Gay Vacations in Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore Highlights

  • Take water taxis. Two different companies run frequent water shuttles from roughly April through September, between Inner Harbor locations including Harborplace, Fells Point, Little Italy, Canton, and Fort McHenry. It's a great way to take in the city scenery while getting around.
  • Explore the markets like the locals do. Baltimore's seven indoor food markets (all of them at least 100 years old) are the perfect places to sample Chesapeake Bay seafood at stand-up counters—including the blue crabs for which the city is famous. As for sit-down restaurants, ask locals to recommend their favorite "crab house," where tables are covered in brown paper and mallets are handed out to open up the shells, making for a fun, messy night out.
  • Don't be put off by the casualness of the city folk. Everyone will great you with a "Hi, hon!" in a sometimes indecipherable Bawlamer accent, just like in a Waters movie. Residents of Baltimore have little time for pretense or attitude.


Queer filmmaker John Waters put Baltimore firmly on the gay map through numerous films that gloriously celebrated the city's quirks. Often overshadowed by nearby Washington, D.C., Baltimore does, indeed, have many charms of its own—including the city's signature red-brick row houses. It has an impressively renovated Inner Harbor waterfront filled with attractions like the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, Camden Yards (where the Orioles play), and the Baltimore Maritime Museum. Popular Harborplace & the Gallery feature more than 40 restaurants and 100 shops.

In nearby Federal Hill, there's a 20-foot statue of Divine (Waters' 300-pound drag queen muse) at the idiosyncratic American Visionary Art Museum. (Divine's gravesite is at Prospect Hill Cemetery in the suburban town of Towson.)

The artsy, upscale Mount Vernon area is considered the gay district, with popular bars and restaurants set among wide boulevards. You'll also find a gay and lesbian presence amid the cobblestones and pubs of Fells Point, once Baltimore's original seaport and now party central with a plethora of nightlife venues. Other parts of town to check out include the narrow streets of Little Italy, home to Italian immigrants since the mid-1800s, and Federal Hill, a once-decrepit, now-thriving historic area. Join in the Baltimore Pride festivities in June, and the popular Baltimore Black Gay Pride event in October.

Published: 17 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 7 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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