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The best things to see, eat and do when you’re visiting this alluring waterfront town.

Baltimore is more than just crabcakes and the birthplace of HBO’s The Wire. Though it isn’t Maryland’s state capital, it serves as perhaps its cultural one, boasting a refurbished historic harbor and a freewheeling spirit while combining classic 19th- and 20th-century remnants with modern, inner-city grit. It is, after all, known as Charm City for a reason.

Su Casa
901 S. Bond St.
(410) 522-7010
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Ten Thousand Villages
1621 Thames St.
(410) 342-5568
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Java-Roo & Fell’s Fudge
726 S. Broadway
(410) 327-5282

H&S Bakery Outlet
1616 Fleet St.
(410) 522-9323
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Tortilleria Sinaloa
1716 Eastern Ave.
(410) 276-3741
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818 N. Calvert St.
(410) 528-0818
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The Wharf Rat
801 S. Ann St.
(410) 276-8304
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Max’s Taphouse
737 S. Broadway
(410) 675-6297
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American Visionary Art Museum
800 Key Highway
(410) 244-1900
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National Aquarium
501 E. Pratt St.
(410) 576-3800
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Original Fell’s Point Ghost Walk
Fridays and Saturdays from March through November
(410) 357-1186
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Admiral Fell Inn
888 S. Broadway
(410) 522-7380
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Shop Wander the cobblestone streets of Fell’s Point, founded nearly 300 years ago by English shipbuilder William Fell. The dynamic waterfront neighborhood boasts excellent people-watching and historic street names, including Shakespeare, Queen and George (as in the British King). Browse the independent home-goods shops like Su Casa — an airy, spacious emporium filled with gallery-worthy couches, beds and flatware. Nearby, Ten Thousand Villages sells fair-trade toys and gifts made by artisans in developing countries, such as ornate bookmarks from Nepal, salt-crystal lamps from Pakistan and animal carvings from Kenya. Refuel at Java-Roo & Fell’s Fudge for snacks with character. And don’t leave the neighborhood without picking up twofer loaves of fresh bread at H&S Bakery Outlet.

Eat Visit quick-serve Tortilleria Sinaloa in Upper Fell’s Point for the most authentic (and cheapest) tacos and tamales in town. Pull up a barstool to watch homemade gluten-free tortillas come off the conveyor belt, then order meat to go in them — your choice of steak, chicken, barbacoa, pork, sausage or beef tongue — by the pound. Iggies in Mount Vernon is an old-world pizzeria with more than a dozen inventive combinations on the menu. Try the La Cura, which is topped with scrambled eggs, mozzarella, asparagus, oven-dried tomatoes and goat cheese and is served only on the weekends. Thirsty for more local culture? Sip a Natty Boh (short for National Bohemian), a regional beer that can be found at bars such as The Wharf Rat and Max’s Taphouse.

Do Check out the American Visionary Art Museum in the Federal Hill neighborhood, which features work by self-taught artists. Most pieces, which museum administrators say give rise to the “inner voices of the soul,” include a write-up of the artist’s background. First-time visitors to Baltimore must also explore the National Aquarium , which is a home for thousands of species of animals, from the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin to the laughing kookaburra. Or, if you’re interested in exploring the city’s spooky side, take the Original Fell’s Point Ghost Walk, which, from March to November, takes visitors on a tour of haunted locales.

Sleep One of the stops on the Ghost Walk is the Admiral Fell Inn, a beautiful historic hotel in Fell’s Point. Legend has it that the hotel’s stately rooms are frequented by ghosts from centuries past, but don’t let that stop you from relaxing in the richly appointed rooms, of which no two are alike. Some of the hotel’s seven buildings date back to the 1770s and have served as a ship chandlery, a theater, a naval boarding house and Seaman’s YMCA. Literary fans will want to make a visit to The Horse You Came In On Saloon across the street, said to be one of Edgar Allan Poe’s final haunts before his death.