Welcome to Charm City! As your Leisure Editor, I see it as my obligation to introduce you to my favorite spots around Baltimore. Of course, I can’t possibly cover all the eateries, museums and wonderful neighborhoods in just 800 words, so I am choosing a few that students frequent the most: Hampden, Mount Vernon, Inner Harbor, Federal Hill, Fells Point and Towson.
Just a mile from campus, Hampden is the only destination you can walk to on this list. It is a historical neighborhood centered around one central avenue — W. 36th Street. The mile-long street is lined with trendy restaurants, cute coffee shops, boutiques and small businesses filled with cool gadgets. My personal favorite, The Charmery, is there, too — I implore you to try Lemon Stick, but I am sure you will find your own favorite flavor.
Just south of the neighborhood lies the Maryland Zoo. The greenery there is a breath of fresh air from the otherwise urban experience that you will have in Baltimore. If your friend taking General Biology Laboratory asks you to go with them for their assignment, please keep them company. The zoo hosts an impressive group of animals you may not expect from a city zoo. It’s a great place to spend a Saturday, even if their Dippin’ Dots ice cream is severely overpriced.
Mount Vernon is also easy to get to, just hop on the JHMI and you will be there in 15 minutes. The obvious attraction is the George Peabody Library. Consistently ranked among the most beautiful libraries in the world, it will certainly take your breath away. If you are lucky, you may even find a few seats there to study. Check out the conservatory connected to it, too. You will find many performances put on by our talented Peabody Institute students.
That’s not all Mount Vernon has to offer. You can climb up the Washington Monument (not to be confused with the one at the National Mall in D.C.) and enjoy a panoramic view of the city, browse The Walters Art Museum for free or visit the plethora of coffee shops that populate the entire neighborhood. Mount Vernon’s best attribute is that everything mentioned above is within a 5 minute walk of each other. Make sure you pay Mount Vernon a visit in the spring and go to the Flower Mart; you will catch the city at its best.
Inner Harbor, Fells Point and Federal Hill
Just a few minutes south of Mount Vernon, you will get to the most glorious part of Baltimore — the Inner Harbor. If you are tired of all the walking, you can also take the free Purple Route bus right down to the harbor. The place to go is definitely the National Aquarium, one of the best aquariums in the United States. You will find thousands of species of animals. Go on Friday nights when the tickets are half off!
There are plenty of places to eat, too. Inner Harbor presents many options and Fells Point is just around the corner. You’ve got to try the crab cakes and seafood that Baltimore is famous for and, of course, season them with a generous amount of Old Bay. Take a stroll after dinner and make your way to the top of Federal Hill, another historic neighborhood next to the famous Fort McHenry. My favorite thing to do in Baltimore is sit on Federal Hill and watch the night slowly settle on the waterfront.
Towson is a bit farther than the three aforementioned locations but still accessible via the Collegetown Shuttle and various buses. The Towson Town Center is great for window shopping, hanging out with friends and purchasing dorm necessities. It also has a conveniently located movie theater for those who love the big screen. Lastly, if you have a desire for Target or Trader Joe’s, Towson has them, too.
I’ve only scratched the surface of the things to do around Baltimore. I haven’t gotten into the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Museum of Art or Sherwood Gardens. So, please, take yourself out of the “Hopkins bubble.” While Homewood Campus is great and the school keeps you plenty busy, you will get so much more out of your next four years here if you explore the city and see more of what it has to offer.
Of course, keep an eye out for The News-Letter; I will be sending out things to do around the city every weekend. Have fun, be safe and welcome to the Nest!