Baltimore/Midtown

The Washington Monument

Midtown is a district of Baltimore.

Understand

You can visit Baltimore without visiting Midtown, but you will be missing out. Midtown is arguably Baltimore's most beautiful section of town, having housed the city's wealthy and fashionable starting centuries ago. The Mount Vernon neighborhood, especially Mount Vernon Square, is the principal destination for visitors, as it is the lovely setting for the city's Washington Monument, predating the larger obelisk in D.C., as well as the Walters Art Museum.

Just north of Mount Vernon is what has become known as Baltimore's Station North Arts District, often known simply as Charles North, which is simply put, the hippest part of town. Great restaurants, great bars and clubs both sophisticated and offbeat, tons of local artists including those at the eccentric Maryland Institute College of the Arts, as well as the prestigious Peabody School of Music, the Lyric Opera House, art galleries, and the beloved art-house film Charles Theatre. This area is also home to Penn Station and the light rail cuts right through it, so you don't have much of an excuse to skip a trip here!

Bolton Hill, to the northwest of Howard St and Martin Luther King Blvd, has far less as far as tourist sights go, but is an absolutely beautiful place for a stroll or drive—stately tall nineteenth century rowhouses and mansions, gilded statues, huge old churches, and so on. It sports a couple nice restaurants as well, and a few houses (not open for visitors) of famous former residents such as F Scott Fitzgerald.

Just west of Mount Vernon charming Seton Hill's eclectic mix of large and small row houses are centered around the beautiful Saint Mary's Park. Strolling through this quiet green space with its large trees and small fountain, one could quickly forget that they are just a few blocks from all the amenities Baltimore offers. The State Office Complex and Downtown Baltimore's towers are visible above the roofs of Seton Hill's historic homes, but are far enough to be quickly forgotten when you leave work behind. And every October the neighborhood puts on the Seton Hill French Fair and Flea market, bringing the community together for some fun and showcasing the neighborhood.

Get in

By car

It's easy enough to find the neighborhood by car—you can take Martin Luther King Blvd straight from Exit 53 off I-95N, or simply go straight up Charles St from Downtown. I-83, the Jones Falls Expressway, leads right into the district and has exits at North Ave and Maryland Ave/Charles St/St. Paul.

Parking is another matter, with often limited metered parking in the busy sections around Charles St, and two hour zone restrictions in residential areas. The zone restrictions are pretty poorly enforced, but the ticket prices can be high.

By train

Amtrak as well as the MARC commuter rail Penn Line from D.C. serve Penn Station, which is a fairly easy walk from virtually anywhere in the district.

By light rail

The light rail leads through Mount Vernon and Station North, stopping at Centre St for Mt Vernon Square and historic Seton Hill, Cultural Centre for the Opera House, Penn Station, and North Ave for the eccentric bars, clubs, and pizza places at the northern edge of the district.

By metro

The metro has a convenient stop at State Center (near the Cultural Centre light rail stop), but it's not terribly clear whether anyone uses the Baltimore metro, nor whether you should either.

By bus

Bus #11 has a remarkably useful route leading north on Charles St from Downtown and the Inner Harbor, and on to the Baltimore Museum of Art and Johns Hopkins' main campus in North Baltimore. On the way south back to the Inner Harbor, it follows Maryland Ave to Cathedral St, before heading east all the way to Fells Point and Canton.

The Charm City Circulator's purple route is a really useful loop for any visitors. It runs a loop from Penn Station through the district, Downtown, the Inner Harbor, and even on to Federal Hill. Just remember that it doesn't run that late!

See

Do

Performances

Buy

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church

Midtown a shopping district is not, unless you're looking for art supply stores, of which there are plenty, serving mainly the MICA students.

Eat

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Drink

Sleep

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

There are two very cool, funky little coffeehouses in the neighborhood, both with free WiFi:

Stay safe

The areas north of Penn Station can be legitimately rough, but the main roads, especially Charles St and North Ave, are well traveled and fine. If you have your car on the street anywhere in Midtown, make sure there is nothing lying in plain view, lest someone smash your window and take it.

Go next

While the obvious direction from here is back south through Downtown to the Inner Harbor, some creativity and preferably a car can make for some interesting jaunts farther afield.

If you are enjoying the slightly gritty, but very eccentric areas around North Ave, head a little further north and watch the grit factor soar! Also that way is Baltimore's Korean neighborhood, with some great little BBQ places and the odd karaoke bar, and a couple famous punk bars/venues.

Now you'll definitely need a car in this direction, but heading west will bring you to the Baltimore Zoo and the original location of "The Roost" for some fine fish fry.

Routes through Midtown

Owings Mills West Baltimore  NW  SE  Downtown East Baltimore
Hunt Valley West Baltimore  N  S  Downtown Linthicum
END  N  S  Downtown South Baltimore
Timonium West Baltimore  N  S  Downtown Glen Burnie


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 12, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.