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Where to Stay in Baltimore in 2023 | 4 Best Areas

Where to Stay in Baltimore in 2023 | 4 Best Areas

Deciding where to stay in Baltimore can be a bit tricky, but once you get the right info and get to know the city better, things become significantly easier.

Just remember one thing: unlike most cities in America (and in the world), the most important and interesting things in Baltimore are not located downtown but in the other parts of the city.

Where to Stay in Baltimore

Baltimore is an old and rich city. Established in the 18th century, historically, it was a major transport hub: the Baltimore-Ohio railroad was the oldest in America, and, in the past, Inner Harbor was one of America’s leading ports in terms of entry for migrants.

As time went by, the city transformed itself from a transport hub to a culture and history hub, with John Hopkins University being its most famous and respected institution.

One thing you should know about Baltimore is that it has some very important historical neighborhoods: namely, areas like Mount Vernon, Fells Point, and Federal Hill were some of the first included in the National Register Historic Districts after its establishment in the late 60s and early 70s.

The number of historical buildings and monuments is simply unbelievable: from the first monument dedicated to George Washington in the USA to some of the oldest houses in the country, as well as some very old Churches and Synagogues, you’ll definitely feel like you’ve entered a time machine.

The same holds for the museums and the educational facilities. Do we have to say something more about a city in which a university is its central institution? If you want art, music, literature, and history, go straight ahead to Mount Vernon or Inner Harbor.

But Baltimore is fun too: the area called Fells Point — located on the waterfront — is the major nightlife hub of the city, and it’s an area with what might just be the most pubs outside of England.

Also, we are talking about the most diverse and inclusive areas of Baltimore since it’s full of people from all sides of the world. One more thing: surprisingly enough, Baltimore’s downtown is not the biggest attraction in the city.

It does offer the cheapest accommodations, but it’s also the most unsafe, especially during the night. However, safety is not a problem in the other areas included in our guide. Let’s see what they are.

The 4 Best Parts of Baltimore

Vector map of Baltimore pictured with several of the best places to stay and attractions to visit

Baltimore is not a small city, but most of the attractions that are worth your time are in close proximity to each other. Basically, they surround the downtown area from the north, south, and southeast, and all of them offer something different and special.

Our top picks include:

  1. Downtown: Unlike other cities in America, the downtown of Baltimore is not the most important part of the city — it is not very safe and is only suitable if you’re traveling on a budget.
  2. Inner Harbor: Definitely the most family-friendly and tourist-friendly part of Baltimore, full of restaurants, accommodations, and activities of all kinds.
  3. Mount Vernon: The obvious choice for lovers of culture, history, and art, we are talking about the most high-end and elite part of Baltimore.
  4. Fells Point: Located on the waterfront in close proximity to Inner Harbor, it is another tourist-friendly place, offering the best nightlife in Baltimore.

The Best Areas & Hotels in Baltimore

Apart from budget-friendly downtown, the best accommodations are located to its South and North. Inner Harbor is a major tourist hub and is full of all kinds of hotels and motels, making it the most suitable choice for family-friendly travelers and budgets.

Mount Vernon is another counter-intuitive example because, at the same time, it is the poshest area in the city, but in terms of accommodation, it is quite versatile and even affordable.

Finally, Fells Point is quite similar to the two other areas, barring its unique traits, but offers a smaller number of budget options.

1. Downtown

Neat-looking buildings in Downtown Baltimore, a top area for tourists to stay

Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

While Baltimore’s downtown is overshadowed by the neighboring Inner Harbor and Mount Vernon, it’s still the business and administrative center of the city, full of beautiful old architecture and interesting things to see and visit.

First, we recommend that you go to the Lexington Market, which is a very large indoor market with a long and rich history. Established in early 1782, it is one of the oldest and longest-running indoor shopping centers in America.

It’s full of all kinds of shops, but it’s where you’ll find the best meat and seafood. Baltimore’s downtown offers something quite unique and one-of-a-kind for lovers of the gothic, the supernatural, and the macabre.

The city is one of the places where Edgar Alan Poe resided, also — unfortunately — his final resting place. You can go and visit his grave at Westminster Presbyterian Church and pay your respects or learn more about him, his life, and his work at the Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum.

While on the topic of great Americans, this part of Baltimore offers one more “shrine” — the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum.

It’s a must-see museum for all baseball fans since Babe Ruth is one of the sport’s greats.

He mostly left his mark in New York, but Baltimore is his birthplace. Surprisingly enough, Baltimore’s Downtown is the best place in the city if you’re planning to spend as little money as you can.

Unlike the other American downtowns, this one is full of cheap apartments and hotels where you can stay without having to spend a fortune.

However, the cheapest comes with a price: the downtown is not the safest part of Baltimore, and you had better visit the named attractions during the day.

Things to Do

  • Lovers of the Grotesque and the Arabesque are going to lose their minds in Baltimore since they’re going to find both the resting place of Edgar Alan Poe and a great museum, which is all about him and his work.
  • Not many cities can say that they have a shopping center from the 18th century. The Lexington Market in Baltimore’s downtown was established in 1782 and still works with all its might and freshness.
  • Not many cities can say that they’ve been the birthplace of a legend such as Babe Ruth. What Michael Jordan is for basketball or Wayne Gretzky for hockey, Babe Ruth is for baseball — if not more. The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum is definitely worth both your time and your money: the standard fee is $13, $11 for seniors and military personnel, and $7 for kids.
  • Baltimore’s downtown is best chosen as a budget option: both Mount Vernon and its history and Inner Harbor and its nightlife are very close by — the first a little to the north, and the second several steps to the south. Make sure you visit them both if you’re staying downtown, and use your cheap accommodation to see as much of Baltimore as you can.

Where to Eat

  • Faidley’s Seafood is an upscale American and seafood restaurant that was selected as the 2022 Traveler’s Choice. Famous for its fresh and tasty fish and seafood, its guests mostly visit the restaurant for the crab cakes and the clam chowder.  
  • B&O American Brasserie is an interesting American bar with a flexible menu — they also serve pasta and pizza. If you’re looking for something different and a lot of vegan and vegetarian options, B&O is a good call.
  • Sotto Sopra is a classic Italian restaurant with a lot of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Aside from the pizza and the pasta everybody knows (which are quite good), we recommend trying the short rib ravioli, the pan-seared branzino filet, and the mascarpone cheesecake.

Downtown Budget Hotels

Downtown Mid-Range Hotels

  • La Quinta by Wyndham Inner Harbor Downtown is a decent, pet-friendly three-star hotel. Every room has free Wi-Fi, a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV, and a desk. It also has a fitness center, facilities for disabled people, and a nice breakfast every morning.
  • Sleep Inn & Suites Downtown Inner Harbor is another pet-friendly three-star hotel located in the center of the city. It offers free parking and free Wi-Fi for every guest, a fitness center on the premises, facilities for disabled people, and breakfast in the morning.

Downtown Luxury Hotels

  • Chase at 39 West is a four-star complex of apartments that offers units with fully equipped kitchens, living rooms with satellite TV, and dining tables. There’s also a fitness center and airport shuttle available.
  • Deluxe Designer Theme 1BR Apt near the Inner Harbor is an 80 square meters four-star apartment in the heart of the city. Aside from the great location, it offers a private bathroom, bedroom, fully equipped kitchen, and a living room.

See Baltimore's Best Hotels

2. Inner Harbor

Edited photo of the Inner Harbor, a top pick for where to stay in Baltimore, pictured with still water and the city's skyline jutting up from above the water

ESB Professional/Shutterstock

As you move from the downtown to the south, things immediately start getting better and better. A dark and Gotham-like shipyard during the 70s, today Inner Harbor is described as “the model for post-industrial waterfront redevelopment around the world.”

Full of shopping places, beautiful buildings, and museums, it’s probably the most tourist-friendly area in Baltimore. Also, it’s quite safe and always full of visitors.

Inner Harbor is one of the longest-lasting seaports in all of America and the part of Baltimore where you can get connected to the water-taxi transport. From here, you can also visit nearby attractions like Fells Point or Harbor East.

While near the ocean, make sure you also visit the one-of-a-kind maritime museum called the Historic Ships in Baltimore and take a look at — or even board — the four historical ships.

Don’t forget the old lighthouse, either! In Inner Harbor, there are more museums and educational institutions than you can count, but some are more important than others.

Here are the ones we’d prioritize:

Because it’s constantly crowded with tourists, Inner Harbor offers a variety of hotels of every type, star number, and size.

It’s slightly more expensive and more upscale than downtown, but not by too much. Do note that Inner Harbor is also one of the safest and most family-friendly areas in Baltimore.

Things to Do

  • Inner Harbor is a family-friendly area that has a lot to offer in terms of education and activities that can be fun for children. The first and obvious choice is The Port Discovery Children’s Museum, which is about very young children; there’s also The Maryland Science Center (or some parts of it) or the National Aquarium, which don’t have an “age label.”
  • Lovers of history are going to have a blast in this side of Baltimore: the Historic Ships in Baltimore are simply unforgettable and sublime; The Lloyd Street Synagogue is definitely a historical monument, being one of the oldest synagogues in America; lastly, both the Baltimore Museum of Industry and the National Museum of Dentistry are quite specific and interesting.
  • The Top of the World Observation Level, located on the 27th floor of the Baltimore World Trade Center, offers both an unforgettable view of Baltimore and the sea, as well as an audio-visual presentation of the history and culture of the city. It was selected as the 2022 Travelers’ Choice.
  • If you’re a huge fan of sports, Inner Harbor has some special things in store for you: it’s the location of the Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles play. Here you can also visit the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, which is owned by the same company as the Babe Ruth museum downtown. Don’t forget the M&T Bank Stadium, the home stadium of the Baltimore Ravens.

Where to Eat

  • Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse is a Brazilian steakhouse that was selected as the 2022 Travelers’ Choice. It is the perfect place if you want to try traditional Brazilian cuisine, along with one of the best services in all of Baltimore.
  • The Capital Grille is a classic American steakhouse that also has vegetarian options. That being said, we recommend this place for anniversaries or a special dinner or lunch, as well as very delicious and quality meat.
  • SoBo Cafe is a great American cafe with a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. You can eat a burger or sausages or order some fine dessert or a cake. The service is super fast, and the personnel is very professional.

Inner Harbor Budget Hotels

  • Comfort Inn & Suites Baltimore Inner Harbor is a relatively cheap pet-friendly, three-star hotel located just south of Baltimore’s downtown. It offers modern rooms with flat-screen TVs, refrigerators, and microwaves. There’s also free Wi-Fi throughout the building and a gym on the premises.
  • Tru By Hilton Baltimore Harbor East is another relatively cheap three-star hotel, but this time part of the famous Hilton chain of hotels. Located in the nearby area between Jonestown and Inner Harbor, it has a fitness center on the premises and offers breakfast.

Inner Harbor Mid-Range Hotels

  • Staybridge Suites Baltimore – Inner Harbor, an IHG Hotel is a great three-star hotel, especially suitable for couples. It offers private parking and free Wi-Fi, a fitness center on the premises, facilities for disabled guests, and nice breakfast every morning.
  • Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards is another great three-star hotel that has much to offer besides being located in the most popular neighborhood in Baltimore. It has a restaurant and a fitness center on the premises, and very tasty breakfast is served each morning.

Inner Harbor Luxury Hotels

  • Hyatt Regency Baltimore is a four-star luxury hotel, part of the famous Hyatt chain of hotels, and probably one of the best accommodation options in Baltimore. It has basically everything — from an outdoor swimming pool to an on-site gym and a restaurant.
  • Residence Inn by Marriott Baltimore Downtown/ Inner Harbor is another very upscale four-star hotel, part of another very important chain of hotels, Marriott. Again, we have a bar, restaurant, and fitness center on the premises, as well as very professional room service. Sometimes, the brands speak for themselves, and you can’t go wrong.

See Baltimore's Best Hotels

3. Mount Vernon

Garden, fountains, and old buildings in the town square in Mount Vernon, a top pick when considering where to stay in Baltimore, Maryland

Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Just to the north of Downtown and on the opposite side of Inner Harbor lies the area known as Mount Vernon, the most historically important and most beautiful neighborhood in Baltimore.

What makes it so special? Just take a stroll through its well-constructed streets and old buildings, and you’ll feel like you’ve time-traveled to the age of the American Founding Fathers.

Actually, the area gets its name from George Washington’s house in his home in Virginia. Speaking of America’s first president, Mount Vernon is organized around the Washington Monument — a colossal landmark column created by Robert Mills in 1815.

It is the first monument in the country dedicated to the father of the American nation and definitely the most important monument in the whole of Baltimore.

Mount Vernon Place — the park space around the monument — is also described as one of the most finely made urban spaces in the country. After you’ve visited the column, head straight to the Mount Vernon Cultural District.

We’ll let the list speak of the things you’re going to find there:

Plainly speaking, lovers of culture are going to feel like they’ve arrived in paradise since each of these institutions has its own story to tell, and more importantly, is functioning at its full strength.

From theater and painting to music, literature, history, and science, you won’t find anything lacking. Mount Vernon is famous for being the home of Baltimore’s richest and most fashionable families.

But in terms of accommodation options, everything is not as posh as it sounds. Aside from the wide range of five- and four-star hotels, there’s a bunch of cheap motels and decent three-star hotels that can receive guests on much smaller budgets.

Things to Do

  • You can’t say that you’ve visited Mount Vernon or even Baltimore if you haven’t seen Robert Mills’ famous masterpiece: the Washington Monument. This colossal column, which is literally the first monument to George Washington in America, is part of a larger urban space that’s usually described as one of the most elegant space arrangements in the whole country.
  • Lovers of music have a bunch of things to choose between while they’re staying in Mount Vernon. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is the obvious choice for classical music aficionados; The Lyric Opera House, for opera; the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute, for those who prefer Jazz standards and controlled improvisation.
  • The Walters Art Museum is definitely the most important museum in Baltimore for a reason. Established in the 19th century, it boasts an enormous collection that spans thousands of years, beginning from Egyptian art, continuing through the Greek, Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance epoch, and reaching its end somewhere around the Art Deco movement.
  • The number of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places is really high, and — aside from the George Washington Monument and the Walters museum — we recommend that you see the following structures:
    • Mount Vernon Place Church,
    • The Belvedere Hotel,
    • The Stafford Apartments,
    • Mount Vernon Hotel Museum,
    • The Peabody Institute,
    • The Thomas-Jencks-Gladding House.

Where to Eat

  • The Helmand is an interesting Middle Eastern and Afghan restaurant. You can either try the meat-based dishes, like the lamb, with rice and soup as an entree, or try some of their vegetarian dishes. Either way, we recommend that you finish the meal with Turkish coffee and baklava.
  • The Prime Rib is a great American steakhouse that you have to visit if you’re in the mood for a strong meat dish. The prime rib and the filet are both quite good, but there are also some seafood options like lobster and bass. Finish your meal with a chocolate mousse or a lime pie.
  • Brewer’s Art is a very nice, quiet, upscale American bar and pub, offering a place to have a couple of drinks in a luxurious and beautiful interior. There’s a great selection of bourbon and scotch but also of lager and cider.

Mount Vernon Budget Hotels

  • Motel 6 Baltimore Downtown is a very cheap two-star hotel located just north of Baltimore’s downtown. It offers free Wi-Fi and free parking, and modernly decorated rooms with plasma TVs. It also offers facilities for disabled guests.
  • Midtown Inn is another very cheap two-star hotel with a perfect location — right in the middle of Baltimore. A historic building from the 1860s, it offers a 24-hour desk, facilities for disabled people, free Wi-Fi, and non-smoking rooms.

Mount Vernon Mid-Range Hotels

  • The Ivy Hotel is a relatively expensive four-star hotel located in the heart of Mount Vernon, very close to the center of the city. It offers fine-dining restaurants on the premises, but also a bar, a fitness center, and a spa and wellness center too. 
  • Central and Trendy Baltimore Townhome Pets OK! is another three-star accommodation option, located in the heart of Mount Vernon. Around 75 square meters in size, it has two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom, and a flat-screen TV.  

Mount Vernon Luxury Hotels

  • Ulysses is a five-star hotel and definitely one of the best and most elite accommodations in the whole of Baltimore. It offers a bar, a restaurant, and a great breakfast every morning, but also a fine nightclub on the premises. The hotel is especially suitable for couples.
  • Hotel Revival Baltimore, part of JdV by Hyatt is a great four star-hotel that has much to offer. The hotel has an on-site restaurant, a bar, and a fitness center. Facilities for disabled people are available too, as well as a nice breakfast every morning.

See Baltimore's Best Hotels

4. Fells Point

Little shops lining the street, all with different colored doors that are open, with brick facades on the exterior in Fells point, one of the best places to stay in Baltimore

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – JUNE 14, 2016: Shops at Fell’s point. The historic waterfront neighborhood was established in 1763 along the north shore of the Baltimore Harbor/Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

To the east of Inner Harbor lies Fells Point, another magnet for tourists and one of the oldest neighborhoods in Baltimore.

Established some time around the 1760s, this area located on the waterfront is the definite nightlife hub of the city, where you’ll find the most vibrant and ecstatic places. A quick fact: aside from the many bars, restaurants, and coffee shops, there are around 120 registered pubs at Fells Point.

Not only is Fells Point full of pubs and bars (some of them quite old), but it’s the most versatile and inclusive place in Baltimore since it’s full of minorities and different cultures, making it even more fun and vibrant.

Here’s a list of the best places to truly experience Fells Point:

But Fells Point is still Baltimore, and more importantly, it is a very old part of the city: a nice way to transition from nightlife to history is by joining a tour that combines them both.

Baltimore Ghost Tours is all about visiting haunted pubs with real actors; Baltimore Wicked History Tours, on the other hand, is about discovering the decadent history of the city’s nightlife.  

From there onward, it’s all about history and old buildings. The Robert Long House, for example, is the oldest house in Baltimore; there’s also The Saint Patrick Catholic Church, which is one of the oldest catholic churches in the region.

Finally, visit The Caulker’s Houses to hear the whole story of Fells Point. Fells Point is a top location in Baltimore, attracting a lot of tourists during all parts of the year.

Because of that, it’s not the cheapest place, and for that matter, it’s quite similar to Inner Harbor and Mount Vernon. There are a lot of luxurious four-star hotels and great, not-so-cheap three-star hotels, but only a couple of two-star options.  

Things to Do

Where to Eat

  • Thames Street Oyster House is an American bar and seafood restaurant that was selected as the 2022 Travellers’ Choice. We recommend ordering the shrimp and the oyster in any combination available on the menu, but the plain fish and chips are great too.
  • Rec Pier Chop House is a restaurant that serves an interesting combination of American and Italian food, with a lot of meat options. It’s yet another 2022 Travelers’ Choice. The place is particularly suitable for special occasions, such as anniversaries, birthdays, and the like.
  • Pitango Gelato is a great way to bring something sweet for the end of your day at Fells Point after you’ve strolled the streets or had a couple of drinks. The owner of the place grew up in Trieste and there, on the authentic gelato soil, learned the business of making it right.

Fells Point Budget Hotels

  • Nice bedroom next to Fells point is a two-star guest house that offers its apartments, particularly suitable for couples. Every unit is equipped with a flat-screen TV, a sitting area, a bedroom, and a private bathroom. There’s free Wi-Fi too.  
  • Cozy Rowhouse Next JHH is a very cheap two-star hotel, which doesn’t offer much, except for the nice location, and the very low price. There’s free Wi-Fi in the rooms, flat-screen TVs, towels, and bed linen.

Fells Point Mid-Range Hotels

  • Courtyard by Marriott Baltimore Downtown/Inner Harbor is a very elegant three-star hotel that offers quite a lot: from an on-site restaurant and the bar, the 18th-century-like furnishing, free parking and Wi-Fi, to the 24-hour desk, and the facilities for disabled people.
  • Admiral Fell Inn Baltimore Harbor, Ascend Hotel Collection is another three-star hotel, which leans more to the luxurious pole than to the mid-range. Again, it boasts a famous restaurant on the premises, a fitness center, facilities for disabled guests, and a tasty breakfast every morning.

Fells Point Luxury Hotels

  • Canopy By Hilton Baltimore Harbor Point – Newly Built is a luxurious four-star hotel that offers free parking, free Wi-Fi, and free bikes. It has room service, a restaurant, a bar and a gym on the premises, and a tasty breakfast every morning.
  • 1840s Carrollton Inn is another four-star hotel that has free Wi-Fi and parking that offers a spa and wellness center, has a gift shop on the premises, and has quick, professional room service. Particularly suitable for couples, it also boasts facilities for disabled guests.

See Baltimore's Best Hotels

So, Where Should You Stay in Baltimore?

Reaching the end of this guide left us surprised and intrigued. Baltimore is an old and interesting city, but to fully enjoy it, you have to forget about your intuition for a moment and follow the right information.

To be clear, let’s make a short summary of our guide and emphasize its crucial points. Unlike other cities in America, Baltimore’s downtown is not the center of the city’s life.

It has its fair share of old buildings and museums, but it’s pretty unsafe, especially during the night. The only plus is that it offers a lot of budget accommodation options.

Inner Harbor, on the other hand, is an area located on the waterfront and a major tourist hub. Full of museums and educational facilities, it is definitely the most family-friendly area in Baltimore.

Mount Vernon is the perfect choice for lovers of art, culture, and history: full of museums, old buildings, monuments, opera houses, theaters, etc. It is also the poshest and most elite area of Baltimore.

Finally, Fells Point is another major tourist hub located on the waterfront that boasts the best and liveliest nightlife in Baltimore. Full of pubs, coffee places, and restaurants, it also offers some significant historical buildings and monuments.

So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip to Baltimore today and experience all that the city has to offer for yourself!