Ah, Charm City. If you know me personally, you know that I love Baltimore. I have had a few very close friends from there or who moved there for work, so I visit often. That being said, I’m surprised I’m just getting to Baltimore now! I see lots of Baltimore posts in our future.
Yes, Baltimore is famous for it’s Inner Harbor, but there is so much more than just the touristy shops and restaurants at the harbor! Baltimore is a big, beautiful city, and it deserves to be well explored. Today we are going to take a wander around southern Baltimore, just south of the harbor.
So you’re in a major city and the first question is always “How do I get around?” Well, luckily Baltimore is pretty friendly for drivers – as long as you’re not visiting the harbor – and there are usually parking lots or street parking available. Even better, Baltimore offers FREE bus routes around the city via the Charm City Circulator! The route maps are easy to understand and convenient to use. Take advantage of the free buses!
I recommend starting and ending your day in the same spot: Federal Hill. If you climb to the top of Fed Hill, you get some gorgeous views of the Inner Harbor. Be fair warned, it is a pretty steep hill with a good set of stairs, but the view is worth it at the top. The hill makes for a nice place to walk around and/or relax; bring your dog if you want! There are beach volleyball courts at the bottom and a modern art museum at one edge of the park. The American Visionary Art Museum is a very interesting and eclectic venue that probably won’t appeal to everyone. But hey, if you can get a Groupon to save on admissions and you have some time to kill, check it out! Some of the exhibits are super cool; some a little more… unexpected.
Okay, it’s time for lunch. Where should you go? The Local Fry, without a doubt. A trip to Baltimore is no longer complete for me if I don’t eat at The Local Fry. My first time there I was in awe; this place is super cute and has such a clever menu! Fries, fries, and more fries. But not just regular fries, fries with all sorts of different toppings – spices, meats, cheeses, vegetables, condiments… The deliciousness is hard to explain in words.
The offerings include the expected chicken-bacon-ranch and barbecue, but they also have more unique choices like banh mi and carne asada (my personal go-to)! Since they opened, they’ve added to the menu, now offering chicken wings (of so many different flavors!) and rice bowls. There is no table service here; you just order at the counter and salivate while you wait for your food to come out.
Charm City Mead
The next stop is to one of my most recent finds – Charm City Meadworks. I’d heard about the meadery several times before and had even bought a jar at a local liquor store, but timing never worked out for us to visit. That was highly unfortunate – you should not make that mistake. Go to the meadery! The mead is delicious! Now, when you put the address in your GPS or smartphone, you may think it’s leading you to the middle of warehouse-land. It is. But that’s where Charm City Meadworks is; the location as it is now look like a big garage – don’t be afraid! *Since posting, the meadery has moved to a taproom in Mt. Vernon.
We were lucky enough to snag a Groupon for the meadery which included two flights and two growlers of mead. They offer both still and carbonated varieties and they change out the flavors on tap with seasonal options. My favorite was ‘Retire by the Fire’ which was a smoky mead, and unfortunately only a seasonal offering. Go for a visit. You’re sure to find something you like!
Depending on the time of year you visit, see if the Ravens are in town and catch a game at M&T Bank Stadium, located very close to Federal Hill. Earlier I said we were going to start and finish the day in the same location – at the park at the top of the hill. Check out Baltimore’s Inner Harbor when it is dark outside and all of the building are lit; it’s a beautiful sight!