Amazing Weekend in Baltimore (from a local)

As someone who spent three years living in Baltimore, I’m so excited to finally share how to spend a weekend in one of my favorite East Coast cities. Baltimore is one of those places where, if you don’t ask a local, you are bound to miss out on some of the best things it has to offer. Here’s how to spend a weekend in Baltimore.

Baltimore is a major city in Maryland with a long history as an important seaport. In Baltimore, charm is everywhere, and adventures await. At the heart of Baltimore is this waterfront that frames the entire city. I’m so excited to share how to spend a weekend in Baltimore and some of my favorite spots around the city that I’ve been going to for years!

Table of Contents

Where to Stay in Baltimore

Baltimore is such a fun place to visit because there are things that are iconically Maryland there, like the crabs, Old Bay, Berger Cookies, orange crushes, the bright red and yellow flag, and sports teams like the Orioles and Ravens… Baltimore encompasses all these things and more! Below are a few places to explore this city.

Hotel Revival Mount Vernon

Located in the Mt. Vernon Cultural District of downtown Baltimore, this hotel is adjacent to the Washington Monument and Museum. It offers onsite dining and classical rooms with free WiFi. Each room at the Hotel Revival Baltimore features warm colors and classical furniture. This is a great boutique hotel in a central location.

Tru by Hilton Baltimore Harbor East

Located in Baltimore and with Harbor East Marina reachable within a 7-minute walk, Tru By Hilton Baltimore Harbor East provides a comfortable stay at an affordable price. Popular points of interest near Tru By Hilton Baltimore Harbor East include Pier Six Concert Pavilion, Historic Ships in Baltimore, and Fell’s Point.

Sagamore Pendry Baltimore

Offering a seasonal outdoor pool, Sagamore Pendry Baltimore is located in the Fells Point district in Baltimore. An open-air courtyard at the water’s edge allows guests a lush outdoor space, while the private pool deck offers a seasonal bar and grill with outdoor dining and lounging. This is a luxury hotel in a beautiful location!

Friday Night

Photo by Yianni Mathioudakis on Unsplash

Inner Harbor

The Inner Harbor is a sightseeing hub, home to the Maryland Science Center with a planetarium and observatory and the National Aquarium. Many of the things in this area are pretty touristy, but it can be fun! You’ll likely see street performers, there are lots of dining and shopping options, and there is plenty of traffic through here.

There’s really not much I recommend doing here beyond one special thing below. I don’t find the Inner Harbor all that special, but it makes it onto every list of things to do in Baltimore and offers a nice first view of the city, so I can’t leave it off!

Visit the National Aquarium on a Friday Night

The National Aquarium is located in the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore on the water.

Why would you visit the National Aquarium on a Friday night? Well, every Friday night, the aquarium is half price, less crowded, and still plenty of fun. Half-price tickets are available every Friday, with no blackout dates, and it stays open late. Half-price tickets start after 5 pm, and the aquarium closes at 8 pm.

If you don’t get to Baltimore soon enough on Friday, this is still something I would recommend doing. If being on the water is not your thing or it’s cold out, swap this out on Sunday for kayaking, as this still gives you some water exploration.

You should allow at least 2-3 hours to make the most of the entrance fee. You could spend more time if you want a leisurely tour or attend any special exhibits.

Dinner in Little Italy

Located just a few blocks from Baltimore’s picturesque Inner Harbor, Little Italy is a cozy haven of Italian culture and delicacies. You can walk from Inner Harbor over to have dinner or drive and find parking.

I’d recommend trying Chiapparelli’s Restaurant. It’s been open since 1940 and is the oldest restaurant currently operating in Baltimore’s Little Italy. Within the interior red brick walls, you’ll find a mix of tourists and regulars who have been dining here since it opened.

Now, in its third generation, the dishes here tend to have stories. The Salmon Caroline is named after Aunt Caroline, while Chicken Louie is named in honor of Uncle Louie. Some entrees, like Judge Alberto’s Linguine Clam Sauce, are named after regulars who always had their go-to dishes.

It’s an iconically Italian spot that serves up classics!

Drinks in Harbor East or Fells Point

Depending on what vibes you are feeling after dinner, I recommend two different spots on night one of your Baltimore trip.

Just south of Little Italy, you’ll find Harbor East. Harbor East is full of fancy cocktail bars, lounges, and restaurants that you can check out. These spots are more upscale and pricey. They offer water views, and many have a dress code you must follow. I would recommend:

  • The Bygone (rooftop bar at the Four Seasons)
  • Loch Bar (whiskey bar on the water)
  • Ouzo Beach (outdoor seasonal beach bar vibe)

Your other option is to head east to Fells Point. In Fells Point on a Friday night, you’ll find plenty of dive bars, live music, and funky spots to explore. I do include seeing Fells Point during the day and later in this itinerary, as it also has some of my favorite food. For a fun time, check out:

  • Horse You Came in On (America’s oldest continually operated saloon, since 1775)
  • Max’s Tap House (substantial rotating selection of draft & bottled beers)
  • Kooper’s Tavern (pretty much always has live music on Fridays and Saturdays)

Saturday

Photo by Joshua Woods on Unsplash

Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry is famous because it’s the birthplace of the National Anthem. During the War of 1812, Baltimore came under attack for twenty-five hours. When the smoke and fog cleared, the defenders were still there, forcing the British land and sea forces to withdraw, unable to take the city. A lawyer named Francis Scott Key witnessed the bombardment and was so inspired that he wrote a poem called “The Defense of Fort McHenry,” which was later put on the music and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Fort McHenry is a national monument, and its grounds are free to the public. It costs $15 to enter the historic area of Fort McHenry for children and adults aged 15 and older. Children under 15 can enter for free. This fee grants you 7-day access to the Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine. As Fort McHenry is part of the National Park Service, you can also use an Annual Pass to enter the park for free!

Crab Cakes at Faidley’s

After a morning strolling around Fort McHenry and taking in the history, it’s time for one of the foods Maryland is most known for – crab cakes. There’s no better place to get crab cakes than at Faidley’s, located in Lexington Market.

Founded in 1886, Faidley Seafood is one of the Chesapeake region’s oldest and best-known purveyors of fresh and prepared seafood. Today, it is owned and operated by Bill and Nancy Devine, descendants of founder John W. Faidley, Sr.

It’s been featured on several cooking shows and won best crab cake more times than anywhere else. I love their crab cakes, laid back style, and the sides are pretty tasty too. You can’t go wrong grabbing a crab cake, oysters, or other seafood favorites here.

Mount Vernon

After lunch, head over to one of my favorite neighborhoods in Baltimore, Mount Vernon. The Mount Vernon area is beautiful and known for its fine architecture, public squares, and associations with important people.

Differing in style, the structures around Mount Vernon Place retain a grand scale and excellent design that reinforces this urban space as Baltimore’s finest. The residential, commercial, and institutional buildings of the Mount Vernon District are among the most elaborate nineteenth and early twentieth-century structures in Baltimore.

It also has a lot to do. Below are the things you can’t miss in Mount Vernon; everything in this neighborhood is very walkable.

Peabody Library

The George Peabody Library is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful library spaces in the world, but it is also an essential space for teaching and research. It opened in 1878 and was designed by Baltimore architect Edmund G. Lind in collaboration with the Peabody Institute’s first provost, Dr. Nathaniel H. Morison. The stack room contains five tiers of ornamental cast-iron balconies, which rise dramatically to the skylight 61 feet above the floor.

The library contains 300,000 volumes, mainly from the 19th century, with strengths in religion, British Art, architecture, topography, and history; American history, biography, and literature; Romance languages and literature; history of science; and geography, exploration, and travel.

I went to a wedding here once and, oh my goodness, what a dream! This is a stunning library and free to visit. It often closes for special research sessions and events, so it’s best to visit before 2 pm.

Walter’s Art Museum

Founded and opened in 1934, it holds collections from the mid-19th century that were amassed substantially by major American Art and sculpture collectors, including William Thompson Walters and his son Henry Walters.

The museum’s campus includes five historic buildings and 36,000 art objects. Visitors encounter a stunning array of objects through the museum’s galleries, from 19th-century paintings of French country and city life to Ethiopian icons, richly illuminated Qur’ans and Gospel books, ancient Roman sarcophagi, and images of the Buddha.

The museum’s admission is free and open from 10 am – 5 pm on Saturdays.

Washington Monument

We all know about the Washington Monument in DC, but did you know Baltimore had one first? Designed by famed architect Robert Mills, the 178-foot-tall landmark is the first in the US dedicated to President George Washington.

Tickets to climb the Monument’s Stair Tower can be purchased onsite using a credit card (no cash accepted). Climbs are offered every 20 minutes for groups no larger than five people. If you are coming during the busy summer months, especially on the weekends, you are encouraged to purchase your ticket online in advance to ensure that there will be a climb available when you visit.

The stair tower is about 130 feet from its base to the top (approximately 13 stories), so be prepared to get your cardio in for the day! You can visit it daily from 10 – 5 pm, $6 for adults and $5 for kids.

Dinner at Brewer’s Art

Brewer’s Art is one of my favorite places in Baltimore to grab a nice dinner. This is an elegant spot for housemade Belgian-style brews & upscale New American eats in a former townhouse that’s been around since 1996. It has a cozy upscale vibe (is that a thing?), and you’ll often need a reservation to get dinner here without a long wait.

Downstairs is their brewpub, where you can try all the housemade beers for yourself through a flight or grab a six pack to take home. Their fries are still some of my favorites ever!

Rooftop Drinks at Topside

To cap off your night, walk over to Top Side for drinks with a view. Located in the Revival Hotel, which is beautiful on its own, this is a stylish, airy rooftop bar offering local seafood specials plus cocktails & craft beers.

The view from here is beautiful, and you’ll love the decor in this lovely bar!

Sunday

Fells Point

It is one of the original three settlements that merged to form the beginnings of Baltimore City. The area is directly linked to early maritime trade and Baltimore’s growth and development.

Many of Baltimore’s famed Clipper Ships were built and operated out of Fells Point. They gained prominence by capturing and sinking British warships in the War of 1812. The maritime character of the district still exists with the small gabled roof residences that housed local seamen, ship’s carpenters, sailmakers, and artisans.

The neighborhood has kept its charm with cobblestone streets and historic homes showcasing the historical significance of this neighborhood. Fells Point is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Baltimore and a must-visit while here!

Start off the day with brunch at a spot of your choice around Fells Point. In addition to many restaurants and bars, you’ll find many boutiques, great souvenirs, and local goods in Fells Point, making it the perfect spot for some shopping on your trip. Enjoy brunch and spend some time strolling this neighborhood!

Favorite Brunch Spots:

  • Blue Moon Cafe (can have a long wait, classic diner style breakfast)
  • Waterfront Hotel (get the french toast here, a classic spot along the waterfront street)
  • Ampersea (upscale, on the water, Maryland classics like fresh oysters and lump crab omelets, along with brunch classics)

Choose one or two options below after Fells Point and before Sagamore Spirit!

Reginald F. Lewis Museum

Celebrate the soul of African American history and culture at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Through objects and Art dating from 1784 to the present day, you’ll learn about African American Marylanders’ incredible accomplishments and struggles.

Located in downtown Baltimore, just two blocks from the Inner Harbor and close to Fells Point, the Lewis Museum is the largest African American museum in Maryland. It features more than 11,000 square feet of permanent and temporary exhibition space, a two-story theater, classrooms, an outdoor terrace, and more.

Tickets are $12 for adults, and their hours on Saturday are 10 am-5 pm, and hours on Sunday are 12 pm-5 pm.

Photo by Austin Kirk on Unsplash

Photo by Bob Smith on Unsplash

Historic Ships of Baltimore Tour

Baltimore Harbor has had historical significance throughout the history of the United States, and one of the unique things you can do not far from Fells Point is see some of the ships and lighthouses used throughout its history.

Ships available to tour include the USS Constellation, USS Torsk, and US Coast Guard Cutter WHEC-37. You can also tour Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse with the pass.

The Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse contains an extensive exhibit of artifacts and information on lighthouses around the Chesapeake region. Built in 1856, it is one of the oldest Chesapeake lighthouses still in existence. While visiting the lighthouse, be sure to enjoy the terrific view of Baltimore Harbor.

Purchasing a Boarding Pass entitles you to visit all open museum ships and exhibits and is valid until used. You can also visit different ships on different days. Please check their hours to confirm which ships are open before you visit. Passes are $20.

Star Spangled Banner House

The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House was constructed in the late 1700s and owned by Mary Pickersgill who started a flag making business. In the summer of 1813, Mary was commissioned to sew a garrison flag and a smaller storm flag for Fort McHenry, and at the same battle that inspired Francis Scott Key, a 30 x 42-foot garrison flag waved over the victorious fort.

Mary lived in the house until she died in 1857, and the property remained with the Pickersgill family until 1864. The house exchanged hands multiple times and later functioned as a saloon and a warehouse. In 1929, the City of Baltimore purchased the property and preserved it as a historic building. A National Historic Landmark, the house is now a historic home and museum.

Tickets are $9 for adults, and their hours are 10 am – 4 pm.

Photo by Elias Morr on Unsplash

Whiskey Tasting at Sagamore Spirit Distillery

After taking in some more of the history of Baltimore, it’s time to relax on the water!

Sagamore Spirit Distillery is located in the Baltimore Peninsula neighborhood, directly off I-95 and a short drive from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. They are open five days a week for hour-long guided tours, whiskey tastings, and shopping.

They craft unique whiskies while paying homage to the great Maryland distillers. Historically, Maryland Rye Whiskey was smoother than its counterparts in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, gathering creamy tastes and textures from the calcium rich waters of Maryland limestone.

Their beautiful property has indoor and outdoor spaces perfect for enjoying a cocktail of your choice while relaxing on their large property. It’s a great way to start off an evening!

Hours are Wednesday – Saturday, 12 – 8 pm, and Sunday, 11 am – 6:30 pm.

Dinner on the Water at Nick’s Fish House

Close by Sagamore Spirit is one of my favorite laid back spots on the water, Nick’s Fish House. They offer fresh seafood, regional specialties, and some of the best-steamed crabs in town.

The waterfront deck is the perfect spot whether you want to enjoy a craft beer or orange crush during happy hour or bring the whole family in for dinner. Open year-round for lunch and dinner.

They often have long lines and don’t accept reservations. But trust me, this is a great spot and a perfect way to end your Baltimore weekend!

Plan your perfect weekend in Baltimore with this guide from a local. Explore the city's history, charm, and hidden treasures.
Plan your perfect weekend in Baltimore with this guide from a local. Explore the city’s history, charm, and hidden treasures.
I hope that this Baltimore weekend itinerary has helped you plan a fantastic trip! It’s a treat to write about a city I called home!
Meghan

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