The Best of B-More
Free or inexpensive destinations:
Whether you’re a budding chef or just a fan of food, Baltimore boasts of a variety of public markets to shop for everything from fresh produce to gifts and accessories, all from Baltimore-based vendors. If you’re a supporter of the Eat Local, Buy Local movement, here are three options for a shopping trip or an alternative lunch while visiting the city.
Lexington Market is the largest and oldest of Baltimore’s public markets. Located at 400 W. Lexington St., it houses over 150 vendors, its most famous being Faidley’s Seafood, renowned for their crab cakes. Besides food, Lexington Market contains everything from crafts to a Socks Mart. The market also offers events and live music, including annual festivals like the Chocolate Festival and Lunch with the Elephants.
Established in 1786, Broadway Market is located in a historic building in Fell’s Point. It offers a wide array of food options, from Spanish cuisine to upscale sweets, at bargain prices.
Cross Street Market
Cross Street Market, which began as an open-air shed in 1846, is now a two-dozen-stall building in Federal Hill, walking distance from the Inner Harbor. The market is the perfect lunch destination, sporting a range of sandwich shops and international cuisine.
Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) is the perfect destination for the art-loving college student. The collection of 90,000 pieces of19th century, modern and contemporary art offers free admission. The collection includes works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne and Vincent Van Gogh. There is also a sculpture garden that encompasses three acres and a 100-year survey of modern and contemporary sculpture.
The BMA was founded in 1914, but it’s getting a facelift — $28 million in renovations to allow it to include new exhibitions, as well as a new creative center. Though the renovations won’t be complete until 2015, visiting the museum now just means looking out for the banners to guide you to the temporary entrance.
Maryland Science Center Observatory
Spend Friday nights under the stars at the Maryland Science Center. On the roof of the center is an observatory with an 8-foot computer-controlled refracting telescope to see the stars, moon and planets.
The Observatory is open to the public for free on Fridays from 5:30 – 9 p.m., weather permitting. But be sure to dress warm, as the as Observatory isn’t fully indoors. The Observatory is also located in the Inner Harbor so it could be just a part of an eventful day downtown.
Be sure to enter through the Harborside entrance on the northern side of the building.
Blue Moon Café
You may just pass by one of the smaller, yet tastier, places to eat in Baltimore, the Blue Moon Café, while walking the streets, but stopping to eat there is a must.
Located on Aliceanna Street in Fell’s Point, the Blue Moon is only open for breakfast and lunch on the weekdays, and then turns to 24-hour dining spot on weekends.
The majority of the food served at the small restaurant are breakfast options, from a breakfast burrito to standard potato cakes.
The largest portion of the menu is taken up by “heavenly omelets,” which are made with three eggs, and served with hash browns and a choice of toast or a homemade biscuit.
Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Munshaw recommends the Universal Omelette, which is made with diced ham, sausage, bacon, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes and mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.
For the vegetarians, Blue Moon offers a number of options, including vegetarian potato pancakes and the Vegetarian Scramble, which is a mixture of eggs, broccoli, mushrooms, onions and peppers.
The price of the food makes it that much tastier, with entrées costing no more than $10.
For students looking to take their significant other on a date, or to celebrate an occasion with family, Alewife is one of Baltimore’s best options for dinner.
And for those 21 and over, Alewife, located on North Eutaw Street, is known for a wide selection of beers, brewed both locally and nationally.
Alewife has been named to a number of lists of the best restaurants in B-More, including The Baltimore Sun’s “100 Best Restaurants,” Baltimore Magazine’s “Top 25 Watering Holes,” and City Paper’s readers choice for best bar in the Inner Harbor.
Cheaper dinner options include the succulent blue catfish tacos and the vegetarian black bean burger.
For those looking to spend a little more cash, the Full Tilt Short Rib sandwich costs $26, but is served with onion rings, sautéed asparagus and cheddar corn bread.
At any given time, Alewife has at least 40 different beers to choose from and the rotating list of drafts changes on a daily basis.
The bar also has a choice of 12 different wines to help finish off a delicious meal at one of the nicer bars in downtown Baltimore.
Best ways to get there:
Charm City Circulator
Once you are inside the city of Baltimore, the Charm City Circulator will take you anywhere you want to go for free.
The circulator takes passengers to various neighborhoods in Baltimore, including Harbor East, Federal Hill and the Inner Harbor.
The circulator will pick you up at any of its many stops, a list of which can be found at www.charmcitycirculator.com.
From Nov. 1 – March 31, the Circulator operates from 6:30 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sundays.
Starting April 1, the shuttle runs later on each night except Fridays and Saturdays.
The busses are eco-friendly and have comfortable seats, although rides likely won’t last longer than 10 minutes.
Confused as to when the next bus will arrive? Download the Charm City Circulator app on your smartphone to find out when the next bus will arrive at your stop.
The Circulator also offers the option to sign up for mobile alerts to find out about any route delays or cancellations in a timely manner.
Free Harbor Connector Water Taxi
The free Harbor Connector, sponsored by Baltimore City, is a beautiful scenic view of some of the best neighborhoods in Baltimore, not to mention a quick way to get from point A to point B.
The Connector provides transportation to waterfront areas of Baltimore such as Fell’s Point, Canton and Locust Point. The trips are quick and would otherwise take up to three times as long by car.
The connector consists of two small blue and white boats, which travel on two different routes. The most popular one runs from Maritime Park in Fells Point and Tide Point Pier in South Baltimore. The boat on this route departs every 20 minutes, and the ride is about six minutes. The second route is between Canton Waterfront Park and Tide Point Pier. This boat departs about five to six times per hour and takes around 10 minutes.
The water taxi runs Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., weather permitting.
Baltimore Collegetown Shuttle
While the Baltimore Collegetown Shuttle appears to be an average school bus, it is actually your free gateway to the Baltimore area.
The Baltimore Collegetown Shuttle is a free service that stops at all the major colleges in the Baltimore area and Penn Station, allowing students to visit friends at other schools or downtown by connecting to the Charm City Circulator at Penn Station.
While commonly used for out-of-state students to get to Penn Station to take a train home, the Collegetown Shuttle useful to go to other schools such as Goucher, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Loyola University, Morgan State University and Johns Hopkins University, as well as Towson Town Center and Towson Place Shopping Center.
All Towson students have to do is show their OneCard to ride the bus.