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Welcome to Baltimore

City Paper's 2010 Guide to All Things Baltimore

Photo: Frank Hamilton, License: N/A

Frank Hamilton

Patterson Lanes

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a visitor. Maybe you’re here on business, maybe visiting family or friends or in town for a wedding. However you came here, you probably don’t know the city that well, and it takes some knowing. And that’s why we put this guide together every year.

Anecdotally, people who visit Baltimore often seem to have some sort of tentative handle on the place. Sports fans talk about the Ravens or about Camden Yards (talking about the city’s model ballpark is so much more pleasant than talking about the feeble team that takes the field there these days—sorry Os, but it’s true). Lots of people bring up The Wire and chuckle, as if they’d love to come right out and ask us if the city is really as effed-up as David Simon’s televisual depiction of it. (Answer: It is, and it isn’t.) Many visitors seem to have pleasant things to say about the Inner Harbor, and why wouldn’t they? It’s designed to be pleasant.

But Baltimoreans know there’s so much more to the city than the outgoing face at the water’s edge, just as there’s more to it than the crumbling infrastructure, derelict houses, poverty, and crime that typify so many blocks off the guidebook maps. Baltimore is a place of friendly neighborhoods and cosmopolitan delights and nowhere-else experiences, and it’d be a shame to miss out on them.

Hence Baltimanual. While we can’t possibly encompass the ins and outs of every part of town, we can give you the lowdown on a few areas where visitors and locals alike tend to congregate, and with good reason. Venture out from the Inner Harbor’s hotels and promenades due east and you may wind up in the narrow, valet-parked streets of Little Italy. Continue to meander east along the water and find yourself in the sudden boomtown of Harbor East, watching your step on the historic cobbles of Fells Point, or soaking up the local nightlife of Canton Square. Head northeast from the water and you’ll find the new/old Baltimore enclave of Highlandtown. Head south from the water and you’ll hit the bar and restaurant scene of Federal Hill and the sleepy charms of South Baltimore. Head north from Pratt Street to the grand architecture and vibrant arts of Mount Vernon, the rising cultural hub of Station North, and the ivy-covered enclave of Charles Village. Further up the map, you’ll find pockets of convivial nightlife and dining, from Hampden in the near west to Mount Washington toward the northwest to Hamilton in the northeast. And there’s plenty in-between that you can discover on your own.

For more information on Baltimore, visit, an online resource that expands on/updates the annual print version with a detailed map and more (see the QR code on page 8 for a direct link). And if you’re looking for a guide to what’s happening this week, you won’t find a better source of info than City Paper and

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