Home to both blue-collar neighborhoods and upscale enclaves, Baltimore is a city of contrasts. Known for its animated nightlife and outdoor concerts, this charming city pulses with cultural life. Baltimore hosts Johns Hopkins University, many museums, and a fine opera and symphony orchestra.
Once a row of abandoned warehouses and factories, Baltimore's Inner Harbor surrounds a small inlet of the Chesapeake Bay. The bustling five-block square boasts boutiques, markets, restaurants and more. Visit the world-famous National Aquarium, tour the restored 1854 naval warship USS Constellation and see works by artists of unusual backgrounds at the unique American Visionary Art Museum.
Founded in 1726 as a shipping center, Fells Point is now a thriving commercial district. Stroll along the promenade, enjoy the local catch at a bayside eatery and do a little window shopping. Be sure to visit the 100-year-old Broadway Market, as well as the Robert Long House Museum, Baltimore's oldest existing residence. For extra fun, use a water taxi to get here from downtown.
Since the founding of the Peabody Institute in 1857, Baltimore's Mount Vernon district has been nearly synonymous with the arts. Renowned institutions like the Contemporary Museum, the Walters Art Museum and the Maryland Historical Society are on the same street as the famous music academy. The jewel in the neighborhood's crown is the Washington Monument, surrounded by four European-style parks.
Summers in Baltimore can be hot and muggy: Visitors from drier climates may find the average September morning's 85 percent humidity a bit daunting. The coldest month is January, when average temperatures dip to just below freezing. You can often find great hotel deals in the sporadically rainy months of May through September.