Fells Point is a historic maritime neighborhood east of Baltimore's Inner Harbor area that contains the city's densest collection of pubs, bars, and restaurants (good ones, that is).
Founded in 1763 and incorporated into the city in 1773, Fells Point is comfortably Baltimore's most charming historic district—indeed, it was Maryland's first designated historic district. The harbor rose to prominence in the early nineteenth century as both a principal destination for immigrants arriving from Europe and for the U.S. shipbuilding industry. Fells Point was the birthplace of the first frigate of the Continental Navy, the Virginia, as well as the famed Baltimore Clipper: a fast ship used for privateering and blockade running to much success during the War of 1812. The wild success of the ships were in no small part responsible for the Battle of Baltimore—the British Navy targeted Baltimore in order to halt the production of these ships, responsible for so much damage to the Royal Treasury!
Fells Point was largely spared the decline faced by the rest of the city in the second half of the twentieth century, owing to the fact that it is simply beautiful. Preservationists kept a close watch on the condition of local historic buildings, and had financial muscle to back them up from wealthy locals who stayed here for the beautiful historic streets, and from businesses, many of which are built on the important tourist sector.
There are a host of other small neighborhoods in and on the periphery of Fells Point, the best known of which is Little Italy, a tiny neighborhood with a very tightly knit Italian immigrant community. Pretty, safe, authentic, and with wonderful food, it's a highlight of any Baltimore visit (as long as you dodge the odd couple of tourist trap restaurants).
Jonestown is now thoroughly off the tourist radar, having undergone serious economic decline after the construction of low income housing projects in the mid-twentieth century, but has a fascinating history as the one-time center of Baltimore's Jewish Community, and is today home to the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Beautiful Upper Fells Point is quieter and more residential than its bigger neighbor, but does have a few fantastic cheap Mexican restaurants worth seeking out, as it is home to Baltimore's most rapidly growing Latino community. Butcher's Hill, a one-time German-American and Jewish stronghold, is pretty enough, and undergoing a wave of new construction and development near Johns Hopkins University Hospital, but does not have any significant attractions for visitors.
Fells Point was the principal filming location for the national crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street, which can make for interesting viewing before or after a visit. Don't expect your visit to share much in common with the stories on the show, though—you are highly unlikely to experience any crime while walking the harbor and its restaurants and shops, really any time of day.
Fells Point was also briefly seen in the movie Sleepless in Seattle. The character Becky (played by Rosie O'Donnell) can be seen exiting her car with a bag of groceries while tugboats moored at city pier can be seen in the background.
Fells Point Diner was also the fictional late night eating stop in the movie Diner - where the ensemble characters gathered to bicker about the night's events and multiple mundane topics of daily life.
Parking is actually not that hard in Fells Point, although you will need to hunt a little bit for a parallel parking spot. Residential parking is limited to two free hours, after that you may find your car towed. Read the signs carefully. There are also a good number of metered spots on Broadway and around the harbor, which you can pay via credit card at the meter machines.
Fleet St and Broadway are the main avenues, although they are usually terribly backed up with traffic.
By Circulator bus
By water taxi
Ed Kane's Water Taxi, +1 410 563-3901, stops at the Broadway Pier, connecting to the Inner Harbor, as well as Fort McHenry in South Baltimore and Canton to the east. Day passes, adults: $9.00, kids under 10: $4.00. May–December only.
The quite useful, if overcrowded and a bit unreliable, public Bus #11 runs along Fleet St going east to Canton and west to the Inner Harbor, and then on through Downtown to Midtown and on to Johns Hopkins Main Campus in North Baltimore.
- 1 Carroll Mansion and Phoenix Shot Tower (Old Baltimore Shot Tower), 801 E Fayette St, ☎ . Sa-Su noon-4PM; tours of the tower begin at 4PM promptly from the museum. This is one of the more intriguing of the lesser-known historical attractions in the city. The Carrol Mansion was home to writer Charles Carroll, who was both the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence, and its only Catholic signer. Following his death, the mansion led a colorful life as a saloon, immigrant tenement, vocational school, and recreation center. The nearby Phoenix Shot Tower was built in 1828, and for eighteen years remained the tallest structure in the country. $5/$4.
- 2 Fells Point Visitor Center and Maritime Museum, 1724 Thames St, ☎ . Jan-March: Su,Tu-F noon-5PM, Sa 11AM-7PM; Apr-Dec Tu-Th noon-5PM, F 11AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-8PM. Run by the Baltimore Historical Society, the visitor center is a nice, sleek space to stop by, with exhibits and artwork related to the maritime history of the neighborhood, as well as information on what to do and see in the area. Free.
- 3 Jewish Museum of Maryland, 15 Lloyd St, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Th, Su noon-4PM; closed Jewish and Federal holidays. A museum dedicated to regional Jewish history, with lots of hands on, family-friendly exhibits, as well as artwork, historical photographs, and multimedia exhibits. Tours of two local historic synagogues are given at 1PM and 2:30PM. $8, $4/students, $3/children.
- 4 Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, 830 E Pratt St, ☎ . W-F noon-5PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. This new facility is the largest museum on the East Coast that is devoted to African American history and culture, ranging from local Maryland history to national. Includes a 200-seat theater for performances theatrical, musical, dance, etc. $8, $6/seniors, children, and students, free under 6.
- Fells Point Ghost Tours, 731 S Broadway (no mail), ☎ . March-Nov: F-Sa 7PM. A one hour walking tour of historic and haunted Fells Point in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Also has a 2 hour haunted pub tour. Reserve by phone or email. $13, $8/kids under 13.
- Films on the Pier, High & Stiles St. July-Aug: W 8:45PM. Two months of free outdoor blockbuster films on the Fells Point pier.
- Little Italy Outdoor Film Festival, High & Stiles St. July-Aug: Tu 7PM. No shortage of outdoor films in this area in the summer! Two months of free Italian-themed outdoor films right in the heart of Little Italy.
- The Vagabond Players, 806 South Broadway, ☎ . The oldest and longest-running amateur theater in America.
- Retrace Poe's last steps.
- 1 Poe found in streets drunk, 946-998 E Lombard St. Edgar Allen Poe was found in the streets near Ryan's 4th Ward Polls In Gunners Hall (October 3, 1849).
- 2 Poe taken to hospital, 98 North Broadway. Poe was taken to Church Hospital (Now owned by Johns Hopkins.) and then died.
- Poe buried. Go down town to see his gravesite.
Fells Point is simply put the best shopping district in the city, with a clear focus on smaller boutique stores. It's not the cheapest section of town, but its unique stores make for a great browse even if you don't feel like maxing out your credit cards.
- 1 aMuse Toys, 1623 Thames St, ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 10AM-5PM. A small toy store for younger children, from which you are pretty sure to find a unique gift. The toys are geared towards the educational and interactive.
- 2 Antique Man, 1806 Fleet St, ☎ . Sa-Su 1PM-5PM. This has got to be the most interesting store to browse in the city. The Antique Man combines everything you would expect from a fancy antique store, an eccentric tchotchke shop, and a decommissioned traveling carnival train. The packed, cramped store, which seems to be a large garage, keeps Marylin Monroe sculptures, antique mirrors (which help you get lost), all sorts of odd paintings, rare books, creepy puppets, and an extraordinary array of vintage National Bohemian poster ads.
- 3 Broadway Market, 1640 Aliceanna St (On Broadway), ☎ . M-Sa 7:30AM-6PM. A historic covered market dating back to 1785, in a very visible location on Broadway, this is a good place for a browse of its gift shops and flower store, and perhaps to grab a sandwich.
- 4 Hats in the Belfry, 813 S Broadway, ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 11AM-6PM. Nothing changes your look so dramatically as a distinctive hat, which makes this well stocked store a lot of fun. Regardless of whether you actually are planning to buy a hat, it's a great place to browse, and check yourself out in the mirror with various looks.
- 5 Karmic Connection, 508 S Broadway, ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-8PM, F-Sa 11AM-9PM. Unaware that the 60s are over, this tobacco shop sells, ahem, "smoking accessories," spiritual goods, etc., as well as slightly less out-there cigarettes and cigars.
- 6 Poppy and Stella, 728 S Broadway, ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 11AM-6PM. Regularly voted the number one womens' boutique in the city, this store will hit your pocketbook hard, but you'll come out with great items. Principally a high class-brand shoe store, Poppy and Stella also has an impressive selection of handbags and jewelry.
- 7 The Sound Garden, 1616 Thames St, ☎ . Su-Th 10AM-10PM, F-Sa 10AM-midnight. Chosen by Rolling Stone as the second best record store in the country, this is a good stop. In addition to new and used vinyl, the store also carries DJ equipment, CDs, BlueRay, DVDs, and video games. Selections of jazz and hip hop are particularely noteworthy, as is the expert staff.
- 8 Ten Thousand Villages, 1621 Thames St, ☎ . M-Th 10AM-7PM, F-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su noon-6PM. A bigger store for hand-crafted, artisanal, "fair trade" gifts collected here from around the world.
- 9 H&S Bakery, 1616 Fleet St, ☎ . Mon-Sat 8AM-5PM. Buy some really cheap bread. cheap.
Fells Point and its surroundings have a real wealth of restaurants, ranging from cheap, delicious Latino dives to upscale contemporary American—some of the finest in the city. And then of course, there is Little Italy, which is arguably Baltimore's favorite place to dine. It's 100% authentic, and has options ranging from affordable and hearty family-style dining to romantic and intimate to the high end foodie heaven at Aldo's.
- 1 Aldo's, 306 S High St, ☎ . M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9PM. Aldo's has a good claim to best Italian in Little Italy, but the world-class quality of cooking and service and the beautiful interior come with a very high price tag. The seafood in particular is excellent, but it is hard to go wrong here. If you want to leave Baltimore feeling that the high end cuisine in the city is just as spectacular as its low-end, this restaurant is an excellent choice. Also a good bet for private dining (several rooms, the largest seating up to 40 guests). $40-70, four course prix fixe: $65.
- 2 Amiccis, 231 S High St, ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight. It is all too easy to walk into an overpriced tourist trap in Little Italy, but that's why you brought this travel guide, right? Amiccis is one of the clear favorites, having won "best Italian restaurant" categories in various years across multiple Baltimore journals/websites. The setting seems somewhat fancy, but the atmosphere is decidedly casual and informal. Portions are enormous, wine flows plentifully, prices reasonable, and those mixed drinks are stiff. They also have a nice new bar, which is a solid after hours option in the area. $16-32.
- 3 Cafe Gia, 410 S High St, ☎ . M-Th 11:30AM-2:30PM,5PM-9PM, F 11:30AM-10PM, Su 4PM-9PM. This small, colorful restaurant's food is universally well received. Portions are small and modern, so don't skip the appetizer. The one misstep is pretty clearly the service, which, while knowledgeable and pleasant, is slow. $23-30.
- 4 Dalesio's, 829 Eastern Ave, ☎ . M-Th 11:30AM-3PM,5PM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-3PM,5PM-11PM, Su 4PM-9PM. The huge portions on Italian carb-loaded dishes in this part of town can make dinner here ruinous for anyone on a diet. Enter Dalesio's, which offers a host of low-cal dishes, with the numbers printed on the menu. It's also small, quiet, and dimly lit, making it a good date option. A neat surprise are the great all-lump crabcakes. $23-40.
- 5 La Scala, 1012 Eastern Ave, ☎ . M-Th 4:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 4:30PM-11PM, Su 2:30PM-10PM. While at first this restaurant may not have an immediate "wow-factor," if you order right, you will have a fantastic meal. Local experts recommend the veal and chicken dishes, and you would do well to heed their advice! Upstairs seating is more informal. $28-40.
- 6 Vaccaro's, 222 Albermarle St, ☎ . M 7:30AM-10PM, Tu-Th,Su 7AM-11PM, F-Sa 7:30AM-1AM. The most famous place in Little Italy, and truly one of the most famous eateries in Baltimore, Vaccaro's is the best place you could possibly pick for dessert (and Baltimoreans love to take out-of-town guests here). The Italian pastry's are fantastic, the ice cream decadent, and the sandwiches are actually really great too. All that, and it's cheap! (The Little Italy restaurants lose out on patrons flocking to Vaccaro's after dinner.) If you are here at prime time, expect a wait and no seats. $6-12.
- 7 Carolina's Restaurant, 505 S Broadway, ☎ . M-Th 10AM-11PM, F-Su 10AM-midnight. Carolina's is an odd mix of this and that, but primarily dubbed Tex-Mex. That's often a sign of poor quality, but this is absolutely not the case here. The Salvadoran pupusas are a great cheap option for take out or dine in (fantastic comfort food—thick maize tortillas stuffed with cheese, meat, beans, etc. and topped with pickled cabbage and mild red salsa), and the Cuban sandwiches are the best in town. Again, a little surprising for a "Tex-Mex" restaurant, their signature dish is baby back ribs! $7-20.
- 8 Tortillería Sinaloa, 1716 Eastern Ave, ☎ . Su-Th 8AM-5PM, F-Sa 8AM-6PM. If you are looking for the best authentic Mexican tacos in Baltimore, you've found them. It's worth wondering, though, why a Sinaloan tortillería wouldn't have tacos with birria, but it's not worth complaining about when the tacos are so good. This is also just about the only place in the area to get pancita (aka, menudo, Mexican tripe soup), if you're either craving it, or just have a Fells Point induced hangover to cure. $6-10.
- 9 Attman's Delicatessen, 1019 E Lombard St, ☎ . M-Sa 8AM-6:30PM, Su 8AM-5PM. This is just about the best New York-style Jewish deli you'll find anywhere. Sitting on the one-time famous "corned beef row" in Jonestown, one-time home to Baltimore's best known Jewish community, Attman's has been here for 100 years, and beaten incredible odds to continue thriving among newly constructed and now demolished violent housing projects, urban blight, the virtual end of the local Jewish community, economic decline—you name it. No matter what, Attman's has a line out the door. The famous items on order are without a doubt the packed-full-of-meat pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. $5-20.
- 10 Jimmy's Restaurant, 801 S Broadway, ☎ . 5AM-9PM daily. Jimmy's is a no-nonsense greasy-spoon diner right in the middle of Fells Point. There isn't much to distinguish it from any other good greasy-spoon, with the big exception being, of course, its location—a great spot for a cheap breakfast in the neighborhood. $3-12.
- 11 Pitango Gelato, 802 S Broadway, ☎ . Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM. Great gelato—even a step up from Vaccaro's—in a friendly shop. They take their ingredients quite seriously, ordering milk and eggs fresh from a local farm, and using only organic fruit. $4-6.50.
- 12 Bertha's Restaurant, 734 S Broadway, ☎ . Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM. "EAT BERTHA'S MUSSELS." The famous slogan is mostly true, the mussels at this would-be tourist trap are indeed really good, while the rest of the menu is a little weak. Perhaps the number one reason to come, besides the magnetic fame, though, is simply for the famous bumper stickers that come with every meal! Frequent good live jazz—check the website for dates. $15-25.
- 13 Blue Moon, 1621 Aliceanna St, ☎ . Su-Th 7AM-3PM, F-Sa 7AM-3AM. A kitschy-trendy all day breakfast restaurant, know best for its audacious Cap'n Crunch French toast and long lines for weekend breakfast. The lines are actually bad enough to the point of ruling it out as a good weekend option. Unsurprisingly, the place is also very popular with the late-night after-bar crowd on weekends. $9-22.
- 14 Black Olive, 814 S Bond St, ☎ . noon-2PM, 5PM-10PM daily. This is an excellent upscale seafood restaurant that nary a tourist has heard of. Classy, but not formal. There is a light Greek influence, like the delicious hummus and olives up front, but you'll find the regular upscale Baltimore seafood dishes on offer as well. $34-65.
- 15 Henninger's Tavern, 1812 Bank St, ☎ . Dinner: Tu-Sa 6PM-9:30PM, bar Tu-Sa 5PM-midnight. Profoundly cozy, this pub serves up big portions of comfort food, including surprisingly well prepared steak. Friendly bartenders seal the deal. But be sure to make reservations on weekends if your group is five or larger, or simply get there early, as the place gets packed. $25-32.
- 16 Pazo, 1425 Aliceanna St, ☎ . M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-1AM, Su 5PM-9PM. A nice upscale tapas bar, with great food, but somewhat hurried service and a lot of noise—it's a big, crowded place with vaulted ceilings. The restaurant is quite fashionable, so be sure to dress nicely. If you don't mind the noise, you'll have a great meal. $35-65.
It is profoundly easy to find a drink in Fells Point, and to find others to share it with—there is an astounding number of pubs in the small neighborhood.
Walk around the main streets, and you'll find every other door is both open and bearing a chalk board listing their ridiculous specials, like $6 for all you can drink mimosas over a period of ten hours on Sunday. The bars here are less offbeat than you'd find in other parts of the city, with a bit wider appeal—they tend towards the more traditional faux-Irish pubs. While it's quite easy to go awry with the local restaurants (tourist traps abound), you can have a great bar experience just by walking around and following your intuition. Live music is commonplace throughout the bars every night of the week.
- 1 Ale Mary's, 1939 Fleet St, ☎ . M-Th 4PM-2AM, F-Sa 11:30AM-2AM, Su 10:30AM-2AM. In most respects, this place is just yet another pub in Fells Point, but there is one five star attraction that brings the crowds—the legendary Krispy Kreme bread pudding with vanilla ice cream! The rest of the heart-destroying menu is great as well, as are the Scottish beers.
- 2 Alexander's, 710 S Broadway, ☎ . M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa-Su 10AM-2AM. With plenty of local beers on tap, a good selection of wines by the glass, great bar food, and a somewhat nicer atmosphere than most pubs in the area, Alexander's is a very reliable spot for a few drinks at night. The crab macaroni and cheese with bacon is decadent, and the salmon sliders and crab tater tots are popular as well.
- 3 Birds of a Feather, 1712 Aliceanna St, ☎ . Tu-Th 4PM-10PM, F-Sa 4PM-11PM. Fells Point's scotch whisky bar, with a good 120 single malts on offer, poured in generous drams. The bar atmosphere is very atypical for the neighborhood—no TVs, jazz softly in the background, and older, laid-back clientele.
- 4 Cat's Eye Pub, 1730 Thames St, ☎ . noon-2AM daily. One of the oldest establishments in the neighborhood, this is a great dive bar if you want to get a true Baltimore experience. It's eccentric, has a great sense of place, good prices on Natty Boh and other local craft beers, and live music—mostly blues, rock, or eclectic. Also haunted.
- 5 Duda's, 1600 Thames St, ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-1AM. One of many very solid, laid-back pubs on this strip, Duda's has a great craft beer selection, but it's a fine place to go downscale with a Natty Boh as well. The bar seafood is an excellent option as well, with cheap fried clam strips to soak up the booze, and tasty soft shell crab sandwiches, crab cakes, crab soup, etc.
- 6 Max's Taphouse, 735 S Broadway, ☎ . 11AM-2AM daily. The most famous bar in Fells Point, Max stocks the largest beer selection on the East Coast (or so it is believed, anyway). Seriously, they have over 1200 bottled beers to choose from, and over 150 on tap. The clientele is not fantastic (popped collar crowd), but that's hardly enough to prevent this from being a great recommendation.
- 7 V-No Wine Bar, 905 S Ann St, ☎ . Tu 4:30PM-9PM, W 4:30PM-10PM, Th 11:30AM-11PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-midnight, Su 11:30AM-6PM. The reasons to come to this wine bar are very straightforward: it gives you an opportunity to sip wine in a classy environment, and you can sit at a table right on the water of the Fells Point harbor, to take in the great views.
- 8 The Wharf Rat, 801 S Ann St, ☎ . 11:30AM-1AM daily. A good dive with good beers on tap isn't quite enough to distinguish a pub in this neighborhood, but the real claim to fame here is that the place sells growlers to go! Usually not found in the U.S., growlers are half gallon jugs of beer that you can fill up with the pub's British and Australian brews.
The Inner Harbor is where you'll find the big upscale chain hotels, but Fells Point will give you a lot more local flavor, with smaller inns available, principally historic bed and breakfasts.
- 1 1840s Carrollton Inn, 50 Albemarle St, ☎ . The 1840s Carrollton Inn is a series of beautiful interconnected rowhomes, some dating back to the early 19th century, surrounding a central courtyard. Next door to the winter home of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signer of the Declaration of Independence. The location is a huge plus—it's in Jonestown within very easy walking distance of Little Italy and the Aquarium. $175-320.
- 2 Admiral Fell Inn, 888 South Broadway, ☎ . This inn has more than its fair share of history, including more than a few ghost stories. And it's right in the center of the action, meaning it is extremely convenient, but can be a little noisy at night, if you are a light sleeper. $170-260.
- 3 Inn at Henderson's Wharf, 1000 Fell St, ☎ . Right on the water, on a quiet wharf just beyond the attractions and pubs. Ranked as the number one hotel in Baltimore for the past six years on TripAdvisor, this is pretty clearly a good B&B option for Fells Point, or really for any visitor to the city. $170-230.
- 1 Daily Grind, 1720 Thames St, ☎ , fax: . M-Th 6:30AM-9PM, F-Su 6:30AM-10PM. A nice coffee shop with WiFi that's a little spotty and no outlets, but it's still a fine place to check your email. Usually crowded.
- 2 Cafe Latte'da, 1704 Aliceanna St, ☎ . M-Tu 7AM-6PM, W-F 7AM-7PM, Sa-Su 8:30AM-5PM. Free cafe with WiFi pretty much at the epicenter of Fells Point. Laid back and relaxing.
- 3 Van Gogh Cafe, 300 S Ann St, ☎ . M-F 7AM-3:30PM, Sa 7AM-midnight, Su 6AM-3PM. A real neighborhood corner cafe in Upper Fells Point with free WiFi.
For the most part, this is a very safe section of Baltimore, and you are unlikely to run into any trouble in the well-trafficked neighborhoods of Little Italy and Fells Point. But as with much of Baltimore, rough neighborhoods are not far away—it's best to avoid walking through the Perkins Homes housing projects, and to remain vigilant in Jonestown. The one type of crime that affects visitors in this area is smash-and-grab theft of belongings from parked vehicles; you should keep your car clean, with any items tucked away in the trunk or glove compartment.
Visitors staying here might find that they don't have much desire to leave. Fells Point has pretty much all you need for a really nice vacation. Of course, don't miss the major attractions in the Inner Harbor or Fort McHenry across the harbor in Locust Point. If you are feeling like a bit of an adventure, though, a trip east to Greektown can make for a very rewarding dining experience. If the nightlife here feels a little too conventional, and you would like to experience a bit of Baltimore's famous quirky/offbeat life (or, for that matter, the opera), hop a cab over to Midtown.
|Routes through Fells Point|
|Owings Mills ← Downtown ←||NW SE||→ East Baltimore → END|