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Old 09-04-2009, 07:50 PM
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So,... I'm going to D.C. soon, but I'm flying in-and-out of BWI. Right now on my way back, I have an early flight but was thinking of changing it to a late one (no charge), so I can check out Baltimore.

I'd be there from about 9 to 5. Is this even worth it? I read another post where a guy went to Baltimore for 8 hours or so and took a bunch of photos. What would I have time for, Inner Harbor?
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Old 09-04-2009, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Portland, Maine
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Yes, it would be worth it. Baltimore is historically very significant. There are very few places in our country where you would witness the urban fabric that exists here. The consistent rows. The planning. Much of it may have gone awry but it is still there.

What is funny about Americans? They want history, but they want it clean. That isn't happening here. In Baltimore, history is at your fingertips: the good and the bad.

Probably the most fascinating city I have ever been to in my life is Quito, Ecuador. Is it filled with Disneyland fun? No. But, it's stark reality is so full of life, it amazed me.

Now, I am not saying Baltimore is Quito. But, a walk through one of many of it's historic neighborhoods will leave you with an opinion. You can go home with that and do all of the judging you want.
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Old 09-05-2009, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Bolton Hill
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It will give you a very small taste of Baltimore but I think it would be worth it.

Cool areas:
Federal Hill, Fells Point, Canton, Hampden, Mount Vernon, Midtown Belvedere, Charles Village, Patterson Park, Bolton Hill, Harbor East, Roland Park, Little Italy, and others.

jonjj's neighborhood thread:
Neighborhoods in Baltimore
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Old 09-06-2009, 08:41 AM
 
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It would be worth it to spend half a day in Baltimore if you planned it well. You have to go to the Inner Harbor once, just to see it, despite it being overly commercialized and full of chain restaurants. Here's what I would do:

Take the Light Rail directly from BWI into the city. Get off at Camden Yards or Convention Center. Get a taxi or walk east on Pratt St. to the harbor (a little over a half mile). Soak up the harbor for a bit, maybe take a trip up to the top of the World Trade Center to get a good view. Then go to the aquarium for a few hours (you can pre-order tickets over the internet, which is highly recommended). Baltimore's aquarium is actually one of the nicest I've been to. You can spend several hours there.

Get done with the aquarium around lunch time, you can walk or grab a taxi and go further east to Little Italy (another half mile) or Fell's Point (about a mile). Fell's is actually really cool and there are tons of great places to eat, drink, and shop. I would recommend it over Little Italy, which has little more than a lot of (really good) restaurants.

After lunch, find a way to get over to Fort McHenry (water taxi from Fell's Point would be the recommended way.. actually, you could take the water taxi from the aquarium to Fell's Point too). Tour the fort for an hour or so to get some history, then find your way back to the nearest Light Rail stop and start heading back to the airport to catch your flight.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:11 AM
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Thanks guys!

goindahne: Very useful. Sounds like you knew my plan perfectly. Yeah, I won't have a rental car or anything. I have heard good things about the Baltimore aquarium. I went to Shedd aquarium at Chicago, that was pretty neat. Again, thanks.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:45 AM
 
Location: un peu près de Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDF View Post
I have heard good things about the Baltimore aquarium. I went to Shedd aquarium at Chicago, that was pretty neat.
I found the Baltimore Aquarium overrated. I certainly would not spend several hours there as one poster recommended, if all you have is one 8-hour (9-5) day.

Then again, I find the Shedd Aquarium on Chicago's lake front to be a tourist trap as well. The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California is worth a visit if you ever get out there. So you can't say i dislike all aquariums.
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Old 09-06-2009, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Portland, Maine
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Been to all three and I agree with you: the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the best. But, I also happened to like the other two. Several hours in any of them? Nope.
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Bolton Hill
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The Aquarium is worth checking out.

You could also go to the Visionary or Walters Art Museum.
American Visionary Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum

The Baltimore Museum of Arts is nice but will probably be a pain for you to get to.
The Baltimore Museum of Art, 19th Century, Modern, & Contemporary Art, Baltimore, Maryland

Since you don't have a lot of time then maybe "Ride The Ducks" would be an easy way to see a lot of different stuff.
Ride The Ducks of Baltimore - duck tour of Baltimore

There is a ton to do but it really depends on what you want to do. If you let us know then I'm sure people would list stuff for you.
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:50 PM
 
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If you want to focus on more touristy things (nothing wrong with that), the previous posts have you covered. But, in case you're into a more 'local' experience in which you can still take in historic sights, you might try:

Light rail to Penn Station, then south on Charles St. all the way to the harbor. This will take you through the Mt. Vernon neighborhood, where you'll find incredible, centuries-old architecture, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and art galleries all along Charles St. The Walters Art Gallery (really a very nice free museum) is adjacent to the Washington Monument, which is surrounded by four beautiful parks - perfect for a rest. Antique row is a few blocks over on Howard St., and the boutiques/cafes continue along Charles St. all the way to the Harbor.

You can then cruise around the Harbor a bit, if it's your thing. (It's basically a mall, and doesn't have anything that you wouldn't find in any other city. The aquarium is nice, but they also have these in many cities. I don't think of it as a special feature of Baltimore.) The 'boardwalk' along the western edge of the Harbor offers nice views, and takes you south to Federal Hill (the hill itself gives a nice view of Baltimore, and has benches for resting), where you'll find more shops/cafes and some nice old row houses. (Also a great used bookstore and a nice little tea shop run by a great lady named Dee Dee. She makes awesome macaroons.)

There are other great neighborhoods worth exploring in Baltimore, but this route (about 1.5-2 miles from Penn station to Harbor, and another mile to Fells) takes you through historic Mt. V, downtown (where you can see a Meis Van de Rohe bldg and the old B&O bldg without ever leaving Charles St.), the Inner Harbor, and possibly Fells Point.

Good luck!
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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It would definitely be worth it, if just for a big bowl of maryland crab soup (ridiculously good seemingly no matter which restaurant I order it in).
Personally, I would check out Little Italy and Fells Point. You could probably walk thru both in less than an hour.

While in Little Italy, be sure to check out Vaccaro's, a famous dessert/ pastry place. In Fells Point, there is a block along the water called Boston street filled with bars and restaurants. Its a nice spot, scenic, and hidden away from tourists compared to the Inner Harbor.
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