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Feeling Charm

Welcome to Baltimore! Notice we didn’t say “hon.” There’s a lot more to Baltimore than one term of endearment or crabs or Johns Waters or The Wire.

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Thanks to local comedian (and mild-mannered City Paper sports columnist) Jim Meyer for suiting up as BALTI-MAN.

Welcome to Baltimore! Notice we didn’t say “hon.” There’s a lot more to Baltimore than one term of endearment or crabs or Johns Waters or The Wire. And while we’re proud as hell of, well, most of that, we’re excited to tell you about everything else the city has to offer in our fourth annual Baltimanual.

Whether you’re visiting, new to town, or just feel like you’ve been missing out on some of what this city has to offer, this guide will provide tons of ideas about what to listen to, see, and do in Charm City. We’ll even help you get around on our notoriously un-user friendly public transportation system. But before we get to all that, here are some tips for enjoying your time here.

Don’t be scared. Yes, crime is a problem and, as in all cities, leaving visible valuables in your car is practically begging for a smashed window. But don’t get so freaked out that you miss out. Some of Baltimore’s real gems are outside the perceived safety zone of the Inner Harbor. Check out neighborhoods like Mount Vernon, Fells Point, Federal Hill, and Hampden, where you can shop at quirky boutiques, eat at excellent and often surprisingly affordable restaurants, and admire the architecture of a town that knows how to respect its past. Hit off-the-beaten-path spots like the Great Blacks in Wax Museum, jazz club Caton Castle, and locavore restaurants Clementine and Chameleon Cafe.

Do be friendly. Baltimore is south of the Mason-Dixon line and you’ll feel it in the pace and the manners. Strangers greet each other on the street, children call adults by Miss or Mister followed by their first name, and you may very well get called “hon” by residents—we don’t recommend throwing a “hon” back though—fake “hon”-ing isn’t going to win you any points.

Do follow your passion. One of the things that we love so much about this city is its DIY ethos. Want to start a theater company, art gallery, or experimental dance troupe? You really can do it here. You’ll find plenty of like-minded people to join in the enterprise and even more to come out and see what you’ve done. Check out the Arts and Music section to get a taste.

And most importantly, don’t stop with this guide. There is more to this city than we could ever hope to include in these pages. Consider it a jumping off point for an exploration of all the weird and wonderful of Baltimore. For more ideas, grab the City Paper from one of the bright yellow boxes all over town or go to for the latest events, news, and reviews.

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