New York Alternatives: Five Cool East Coast Towns That Deserve More Attention
5. Baltimore, Maryland
With a historic harbor, beautiful brown houses and trendy new openings, Maryland’s largest city is experiencing a wave of cool cosmopolitan culture. It has long been overshadowed by the neighboring powers of New York, Philadelphia and Washington, but even though it is smaller, it is mighty. The walkable city’s abundance of cutting-edge art can be seen at the Baltimore Museum of Art, which features the world’s largest Matisse collection in a public institution. The Walters Art Museum, meanwhile, spans seven millennia of art and artifacts, making it one of the most important cultural centers in the country. Its treasury includes Greek sculptures, paintings by Old Masters, Egyptian mummies and sarcophagi from ancient Rome. Erudite tourists should visit the George Peabody Library, a breathtaking cathedral of tomes, in which a series of balconies and cast iron columns rise from a marble floor towards the latticework skylight.
Baltimore’s creative vibrancy also extends beyond closed doors. Street art is splashed over every inch of vibrant Graffiti Alley, while murals appear on the walls of Station North. Join Hampden’s hipsters, who slip into Hunting Ground for vintage dresses and boho-chic clothing from small designers; the independent Atomic Books, which has a quirky comic book-themed bar; and The Bluebird, dripping in dark blue and chandeliers, for playful, literary-inspired cocktails.
Where to stay: Sleep in an old mansion at the Revival Baltimore Hotel. In historic Mount Vernon, this boutique hotel offers eclectic rooms with mid-century furnishings, contemporary art, and art deco bathrooms. Dine at the Dashery Café or Topside Restaurant and Bar, perched on the top floor with sweeping views of the city. Rooms from $239 (£210).
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