There’s more to see, do and explore in Baltimore than ever before. Baltimore has experienced one of the largest millennial booms in the nation and the resurgence is vibrantly visible in the city’s eclectic neighborhoods, marked by new food halls, breweries, and boutiques popping up around every corner. The centerpiece of downtown Baltimore has always been the world-famous Inner Harbor, but 2017 brings new developments and experiences to the waterfront including the opening of the new Sagamore Pendry Hotel in Fell’s Point, the Sagamore Spirit distillery in Port Covington and the Sandlot, a 30,000 square foot oasis in Harbor Point featuring locally sourced food concepts and family-friendly recreation and games. This urban renaissance combined with Baltimore’s rich history, architecture and world-class museums makes for an incredibly authentic, yet new, visitor experience.
New Hotels, Renovations and Waterfront Developments
Untapped industrial spaces along the waterfront and downtown core are being transformed into luxury hotels and mixed-used spaces that offer only-in-Baltimore experiences.
Fell’s Point Recreation Pier and Sagamore Pendry Baltimore Hotel
Sagamore Pendry Baltimore opened its doors to the public on March 25, making it the Pendry brand’s first East Coast Hotel. Developed as a joint venture with Sagamore Development Company, Sagamore Pendry Baltimore sits atop the iconic Recreation Pier overlooking the Inner Harbor in the city’s historic Fell’s Point neighborhood. The neighborhood is recognized as one of the best-preserved historical areas in the country. Built in 1914, the Fell’s Point Recreation Pier was originally a dance hall and social and educational hub for Baltimore immigrants. The building once housed the harbormaster’s office and served as a working pier for ships bring in deliveries from Europe. Today the hotel’s 129-room luxury boutique hotel embodies the city’s rich history, vibrant personality and idyllic harbor setting with character, inspiration and style. The 4,565 square foot ballroom has been restored to its classic aesthetic and modernized to serve as the hotel banquet facility with awe inspirating 35-foot ceilings. Three levels of guestrooms wrap around the existing pier, with most having harbor views while others overlook an interior landscaped courtyard. In addition to its incredible architecture, Sagamore Pendry Baltimore is home to the following innovative food and beverage concepts:
Rec Pier Chop House – A prime Italian Chop House overlooking bustling Thames Street is devoted to time-honored Italian cooking. Presented by NoHo Hospitality Group’s acclaimed chef Andrew Carmellini and partners Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom (Locanda Verde, The Dutch, Little Park, and more), Rec Pier Chop House is centered around a progressive and seasonally focused menu devoted to simple but classic culinary offerings that have made Carmellini one of the most notable names in Italian cuisine. With a focus on classic Italian fare and prime cuts, the restaurant’s menu features prized, seasonal ingredients and the country’s best-purebred beef, sustainable seafood and farm-raised poultry alongside house made pasta, antipasti and homespun desserts.
The Cannon Room – In a nod to its storied past, The Cannon Room, an American whiskey bar, derives its name from the mighty cannons that lived beneath Recreation Pier for centuries. An 18th-century cannon unearthed during the pier reconstruction is permanently on display within the space. The setting houses an intimate bar and fireplace featuring a carefully curated menu of bourbon, rye and premium whiskey, and featuring Sagamore Rye, a newly crafted whiskey from the spring at Sagamore Farm.
The Pool – The hotel’s private pool deck offers a seasonal bar and grill with outdoor dining and lounging, set at the water’s edge. The deck is perched at the end of Recreational Pier with an open-air, panoramic view of the Baltimore Harbor, marina and city skyline. Five outdoor cabanas sit poolside and inspire you to unwind with friends or relax in solitude, all while enjoying the view.
Delta Hotel by Marriott
Situated in a historic downtown building from 1904, the Delta Hotel by Marriott at Inner Harbor Baltimore opened on January 16, creating a new experience for the modern traveler seeking a seamless and effortless stay. Imbued with the spirit of Charm City, references to Baltimore’s most celebrated author, Edgar Allan Poe, are gently woven into the interior design. Additionally the restaurant is named Telltale pays homage to Poe. Delta Hotels chain was contained to Canada before Marriott purchased it in April 2015. The Baltimore location is five stories with 150 rooms with various designs and styles.
Port Covington and Sagamore Spirit Distillery
The brainchild of Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank calls for four million square feet of development – one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in America – including offices, retail, restaurants, walking and bike trails, and a new Under Armour campus. At least one major Port Covington milestone will open in 2017: the Sagamore Spirit Distillery. The five-acre complex is slated to open April 21, offering a closer look at how the whiskey is made. The 22,000-square-foot distillery building houses the production equipment, including a 6,000-gallon cooker and nine 6,500-gallon fermentors. Next door is a 27,000-square-foot ‘welcome and processing’ center with two tasting rooms. The project also includes a two-story restaurant that will house a concept by James Beard Award-winning chef Andrew Carmellini of New York. The venue will draw an estimated 100,000 visitors annually for tours and tastings, and offers an impressive new waterfront event destination. Each tour can accommodate up to 24 people of all ages and will last around 45 minutes.
Located between Harbor East and historic Fell’s Point, this former industrial site of the old Allied Signal chromium plant property on Baltimore’s waterfront is transforming into three million square feet of mixed-use development featuring an array of office space, residential units, retail space, a hotel and thoughtfully designed public space including 9.5 acres of waterfront parks and a promenade along the water’s edge. Exelon Corp. already opened its new 20-story Harbor Point headquarters in November and a handful of retailers are beginning to fill the building’s 40,000 square foot ground level. West Elmm CorePower Yoga, Ceremony Coffee Rosters and Honeygrow all opened in early 2017.
The Sandlot at Harbor Point
Harbor Point’s newest development addition is dubbed “the Sandlot”—a harbor-front oasis slated to open Memorial Day Weekend 2017—encompassing 30,000 square feet of open space to be used for outdoor dining, recreation, live performances, family-friendly games, and community outreach events. The site is part of a 4.5 acre peninsula that separates the Inner Harbor basin from the Outer Harbor and features sweeping views in both directions. The Sandlot is expected to open by May on a 12,000-square-foot parcel at the southernmost point of Harbor Point, accessible by car or by walking or biking on the promenade along the water’s edge. This new waterfront destination will be a joint venture of Beatty Development Group, the master developer of Harbor Point, and Foodshed, the development arm of the iconic Woodberry Kitchen family of restaurants from Spike and Amy Gjerde and Corey Polyoka. The food component of the Sandlot will be the first downtown and waterfront development for Foodshed, which builds and develops hospitality projects for “people who care about our food system.” Foodshed manages Woodberry Kitchen, Artifact Coffee, Parts & Labor, Bird in Hand, Grand Cru and, soon to open, A Rake’s Progress in the Adams Morgan section of Washington, D.C., as well as Woodberry Kitchen’s butchery, baking and canning operations in Baltimore.
M&T Bank Stadium Renovations
In January 2017, The Baltimore Ravens announced a three-year, approximately $120 million self-funded investment that will enhance the fan and meeting experience at M&T Bank Stadium. Demonstrating a continued commitment to create an exceptional gameday atmosphere, the improvements include new 4K ultra-high definition video displays, escalators and elevators to the upper deck, a new sound system and upgraded kitchen facilities.
Center Stage Reopening
After a year-long historic $28 million building renovation, Baltimore Center Stage, a professional nonprofit institution committed to entertaining, engaging and enriching audiences through bold, innovative and thought-provoking classic and contemporary theater, reopened to the public on March 3, 2017. The transformation brings more opportunities for art making and community building with new public spaces to gather before and after shows and state-of-the-art performance spaces with the best in theater design and technology.
Updates in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District
The Station North area had undergone incredible arts-driven improvements this year. Spanning the neighborhoods of Charles North, Greenmount West, and Barclay, Station North is a diverse collection of artist live-work spaces, art galleries and outdoor art installations, rowhomes, businesses, restaurants, night clubs, the graduate film programs from Johns Hopkins University and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). And they are all just steps away from Baltimore’s Penn Station, Mount Vernon, Charles Village, and the University of Baltimore.
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Film Center
Debuting in May 2017, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Film Center located in Baltimore’s Station North Arts & Entertainment District is the new home of MdFF, the organization that creates and delivers the annual Maryland Film Festival. An $18.2 million “rescued ruin,” the Parkway features curated, bold programming that showcases films from every era, region, and genre, with a focus on independent, international, documentary, classic, and cult-favorite films, providing audiences with a fresh and immersive new window into the art form. In addition, the Parkway provides classroom space for film students and is a year-round hub for film education and the Baltimore community.
Motor House Baltimore
Motor House is the perfect example of Baltimore’s dedication to reuse old historical spaces for something new. The Motor House recently underwent an extensive renovation, creating an artistic performance space, incubator, gallery, learning place, community, crossroads, and wide-open door to new visions, bold experiments, fresh voices, where anyone and everyone is always welcome to create. Motor House is a cultural and economic catalyst, an engine for action both social and inventive, a meeting ground for poets and policymakers, organizations and individuals, thinkers and doers who seek to transform Baltimore.
The Dish on Baltimore
Baltimore has a reputation for fresh seafood-especially its Maryland blue crabs—but the city’s culinary scene has transformed into a must-visit destination with high-end and inventive eateries consistently opening throughout all of its neighborhoods. There’s a reason USA Today named Baltimore one of the Top Five Underrated Food Scenes in 2017, Zagat named Baltimore the No. 2 Food City in the U.S. in 2015 and Wine Enthusiast named Baltimore one of the “Top Under the Radar Food Cities” for 2016.
Further proof that Baltimore’s food scene is on the cutting edge are the recent growing number of food halls, including R. House, Mount Vernon Marketplace, and Whitehall Mill in Hampden. R. House in Remington is creating a new launch pad for Baltimore’s most exciting chefs. Set inside a rehabbed historic auto shop, the 50,000-square-foot space features 15-foot tall windows with roll-up garage doors, 12,000 square feet of open seating and 10 chef-driven food and drink concepts so guests can get a taste of the best bites in Baltimore. Mount Vernon Marketplace offers the finest, freshly prepared artisanal foods in Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon district. With over 14 purveyors offering everything from gourmet cheese, artisan sandwiches & charcuterie, fresh local oysters & seafood, noodles & dumplings, French crepes, Ethiopian cuisine & coffee, vegetarian bean burgers, vegan soups & falafel, cold-pressed juices & salad bar, Korean style bibimbap, homemade bread, ice-cream, cookie’s and cupcakes, artisanal burgers & worldly poutine, wine tasting, craft beer, boozy milkshakes, Kombucha on tap, exotic herbs, spices and culinary kitchen delights.
City Brew Tour
You drink. They drive. Get an exclusive behind the scenes tour of Baltimore’s exploding craft beer scene with the newest City Brew Tour. The five-hour tour includes four brewery stops and tastings of approximately 15 brews.
Atlas & Bagby Restaurant Groups Partnership
Atlas Restaurant Group, the team behind award-winning restaurants Ouzo Bay and Loch Bar, has entered into an agreement to partner on the Bagby Restaurant Group’s Fleet Street Kitchen and Ten Ten American Bistro to relaunch the spaces with new concepts in early 2017.
The newest concept from Foreman Wolf (the culinary power duo of Tony Foreman and James Beard-nominated chef Cindy Wolf), Bar Vasquez celebrates the holy trinity of Argentine cooking: meat, fire and seasonal ingredients. The restaurant took over the industrial warehouse space Pazo once held, but still maintains the seamless mix of casual in the downstairs bar and lounge with formal in the upstairs fine-dining area. The menu also offers something for everyone from small plates of ceviche, croquetas and Argentine street pizza to main courses focused around grilled meats and game.
Charm City Cakes
Charm City Cakes, the cake shop founded by Duff Goldman and popularized by the Food Network show “Ace of Cakes” has opened a second Baltimore location in Harbor East. The 200-square-foot space at 618 S. President St. features the shop’s traditional items, such as cakes, cupcakes and macaroons as well as bakery merchandise.
Getting Around Town
Baltimore Bike Share
Baltimore City is spending millions to grow its cycling infrastructure and launched the largest pedelec (electric-assist) bicycle fleet in North America this past October. Baltimore Bike Share is available 24/7 and offers both pedelec and traditional 8-gear bicycles for residents and visitors to explore the City car-free.
Charm City Helicopters
The newest way to see Baltimore by air launched March 2017. Charm City Helicopters is based on Pier 7 in downtown Baltimore and is the only company with a turbine-powered 5-seater tour helicopter in the area. Nothing else compares to the views of seeing Fort McHenry and Oriole Park at Camden Yards from the sky, or watching New Year’s Eve fireworks while hovering thousands of feet in the air.
Revamped Water Taxi
Under Armour founder Kevin Plank recently purchased the Baltimore Water Taxi to upgrade its fleet of passenger vessels. The new boats are designed to reflect a sleek look that also reflects Baltimore’s rich port history.