bar features one of Baltimore's best live music scenes. Several classic rock and blues bands play daily, and while there are occasional $5 cover charges on weekends it's otherwise free during the week. This bar skews older and gets pleasantly sloppy by closing time, but the regulars foster a welcoming community that ensures no one feels out of place.
Baltimore's newest brewery, this incredible beer hall was fashioned out of an enormous former Catholic Church. Pews have been repurposed, three-story windows beam in afternoon light, and taps flow in easily the most unique place to drink beer in Baltimore. A must-see even if you don't like beer!
Ministry of Brewing
1900 East Lombard Street
Baltimore's newest brewery, this incredible beer hall was fashioned out of an enormous former Catholic Church. Pews have been repurposed, three-story windows beam in afternoon light, and taps flow in easily the most unique place to drink beer in Baltimore. A must-see even if you don't like beer!
Shopping
Chances are if you're staying at our place, you probably like books, records, and antiques. So this is where we find most of our stuff when we're not driving across Maryland for a Craigslist steal.
This unbelievable institution is a vast, COMPLETELY FREE book store. Technically a non-profit that recycles discarded books, peruse the shelves for anything and everything you've been looking for -- the staff provides boxes so you can tote out all your finds. Only open on Saturdays and Sundays, you can walk out with as many books as you like. And if you happen to have an old book that needs a good home? Donations are welcome, but not necessary, to come out with a winner.
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Book Thing of Baltimore
3001 Vineyard Lane
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This unbelievable institution is a vast, COMPLETELY FREE book store. Technically a non-profit that recycles discarded books, peruse the shelves for anything and everything you've been looking for -- the staff provides boxes so you can tote out all your finds. Only open on Saturdays and Sundays, you can walk out with as many books as you like. And if you happen to have an old book that needs a good home? Donations are welcome, but not necessary, to come out with a winner.
This out-of-the-way emporium has the best record selection in town. Just south of downtown, they also have plenty of books, vintage toys and video games, and something they call the Crypt of Curiosity -- a room full of oddities and ephemera. Go explore!
Protean Books & Records
836 Leadenhall St
This out-of-the-way emporium has the best record selection in town. Just south of downtown, they also have plenty of books, vintage toys and video games, and something they call the Crypt of Curiosity -- a room full of oddities and ephemera. Go explore!
Jack's basement shop isn't the largest record shop in town, but it punches above its weight for selection. Have a quick poke around while you're exploring Fells Point.
El Suprimo Records
1709 Aliceanna St
Jack's basement shop isn't the largest record shop in town, but it punches above its weight for selection. Have a quick poke around while you're exploring Fells Point.
Affordable antiques can be found in this small shop on Aliceanna Street. Perfect for a unique gifts and old-fashioned keepsakes, we found a Persian rug and our china set here.
Along the Way Ltd
1719 Aliceanna St
Affordable antiques can be found in this small shop on Aliceanna Street. Perfect for a unique gifts and old-fashioned keepsakes, we found a Persian rug and our china set here.
This miniscule shop probably has the best selection of unusual chotchkies in town. Sift through the packed shelves and see what treasure you can pluck from this weird little store.
Hampden Junque
1006 West 36th Street
This miniscule shop probably has the best selection of unusual chotchkies in town. Sift through the packed shelves and see what treasure you can pluck from this weird little store.
This small but renowned neighborhood bookstore is a great place to shop for current best sellers, chat with other book lovers, or pet the shop's mascot, Audie the Dog. There are often food and wine events here, too, so check their website to see what's going on.
Greedy Reads
1744 Aliceanna St
This small but renowned neighborhood bookstore is a great place to shop for current best sellers, chat with other book lovers, or pet the shop's mascot, Audie the Dog. There are often food and wine events here, too, so check their website to see what's going on.
Parks & Culture
Enjoy some greenery and a portrait gallery or two while you're in town.
The second-oldest Victorian conservatory in the country, check out these free, beautiful botanical gardens in Druid Hill Park. The neighborhoods around the conservatory can be a little dicey, but the park and conservatory itself are the gems of the Baltimore park system. The conservatory is especially pretty around Christmas time, and is especially known for its orchid and palm rooms.
Rawlings Conservatory
3100 Swann Dr
The second-oldest Victorian conservatory in the country, check out these free, beautiful botanical gardens in Druid Hill Park. The neighborhoods around the conservatory can be a little dicey, but the park and conservatory itself are the gems of the Baltimore park system. The conservatory is especially pretty around Christmas time, and is especially known for its orchid and palm rooms.
This national park is free and open to the public, although you have to pay to enter the fort itself. But take the 15-minute stroll around the fort and enjoy the beautiful park and views of Baltimore's inner and outer harbors. If you're lucky you may see a huge cargo ship passing by!
Fort McHenry Visitor Center
2400 East Fort Avenue
This national park is free and open to the public, although you have to pay to enter the fort itself. But take the 15-minute stroll around the fort and enjoy the beautiful park and views of Baltimore's inner and outer harbors. If you're lucky you may see a huge cargo ship passing by!
At the heart of Balimore's toniest urban neighborhood is America's first Washington Monument. Climb the 227 steps for great views of the city, and when you're done enjoy the cruciform park that stretches out from the monument's base. Each wing has its own fountain and cultivated grounds -- a great place to spend an afternoon reading outside.
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Washington Monument
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At the heart of Balimore's toniest urban neighborhood is America's first Washington Monument. Climb the 227 steps for great views of the city, and when you're done enjoy the cruciform park that stretches out from the monument's base. Each wing has its own fountain and cultivated grounds -- a great place to spend an afternoon reading outside.
This Victorian park is a mile west of downtown and one of Baltimore's loveliest urban oases. On Sundays in the summer the neighborhood association usually hosts concerts, which in true Baltimore fashion are BYOB.
Union Square
This Victorian park is a mile west of downtown and one of Baltimore's loveliest urban oases. On Sundays in the summer the neighborhood association usually hosts concerts, which in true Baltimore fashion are BYOB.
This park abutting the Inner Harbor is directly south of downtown and offers spectacular views of the skyline. It once held a garrison of soldiers, but today is popular with tourists, families, and anyone else that wants to climb a hill and get away from it all.
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Federal Hill Park
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This park abutting the Inner Harbor is directly south of downtown and offers spectacular views of the skyline. It once held a garrison of soldiers, but today is popular with tourists, families, and anyone else that wants to climb a hill and get away from it all.
A spectacular palazzo in the middle of Baltimore's most elegant neighborhood contains the enormous art collection of philanthropist Henry Walters. The works inside span from antiquity to the mid-19th century, and the best part? Admission is free!
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متحف والترز
600 N Charles St
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A spectacular palazzo in the middle of Baltimore's most elegant neighborhood contains the enormous art collection of philanthropist Henry Walters. The works inside span from antiquity to the mid-19th century, and the best part? Admission is free!