The best known of Baltimore’s neighborhoods is its riverside shopping and entertainment district bounded by the Patapsco River. Here, you can easily entertain yourself for several days without needing a car. Sample local crab delicacies with the Bay breeze in your hair at a dockside eatery or take advantage of family-friendly entertainment like the National Aquarium or Camden Yards baseball stadium. When warm weather arrives, the Inner Harbor bustles with street performers, boats big and small, and outdoor music at Pier 6 Concert Pavilion.
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Directly to the east of the Inner Harbor along the water is Little Italy, a close-knit community of predominantly Italian-American residents. Between the scent of simmering marinara sauce from nearly two dozen restaurants, the water taxis that ply the harborside and the impromptu games of bocce, you might think you’re in Venice instead of Baltimore. In summer, the neighborhood comes alive with outdoor trattoria seating and free alfresco movies on Friday nights.
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To the east of Little Italy are the charming red-brick row houses dating from the mid-1700s that comprise Fells Point, a National Historic District. The former port and shipbuilding community is a walker’s delight of quaint lanes and 18th-century nautical charm. Continuing a tradition centuries old when its pubs, bars and inns hosted reveling sailors and dock workers, Fells Point still has quite a night life.
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Canton hugs the harbor to the southeast of Fell’s Point and is bordered by Interstate I- 95 on the north. Once an industrial canning area, Canton is now a gentrified, hip residential neighborhood. Its heart is green, leafy O’Donnell Square, where you’ll find upscale gift boutiques, sports bars and restaurants serving briny oysters.
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To the south of Inner Harbor is bustling Federal Hill, also referred to as the South Baltimore Peninsula. Civil War-era Federal Hill Park offers great views of the city from the top of its hilly peak. Cross Street Market, the epicenter of the convivial bar and restaurant scene on the peninsula, is a great place to get picnic fixings to enjoy in the park.
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Just to the north of downtown Baltimore is Mount Vernon, an elegant neighborhood of beautifully restored 19th-century homes. Here you’ll find Baltimore’s Washington Monument, which predates the one in Washington, D.C. It is also home to a number of cultural institutions, including the Walters Museum of Art and tony Charles Street, the crown jewel of downtown Baltimore. North of Mount Vernon is the residential area of Hampden, best known for its stunning, sparkling Christmas light display along 34th Street, which draws visitors from all over.
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