It came as a surprise to me that Baltimore Attractions are very very photogenic! This was an unexpected delight. I hadn’t done any research before going on photographic attractions in Baltimore but they just kept presenting themselves and before I knew it I had a couple of weeks’ worth of Instagram posts from my Baltimore sightseeing!
1. Baltimore Attractions – Graffiti Alley
I love a bit of street art – so photogenic! For Baltimore graffiti artists there is only one area of the entire city where it is legal for them to practice their trade – otherwise, they face up to 3 years in prison or a $2,500 fine. Baltimore Graffiti Alley is located a bit north-west of Penn Station behind The Motor House Theatre and one of the Baltimore Points of Interest.
Baltimore Graffiti Alley is not the most fantastic area so I suggest getting an uber to the Baltimore Maryland Motor House Theatre and then the same thing to exit when you are done. Prior to its renaissance as Graffiti Alley, this area was best known for heroin addicts and prostitutes.
When you get out at the Motor House Theatre Baltimore Graffiti Alley is literally behind the theatre. Head onto the main street and walk down and on your right, you will see a gate (which won’t be locked) and what is very obviously a large amount of Baltimore Graffiti.
The area was purchased by Graffiti Warehouse and it was their decision to allow the area to be a haven for local artists. The entire L shaped area is regularly repainted and everything from the floor to the rubbish bins are covered in graffiti. It is now one of the Baltimore Maryland attractions focussed on the arts.
As someone from Melbourne, this reminded me of Hosier Lane – but there were far fewer tourists! I got some great shots here and highly recommend adding Graffiti Alley to your sightseeing in Baltimore list.
- Fantastic Philadelphia is not far from Baltimore and just as photogenic! Check out my post on the 20 Most Instagrammable Places in Philadelphia.
Formerly a blue-collar community Hampden is now the hipster place to be. Hampden has some gorgeous streets with super cute brick rowhouses. I started my visit to Hampden at the fantastic Artifact Coffee. It is a little tucked away to find (thank goodness for uber!) but was well worth it as the coffee was brilliant!
From Artifact, I then did the 15-minute walk to “The Avenue” or West 36th street which is the main thoroughfare of Hampden. There are loads of super cute shops, cafes and interesting murals in this stretch.
Don’t miss some of the fabulously names shops like a Ma Petite Shoe. Over the yoga studio is one of circa 30 “Love” Murals that are throughout Baltimore. Four separate hands spell out the letters of love. One of the fun things to do in Baltimore is to track down as many of these Love murals as possible.
Café Hon is one of the best-known spots on the street due to great food and its giant pink flamingo adornment. As you head down west 36th you will see the Charmery on your right, a deliciously upmarket ice cream store. Walk down the road it is on the corner of and you will see these gorgeous blue walls and a well known Hampden local mural “Stay Humble Baltimore”.
- Philadelphia is not far from Baltimore – if you’re heading there check out my post on How to Find the Best Philadelphia Food Tour for you.
3. The Painted Ladies Baltimore
Charles Village is a lovely Baltimore neighbourhood and the home of the world famous John Hopkins University. The majority of the area is 2 and 3 level row houses. In 1998 residents of the area were given the challenge to paint the facades of their homes in unusual colours and within 5 years more than 100 “painted ladies” appeared in the neighborhood. The Painted Ladies are now one of the popular Baltimore MD attractions.
The entire thing was actually a competition which finished in 2003 but the Painted Ladies Baltimore remain and hopefully, the competition may happen again! A great place to come and take photos when you visit Baltimore.
The Painted Ladies appear throughout the area, particularly in the sub-area of Charles Village known as Abell and on Guilford and North Calvert Streets. I took all my shots on North Calvert between 26th and 30th streets – do let me know if you find a more prime patch!
4. American Visionary Art Museum
This is a hard museum to describe! Let’s start with the fact that it is in a rather extraordinary building. The home of the American Visionary Art Museum is a mix of mosaics and bricks and glass and stunning features and wow there is just a lot of stuff going on – including a glass tree on the sidewalk!
Once inside the American Art Visionary Museum there are multiple insta worth exhibits from glass bunnies to the helpful duck in a tie to Mae west to my favourites – the amazing over the top floats of the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race (May 5). This was one of my favourite places to see in Baltimore.
5. Sherwood Gardens
I was lucky enough to visit in the spring and gosh was the Sherwood Gardens Baltimore in bloom! This is Baltimore’s Keukenhof! The Sherwood gardens are a privately owned community park and free to visit. They are best known for their spring tulips but also do beautiful plant things all year round.
The Sherwood Gardens are surrounded by stunning homes which can add to your photos! I visited late April and I can’t imagine it gets better in terms of capturing the blossoms and the many many stunningly gorgeous tulips.
Again – Sherwood Gardens is not the easiest place to visit so an uber in and out works well. Sherwood Gardens is one of the prettiest places in Baltimore.
6. Pierces Park
I literally wondered across Pierces Park as I was walking the length of the Baltimore Inner Harbor. I think it is mostly frequented by local families. When I visited Pierces Park there was a gorgeous silver horn sculpture (very photogenic) and what appeared to be other art installations in progress.
However, I most liked the fantastic outdoor giant silver xylophones or musical fence at Pierces Park Baltimore. There are actual “utensils” (I don’t know what to call them!!!) in little buckets under the fences and you are able to essentially play the fences. And you know what – even with no idea the sound is quite pleasant! One of the lovely Baltimore places to visit.Check out The Boutique Adventurer Online Shop
7. Baltimore Aquarium
Like the American Visionary Art Museum, the National Aquarium is insta friendly inside and out and one of the major Baltimore Inner Harbor attractions. Let’s start outside the National Aquarium. The buildings are stunning. A mix of strong primary colours and steel they can be nicely captured either literally in front of them and outside or from the opposite side of the harbour or water taxi.
My favourite shots of the ones I took were literally walking around the harbour just underneath the National Aquarium Maryland.
Once inside the aquarium there is a visitor centre with lots of info about what to do and trip ideas for your visit to the aquarium.
Once inside I found the jellies the most Instagram friendly of the animals at the Baltimore Aquarium. The blue background shots were taken holding the camera up on the glass.
I also really liked the jelly display they had hanging over the cafeteria area. There are of course also dolphins etc and so much more at the National Aquarium but it was the jellies that really stood out for my camera. This is a don’t miss it Baltimore tourism attraction!
- Few things are more fun than going to Vegas! But it’s not just about gambling – check out my post on 20 Fantastic Things to do in Vegas besides gamble!
8. Fell’s Point
Fell’s Point is a lovely neighborhood on the harbour just past the Inner Harbour area. It is filled with stunning red brick houses and a mix of local colour and cute shops. Head to Broadway Market to try Sofia’s delicious Pierogi – the pure cheese flavor was my favourite. Walk along South Broadway down to Thames street and take a left.
Everywhere you look will be gorgeous buildings, colourful and eclectic shops and interesting cafes. There were a few random street art installations in Fell’s Point whilst I was there which are always fantastic for photography! They were mostly located on Thames Street. Wandering the streets of Fell’s Point is one of the nicest Baltimore things to do.
9. Peabody Institute
What is the Peabody Institute? It is the oldest conservatory in America and part of John Hopkins University. This beautiful building is currently housing students and concerts but you can gain access to several areas.
There are tours of the Peabody Institute which can be pre-booked (3 days in advance is recommended). There is also a brochure that allows you to do a self-guided tour. The windows and staircases are particularly lovely. One of the architectural things to do in Baltimore Maryland.
10. Paper Moon Diner
The unusual and colourful Paper Moon Diner is not far from the Charles Village area. It is very close to the fantastic R.house which is warehouse housing about 10 different and interesting little food places. It is very easy to walk to the Paper Moon Café from R.house and then continue on walking to the Painted Ladies.
The Paper Moon Diner is one of the most colourful Baltimore Maryland tourist attractions!
The Paper Moon cafe has a broad menu – everything from vegetarian and vegan options to meat feasts. Try some of their more unusual meal options like the Bacon Milkshake or Deep Fried Ravioli.
I am sure there are many more Instagram worthy places to visit in Baltimore Maryland. Please do email me if you find any more so I can add them in!
- Hungry? Check out my post on Baltimore Food Tour: How to Eat the Best of Baltimore.
- If you want to learn more about Baltimore check out more things like the Science Centre, African American History in Baltimore, Fort Mchenry National, lots more history and some interesting profile reading of well-known people from the area on the official Baltimore Tourism website.
Plan Your Day Going Insta Mad with this Map of Baltimore Instagram worth tourist attractions!:
Boutique Hotels in Baltimore
I had a wonderful stay in Baltimore at the fantastic Hotel Indigo. The hotel has a fantastic location in the Mount Vernon area – it was very easy to get everywhere. The rooms at Hotel Indigo Baltimore are beautifully decorated and the hotel itself offers multiple Instagram opportunities! And if you’re looking for things to do in Baltimore at night they have a great bar and restaurant.
Other Boutique Hotel options for the Baltimore visitor include the Admiral Fell Inn and Inn at Henderson’s Wharf in Fell’s Point. For something different check out Gramercy Mansion, a 1902 English Tudor house on 45 acres just outside Baltimore.
Getting to Baltimore and Getting Around
The main airport for Baltimore is BWI which is an international airport. However, there are other options. Penn station has easy connections to New York City, Washington DC and many others. It is also possible to use the main international airport in Washington DC as an entry and exit point but remember it is about 40 miles away so you will need to adjust for time.
Baltimore is quite walkable around the harbour area. Walking from the American Visionary Museum to the National Aquarium, for example, takes only about 15 minutes. Or take a Baltimore water taxi! However, once you are away from the harbour I used Ubers to get around.
Don’t forget to get take out travel insurance before you go – here are some great deals on travel insurance.
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Thanks very much to Visit Baltimore for helping me to plan and sponsoring my trip to fabulous Baltimore.
Also published on Medium.