It’s been said that one can look far and wide, but they will never find a stranger city with an eccentric style quite like that of Baltimore, Maryland.
As a world traveler, I would have argued this a million times over…until I actually visited the city for the first time a couple of weeks ago.
Only an hour a dime’s drive away from the city center of D.C., Baltimore has been the center of controversy in recent years, but what many people fail to realize, is that in many ways, it still continues to live up to its nickname, “Charm City.”
Where to Stay
I started my journey at Brookshire Suites, a newly renovated hotel located at the heart of Baltimore’s bustling Inner Harbor neighborhood.
Just steps from some of the cities top sights including the National Aquarium, Camden Yards ballpark, and unique local eateries, bakeries, and clothing stores, its the perfect location for out-of-towners like me.
Featuring spacious suites that are inspired by Baltimore’s larger-than-life personality, extraordinary artistic history, and Harbor views, Brookshire Suites is a classic tribute to the most amazing characteristics of the city.
My guest and I were lucky enough experience a queen cornerstone suite with the hotel’s most amazing view of the Harbor.
Equipped with a separate living room with a 42-inch flatscreen, a couch that pulls out into a full-size bed, a kitchenette, and two reading nooks that provide unobstructed views, it was an ideal location for both solo business and family leisure travel.
A member of Modus Hotel’s growing empire, the staff at Brookshire Suites are no strangers to genuine hospitality.
Upon my arrival and after a lightening fast check-in, I entered my room to find a goodie bag filled with Maryland inspired memorabilia and treats. Utz Crab Chips, Mary Sue chocolate candies in the shape of crabs, saltwater taffy, wine, and trinkets from some of the cities most iconic spots — all for the taking.
The bedroom was perfect for a night of solid rest with black out curtains, plush pillows, and soft feather-like sheets and comforters.
Electrical outlets were abundant next to both sides of the bed to charge cell phones, laptops, and multiple electronic devices at one time. A life-sized mirror sat perched next to the bay window nook to allow for natural light as guests get ready in the morning.
It’s also worth mentioning that Brookshire Suites is the ultimate pet friendly hotel.
While my dog lives at home with my parents in Kentucky, there were plenty of precious pooches running around the lobby area which made for some quick cuddle sessions before heading out to see the sights.
Brookshire Suites is currently undergoing a few internal renovations in the elevators and other parts of the hotel which will certainly improve the accomodations.
Overall, it’s a great location, the staff are attentive to guests needs, and the location is unrivaled. (Added bonus: they also have a valet parking garage attached to the hotel!)
To book a visit, click here.
Where to Eat
Each morning Monday through Sunday, Brookshire Suites offer guests a complimentary buffet-style breakfast.
The meal consists of fresh fruit, steel cut oatmeal, sausage links, cheesy scrambled eggs, an array of cereal and milk, and —here’s the kicker—hot-off-the-griddle Belgian waffles with all the toppings one can imagine. We’re talking dried fruit, butter, walnuts, almonds, fresh fruit, and of course, maple syrup. Guests can make their waffle any way they like with simple step-by-step instructions.
To top off this already amazing deal, the breakfast is served on Brookshire Suite’s penthouse floor which has perfect views of the streets below and direct views of a portion of the Harbor from certain window-side tables.
It’s best to go right when the breakfast opens at 7am to avoid the larger crowds that tend to arrive mid-morning (also, this is when the food is at its freshest).
After a hearty breakfast of cranberry oatmeal and Belgian waffles, I figured it was only fitting to continue my sweet streak and take off in search of the city’s finest pastries. Enter Sacre Sucre, a new pastry shop located in the heart of Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood.
Owners Manuel Sanchez and Dane Thibodeaux treated me to an afternoon of divine macaron intervention and told me their sweet story of how their love for delicate pastries began after a 2015 vacation to Paris.
I spent hours sampling an array of the fancy cookie-like treats in flavors such as orange blossom, rose, lemon, raspberry, pistachio, and vanilla bean. Artificial flavors? Patrons won’t find any of that here. All items are made using real ingredients like spices, nuts, fruits, and grains.
For a top-notch Insta-worthy photo, throw in a few of Sacre Sucre’s freshly assembled and intricately designed creme-filled eclairs that are sure to wow. The exact eclair flavors that are offered may change daily, but a couple of my recommended favorites are the pistachio and the vanilla bean pictured below:
A hop and a skip back across the Inner Harbor to back toFederal Hill, I made a pit-stop at The Charles Baltimore, a hip two-story gastropub.
Serving globally-inspired small plates and potent cocktails, The Charles comes alive at night with private parties and holiday celebrations. During the day, however, guests can expect a laid back atmosphere with great music and even better service.
My guest and I were served a few of the restaurant’s most popular dishes including the “Nashville Hot Avocado,” the “Grilled Cheese Avocado Toast,” and the “Tropical French Toast” pictured below:
Throw in a few mimosas and some kick@ss tunes and we had ourselves a top-notch brunch. While I ordered all vegetarian-friendly dishes because of my guest, The Charles’ menu boasts a number of dishes for the meat lovers as well including “Cobb Salad Deviled Eggs,” “Kentucky Mac & Cheese,” and “General Tso Chicken Wings.”
Places to See
On the second day in Charm City, I grabbed a quick breakfast of fresh fruit and granola from the breakfast buffet at Brookshire Suites and set out on foot across the Inner Harbor.
I had been warned that the aquarium would likely be crowded at all times of the day considering it was Memorial Day weekend and the official start of tourist season, but I was not to be deterred — I was on a mission.
Opened since 1981, the National Aquarium is comprised of six acres of underwater sea life bliss.
Featuring more than 20,000 animals from more than 800 species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals (like dolphins!) in their award-winning naturalistic habitats, it is easily one of the best aquariums in the world.
With complete views of the Inner Harbor, visitors can participate in any one of the aquarium’s Education programs, or explore it’s nearly 20 exhibits. Among my favorites were Blacktip Reef, Jellies Invasion, Dolphin Discovery, and Wings in the Water (puffins and penguins!)
Tickets to enter the National Aquarium for a day pass is $39.95 for adults, $24.95 for children ages 3-11, and $34.95 for seniors age 65 and older.
Thousands of people visit the aquarium each day, but the best times to go are before 11 am during the weekdays, and after 3 pm on weekends and during holidays.
Federal Hill Park
After spending a solid four hours at the aquarium (an hour of this obsessing over the family of dolphins in Dolphin Cove), I hopped in an Uber and started making my way back to Federal Hill. I had heard rave reviews about Federal Hill Park, 10.3 acres of land located on the South Shore of the Inner Harbor.
A signature Baltimore landmark, the park provides unobstructed views of Baltimore’s downtown skyline.
What used to be a series of cliffs and jagged red clay has been smoothed into a graded grassy knoll with benches and a walking path for visitors to take picturesque shots.
It’s also worth mentioning that the neighborhood to the west and south of Federal Hill contain a number of boutique shops owned by local fashion designers, bakers, and restauranteurs.
Before hitting up I-95 back to DC, I made a pit-stop at Blue Moon Too for their infamous “Frito Pie French Toast”:
(Tip: book a reservation for this restaurant at least a week in advance. On weekends and at peak times, the wait for a table can be up to two hours).
For more from my Baltimore adventures, follow me on Instagram at @eastcoastcontessa!
***This post was created in sponsorship with Modus Hotels***