Baltimore may not have the same cache as say, New York, Chicago or LA, but that doesn’t mean the city isn’t well worth a visit. If you’re only idea of Baltimore is The Wire, we’re pretty sure you’ll be blown away by everything it has to offer – which is a lot. Suffice to say, 48 hours isn’t nearly long enough, but if that’s all you’ve got, here’s how to make the most of your time in Charm City, including where to stay, what to see and where to eat and drink.
Centrally-located Hotel RL Baltimore has a lot of things going for it beyond its stellar location steps from the Inner Harbor. Rooms here are bright thanks to large windows with expansive city views and comfortable in a way that is stylish without being stuffy. Open since August, the 130-room property is setting itself apart from the plethora of other hotels in the area in a few key ways. For starters, they’re offering a boutique hotel-style experience with lots of perks like free Wi-Fi, comfy common areas, bikes, games room and complementary coffee in the lobby – at refreshingly accessible prices. We also loved the concept of the “un-lobby”, a lobby that doesn’t look like your typical check-in/check-out zone. The open concept area is billed as a communal work/chill out space as well as coffee bar and restaurant, all rolled into one. The Hotel RL has also positioned itself as a community space thanks to The Living Stage, a stage from which both locals and hotel guests can experience anything from live performances and author readings, to lectures given by community leaders or local start-ups. It’s free and a fun way for visitors to mingle with locals while getting entertained or learning something new.
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a place you could spend days and not see everything. But for a short stay in the city, this is the place to be for proximity to some of Baltimore’s top attractions. The Inner Harbor itself is perfect for an afternoon of aimless wandering, or if you prefer, a trip on a water taxi. A fleet of 17 blue and white boats whisk passengers around the harbor, the easiest way to see as much as possible if you’re a time-crunched traveller. One price and hop-on/hop-off privileges put you in proximity to more than 30 attractions.
If you’ve got kids in tow, or any interest in undersea life, get yourself to the Baltimore Aquarium where you’ll get to lay eyes on close to 20,000 creatures of various shapes and sizes in eye-catching exhibits including a massive 225,000-gallon, ring-shaped shark exhibit.
Baseball fans will want to catch a Ravens or Oriels game and if you can’t, take a tour of Oriel Park at Camden Yards. The 90-minute tours are in-depth and informative and get you onto the field and into the dugout for photo-ops.
Eat & Drink
You don’t have to go far for a good meal or an expertly mixed cocktail thanks to the stylish on-site restaurant at the Hotel RL Baltimore. They offer a varied menu comprised of smaller, sharable bites, salads and larger entrees like the decadent four-cheese mac and cheese.
If you’re looking for a pint of craft beer with your bites, grab a seat on the patio at Pratt Street Ale House where you’ll find a massive menu full of pub classics, flat breads, quesadillas and sandwiches as well as enough award-winning ales to keep you sipping for days. We suggest ordering a flight. Knowledgeable staff can put one together for you based on your taste in beer.
Cocktail fans will want to try and score the secret code for the speakeasy-style bar at The QG. C.L.O.C.K. Restoration, which stands for Clients & Loyals Only Cocktails & Kitchen, is the newest addition to the already bustling six-floor space, which includes men’s and women’s clothing, a barber shop, a spa and tailoring services. If you get the five-digit elevator code to the sixth floor you’ll be rewarded with a tucked-away, barebones yet stylish space with a laid back vibe. Tell the friendly barmen what you like and don’t like in terms of cocktails and he’ll make you something based on your preferences. We wanted something light yet slightly spice and got a beverage called a Last Word, made with spiced gin, chartreuse, lime juice and maraschino cherry liquor. It was exactly what the doctor ordered.
The Inner Harbor is a great place to get some shopping done. In addition to attractions like the aquarium and various museums, there’s a good mix of shops specializing in everything from clothes and accessories, to housewares and food. Anyone in the market for some new threads should make a point of not only having a cocktail at The QG, but shopping there as well. It bills itself as a department store, but it’s so much more than that and offers a streamlined collection of men’s and women’s clothing that is well curated, offering classic styles that can be easily incorporated into an existing wardrobe. We suggest shopping, then staying for a drink or two.