Baltimore, MD

Your Guide To A Relaxing Weekend in Baltimore

Amber Gibson

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With its rich American history, home to Black luminaries like Billie Holiday and Frederick Douglass, deep literary roots, excellent local seafood and revitalized seven-mile downtown waterfront promenade, Baltimore is perhaps one of the most underrated cities in the country for leisure travel. Getting out on the water is a must when you're here to best appreciate the city's historic landmarks. You can charter your own electric boat or yacht to cruise the harbor and explore Patapsco River and the Chesapeake, or even learn to sail with Sea Baltimore.

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The cobblestone streets and garden parks of Mount Vernon Place Historic District are a lovely setting for a stroll, while admiring the majestic white marble Washington Monument and reflecting on the founding principles of our country. Beyond the well-preserved Victorian mansions and row homes, this is one of the best neighborhoods in Baltimore to pick up a local souvenir. Bottle of Bread sells eclectic men's and women's vintage fashion alongside locally made apothecary and art objects. Across the street, a myriad of aromas beckons at Knits, Soy & Metal where soy candles, vegan knitwear, local jewelry and more make for thoughtful gifts. Baby's on Fire is a fun record store and cafe hybrid, where you can browse hundreds of vinyl albums while sipping horchata cold brew.

When it's time for relaxation and rejuvenation, Art of Balance Wellness Spa just across from Federal Hill Park is the best day spa in town, offering a unique combination of advanced aesthetic and medical treatments with alternative wellness modalities like halotherapy and acupuncture. Dr. Aderonke Omotade says she wants to help clients look and feel their best with a holistic approach to health. No judgement if you want Botox, but you could also consider facial rejuvenation acupuncture, a more natural Botox alternative that's growing in popularity. Book the signature grotto experience to accompany any service and indulge in a full body exfoliation and detoxifying eucalyptus steam shower.

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Foraged may be the most exciting independent restaurant in Baltimore, thanks to Chef Chris Amendola's obsession with foraging for the best hyperlocal ingredients. This spring that means ramps, fiddlehead ferns and morel mushrooms galore. Carnivores will be intrigued by the pig and pickles selection, where Amendola breaks down whole pig heads from local farmers into components like jowl, snout, socket, ears and cheek. He's even making his own finishing salt with local oyster water from Sapidus Farms, which you'll find sprinkled on the miniature chocolate chip cookies served to every guest as a final sweet bite before you depart.

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Ni Hao is another fun new restaurant, serving contemporary Chinese food in the Canton neighborhood. Peking duck is their specialty, but they also serve weekend dim sum brunch and a number of vegetarian and vegan options like XO asparagus and tongue-numbing mala noodles.

Where To Stay

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Four Seasons Baltimore has some of the best views of the city from the Inner Harbour and a private catamaran will take guests out for a spin on the water. Baltimore's most successful restaurateurs, Atlas Restaurant Group, manage both ground-floor Máximon, specializing in Latin American cuisine, and The Bygone, a glamorous 1920s-inspired rooftop bar and bistro. At Máximon, fresh corn tortillas, seasonal local seafood and colorful cocktails with mezcal, pisco and cachaça make for a festive ambiance.

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The Four Seasons spa is a true urban sanctuary, spacious and serene even when it's busy. There's everything from advanced HydraFacials to energy healing Reiki treatments here, and you can continue relaxing with a drink in hand at the rooftop pool cabanas after your service.

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Couples can even book the spa after hours for a romantic evening, beginning with a bottle of champagne and candlelit rose petal bath in a soaking tub overlooking the harbor. Then, it's time for a 90-minute couples massage with warm aromatherapy oils. Float back to your room cocooned in plush Four Seasons bathrobes, which are yours to keep.

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Sagamore Pendry Baltimore made a splash when the restored warehouse reopened in 2017 as a trendy hotel in Fell's Point. The décor here is modern and masculine and there's local whiskey in the minibar. It's worth splurging on a suite for a spacious terrace overlooking the harbor, although the best view of the harbor, marina and city skyline is from the rooftop pool. This waterfront neighborhood is so fun to explore on foot, with a concentration of cute boutiques and colorful nightlife. There's a Saturday morning farmers market in Fell's Point and Sunday gospel brunch at Sagamore Pendry Baltimore's Rec Pier Chop House, for a great weekend getaway.

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Amber Gibson specializes in luxury travel, food, wine and wellness. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Departures, Hemispheres, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Fodor's, NPR, NBC and more. Champagne, dark chocolate and gelato are her biggest weaknesses.

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