Baltimore has always been an important city for me. My stepdad grew up here, and my family took regular trips here years before I started college at the Peabody Conservatory, a Johns-Hopkins-affiliated music conservatory in the city. In my sophomore year, my mom took a job teaching at a private school here and my parents followed me, though, really, they’d been looking for an excuse to move here since long before I chose a college. Far from the violent cesspool depicted by crime dramas like The Wire, Baltimore is mostly a fun, vibrant and large city with a quirky flavor. While you may or may not agree with the city’s motto emblazoned on its benches — “The Greatest City in America” — it’s hard to visit this place and not concur with Baltimore’s other, far more popular nickname: Charm City.
BALTIMORE NEIGHBORHOODS TO KNOW
Mount Vernon: Both Baltimore’s main cultural district and the closest thing it has to a “gayborhood.” Also this is where my alma mater, Peabody, is so it’s the area I know the best. Very scenic: lots of parks, marble buildings and cobblestone streets.
Hampden: A working-class neighborhood that has since been colonized by hipsters without fully losing its roots. The Avenue, the four blocks of 36th Street east of Falls Rd., is Hampden’s “main street” where you can find lots of bars and quirky boutiques.
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