48 Hours in Baltimore, Maryland

Andy Warhols Hearts

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of spending 48-hours in Baltimore, Maryland, home of the Terps, Ravens, and the Orioles. Along with visiting the usual tourist packed-spots like The Inner Harbor and M&T Bank Stadium, I also got to see a side of Charm City that was more artistic in nature, the hidden gems, if I may say. Check out where I played, ate, and stayed during my short getaway:

Paul Gauguin's Woman with Mango


Who knew Baltimore housed the largest collection of Matisse paintings in the US? I certainly didn’t—until I took a tour of the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). Thanks to the Cone sisters, wealthy Baltimore-based art collecting sisters of yore who donated almost their entire art collection to the BMA, the museum now houses over 40 painting by Matisse, Gauguin, Picasso, and Van Gogh (including my personal favorite – Gauguin’s Woman with Mango). I also got a sneak preview of the new Andy Warhol exhibit, he of Campbell’s soup cans fame, opening October 17th.

Did I mention the museum is free to visit year-round (*special exhibits may require an additional cost)? I guess there is such a thing as a free lunch (for the eyes) after all.

Trash robots at the AVAM

Also don’t missThe American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM), for its one-of-a-kind free-spirited pieces by untrained artists (think animatronic robots created by the guy who set the Guinness World Record for most miles hitchhiked); Geppi’s Entertainment Museum for its enormous comic book collection, vintage Superman dolls and posters, and Disney toys of the past — including the original Mickey Mouse figurines with teeth and green shorts!

Mickey with teeth, green shorts at Geppi's

Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Dr
Baltimore, MD 21218

American Visionary Art Museum
800 Key Hwy
Baltimore, MD 21230

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum
301 W. Camden St
Baltimore, MD 21201

Miss Shirley's Maryland Omelet

Driving Miss Daisy? No ma’am, it should have been Driving Miss Shirley. Miss Shirley’s Café is the place to be for brunch in Baltimore. Bring your appetite and your stretchy pants.

The portions are huge and you are going to want to (try to) clean your plate! My favorite was the big-as-my-head Maryland Omelet filled with jumbo lump crab, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, and dusted with Old Bay seasoning, served with hash browns and a biscuit. Miss Shirley’s chocolate and pecan covered cinnamon Monkey Bread is also divine—ooey, gooey, fresh and chewy, this sweet and decedent carb plate is not for the faint of heart (or anyone on Weight Watchers). One caveat, be sure to get here early for weekend brunch. The place fills up fast—the line was out the door at 11:30am on a rainy day.

Mr. Rain's not your typical Sangria

Also don’t missMr. Rain’s Fun House for its not-so-typical cocktails, use of locally sourced ingredients and organic meats, and eclectic décor courtesy of the AVAM. Try Baltimore Magazine’s “Best Brunch” winner Gertrude’s for its famous lump crab cakes, beautiful patio dining in the BMA’s sculpture garden, and PBS cooking show star owner/chef John Shields.

Miss Shirley’s Cafe
750 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21202

Mr. Rain’s Fun House
800 Key Hwy
Baltimore, MD 21230

10 Art Museum Dr
Baltimore, MD 21218

Gertrude's lump crab cakes

I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn during my weekend visit, an uber-conveniently located hotel in Balitmore’s Inner Harbor area. From the oh-so-refreshing real fruit infused water cooler (the fruit selection changes daily) and chocolate chip cookies at the check in desk to the plush beds (no crazy patterned polyester sheet covers here, thankfully), the Hilton made my weekend stay pleasant.

The Hilton Garden Inn

My 10th floor room provided a gorgeous view of the harbor and the complementary HBO in each room gave me a great view of Mel Gibson in Braveheart. I also really enjoyed my brief but relaxing swim at the adjacent Maryland Athletic Club (MAC)‘s indoor pool (which is free to use for hotel guests). I recommend skipping the hotel’s breakfast buffet though; I found it pricey at $10.95/person (considering the limited selection). Go to the Whole Foods next door instead.

Hilton Garden Inn
625 S. President St.
Baltimore, MD 21202

48 hours, 1 city, numerous memories. Thanks, Charm City, for a fabulous weekend—I definitely found my happy place!