One Night in Baltimore
April 17, 2010 9:55 AM   Subscribe

I will be in Baltimore next week for a work conference. I will have conference sponsored events every night except Wednesday. What is the must see for a free weeknight in Baltimore? I like off beat museums, artsy locales, anarchist info shops, crazy architecture, and used bookstores. I will be staying in a Downtown hotel.
posted by hworth to Travel & Transportation around Baltimore, MD (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Anarchy? Bookstores? You might enjoy Red Emma's.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:02 AM on April 17, 2010

It sounds like you may enjoy the Visionary Art Museum.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 10:02 AM on April 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

Not used, but Atomic Books. Go there. They are open until 7 p.m. on weekdays.

The American Visionary Arts Museum would probably work, but they're only open until 6. I'd skip out of your conference early (if possible), though, personally.

You didn't say if you'll have a car. I know Atomic is more or less accessible by the Light Rail (you'd have to walk a bit). AVAM is not, however, as far as I can tell.
posted by darksong at 10:04 AM on April 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I will not have a car, but am very good with public transit. Also I am willing and able to take to cab if I have to.

Red Emma's and AVAM are exactly the kinds of thing I am looking for, but it looks like AVAM closes at 6pm during the week. :(
posted by hworth at 10:11 AM on April 17, 2010

Atomic Books is good, and there are several cool indie shops (clothes and crafts and stuff) along the same street. It reminded me of the local alt books shops where I live, except the staff had even shittier attitudes ;-) The neighborhood is called Hampden. If you don't have a car, you don't have to walk as far if you ride the bus, IIRC, but you have to transfer.
The aquarium is a typical tourist site, but it's pretty awesome. The inner harbor is super commercial, but is actually really good people-watching if you just want to grab a beer in a foodery on the water.
There is a place also near Johns Hopkins that serves vegetable-flavored ice cream. It was the best ice cream ever.
posted by ishotjr at 10:17 AM on April 17, 2010

I've never been, but I've heard good things about the Great black in wax museum
posted by destro at 12:59 PM on April 17, 2010

I was going to mention AVAM as well. You can also try Book Thing, which is apparently like a used bookstore, except the books are free. I haven't been (yet!) so I can't vouch for the selection.
posted by booksherpa at 2:01 PM on April 17, 2010

Hmm...what else. Baltimore has a ridiculous amount of weird, really. nthing Hampden.

You could check out the graffiti alley and other assorted stuff at Load of Fun. Plenty of other odd and amazing things in the Station North Arts District.

Less quirky but also quite awesome are the Walters Art Museum (which features a Chamber of Wonders full of dead things and suits of armor and whatnot), and, across the street, the Peabody School of Music, which has a rather impressive library. These are both in Mount Vernon (also home to Red Emmas), which should be super beautiful this time of year because of the dogwoods and magnolias and bradford pears. Also nearby is the Contemporary Museum, which seems to have an interesting participatory art exhibit showing this month. For architecture of a more mainstream bent, Mt. Vernon has Benjamin Latrobe's incredible Baltimore Basilica (you can tour the sanctuary and crypts!) and the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Mt. Vernon also has lots of good places to eat- try The Helmand for tasty and reasonably priced Afghan food.

It is a shame you probably won't make it to AVAM. Lexington Market is another great place that's best visited in the daytime.

Have fun!
posted by GodricVT at 3:13 PM on April 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Most of what I would suggest has been mentioned, but I'll do one better and offer up myself and my car for your touring pleasure. I love playing host and if you're into anarchist bookstores...well, I think it could be fun. :)
posted by youcancallmeal at 3:32 PM on April 17, 2010

Sounds like you're near the Inner Harbor. The above suggestions are great, but if you like offbeat museums, the Historic Ships alone can fill a day, and are probably a short walk from where you're staying.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:16 PM on April 17, 2010

AVAM looks over the inner harbor (landmark info: across the street from the Rusty Scupper restaurant, which is across the water from the big Hard Rock Cafe sign) so it's likely walkable from your hotel and maybe even your conference venue. Lunch break AVAM trip?
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 11:26 AM on April 18, 2010

Second Red Emma's. It is worth staying an extra day for AVAM. Hampden is where pretentious hipsters hang out, if you like that kind of thing. There is good architecture wandering around Mt. Vernon (and a good architecture bookshop that has, IIRC, weird hours). The Helmand is mediocre. The Walter's is fun and free (be sure to see the Fish Out of Water back behind the museum store). Second seeing what Load of Fun has going.

You can check the calendar in City Paper to see what is going on.

I haven't been to the Museum of Dentistry, but it is near the Inner Harbor and is definitely offbeat (they had a big exhibit on spit last year).

I'd be tempted just to wander around Mt. Vernon a bit, then over to Red Emma's. If you try to see too much, you won't do anything at all.
posted by QIbHom at 1:07 PM on April 19, 2010

If you go to the Helmand, get the pumpkin appetizer.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:40 PM on April 23, 2010

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