A historic and interesting city with a unique East Coast character, Baltimore is becoming an increasingly popular vacation destination. Built along a peaceful harbor on the Atlantic coast, Baltimore's waterfront district is filled with colonial brick houses and converted warehouses. When you arrive in Baltimore, take a quick walk to the top of Federal Hill, where you can get your bearings and take in a gorgeous view of the city below.
Exploring the city's diverse neighborhoods is one of the best ways to get to know Baltimore. For art and culture, check out the sophisticated Mount Vernon neighborhood, also home to the Contemporary Museum. Urban charms abound in the cool Inner Harbor district, which has been converted from an industrial area to a cosmopolitan district, with lots of movie theaters and restaurants. Also worth a mention, Hampden is one of Baltimore's most hip neighborhoods, made famous by filmmaker, John Waters.
As you explore, don't forget to sample the local cuisine. While fresh crab is the Baltimore specialty, there are all different types of delicious seafood prepared throughout the city. When your stomach rumbles, head to Little Italy for the best pasta, risotto, and tiramisu in town. If you want to sample more regional treats, try Lexington Market, a vast indoor food market with great selection of local produce.
There is always something to do in town, regardless of the season. In the summer, take the kids on an Urban Pirates cruise in Baltimore's inner harbor, where you'll see the city in the company of tough-talking pirates. In the winter, be sure to spend an afternoon ice skating at Mt. Pleasant Ice Arena.
Here are a few additional suggestions of things to do in Baltimore:
-National Aquarium: There are more than 16,000 fish, shark, marine mammals, and other sea creatures at this seven-story aquarium, Baltimore's top attraction.
-American Visionary Art Museum: This fun and unusual museum showcases work by artists who weren't formally trained or were considered "outsiders" in the art world.
-Camden Yards: This is a giant complex that is home to the Baltimore Orioles' ballpark and Geppi's Entertainment Museum. From here, follow the signs to the Babe Ruth Museum, a space dedicated to the life of the great slugger.
-The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum: Writers and readers will love this museum, dedicated to the poet and short story writer, Edgar Allan Poe, who lived in Baltimore.
-Maryland Science Center: Fun and educational for the whole family, this three-story center offers hands-on and interactive exhibits on science-related topics like the human body, optical illusions, explosions, and lasers. It is also home to the Davis Planetarium.
-B&O Railroad Museum: This museum contains more than 100 original locomotives from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, as well as interesting artifacts from the early railways.
In Baltimore, a vacation rental for the whole family can often be more private, spacious, and comfortable than a hotel, especially if you find a large rental home or villa with waterfront views. For those looking for a buzzing nightlife and fine dining, consider an apartment rental downtown or in the Hampden neighborhood.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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