What pops into your mind when you think of Baltimore? Or, after a morning of difficult classes, where would you want to wander off to on your own or with friends to take a well deserved break? Well, here you may find some inspiration for breathtaking city views, majestic monuments and scrumptious food through photos documenting Charm City.
Inner Harbor. It’s probably one of the most famous sights on every tourist’s bucket list when visiting Baltimore. It is also the attraction I first visited after arriving in Baltimore a few days before Orientation. I have dined with friends at the Cheesecake Factory to savor the delicious cheesecakes, filled up my stomach at Miss Shirley’s for brunch, and marveled at the lighted monuments and artworks at the Light City Festival (pictured above).
Nearby tourist attractions include The Top of the World Observation Level, which gives you a bird’s eye view (above) of your home away from home, and the National Aquarium, where you can spend a fun Friday evening touching stingrays (below left) and spotting tree frogs (below right) and at half the usual admission price.
Federal Hill. Nearby Inner Harbor is the Federal Hill Park (below), where one can admire the harbor at a vantage point and spot cute dogs on their daily walks with their owners. It is especially great to just sit on a bench in the park in the breeze and watch the sun set over the harbor waters in the summer.
Fort McHenry. Near the vicinity, as history buffs may know, is Fort McHenry (below), where the lyrics to the national anthem were drafted. An ideal place to spend an afternoon, one goes back in time to the War of 1812 against the English once inside the star-shaped battalion.
Fell’s Point. Across Fort McHenry on the other side of the Harbor lies Fell’s Point, a haven for seafood. I personally love the Thames Street Oyster House, located on a cobblestone pavement that overlooks the waters. Its Cast Iron Crab Cake, New England Lobster Roll, (pictured in order below) and a wide variety of oysters are absolutely worth the try.
Downtown Area. North of the Inner Harbor, the downtown area boasts a myriad of cuisines to choose from. Having soul-warming pho (below) at Pho Viet on Fridays for lunch can relieve you of the stress sustained throughout the tough week. For a splurge in celebration of the end of finals, consider dining at Sotto Sopra, an upscale Italian restaurant, with your friends by digging into the Pork Ossobuco. The restaurant even has monthly Opera Nights during specific months, where you can listen to opera singers perform while enjoying a prix fixe gourmet meal.
Mount Vernon. Easily accessible from the Homewood Campus via the JHMI shuttle or the Charm City Circulator, this quaint neighborhood is home to the gorgeous George Peabody Library, the Walters Art Museum and eclectic sorts of restaurants. The interior of the George Peabody Library (below left) transports one back to the medieval times, and I have been lucky enough to hear a performance from the Peabody Institute right inside the library on one occasion. The Walters Art Museum (below right) comprises a private collection of paintings, statues, and taxidermy that amazed me and my groups of friends when we visited during orientation. Complementing the diverse sights are dishes such as delicious Pad Thai at Khun Nine Thai, crab cake at the City Café, and Afghan ravioli at the Helmand.
Penn Station. To go back home or for a day trip in DC, simply head over to Penn Station. If you happen to be hungry before or after your train ride, try out Stang of Siam’s filling Thai dishes and refreshing Thai Iced Tea or sushi and grilled eel rice (unagi don) at Minato Sushi Bar.
Station North. North of Penn Station is a hub for authentic Korean and Spanish food. Jong Kak is a great place to hang out with friends over sizzling Korean barbecue while Clavel serves a variety of wonderful tasting tacos amidst lively background music.
Hampden. A 15- to 20-minute walk away from Homewood campus is Hampden, a quirky neighborhood with great ice cream from The Charmery, one-of-a-kind chocolate pieces from the Charm City Chocolate, as well as great food and drink options. Grano Pasta Bar serves authentic Italian meatball pasta while Grano Emporio serves a wide selection of Italian dishes. Remember to visit during December to see the “Miracle on 34th Street” (above) as you marvel at the Christmas flares and houses fully decorated with Christmas magic.
Woodberry. A short car ride away from Homewood campus is the Woodberry area, home to La Cuchara, a Basque restaurant serving bite-sized appetizers, cooked to perfection Bronzino (below) and other authentic Spanish and French dishes in a comfortable setting.
Charles Village. For those who want to first stick to venturing inside the Hopkins bubble, the Baltimore Museum of Art (left) is home to the world’s largest collection of Matisse paintings. The museum also houses the American restaurant Gertrude’s, which serves $15 dollar dinners Tuesday nights, a convenient choice for hungry college students craving quality food. Some other dining options I would recommend: katsu bento boxes on weekdays for lunch at Niwana, Shoyu ramen and delicious sesame Mochi Ice Cream at PekoPeko Ramen, and customizable stir-fry options at Honeygrow. If you prefer to cook for yourself, feel free to check out the Farmers Market located between 32nd Street and Barclay Street every Saturday morning for local produce and even plants for dorm decorations.
To be honest, this is probably just the tip of the iceberg considering all the other worthwhile attractions to visit, foods to try and once-in-a-lifetime events to attend, such as the fireworks celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner (below). Venture out to other neighborhoods around Baltimore during your spare time and you may stumble upon something that’s quite up your alley and quite the charm.
Jeff P. is a senior from Taipei, Taiwan studying chemical and biomolecular engineering with a minor in entrepreneurship and management. He is a part of JHU TASA and the International Recruitment Committee in Blue Key Society. When asked to describe Hopkins in one sentence, Jeff said “Hopkins has allowed me to meet genuine and fun friends from all over the world.”