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Charm City Neighborhoods

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Inner Harbor

Inner Harbor is the centerpiece of downtown Baltimore and among the most famous of Charm City’s neighborhoods. Located right on the waterfront, Inner Harbor is populated with a plethora of restaurants, hotels, shops and attractions. The area is easy to navigate on foot or by water taxi, which provide breathtaking views of the skyline. The myriad of museums, such as the Maryland Science Center and the American Visionary Art Museum, provide a refreshing cultural reprieve from another famous, bustling Inner Harbor site: Harborplace & The Gallery.

National Aquarium

Since 1981, the National Aquarium and its more than 16,000 exotic inhabitants have enchanted visitors. Study a coral reef, catch a dolphin show or get up close and personal with sharks, turtles and tropical birds. It’s the aquarium’s unique touches—such as its 4-D Immersion Theater and vibrant, naturalistic exhibits—that keep more than 1.5 million people visiting this Inner Harbor jewel each year. Don’t leave Baltimore without making a stop.

Little Italy

Just follow your nose and you’ll likely find yourself in Baltimore’s Little Italy. Located between the Inner Harbor and Fell’s Point, this authentic Italian neighborhood is home to nearly 30 Italian eateries, contentious games of bocce ball and an annual open-air film festival. Who says you need to leave America to experience a bit of the old country?

Film Festival

Every Friday night in July and August, residents of Little Italy dig up their lawn chairs and gather alongside movie buffs to partake in the annual Little Italy Outdoor Film Festival. Now in its 13th year, “Cinema al Fresco” features live music at 7 p.m., followed by an Italian-related feature film at 9 p.m. This is truly a neighborhood event—movies are projected on the wall of a restaurant from the third-floor window of a generous homeowner across the street.

Fell's Point

You’ll find names such as Fleet, Shakespeare and Thames scattered across Fell’s Point, a neighborhood in seemingly eternal celebration of Baltimore’s British nautical roots. Once primarily home to boarding houses, brothels and bars, Fell’s Point is now recognizable by its numerous 18th- and 19th-century homes and storefronts. Explore the unique shops of Thames Street and Broadway, or sample some of the area’s best Chesapeake Bay cuisine at restaurants such as Duda’s Tavern and Thames Street Oyster House.

Killer Trash

Killer Trash is not your average vintage shop. It’s a favorite among locals—filmmaker and Baltimore native John Waters shops for many of his film characters’ costumes here. Killer Trash fits an impressive amount of funky vintage treasures within its closet-sized store and sells everything from Hawaiian shirts to costume jewelry. If you have trouble finding this hole-in-the-wall just look for Waters’ headshot in the window—you can’t miss it.

Photo courtesy of Killer Trash


The charming blue-collar neighborhood of Canton lies just east of Fell’s Point. Once filled with Polish immigrants, the familiar factories of Canton have now been replaced by condominiums, offices, artists’ studios, shops and restaurants. O’Donnell Square is at the heart of this waterfront neighborhood. Wander around the surrounding blocks to get a look at the nearly lost art of Baltimore screen painting.

Screen Painting

A popular art form of the 20th century, screen painting is uniquely Baltimore. Vibrant scenes are painted on the screens of doors and windows, simultaneously accomplishing the task of added privacy for the owner and added beauty for the observer. Although the art form is beginning to fall out of fashion, painted screens remain an iconic feature of Canton.

Photo by Kevin A. Mueller

The Westside

Once the downtown business district of Baltimore, The Westside is getting a facelift thanks to more than a billion dollars of redevelopment. Edgar Allan Poe admirers can visit his gravesite at Westminster Hall burial ground, while those who prefer lighter entertainment can catch a Broadway touring production at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center. The Westside also houses the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, where train-enthusiasts can climb aboard and ride the first miles of passenger rail laid in the United States.

Lexington Market

Stop by the world famous Lexington Market to enjoy live music, inexpensive eats and unparalleled people watching. A Baltimore tradition for more than 225 years, Lexington Market is the nation’s oldest continually-running public market. Local’s swear by Faidley Seafood, a vendor with award-winning crab cakes. If seafood isn’t your thing, take a stroll by some of the market’s many bakeries. Whatever your preference, Lexington Market is sure to be a memorable experience.

Five More to Explore

Charm City has more than 225 neighborhoods, each with it’s own unique style and charm. Mount Vernon (pictured) is home to the nation’s first monument to George Washington and the Maryland Historical Society, which displays the original copy of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Federal Hill has a gorgeous view of the Inner Harbor and downtown skyline. Head to Hampden for locally-owned boutique shopping or Harbor East if you’re looking for something a little more high-end. Venture beyond downtown to witness the residential side of Baltimore. With so much to explore, you may just have to extend your stay.


Visitors may come to Baltimore to see historic sites like Fort McHenry and the famous Inner Harbor, but stick around long enough and you’ll find Charm City is so much more than its tourist destinations. Each of Baltimore’s neighborhoods has a distinct personality: from the cannoli of Little Italy to John Waters’ favorite vintage shop and to the painted screens of Canton, there’s always more to explore in Baltimore. —Grace Urban

All photos courtesy of Visit Baltimore unless otherwise noted.

Spill It: Tell Us What You Think!

Promotion Center for Little Italy, Baltimore
Grazie mille for the wonderful inclusion of Little Italy, Baltimore in this slideshow - marvelous job! Your Italian lesson for today on correct spelling of CANNOLI. (Plus we don't add the English language letter 's' to an Italian word that is already plural! :-) Arrivederci!
9/12/2012 11:42:23 AM

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