If you were paying attention to the news in late July (2019), you would have noticed that Baltimore became the center of attention, and not for good reasons. Ironically, I was in Baltimore watching the news with my mom when it was reported that Trump tweeted that he considered it “the worst run and the most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there” and that the district is a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
I was so concerned that my mom would now believe this mess. However, she ended up loving #Bmore as much as I do. I often love cities that have that gritiness that most people seem to want to stay away from! This proved to be one of many examples of people’s overall ignorance of Baltimore. Rarely do I hear people celebrate Baltimore for what it has to offer. Instead, I hear comments such as, “Be careful when traveling to Baltimore.” Baltimore is a historical #Maryland city known as the Charm City for a reason...well many! After visiting INTENTIONALLY *key word* twice, here are my 9 reasons as to why you need to visit #Baltimore immediately.
1. Baltimore is crab city
When you think of Baltimore, you should think of their delicious crabs and crab cakes. Crab cakes are the city’s signature seafood dish. Baltimore just has great seafood PERIODT! I have no problem stating that the best #crabcake I have had so far was in Baltimore. It was a lump crab from Faidley’s Seafood, meaning it was a lightly coated crab meat versus overwhelmed with bread. The spicing took it to a new level! Did you really come to Baltimore if you did not have a crab cake? I hope to return to do my own crab cake walking tour because it is just that good. Yum!
2. Baltimore has a LOT of history
This is something that I did not truly internalize until I visited several museums and sights such as the Baltimore Museum of Industry, Fort McHenry and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African Amercan History & Culture. The Baltimore of Museum of Industry really shed light on Baltimore being a city of many firsts: first national railroad, first working submarine, first telegraph transmission, the list goes on and on. In addition, The National Anthem was written in Baltimore during the War of 1812 at Fort McHenry. Let’s not forget that many historical figures such as Frederick Douglass, Billie Holiday, and Edgar Allan Poe called the city home!
3. Baltimore is one of the biggest contributors to industrialization
Baltimore is not called the “City of Firsts” for no reason. Whether it is for creating America’s first gas company, the world's first disposable bottle cap, or world’s first typesetting machine! Did you know that the Domino sugar factory was created and is still located in Baltimore? Did you know that at some point it was the site of over 100 canneries, ranging from oysters to tomatoes? Baltimore is also the location of McCormick Spice (the leading spice maker) as well as more newer companies like Black & Decker and Under Armour. It was also the site of the first US umbrella factory almost 200 years ago. By the 1820’s, Baltimore was the third-largest and fastest-growing city in the U.S. This is probably a result of being the main site for shipbuilding in the nation during the 1790’s and then transitioning to being the site for the first commercial railroad, B&O railroad, as well as the first long distance track in the USA in the 1800’s.
4. Baltimore is the home of the oldest market in America!
Established in 1782 and dubbed the "oldest market in America," Lexington Market is home to 66 different food vendors that represent the varied culinary tastes of Baltimore. It has American classics ranging from BBQ and Cajun to yes, seafood, all under one roof. There is also a lot of other vendors that sell books as well as arts and crafts. During the holidays, there are sometimes live performances. Although the interior may not be the most up-to-date, do not let that fool you for what #LexingtonMarket has to offer!
5. Arts are free (or cheap)!
Two of Baltimore’s most signature art museums -- the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum -- are FREE.99. Who doesn’t like free things?!? I got a chance to visit the Walter museum and it had quite a range of art. Apparently, the Baltimore Museum of Art holds the world’s largest collection of Matisse paintings in the world. The icing on the cake is that Baltimore actually has the largest free arts festival in the country every July, Artscape. Unfortunately, it was during a weekend that I could not attend. However, I hope to make it someday! Baltimore also has great spots for checking out free live music in intimate settings.
6. Up and coming culinary scenery
This is something that I did not realize at first, but makes complete sense as most major cities have a good culinary scene. Although seafood is their main staple, Baltimore has a range of restaurants. Going on a food tour of Fells Point helped me discover the range of restaurants and bars. I had a range of things from chowder, mussels, meatballs and homemade chips.
7. Close proximity to major cities in the East Coast
Living in the East Coast, this is a HUGE perk! NYC is about 200 miles from Baltimore so it is just an approximately 3 hour bus ride on Greyhound for a cheap price to Downtown Center, an hour from Washington, DC. If you are visiting the east coast, think to stop here!
8. Baltimore is a center for Black History
Baltimore is one of the blackest cities in the USA, sixth place to be exact. According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Baltimore is: Black or African American: 62.80% White: 30.29% Asian: 2.56%. Interestingly, Baltimore was majority white for most of its history until the 1970’s when it transitioned to a black majority. Black heritage runs deep, being the home to the largest population of free black people half a century before the Emancipation Proclamation. After Detroit, it is the second northernmost majority #blackcity in the U.S. Walking down most areas, the black presence is palpable. As a result, it makes sense that not only the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture is in Baltimore, but the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, as well. The Wax Museum is the first for African American historical figures, featuring more than 150 life-like statues and their stories.
9. Baltimore has one of the top 5 aquariums in the country
Located at the city's Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium is a great place to spend the day with family. There are dozens of exhibits and habitats that are home to over 20,000 animals. Last year, USA Today named it one of the top five aquariums in the country.