Ask the Locals!
I understand that in this day and age of technology, so much research can be done over the Internet. But if you really want to get out there and experience Baltimore for all that it has to offer, ask the locals!
If you're walking through the Inner Harbor and want to experience some great Maryland seafood, think twice before you stroll into Phillip's Seafood. Although it does boast great harbor-front views, this chain restaurant is over-priced and doesn't offer the true spirit of Maryland seafood. Ask around. Talk to the guy selling souveniers, or to the girl walking through the mall....I'm sure they'll offer up better seafood choices, like Obrycki's (http://www.obryckis.com/index.asp), or perhaps Bertha's (734 S. Broadway, in Fells Point).
Want to chug a few beers? Don't waste your time at your hotel bar! Ask the young bellman or the hip front desk chick where THEY go drinking with friends. I'm sure they'll avoid telling you of the tourist traps, and will most likely recommend the places they go to delve into great beers and local microbrews. For example, The Wharf Rat, with two locations (one in Fells Point, and one across the street from Camden Yards) offers amazing beers, including beers by Oliver's Breweries Ltd., which are made at the Wharf Rat Brewery in downtown Baltimore.
No matter what your interest, no matter what you hope to see and do when in Baltimore, don't forget to ask the locals! We'll be more than happy to point you in the right direction...tell you a quicker way to get to your destination...and recommend some great places to eat, drink, and be merry.
So gather up as much information you can on the Internet, highlight key areas on your map of Baltimore, but when push comes to shove, ask one of us locals when you see us on the street. We open our arms to tourists, and would love to help make your visit to Baltimore unforgettable!
Art Deco gem
The Bank of America Building was originally built in the 1930s as the Baltimore Trust Building. Bank of America took the name in 2001, but the building stood as the tallest building in the city until 1973.
Many Baltimoreans will call you "hon". Don't get offended....it's not meant to be an insult or degrading to women (and men). It's just a Baltimore thing. We call everybody "hon", whether we know your name or not.
There's even a place called Cafe Hon, where you can grab a great meal and check out some local "hons".
Cafe Hon even has a "hon" festival, where you can come dressed in your best "hon" gear, as pictured. (I do not know these beautiful hons, but this is an example of the Baltimore spirit!)
Baltimoreans love tourists and locals alike....so when we call you "hon", understand that it is our way of being friendly!
1st Mariner Arena
Baltimore's downtown arena opened in 1962 and was part of the city's Inner Harbor redevelopment. The arena hosts a professional indoor soccer team as well as about 120 various events each year such as concerts, shows, Miss USA pageants, professional wrestling, and Pam Shriver's annual charity tennis tournament. The arena has 11,000 permanent seats on three sides, but instead of a modern U-shape, this arena is square shaped, so corner seats seem like they are a long ways away from the action. Despite this being a smaller arena with few major draws, concessions are ridiculously high priced, such as $4 for a 20 ounce Pepsi and $7.75 for a medium beer, though the steak sandwich was tasty and reasonably priced at about $6. Parking in the area is also very expensive; we paid $20 to park right across the street from the front entrance.
The arena has previously hosted National Basketball Association, American Hockey League, and indoor football teams. It also has been the venue for some huge concerts like Elvis, the Beatles, U2, and the Rolling Stone. Other significant sporting events that have taken place here include the 1969 NBA All-Star Game, the 1989 National Figure Skating Championships, the 1992 Olympic Gymnastics Trials, and early rounds of 1995 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament.
In 2008 it was announced the city will build a new arena on the same site with a seating capacity approaching 20,000, maybe big enough to attract an NHL or NBA team to the city.
OFF TRACK ART
I am a member of an artists' co-op; our gallery is about 40 minutes outside of Baltimore. We opened in February 2009 and feature photography, jewelry, painting, drawings, sculpture - you never know what our group will come up with next!
The gallery is always staffed by an artist - stop in to meet us and pick up a special gift!
Off Track Art is located at 11 Liberty Street in Westminster, MD.