How to Spend an Extra Day in Baltimore

Baltimore dates back to 1729, but the city, the nation’s second-best for minority-owned businesses, according to Forbes– is far from feeling old and stuffy. Evidence of the past is everywhere, like Edgar Allan Poe’s grave downtown, and pop history provides additional material for fun. On Dallas Street, I used to stop at the coolest Airbnb in the world, with a chandelier used in John Waters Polyester. The “Palace on Dallas” is now gone, but Baltimore is still a long embrace of fun and possibility.

Ivy Hotel / Photo: Courtesy of The Ivy

The Ivy Hotel

A Relais & Châteaux property, The Ivy is a 17-room affair set in an 1889 former mansion built by banker John Gilman and designed by Charles Carson. The Ivy is a deeply elegant hotel, with, of course, garlands of ivy, 23 fireplaces, and acres of green marble and carved paneling. The experience is akin to stepping into the 19th century.

American Visionary Art Museum / Photo: Valerie Williams

American Visionary Art Museum

AVAM is both an internationally acclaimed art brut museum and a beloved joy-maker, known for its annual Kinetic Sculpture Run featuring fantastic human-powered artistic creations. AVAM’s exhibits stun visitors with whimsy and cleverness, and the collection includes wonders such as the 55-foot-tall Vollis Simpson spinning top.

George Peabody Library / Photo: Gado Images/Alamy Stock Photo

George Peabody Library

In 1857, George Peabody founded the Peabody Institute as a gift to thank the citizens of Baltimore for their hospitality. The George Peabody Library, opened in 1878 and designed by local architect Edmund G. Lind, comprises 300,000 volumes and five open levels of ornate cast iron balconies. It remains one of the most beautiful library spaces in the world.

The Walters Art Museum / Photo: Courtesy of the Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

Founded in 1934 through the generosity of philanthropist Henry Walters, the institution features 36,000 objects spanning seven millennia, including Ethiopian icons and Roman sarcophagi. The exhibition “Selections from the 19th Century European and North American Collection” includes gems such as Child With Strawberries by black American artist Joshua Johnson.

Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen / Photo: Courtesy of Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen

Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen

Located in the Baltimore Museum of Art, Gertrude’s is known for its upscale Baltimore menu with everything from fried Chincoteague oysters to crab cakes. The restaurant overlooks an idyllic sculpture garden with pieces by Alexander Calder and Auguste Rodin. During the museum’s summer jazz series, Gertrude’s offers a Jazz + Dinner experience.

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