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Worth spending 1 day in Baltimore?

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Mar 2nd, 2010, 12:36 PM
  #1
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Worth spending 1 day in Baltimore?

We're going to D.C. for the Cherry Blossom Festival, and flying into BWI (Baltimore airport) at 10 a.m. Thinking of it's worth spending that day and night in Baltimore and then start D.C. the next day? What is there in Baltimore to spend 1 day? Where to get blue crabs, preferably fresh off the boat and freshly cooked? I've heard of a great art museum there, but we're also planning to see a bunch of museums in D.C.

Appreciate your suggestions!
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 12:43 PM
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I think it depends how many days you have in DC.

There have been some recent threads (I think) about what to do in Baltimore.

Have you heard of the Inner Harbor? I think that is where most people concentrate while visiting Baltimore. There is also Fells Point (I have no idea what is there) and a fort

If you google things to do Baltimore or look at a guidebook, you will be able to make an informed decision.
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 12:50 PM
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The National Aquarium is a worthy visit. The Aquarium is located on the Inner Harbor, a nicely done area.

My favorite crab cake destination is actually close to BWI. G&M Restaurant: www.gandmcrabcakes.com If you are lunchtime after getting your bags and car rental, it's a great way to start your trip.

Asking about best crab place will be like asking the best religion to get you to heaven.
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 12:55 PM
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I just read about the Lexington Market. Sounds neat. Ok to go there on a Wed or it's more lively on Sat?

Also, we're planning to stay at the Sheraton near BWI. Can we take public transportation to the major sights in Baltimore or it's better to rent a car that day?

Thanks all for the helpful advice!
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 01:26 PM
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I really enjoy Baltimore. I liked the tour of Fort McHenry, the Aquarium and the Maritime Museum. But agree that it depends on how much time you really will have in DC. Fell's Point is an old neighborhood with small inns and bars. I don't think there is a lot of public transportation but may be wrong. May need to cab it from hotel to the Inner Harbor and walk / cab from there. If you want to go to Ft McHenry, cab it to the Inner Harbor then take the Water Taxi.

That being said, I wouldnt cut DC short for a day in Baltimore.
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Mar 2nd, 2010, 01:26 PM
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Hello JC98

Check out Lexington Market (go to Faidley's for seafood chowder), see the heart of Baltimore life around the turn of the 20th century in Mount Vernon (stop in the Walter's Art Museum) and visit the Cross Street Market in Federal Hill if you haven't had enough seafood (interesting comparison with Lexington Market). Grab a water taxi to Fell's Point from the Inner Harbour (which for the record is NOT my favourite place in Baltimore, I find it too tourist trappy) and explored the historied streets of Fell's Point. This will easily fill a day.

If you're reasonably fit, you could do all this without a car, arriving at Penn Station and taxiing/walking/light railing down Charlest Street/St. Paul St.

IMO Baltimore's definitely "worth" a day's look-see (and more!). Most don't agree with me on this one, but I actually prefer the city to DC (shhhhh, don't tell) as I find it has more character.

Best wishes, Daniel
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Mar 4th, 2010, 05:25 AM
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As far as crabs go, you probably won't get them "fresh off the boat", since it's too early in the year for Chesapeake Bay crabs. But you can still get steamed crabs at any crab house. If you would be searching for places convenient to downtown, three possibilities would be Bo Brooks, on Boston Street in the Canton neighborhood - this is a waterfront spot, with good views of the harbor; Also Obrycki's which opens for the season on March 16 - it's on Pratt Street just off Broadway in north Fells Point, and is an old line crab house, but they do not use Old Bay to season the crabs, focusing instead on black pepper; Finally, there is a place on Fort Avenue in the Locust Point neighborhood, called LP Steamers. I've never been to this place, but I know many people who like it - it's small but is near Fort McHenry.
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Mar 4th, 2010, 06:00 AM
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Re. crabs: I would suggest Capt. James Crabhouse (are they open in early April??). The CRABHOUSE (outdoors) - NOT the indoor restaurant. There is a water taxi stop right there. Excellent crabs - outdoor seating right on the water. Highly recommended.
http://www.captainjameslanding.com/crabhousemenu.pdf

If you have less than 5 nights in DC, I would skip Baltimore altogether.
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Mar 4th, 2010, 06:10 AM
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I'd rent a car, pick a couple of target sites in Baltimore from the above suggestions (personally I'd go for crab cakes at Faidley's in Lexington Market and the National Aquarium), but not stay overnight. It's a short drive to DC (if you wait until 7 or later to avoid rush hour traffic) and it will save you hotel-hopping and put you where you want to be on your first morning.
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Mar 4th, 2010, 06:21 AM
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It's worth it- hang out in the inner harbor area and take a water taxi to fells point- cobble stone streets with many pubs and restaurants.
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Mar 5th, 2010, 05:34 AM
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If you just spent your first day in Baltimore then proceeded to DC the next morning you wouldn't really be losing much time in DC, and there is plenty to do in Baltimore for a day as noted above. I think it would add nicely to your trip.

On some of the crab suggestions above, Capt. James is a good one - a really neat place and they are open all year. To get there you'd take Aliceanna Street east from Fells Point, to its intersection with Boston Street. You can't miss the restaurant, because it looks like a big ship! There is a crab deck on top which has a nice water view, and I think the crab house mentioned above is across the street, right on the water. But sitting outside in April could be chilly.

Lexington Market is big, busy, ethnic, and a little bit outside of downtown in an area that's slightly run down. Faidley's is excellent. The Cross Street market is a public market, like Lexington, but it's in Federal Hill, which is one of the rejuvenated neighborhoods in Baltimore. You can get a pretty good crab cake there too, but not as good as Faidley's. But the consensus around here is that the best crab cake in the area these days is actually at a restaurant near BWI called G & M - on Nursery Rd at Hammonds Ferry Rd. The restaurant is nothing fancy, but the crab cake is big, tasty, and moderately priced.

Re art, if you like impressionist/modern art, the Baltimore Museum of Art has the largest collection of Matisse works in the world, and they are also running a temporary Cezanne exhibit until May. Many people also love the American Visionary Art Museum, which is at the harbor, though I have to tell you it's not my cup of tea. You'd have to go to their website to get a good description of their collection, but I think most of the artists had mental problems of various degrees, and their art ranges from the interesting to the bizarre. There is also the Walters Art Museum, which is in Mount Vernon, a lovely neighborhood, and is adjacent to the Washington Monument - this one pre-dates the one in DC.

Fort McHenry is a great historical US park. If you take a tour they give you the whole story of F.S. Key's writing of the "Star Spangled Banner".

Personally, since you are not planning to stay downtown I think you'd be better off with a car, since public transportation in Baltimore is not very good. You are not going to have a lot of time, and you can do much more in a short time with wheels.
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Mar 5th, 2010, 05:35 AM
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I forgot to second the suggestion of the aquarium - that alone is worth the trip.
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Mar 10th, 2010, 12:14 PM
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Thanks, all, for the great suggestions! So, I'm convinced to spend 1 day in Baltimore. We have 7 days total in D.C., so taking 1 day for Baltimore seems ok.

Rough itinerary:
* Land in BWI at 10:30 a.m. and rent a car
* Lexington Market for lunch. Crab cake, etc.
* Baltimore Museum of Art -- I want to see the Cone's sisters art collection--great pieces by Matisse, etc.
* Inner Harbor and water taxi over to Fell's Point. I haven't looked at the map, but I guess this is the way to go to Fell's Point? No way to drive over? How much is the water taxi and where should we park?

Still debating whether to stay that night in Baltimore or head out to D.C.

Thanks!
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Mar 10th, 2010, 01:15 PM
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The Baltimore Museum of Art is a fair distance north of Lexington Market and the Inner Harbor area, near the campus of Johns Hopkins University. You'd drive there, so you wouldn't be then taking the water taxi to Fells Point (you'd drive from the museum to Fells Point).

Alternatively, you could substitute the American Visionary Art Museum. Then you could park near the Inner Harbor, walk to Lexington Market, take the water taxi to the Rusty Scupper stop, walk to the Visionary Art Museum, then get back on the water taxi to Fells Point (you have to transfer water taxis).

http://www.avam.org/
http://www.thewatertaxi.com/map.html#
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Mar 10th, 2010, 03:09 PM
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We enjoyed the Walters Museum and hope to return for a longer visit.
If you elect to stay, Henderson's Warf Inn is a good choice in Fells Point.
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Mar 10th, 2010, 05:31 PM
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I like your itinerary. I'd suggest you take I-295 north into the city from BWI, and it will take you onto Russell St then Paca Street, which will take you straight up to Lexington Market. Right after you pass the main market building on the right, you'll see a garage on the right, which is good to park in - you can go directly from that garage into the market on the 2nd floor.

After you go to the BMA, you could drive back down to the Inner Harbor, and you'll find lots of parking garages and lots on either Light or Pratt Streets across from the Harbor. A good one is the garage under the Gallery & the Renaissance Hotel, right across from the Harbor on the north side of Pratt between Calvert & South Streets. One alternative is to drive straight over to Fells Point, where parking is a little cheaper. Then you could take the water taxi in the opposite direction. If the weather is bad and you don't want to use the water taxi, it's not really a problem to drive & park in both places.
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Mar 10th, 2010, 05:37 PM
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I think Baltimore is definitely worth the visit. I think it would be more leisurely if you stayed overnight. I think I got the Marriott Inner harbor for about $100/night on Priceline.
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Mar 10th, 2010, 05:45 PM
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Another question: Is the Mount Vernon in Baltimore the same as the famous George Washington's Mount Vernon?

Thanks
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Mar 10th, 2010, 05:50 PM
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You should listen to ncounty, they have her picture displayed at Faidley's raw bar eating raw oysters and drinking beer from the can (National Boh tall boy, no less) at 9 a.m.
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Mar 10th, 2010, 06:03 PM
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Mount Vernon is a neighborhood on a little hill just north of downtown, around the George Washington Monument. Nothing to do with GW's estate south of DC in Virginia.
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