An artsy weekend getaway in Baltimore
A weekend getaway to Baltimore wouldn't be complete without visiting Charm City's crown jewel — the Inner Harbor, with its iconic Baltimore Aquarium and plentiful restaurants and shops — but SheKnows discovered some artistic attractions in and near the bustling waterfront area that are worth exploring.
As one of the top-ranked children's museums in the U.S., Port Discovery Children's Museum (35 Market Place) is a place for purposeful play and learning. Attractions include Freaky Friday Science Labs and the three-story urban tree house, KidsWorks. And every third Friday of the month is $2 Family Fun Night, when general admission is only $2 per person from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Memorabilia and pop culture lovers flock to Geppi's Entertainment Museum (301 West Camden Street), where visitors take a walk down memory lane with interactive exhibits, nostalgic toys, comics and other collectibles. The Yellow Kid, Buster Brown, Mickey Mouse, Superman, Spider-Man, Barbie, G.I. Joe and other famous characters mark the many historic milestones found in this museum's collection.
Divided into three beautifully renovated, historic industrial buildings, American Visionary Art Museum (800 Key Highway) is a national museum and education center that showcases original works of art created by intuitive, self-taught artists. Spend an afternoon in the outdoor wildflower and sculpture gardens, and have brunch at the museum's award-winning restaurant.
You can't come to Baltimore without feasting on Maryland-style seafood, and Gertrude's, John Shield's Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Drive) is one of the best places to please your palate. Have brunch overlooking the museum's Sculpture Garden, and savor dishes like Eggs Gertrude, a regional take on eggs Benedict with broiled crab cakes.
Calling Papermoon Diner (227 West 29th Street) artsy would be an understatement. This colorful cafe in the Charles Village nabe near Johns Hopkins University is as well known for its odd, kitschy decor (spray-painted mannequins hanging from the ceiling, Star Trek Pez dispensers, superhero action figures) as it is for its "vegetarian and raging-carnivore-friendly" comfort food (think tofu scramble, chili and cheese fries, and crab mac 'n' cheese).
Get a taste of down-home Baltimore grub at Lexington Market (400 West Lexington Street), a no-frills culinary institution with over 100 food and merchandise vendors. Grab an overstuffed shrimp salad sandwich from Mary Mervis Deli and an acclaimed lump crab cake from Faidely's Seafood before catching a matinee musical at the nearby Hippodrome Theater.
Peruse unique, handmade arts and crafts by female artisans of all backgrounds and cultures at the nonprofit Woman's Industrial Exchange (333 North Charles Street), a shop on the trendy North Charles Street strip in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood.
Take a water taxi ride across the harbor to Fells Point, a quaint waterfront neighborhood with cobblestone streets, row homes and vibrant shops, bars and restaurants. Check out Maja (1744 Aliceanna Street), a Fells Point boutique with clothing, handmade jewelry, incense, candles and home decor from Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Support the artwork of renowned African, African-American and local artists at Mahogany Exchange/Out of Africa Gallery III (109 West Saratoga Street), where you'll find antique museum artifacts, furniture, textiles, dinnerware, glassware, baskets, dolls, jewelry, custom clothing and wedding attire.
Where to stay
For picturesque views of the Inner Harbor and city skyline, the centrally located Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore (550 Light Street) can't be beat. The regal hotel with traditional wood furnishings and elegant gold finishes is an ideal setting for a wedding reception (we saw several blushing brides during our stay), and the 195 spacious, well-appointed guest rooms and suites are perfect for a romantic weekend getaway. To see the sights, take the free Charm City Circulator, which conveniently stops in front of the hotel.