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A Perfect 24 Hours in Baltimore


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Greetings, Internet Stranger, and welcome to 24 hours in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore isn’t always the first city people talk about when they are recommending cities you should visit. Some people worry about the crime rate, whether or not it looks like the nightmarish version of Baltimore in The Wire, etc. But I can tell you that people who avoid Baltimore are missing out on a lot.

Well, I spent a jolly weekend in Baltimore recently, and I am here to tell you it is a wonderful city! Baltimore is beautiful, especially if you stay near the harbor, affordable, especially if you live on the East Coast, and full of fascinating history and wonderful food, especially if you dive immediately into the shellfish. It will be a sheer delight for me to take you on to 24 hours in Baltimore! Let’s go! Good morning Baltimore!

24 hours in Baltimore

24 Hours in Baltimore

Where to Stay

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the harbor area is the prettiest place to stay for our 24 hours in Baltimore, so that’s exactly where we’re going to be. I suggest the Staybridge Suites in the Inner Harbor.

The rooms are absolutely massive, comfortable, and clean, there’s free Wifi, coffee, and breakfast, and the location was perfect for exploring all the main attractions like the Aquarium, the harbor, and Camden Yards. Plus, the staff was very helpful and took great care of my luggage when I arrived early in the morning.

If you want to book this hotel for your 24 hours in Baltimore, just click here. And if you’d rather explore other options in Charm City, you’ve got over a hundred other options to choose from here.

A Perfect 24 Hours in Baltimore 1

24 Hours in Baltimore

What to Pack

  • An excellent small cell charger so you can keep taking pictures all during your 24 hours in Baltimore.
  • The best full-length guide to the state of Maryland. That means you’ll be able to use for all your 24 hours in Baltimore needs.
  • There’s a ton of great cop shows set in Baltimore. Some prefer The Wire, but I also love Homicide: Life on the Street, where Andre Braugher got his start.
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly how solo travel can take your life from BLAH to amazing!
  • Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel digital system.
  • I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by the British troops during your 24 hours in Baltimore.
24 hours in Baltimore

24 Hours in Baltimore

Morning: Fort McHenry

Annapolis, which is Maryland’s capital, probably gets more attention from history buffs than Baltimore does. But that doesn’t mean that Baltimore doesn’t have a fascinating history! And the number one place for history buffs in Baltimore has to be Fort McHenry, especially if you are a fan of American history. So that’s where we will start our 24 hours in Baltimore.

Fort McHenry is most famous for being the fort where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star-Spangled Banner during the War of 1812, America’s War We Most Ignore. But there’s so much more to Fort McHenry than that! Allow me to expand with…

Three Fun Facts: Fort McHenry

24 hours in baltimore
1) What Should I Know Before I Go?

Visiting hours and fees are all kept up to date on the Fort McHenry website. When I went, it was 15 dollars and definitely worth it. It’s easier to buy a ticket in advance online, but the ticket lines weren’t crazy long when I went, and I made my sojourn to Fort McHenry in the summer, which is the busy season to try a 24 hours in Baltimore.

In terms of getting there, I took an Uber, which was fast and cheap, like I like my men. You can easily drive if you are staying in Baltimore, and the parking is free! You can get there by bus or water taxi, which sounds pretty exciting, but will definitely take longer than the car. Also, keep in mind that the water taxi only runs during summer months.

24 hours in baltimore
2) Are there special events at Fort McHenry?

But absolutely! And the most important events revolve around the raising of the flag. At 10 AM, there is a special ceremony changing the flag from the contemporary version to the version that would have been used during the Battle of Baltimore, when the Star Spangled Banner was written. That version had 15 stars and 15 stripes–for the 13 original colonies and then two more for Vermont and Kentucky, which were added soon after.

24 hours in baltimore

If you want to feel super patriotic, this is the ceremony for you! It’s done by local kids, which gives it an extra heart-warming feel. The fife and drum corps plays. It’s the closest you’re going to find to a time machine in Baltimore, unless you happen upon a Delorean with a flux capacitor.

24 hours in baltimore
3) What’s this about the national anthem?

Fear not, Internet Stranger! The docents and rangers who work at Fort McHenry will love sharing their vast knowledge of the fort with you. Let’s start with the man who wrote The Star Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key. According to the docent I spoke with, Key only wrote one successful song in his entire life and this was it. So you could possibly call him America’s first one-hit wonder.

Key wasn’t a poet or a musician by trade. In fact, he didn’t really understand music and his wife supposedly hated his poetry. However, he was in Baltimore when the British attacked the city during the War of 1812. When he saw that the flag was still standing after the battle, he was inspired to write our national anthem.

I still don’t know exactly what the War of 1812 was all about, though. From what I gather, it was like The American Revolution: Part Deux. The American Revolution: Judgement Day, perhaps.

24 hours in baltimore

Fort McHenry has a special honor every time a new state is added to the country. When a state is added, a new star is added to the American flag. And Fort McHenry has the honor of being the first location where the new flag is officially raised. So if Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands ever become states, you’ll know where to go.

walters art museum

24 Hours in Baltimore

Afternoon: Walters Art Museum

All right, we started our time in Baltimore with some history, so now it’s time for some art and culture at the Walters Art Museum. This museum hosts one of my favorite collections of art on the Eastern Seaboard. On top of that, it’s totally free! All the art of the Museum of Modern Art at zero of the cost!

But before we feed our minds, we’ll need to feed our bellies. Let’s start with dessert first.

24 hours in baltimore
24 Hour Treat: Bmore Licks

I suggest walking from Fort McHenry to the Walters if you are able. Yes, it’s a bit of a hike, but it’s through the lovely Locust Point neighborhood, which is definitely worth seeing. Observe!

24 hours in baltimore

And before we get to our lunch stop, we’re going to encounter one of the best ice cream spots in Charm City, Bmore Licks. They’ve got as many unique flavors of ice cream as I have earrings. (And I have over 250 pairs of earrings.)

I recommend one of their flavors with candy mix-ins, like the raspberry ice cream with raspberry chocolate cups. Who knew that chocolate cups could come in a flavor that wasn’t peanut butter? And it has fruit in it, so you know it’s healthy.

24 hours in baltimore

After you approach the Walters, you’ll be close to the nearby Cafe Fili. (They have another location in DC, but please stick with the one in Baltimore for the purposes of this itinerary.) Their Tunisian salad with goat cheese, chicken, and dates tastes exactly like cruising along the Mediterranean with some mustachioed gentleman named Jacques or Demetrious. Or Steve. Whatever floats your boat.

And now that we’re all fed, we can dive right into…

Approximately Top 5: Walters Art Museum

24 hours in baltimore
1) Delacroix

The best way to see the Walters is by starting on the top floor and working your way down. This Delacroix is one of the first pieces you’ll see.

Most of the collection at the Walters belonged to the wealthy William Walters (say that three times fast) and his son. There’s no modern art that I saw at the museum, probably because the Walters were all dead by the time modern art became a thing. So this painting is about as au courant as it gets.

Even if it’s not as crowd-pleasing as a Monet, I enjoyed this Delacroix because it’s so dramatic. You can practically smell the salt in those ferocious waves. Walters collected many works of religious art, and he was probably attracted to this piece because it shows Christ and his disciples on the water.

24 hours in baltimore
2) Medieval Art

The Medieval Art section is one of the best collections of medieval art in the United States. Check out this adorable painting of St. George slaying the dragon.

I love how medieval art does not give a thruppence about being realistic. Want an angel with bold blue and pink stripes on his feathers? Yes! A bleeding dragon who looks a bit like a green kitty cat? Indeed. Nothing can stop them.

24 hours in baltimore

But if you see only one piece of medieval art at the Walters, let it be these stunning alabaster carvings. Can you imagine the time and effort it to took form these majestic creations. These days I lose concentration if I have to put together a Tiktok all by myself.

24 hours in baltimore
3) The Ideal City

This is my favorite piece of art at the Walters. It’s called The Ideal City and it’s by Fra Carnevale, a 15th century Italian monk. Here are all the reasons it’s an ideal city: the colors are very subtle, there’s no trash on the streets, there are no pigeons, there are no cars, everything is very symmetrical, and there are almost no people.

Wait, scratch that. That doesn’t sound like an ideal city. That sounds more like a Creepy Ghost City. I personally think that would make a better title for this painting, but then Fra Carnevale never asks my opinion.

24 hours in baltimore
4) Seated Buddha From Myanmar

Not all of the art in the Walters is from Europe! The museum also has a fantastic Asian art collection. Above, you can see a serene seated Buddha. It looks like he is made from wood, but that’s apparently paper mache made from lacquer. I want a refund on my summer camp arts and crafts classes because my paper mache projects never turned out like that.

According to the docent notes at the museum, the proper way to approach the Buddha would be to touch your head to the ground three times. You were also supposed to give the Buddha presents and keep him covered in gold.

Do people still come to offer this Buddha religious devotion? It seems strange to have a sacred object just sit in a building and get photographed all day.

24 hours in baltimore
5) Ancient Art

The Ancient Art collection isn’t quite as impressive as the Medieval art, but it’s pretty close! They’ve got everything from busts of emperors to Egyptian sculptures of Horus to black and red Greek pottery. The usual ancient highlights.

But my favorite object in the ancient art section was this Roman banquet couch. I did know that wealthy Romans would have reclined on these beauties while they stuffed their faces. I did NOT know that the couches were so beloved that they were often buried with members of the family. I don’t think I’ve ever loved any piece of furniture that much.

24 hours in baltimore

24 Hours in Baltimore

Evening: Dinner at Charleston

Well, I think we’ve had a pretty classy day, with the history and the museums, and it’s about to get even classier because I’m taking you to the best restaurant in Baltimore: Charleston. This is a special occasion restaurant, but it’s definitely worth the splurge.

Charleston offers a tasting menu, but you get to pick the number of courses that you want. I got six, which is the maximum number, because I wanted to do the maximum amount of research for this blog. Everything I do is for you, Internet Strangers!

24 hours in baltimore
24 Hour Treasure: Lobster Soup

So this is one of the specialties at Charleston that is usually on the menu, and if it is on the menu at Charleston and you do not order it, I will personally come to your house and punch you in the face. That’s an Around the World in 24 Hours guarantee.

This succulent soup is served with curry, arugula oil, and sherry. It has been on the menu at Charleston for over 20 years and it tastes like a lobster died and went to heaven. That is all. Please go to Charleston for yourself to experience its majesty.

24 hours in baltimore

So you might be sensing a theme at this restaurant, and that theme might be amazing seafood. Up next we have the fried oysters that are perfectly crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. I was visiting Baltimore in the summer, so I knew that cooked oysters would be better than raw because you really only want to eat raw oysters in months like March that have an R in them.

24 hours in baltimore

This tomato and mozzarella salad absolutely won’t be on the menu unless you visit in summer because it’s a purely seasonal dish. These tomatoes tasted exactly like the platonic ideal of summer. But even better than that, the mozzarella was made with buffalo milk, not cow milk. I don’t know why buffalo milk is so much more delicious, but it is. Accept it, and move on.

24 hours in baltimore
24 Hour Treat: Shrimp and Grits

This is another Charleston specialty that’s sure to be on the menu. The grits are made from the highest quality Anson Mills grits. (No self-respecting Southerner uses instant grits. We take pride in our grits.)

The meat is a combination of tasso and andouille sausage, and I was super impressed with how delicately the sausage was chopped. This might be the finest dish of shrimp and grits you’ll find in the entire South.

24 hours in baltimore

Up next we have two main courses. I selected one meat and one fish. Of course, if you’re in Maryland, and Baltimore is in Maryland, you simply have to have rockfish. It’s the most flavorful local fish. I promise that it doesn’t taste like rocks, nor does it have the texture of a rock. In fact, it shouldn’t be called rockfish at all; it should be called yumfish.

This rockfish was served with crispy eggplant and pesto, both of which have strong flavors. Good thing the rockfish also has a strong flavor, so it can stand up to the competition.

24 hours in baltimore

And now we have our meat course, which turns out to be bison. In fact, I like to think of this as a country western dish. The bison fulfills the western part, but then the Hoppin John and the fried green tomatoes that come with it are pure country. Truly, this dish is as American as it gets.

24 hours in baltimore

And now we have our dessert! No matter how many dishes you order, you get a free dessert. I selected the strawberry dark chocolate tart. It was surprisingly light and tasted exactly like a strawberry-covered chocolate, so this would be a perfect dessert for a romantic occasion.

But even if you’re flying solo like I was, it was still an amazing treat and the perfect end to our 24 hours in Baltimore.

24 hours in Baltimore

24 Hours in Baltimore

How to Get There

By Car: This is an easy way to get to your 24 hours in Baltimore, if you are coming from somewhere else on the East Coast in the United States. You can even drive here easily from places as far away as Morgantown, West Virginia or Pittsburgh.

However, I think dealing with parking in Baltimore would be a little annoying, so I preferred to either walk or Uber everywhere. If you need to rent a car, you can use the search engine Expedia to find the best price from the available car rental companies.

By Plane: Fortunately there is a convenient airport right in Baltimore itself. No need to fly into DC and then drive into your 24 hours in Baltimore, although you can do that too. (Again, I recommend using a search engine like Expedia to search for the best prices on flights.)

By Train or Bus: I used the Amtrak train to get from NYC to my 24 hours in Baltimore, and it was super fast and cheap, though the prices aren’t always cheap. If you’re on more of a budget, you can take the bus, which pretty much is always cheap. Peter Pan and the Hound both go to Baltimore.

24 hours in baltimore

That’s a Perfect 24 Hours in Baltimore!

What would you do with 24 hours in Baltimore? Is there an older one hit wonder than Francis Scott Key? And can you explain The American Revolution 2: Electric Revolution to me? Please email me at [email protected] and let me know!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours in Baltimore.

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