When business travellers land in Baltimore for the first time, the bewildering array of things to see and do often comes as a surprise. The Inner Harbor and nearby neighbourhoods are full of museums, shops and nightlife options, as well as some great restaurants to entertain clients after the working day is done. In fact, we’d recommend taking a day or two to explore the city before flying home. Take a look at our guide to getting the best out of business in Baltimore.
Where to stay: Take in sweeping views of the waterfront at Pier 5 Hotel, or stay at Hotel Monaco, an ornate Beaux Arts building that was once the B&O Railroad headquarters. Those with an artsy side will sleep well at Brookshire Suites Baltimore, which features street-art inspired works by local artist Michael Owen. Or, if you like ghost stories, some spooky sailor sightings have been recorded at Admiral Fell Inn, which offers ghost tours to guests.
Where to eat: Of course you’ll want to crack open some of Maryland’s famous blue crabs while you’re in town. Phillip’s Seafood is easily accessible for those in the Inner Harbor, but L.P. Streamers is worth the walk – and, often, the wait – for views from a three-storey rooftop deck and pitchers of Natty Boh, Baltimore’s local beer of choice. Alexander’s Tavern might be the best option for those just getting to know crabs: you can try a crab cake, crab tater tots, or a crab-topped pizza.
Where to go for evening cocktails: Stroll through the cobblestone streets of Fell’s Point – walkable from the Inner Harbor – and find dozens of bars, pubs and lounges. Rye prides itself on serving a wonderful selection of whiskies and also has an impressive craft cocktail list, but if you’re looking for local suds you might do better at Max’s Taphouse, which has more than 120 beers on tap. You can also travel to Midtown, where old-school cocktails are served at prohibition-style speakeasy, The Owl bar. Nearby, The Brewer’s Art brews its craft beers on-site and offers an extensive wine list – the perfect place to wind down when on business in Baltimore.
Top sights: For a true taste of Baltimore, escape after a morning of meetings and climb aboard the historic ships docked in the city’s Inner Harbor, including a tall ship first launched in 1854 and a submarine painted with shark teeth. Learn about pop culture at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, or find some unique art at the American Visionary Art Museum, which showcases folk art made by self-taught artists. Baseball fans can catch a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, or visit the birthplace of legend Babe Ruth.
Great gifts: You can pick up run-of-the-mill souvenirs at stands and shops in the Inner Harbor, but if you’re looking for something a little bit different, check out the specialty shops and antique stores in Hampden. Sixteen Tons is a menswear merchant that takes its inspiration from classic menswear stores, while upstairs in DoubleDutch Boutique you’ll find retro-inspired clothing and jewellery for women.
Going local: If you want to join the locals in Baltimore, visit the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar on a Sunday morning (7 a.m.-noon). You don’t have to be in the market for veggies or baked goods to enjoy a freshly made omelette, crepe or pit-beef sandwich, and you can also give local roaster Zeke’s Coffee a try. Locals also love green spaces like Federal Hill or Druid Hill Park, where the Maryland Zoo and the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens are located.
Where to get into trouble: One crowd-pleasing nightlife spot is PowerPlant Live!, a collection of bars, music venues, and restaurants located downtown. You can also check out the theatres, bars and music venues in Station North Arts & Entertainment District. After an indie flick or cult classic at the Charles Theatre or some laughs from the Baltimore Improv Group, catch some live music at Metro Gallery or the Crown. Finish the night with a greasy burger and a milkshake at the sci-fi-themed Lost City Diner.
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Have you been on business in Baltimore? Where did you spend your time outside of meetings? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Libby Zay