A working-class city with a heart of gold, Baltimore at first glance seems like a rough-edged character from a Tom Waits' song. There’s plenty of grit to this former port town, but beneath the wise-cracking veneer, you'll find stellar attractions, succulent seafood and friendly residents who put the charm in Charm City.
The Inner Harbor is the heart of this maritime city, and home to historic ships (including the 1797 USS Constellation) and one of America's finest aquariums. Uphill from the waterfront lies Mount Vernon, an elegant neighborhood of 19th-century mansions, galleries, cafes and the excellent, not-to-be-missed Walters Art Museum.
Older than DC, Baltimore is packed with historic sites. You can visit the waterside Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key penned the "Star-Spangled Banner" in 1814, or delve deeper into American lore at the Maryland Historical Society, with its staggering five-million-piece collection. Lovers of the macabre can pay their respects at the Edgar Allen Poe House. End the day at cobblestone Fell's Point, with its buzzing eating and drinking scene.