Baltimore, also known as Charm City, is a historic east coast city. It’s edgy, full of character, and known for its beautiful Inner Harbor, professional sports teams, and crab cakes. But what about the lesser-known gems in Baltimore? Here’s a list of 11 unique things to do in Baltimore, which includes everything from charming row houses to coffee spots and local art.
1. See Edgar Allen Poe’s Grave
Edgar Allen Poe is known for his short stories and poems, including “The Raven,” which is the inspiration for the Baltimore Ravens NFL team name. Poe was born in Boston, lived in Virginia, and later moved to Baltimore where he lived with his aunt. Although he lived in many places, Baltimore was always his favorite city.
Poe had a very interesting and tragic life, suffering the loss of both parents at age three and the loss of his wife to tuberculosis in adulthood. His difficult life is reflected in his writing, which has a theme of death, depression, and an overall Gothic style. Although he faced many challenges, Poe’s short stories became popular, landing him newspaper editing jobs. There’s something mysterious and intriguing about seeing Edgar Allen Poe’s grave, and it’s definitely worth a spot when you’re in Baltimore. People usually leave roses, bottles of alcohol, or other gifts on his grave.
You can find Poe’s grave at Westminster Hall, a former Presbysterian church with a historical burial ground. There’s also heroes from the American Revolution and the War of 1812 buried here.
2. Visit Graffiti Alley
Graffiti Alley is a colorful, L-Shaped alleyway in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. In 2005, the alley became the only place in Maryland where people can legally spray paint. The whole alley is covered in vibrant art, from the ground to the top of the walls. Even the trash cans are decorated in spray paint. If you’re into photography or just want to check out the art (it’s constantly changing), then this spot is for you! This is definitely a unique spot to visit, and it’s featured on Atlas Obscura.
3. Explore the “Painted Lady” Neighborhood
Abell is a charming neighborhood in North Baltimore, lined with colorful row homes. The Baltimore Painted Ladies (inspired by the Painted Ladies in San Francisco) are on Guilford street, but there’s also brightly painted row houses on Abell Avenue and throughout the neighborhood.
The first colorful homes started appearing in 1984, and in 1998 Abell residents were encouraged to add color to their houses for cash prizes. Since then, the neighborhood has been painted in a rainbow of colors. If you’re a fan of artsy neighborhoods, you’ll really enjoy exploring this neighborhood. I also recommend checking out the Book Thing of Baltimore while you’re in the neighborhood. It’s a completely free bookstore that accepts book donations. As of June 2022, it’s temporarily closed. But I’m hoping it will reopen soon!
4. Grab a Coffee at Daily Grind in Fells Point
Fells Point is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Baltimore, and it used to be a busy shipbuilding port. Fells Point is just a few blocks (or a water taxi ride) from Inner Harbour. It’s a historical neighborhood with cobblestone streets and lots of waterfront restaurants and shops. Daily Grind is my favorite coffee spot in Fells Point because you can view the water while sipping on your iced coffee. There’s plenty of outdoor seating, and the inside feels cozy and spacious. Their menu has a ton of variety, including everything from coffee, smoothies, tea, breakfast, lunch, and baked goods. There’s lots of locals that frequent here, and it’s the perfect spot for people watching and to experience the charm of Fells Point.
5. Book a Sailboat Tour
One of the best ways to experience Baltimore is on a sailboat. American Sailing Tours offers 90 minute tours, and you can choose between a day or night sail. The tour starts in Inner Harbor, and their website has more details for booking and selecting your preferred tour. These tours are unforgettable and definitely a bucket list item.
6. Visit the Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art has an amazing collection of art, ranging African to European and American. It’s incredible to see paintings from famous artists like Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and Rembrandt all in one place. Plus, admission is free! You’ll just have to pay for parking, which is only about $5 if you park in the museum lot. There’s also metered parking across from the museum. Keep in mind that the museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The Baltimore Museum of Art is the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon, and you’ll want to spent at least 2-3 hours here.
7. Enjoy Dinner and Pastries in Little Italy
Baltimore is known for their seafood, but what about the delicious Italian food? Little Italy is conveniently located a few blocks from Inner Harbor and offers over 20 Italian restaurants. If you’re looking for some authentic Italian food, or just want to enjoy a glass of wine, check out Dalesios! I celebrated my 26th birthday here, and the balcony views, wine, and pasta are to die for. For dessert, head to Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop for cannolis, gelato, Tiramisu, or one of the many other treats in the pastry case. There’s so many desserts to choose from that it’s impossible to only try one thing. Don’t forget to grab a coffee too!
8. Attend a Concert at Pier Six Pavilion
Pier Six Pavilion is an outdoor concert venue in Baltimore Harbor. It’s the perfect place to spend a spring or summer evening, and there’s always lots of concerts planned throughout the summer months. Pier Six Pavilion offers a gorgeous view of the harbor, especially at sunset. Arena-sized concerts are fun, but this venue gives you a more intimate and low key vibe. Be sure to check their website and check out which bands are performing this summer. You can even buy a lawn ticket and enjoy a concert on a blanket in the grass.
9. Enjoy a Smoothie Bowl at Earth Shake
Earth Shake is a smoothie and juice shop in Fells Point, and they use whole foods and fresh ingredients. Earth Shake serves açai and pitaya bowls, smoothies, cold pressed juices, and kombucha. They also sell delicious (and homemade) energy bites, nitro cold brew, and cider. This place is a dream for vegetarians and vegans, and you can customize their smoothie bowls too. Add this place to your Baltimore bucket list!
10. Hangout in Patterson Park
Patterson Park, also known as the, “best backyard in Baltimore,” is a 133 acre green space in the heart of the city. Some amenities in the park include walking paths, tennis and basketball courts, a swimming pool, playgrounds, the Mimi DiPietro Ice Rink, sport fields, a dog park, a duck pond, and the Pagoda. The Pagoda is definitely the most Instagram-worthy spot in Patterson Park, and it’s open to the public on Sundays from 12-6pm in the warmer months. It’s located on Hampstead Hill, which has a great city view of Baltimore, and the view is even better from the observation decks of the Pagoda. There’s also a statue in front of the Pagoda, which commemorates the writing of the Star Spangled Banner.
There’s lots of fun events in Patterson Park throughout the year, including concerts, the “Pagoda Lighting”, and the Halloween Lantern Parade. You can check out the park’s website to access in depth information about events and park amenities.
11. Eat Brunch at Blue Moon Too
Blue Moon Too is a quirky and creative brunch spot in Fells Point. The brunch options are amazing, and they serve omelets, benedicts, scrambles, fresh fruit and juices, and pancakes, like their delicious potato pancakes. Blue Moon Too also has unique menu items, like the popular Captain Crunch French Toast. The decor is funky and eye-catching, every plate looks mouth watering, and there’s lots of vegetarian options. Don’t miss this spot while you’re in Baltimore!