There’s a buzz to Baltimore, an underrated charmer that’s often overshadowed by its attention-grabbing neighbor, Washington DC. In fact, Baltimore’s nickname is Charm City - so prepare to be won over by hip and historic sights, sporting fervor, and a storied seafaring past.
Icelandair offers regular flights to Baltimore from Europe and the UK for east-coast explorations. Before sampling Baltimore’s crab feasts, underwater performers, and harbor cruises, how about checking out the fish soup and whale-watching tours of Iceland?
When you book flights to Baltimore with Icelandair, you can add a stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare.
You can’t escape the fact that you’re in a town with strong ties to the sea. Reminders are everywhere, from the tall ships in the harbor to the city’s big-ticket attraction (a huge aquarium) to its tip-top local delicacy (Maryland blue crab).
Inner Harbor is the place to start digging into the local scene, with a collection of fine historic ships to float your boat. There’s some super-fishy business going on at the National Aquarium, one of the country’s finest places to see sharks, dolphins and wildlife-filled exhibits that cover everything from rainforests to coral reefs. Another marquee sight is Fort McHenry, a star-shaped bastion that repelled a British attack in 1812 and became the birthplace of the national anthem, ´The Star-Spangled Banner.’
It’s no surprise – all that Chesapeake Bay coastline leads to heaping piles of seafood come mealtime. Blue crab is the headlining act: simply steamed and seasoned is the traditional way, but look out for crab cakes, especially from Faidley's, everyone’s favorite seafood stall (in business since 1886) at the historic Lexington Market. Second place for homegrown flavor icons is the Berger cookie – these soft, cake-like cookies are coated with thick, choc-fudge icing.
For flavorsome hunting grounds, head to neighborhoods like Little Italy (self-explanatory), historic Fells Point (for cool cafes and oyster houses on cobblestoned streets), and Mount Vernon (to refuel between top-notch cultural attractions). Drinking is fine at Mid-Town Belvedere, where brewpubs and cocktail bars draw the late-night crowd.
The blockbuster attractions of Washington DC are close (but not too close) – it‘s 40 miles from Baltimore to the capital. If political landmarks don’t entice, consider Annapolis, Maryland’s capital, for naval history and tradition in an appealing package. Further south, the quaint township of St Mary’s City is a throwback to colonial times, while inland, Frederick ticks all the right boxes as a classy weekend getaway.
If it’s fresh salty air you crave, head to Chesapeake Bay or across the Delmarva Peninsula to the summer playground of Ocean City, which provides endless sandy Atlantic shores and entertains with boardwalks, amusement parks, and seafood shacks. Too busy? Slow down and recharge among the sand dunes and wild horses of Assateague Island.