This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Wire'ÃÂ |ÃÂ Zoe Lintzeris
What is it about Baltimore? Is it those white marble stoops that grace the countless row houses in
the city? Is it the "fork and knife" -- the giant antennas that you can see from miles away on TV Hill?
Is it the scent of Old Bay permeating the air? The infamous Domino's Sugar sign? The cobblestone
streets of Fell's Point? The unique sound of Bmore Club?
Wait, surely all of this can't exist in "Bawlmer, Murderland"?!
Wake me up when the masses say something new for a change.
I grew up in this city that continues to house a secret appreciation for history and diversity. And yet
most people still consider it as the backdrop of "The Wire," "Homicide" and, if you know your
scenery, most of "House of Cards." Anyone who was born and raised here takes an innate pride in
Baltimore -- an overlooked mecca of talent, history and its own culture -- and actually cares a lot
more about its present and future than the average outsider/blowhard does. Face it: There's a whole
lot more to the city than the age-old tales of murder rates and heroin addicts.
Here are just eight reasons why Baltimore still shines on as a mid-Atlantic gem, because -- as
everyone from here knows -- why be less when you can Bmore?
Baseball isn't just a pastime here, it's a lifestyle.
Photo from Flickr: Keith Allison
It's all thanks to Cal. It has always been thanks to Cal -- at least since my existence. The Ripken
family embodies Baltimore sports in a nutshell. The family hails from upper Maryland and I can
credit Cal Ripken for many memorable seasons when I knew the entire O's team and paid $13 for
decent seats. So, how 'bout dem O's?
Our team hasn't procured a World Series win since 1983, but that hasn't stopped us fans from
rallying around them. When Camden Yards replaced the iconic Memorial Stadium, we hailed it as
one of the country's most beautiful baseball stadiums, if not the most emblematic stadium. I dare
anyone to find a prettier venue for America's classic pastime.
We have one of the largest and longest-running food markets in the world.
Photo from Flickr: bittermelon
My grandmother told me that she would head to Lexington Market frequently to get a secret variety
of spices with which she used to make her secret "baked yet fried" chicken recipe. I went there as a
kid in my school choir on a few field trips and gorged on food.
Today, it continues to represent the cultural multitude of what makes Baltimore a damn tasty city.
You want crab cakes? Done. Fried chicken? Done. Oysters? Done. Huge deli sandwiches? Of course.
Lexington Market continues to serve locals and tourists alike with its huge variety of seafood, meats
and classic fried dishes.
From cookies to crab, there's homestyle goodness in every bite.
Photos from Flickr (respectively): Steve Snodgrass;
I'm not sure if people imagine a smorgasbord of food when
they think of Baltimore -- but they should. Restaurants that
have been around for over 50 years dot our landscape and
still beckon old and newcomers alike. And of course, there
are Baltimore's signature treats:
Berger Cookies have put smiles on people's faces for over a century, thanks to the cake-like body
and fudge topping of the cookie. Nothing compares.
The roast beef sandwiches at Camden Yards are sinfully smoky and juicy, and if you have not
experienced Boog's pit beef, get thee to a Birdland Grill stat.
Cake a la crab. What's it to you? Those who despise these broiled or fried versions need not apply,
although there are several yummy alternatives to what Baltimore does best. However, what Bmore
loves doing is sitting around a table covered in newspapers, holding a knife or a mallet and opening
crabs while drinking Natty Boh. Which leads me to my next point...
Our beer was hipster before hipsters even existed.
Photo from Flickr: mercurialn
Some people refer to this beer as a two-dollar "can of piss," but I beg to differ. Between National
Bohemian Beer's history, and inevitably what it stands for -- a literal beacon of light in the
neighborhood of Brewer's Hill -- Natty Boh has all the characteristics of a solid hometown beer. It
symbolizes Baltimore to the core: simplistic and nostalgic all rolled into one and at a price that can't
be beat. This was hipster beer before hipsters even existed.
We have housed some of America's most literary geniuses, but no one more important than the poet
responsible for our football mascot.
Photo from Flickr: chrisjfry
On a more historical note, Edgar Allan Poe, who brooded and traipsed through life in darkness and
romanticized gore, made Baltimore his home for years until his death. For decades, an admirer
would leave a bottle of cognac and roses on Edgar Allan Poe's gravestone, but sadly, it seems that
admirer is no more.
For our city's size, our classical, modern and avant-garde arts scene can take on the best.
Photo from Flickr: zizzybaloobah
One screen. One theater. One complex. A structure that has withstood the test of time, the last of a
great age is Baltimore's Senator Theater. As a kid, I saw so many movies there I lost count. While
the Senator is an old-time theater (and now has more than one screen), the Charles Theater in
downtown Baltimore draws in countless people for its independent and foreign films. Couple that
with newer additions to the city like the Windup Space and other music haunts and you have quite
the dynamic scene.
Also, let's not forget an array of museums and institutions like the zany American Visionary Art
Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the classic Walters Art Gallery, the Baltimore Museum of
Industry and the renowned Peabody Institute.
Sidenote: If you are ever in the city during the summer, it boasts the country's largest free arts
Whatever side you live on, the neighborhoods are what make this city a community.
Photo from Flickr: Let Ideas Compete
"East side" or "West side" is what I heard in school, even though I was from the north section of the
city. Each side of Baltimore is a microcosm in itself -- all very different but yet united under the city
name. Little Korea, or Koreatown (yes, there are still some Korean restaurants left), and Little Italy
permeate the central part of the city, while Greektown lies Condos In Gated Resort Communities
Annapolis MD east, closer to the ports. Based on waves of immigration into the city in the 20th
century, these neighborhoods, like many others, continue to contribute to Baltimore's charm and
culture. They aren't nearly promoted like the neighborhoods in New York or San Francisco, but
that's alright. You'll get it when you come visit, hon.
We still take pride in big hair and boas, thanks to a director who revered old-school Baltimore on
Photo from Flickr: pauls95blazer
Thanks to the hilarious and oh-so-naughty filmmaker John Waters, Baltimore got thrown on the map
as the city of big hair and even bigger attitude. Embraced every year by Baltimore, the Hon Fest is
held in the quintessential Hampden neighborhood, and for a split second, you'd think you were on
the set of "Hairspray." Beehive hairdos reminiscent of the classic film, leopard tights, sunglasses and
feather boas are some of the required apparel to fit in at this iconic annual festival. You can't go
wrong when you feel like a true hon.
Of course, I couldn't encapsulate everything within this post. Even though I left Baltimore almost a
decade ago to fulfill a dream of moving to New York, I always go home and visit because that's just
what it is... my home, and a home to hundreds of thousands of other Baltimoreans.
Welcome to the real Baltimore.
This is dedicated to everyone from Brooklyn and Cherry Hill, to those in Gwynn Oak and Mt.
Washington, from Waverly, Guilford, and Montebello, to Fells Point, Canton, Federal Hill -- and
everyone in between.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.