Planning a holiday in 2019 in the US? Perhaps its time to look towards the bright lights of Charm City and discover an array of world-class art, culinary and cultural experiences across the city’s historic and distinct neighbourhoods. From delicious street food pop-ups, endless crab feasts, to scenic nature trails for an active reawakening, Baltimore shares its top five activities.
Celebrate Baltimore’s festivals
It wouldn’t be a trip to Baltimore without taking part in the city’s local festival scene. In July, thousands of visitors will flock to Artscape, America’s largest free outdoor arts festival featuring 150+ fine artists, craftspeople and fashion designers. With live concerts, sculptures and performance pieces including dance, street theatre, jazz, opera and standup comedy, Artscape embodies the city’s homegrown arts boom. From 1st – 10th November 2019, Light City and Baltimore Book Festival will combine forces for the first time, highlighting the city’s burgeoning arts scene, and award-winning artists, authors and performers from around the world. Famed as America’s first large-scale festival of light art, music and innovation, Light City transforms 1.5 miles of the Inner Harbor waterfront into an interactive playground of large scale light installations, street performers, concerts, an Opening Night Parade and a Closing Night fireworks finale.
The Baltimore Public Market System is the oldest continuously operating public market system in the country – and continues to play a vital role in the city. Four of Baltimore’s six public markets are slated for overhauls, with two reopening in 2019. The city’s oldest existing market building, at more than 230 years old, will unveil a $3 million redevelopment of its north shed in early 2019, with its south shed opening in the summer. The south shed of the market will be converted into, a Maryland crab house and seafood restaurant led by Atlas Restaurant Group. The space, which will offer indoor and outdoor seating for 275 guests, an outdoor bar, live entertainment and a recreational area, is a nod to Broadway Market’s long history of serving local seafood. In addition, the new north shed will house ten local vendors, including: Connie’s Chicken & Waffles, Thai Street, a permanent location for the Thai street food pop-up; The Verandah, serving Indian specialties; Taharka Brothers Ice Cream, and Old Boy, a new Korean restaurant by Phil Han, owner of popular Mount Vernon cafe Dooby’s.
Mount Vernon neighbourhood renaissance
Just north of downtown rests the city’s cultural heart, Mount Vernon, once home to Baltimore’s Gilded Age elite. Let the impressive architecture and manicured public gardens transport you to a bygone era. The nation’s first monument to George Washington sits proudly at the centre of Mount Vernon Square. What once were grand mansions belonging to Baltimore’s 19th-century industrialists are now museums, galleries, shops and restaurants. Home to stunning boutique hotels including the new Hotel Revival, Hotel Indigo, and The Ivy, journey to a home away from home and soak up the city’s history.
Sport past-times and fitness classes
Home to sporting legends like Michael Phelps, Babe Ruth and Johnny Unitas, Baltimore reveals a longstanding love affair with sport. Become inspired by Oriole Park at Camden Yards, frequently ranked as a top baseball stadium in America, to cheer on the Baltimore Orioles or catch the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, two-time Super Bowl champions, whilst you’re in town. For those looking to shed their winter coat and step into a healthier regime, journey to the Movement Lab, an epic space designed to reinvent people’s workout practices with alternative anti-gravity fitness routines. Make sure you also try out Jones Falls Bike Trail, where walkers, runners and bikers journey across a scenic eleven mile trail from the city’s inner harbor to 200 acres of wetlands and picturesque Cylburn Arboretum.
Tastes from the ocean
A foodies’ Baltimore to-do list should always include crab. Recognised for its awe-inspiring seafood scene, there are a variety of ways seafood lovers can savor the crustaceans besides the traditional crab feast or standalone crab cake. Baltimore restaurants serve crab in quiches, sandwiches, on top of tater tots and waffle fries, and on pizza. The Land of Kush even offers a vegan “crab cake” as a weekend special. Located in the Baltimore Museum of Art and founded by John Shields and John Gilligan in 1998, Gertrude’s has been a brunch neighbourhood staple for 20 years. The restaurant was on the vanguard of the farm-to-table movement and now has decades-long relationships with Maryland farms and fisheries. The crab omelet is an all-time favourite, as is the blue cat eggs, a delicious catfish cake served with maple bacon. During warmer months, visit the museum’s sculpture garden right outside the restaurant and experience its delightful ambience. For new openings in 2019, find The Urban Oyster. Head Chef Jasmine Norton was the first female owner of an oyster bar in Maryland. The fast-casual restaurant and bar will open in February 2019 featuring a full-service raw bar and serving Norton’s signature char-grilled oysters; seasonal seafood dishes such as Maryland crab cakes on homemade potato bread; and brunch items such as a shrimp BLT on a waffle bun, an oyster benedict and a lobster roll croissant.
All images © Visit Baltimore
Get Baltimore trip ideas from the official travel and tourism website for Baltimore Maryland.