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VALUE TRAVEL Baltimore: 'Charm City' is worth a visit
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Bill Malcolm
2017-11-29

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Baltimore has a lot to offer the LGBT visitor and is often ignored due to the proximity to its neighbor, Washington, D.C.

However, Baltimore is a real city and a historical one at that, having been founded in 1729. There's lots to see and it's very walkable. Like many cities these days, you do have to be on guard and stay on certain streets.

Getting there

The L Line light rail from the airport to downtown takes 30 minutes and is just $1.85.

You will find the Link L light rail station at the northern end of the terminal.

BWI Airport is a Southwest hub so there are lots of cheap air fares on all the airlines. You can also take Amtrak to Baltimore or even BWI. MARC and Amtrak trains can bring you up from D.C. if you want to visit both cities or even continue on up to Philadelphia or New York.

Where to stay

The Monaco Hotel or the Lord Baltimore are both very nice. The Monaco is in the old B&O Railroad Headquarters complete with marble stair cases and the like. They also have a nice restaurant and bar. You will find them at 2 N. Charles Street. I stayed at the Days Inn ( Pratt and Hopkins Streets near the Convention Center Light Rail Stop ). It was very nice, had a good fitness and business center, bar and restaurant, and laundry machines. It was a bargain as well.

I also heard good reports about the Hilton, the Embassy Suites, and the Hampton. All are close to downtown, the Inner Harbor , and the Mt. Vernon district.

What to do

The architecture of Baltimore is amazing and quite varied. A walk up Charles Street to the Washington Monument is a must. Lots of shops and restaurants along the way. The National Aquarium is another must. Street signs tell the history of the area and the describe the architecture old and new.

The Lexington Market is the oldest continuously operating market in the country. The Walters Art Museum is free ( 600 N. Charles ). You can explore much of the city for free on The Charm City Circulator.

Where to eat

Try crab cakes while in town. Phillips Seafood, at 601 E. Pratt St., has them. I liked the crab Cobb salad at the Pratt Street Ale House. The roast beef tenderloin at McCormick and Schmicks on Pier 5 was another highlight with a nice view of the Harbor.

Nightlife

The Power Plant Live!, near the Inner Harbor, has lots of bars including the Rams Head which has bands.

The Grand Central Bar is hopping ( and it has a dance floor ) is a must for the LGBT traveller. You will find it at 1001 N. Charles S.

The nearby City Cafe ( at 1001 Cathedral ) has great food and an excellent wine list. Down the street you will find the very intimate Diskobar Bar ( 911 Charles ). Pick up a copy of Baltimore Outload ( baltimoreoutloud.com ) for a complete list of the bars including The Eagle. Other LGBT publications with Baltimore information include Metro Weekly and the DC Blade. The Baltimore Sun is your source for local news and the Blade's editor just launched a new Baltimore weekly paper.

Put Baltimore on your bucket list of places to visit either separately or as part of an east coast tour.

Bill Malcolm's syndicated LGBT value travel column has appeared in publications on line in Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis.

He resides in Indianapolis.


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