With new green initiatives, easily accessible public transportation, and things to do for all ages and interests, Baltimore is definitely a city to add to your to-see list. While the Charm City hasn’t always had the best reputation, this year the police force has implemented brand new technology and a strategic plan for improvement. This has resulted in the lowest crime rates since the 1970’s and making Baltimore just as safe to visit as any other large city. Best of all, compared to nearby metropolises like New York City and Washington DC, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how affordable the sites and restaurants of the city can be.

Art lovers, history buffs, and sports fans alike will all find something to love in Baltimore. Be sure to add these attractions and restaurants to your itinerary:

Top 5 Things to Do

Visit Edgar Allan Poe Many famous 18th and 19th-century Baltimoreans, including mayors, the city’s elite, and heroes from the War of 1812, are buried at the Westminster Hall church. The most famous, however, is Edgar Allen Poe, whose raven is the namesake of Baltimore’s football team. While his marble memorial is found right off of Fayette Street, be sure to explore the cemetery grounds behind the church to learn about the notable figures buried here and see Poe’s original grave.

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team A must-see is Camden Yards, home of the Orioles. This big city park has a small-town, old timey baseball feel and is a great place to catch a game. For the full experience, join a tour where you can see the dugout, scoreboard room, club level, and more. Just around the corner you can find the Sports Legends Museum or visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum just a few blocks away.

Play in the Past In the same building as the Sports Legends Museum is Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, 17,000 square feet of pop culture, toy, and comic book history and memorabilia. Adults have a blast remembering the toys and comics that they once owned and will love being able to show their own kids a piece of their childhood.

Best View of the City Near the Maryland Science Center and the National Aquarium, Federal Hill Park is a lovely space to take a break. A surprising green space by the Inner Harbor, the park was once a lookout during the Civil War and the War of 1812 and today provides the best view of the harbor and skyline. Bring a picnic during the day to let kids play on the new playground or join the locals who visit at night to stargaze.

Board a Historic Ship Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is home to one of the world’s largest collections of military vessels. Step aboard four different ships, visit the Museum Gallery, which holds over 50,000 artifacts related to the ships, and learn about the difficult life that thousands lived upon the ships. If you’re visiting on a weekend, kids six and up are welcomed to be immersed in the lives of Powder Monkeys, the young boys who served on the ships during the Civil War.

5 Great Restaurants to Visit

Camden Pub Just a five-minute walk from Camden Yards, Camden Pub is a favorite among locals before a game. For a real taste of Maryland, try the crab cake sandwich and be sure to get an order of Baltimore Wings, which are covered in Old Bay seasoning.

Dangerously Delicious Pies Whether you’re craving something savory or want to indulge in something sweet, this place definitely lives up to its name. You’ll want to get one of each type…then maybe grab a pie to go! Some favorites for dinner include the Pork BBQ pie (pictured) and the Steak Mushroom Onion and Gruyere pie. For dessert, dig into the Lemon Chess and the Baltimore Bomb.

Pete’s Grill Fast, cheap, and delicious, Pete’s Grill is a bustling breakfast spot and a Baltimore staple. If you go on a weekend, don’t be discouraged by the line down the road – this counter-seating-only diner will seat you sooner than you expect. Try the blueberry pancakes, order a Rueben sandwich to go for lunch, and discover why Michael Phelps came back again and again when training for the Olympics!

Di Pasquale’s Celebrating its 100th year as a Baltimore institution, Di Pasquale’s is the place to go for authentic, quality Italian deli food. From pasta to brick-oven pizzas, classic sandwiches to original specialties, you’ll want to come back again and again to try everything you can. You can also stop by the marketplace and deli to take a taste of imported Italy home with you!

Thames Street Oyster House If you’re looking to complete your Baltimore experience with excellent seafood, look no further than Thames Street. Classics such as the New England Lobster Roll or the East Coast blue crab cake are some of the best you’ll ever find. Bring a group of 4 to get a clam and lobster boil or a lobster pot pie, and don’t forget to try the raw bar.

Where to Stay in Baltimore

Because of the expansive public transportation options, there is a lot of flexibility when choosing where to stay in the city. Try to find a downtown hotel or one in Fell’s Point at the Inner Harbor. For a better deal, try staying outside the city in places like Aberdeen or Townson, which both easily connect to Baltimore Penn Station by light rail or the MARC commuter train. Be sure to find a coupon before you book to get the best price!

Photo credits: Visit Baltimore, Dangerously Delicious Pies