Research Elective at JHU: Life in Baltimore




Baltimore is best known as the birthplace of the U.S. national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. The song is based on a poem written by Francis Scott Key while he was held captive on a British ship during the Battle of Baltimore, widely considered the turning point of the War of 1812. Each summer, a stars and stripes painted buoy is placed in the exact spot in the harbor where the prison ship was anchored during the battle. 

If you want to try foods that are native to Baltimore, look for steamed crabs, crabcakes, steamed shrimp, and Maryland crab soup. Berger cookies are available at grocery and convenience stores. 

The city has been home to many notable people, including

  • George Herman "Babe" Ruth, professional baseball player

  • Cab Calloway, singer, band leader

  • Kevin Clash, Sesame Street’s Elmo puppeteer

  • Frederick Douglass, abolitionist

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, author 

  • Billy Holliday, jazz singer 

  • Johns Hopkins, Quaker businessman, abolitionist and philanthropist

  • Henrietta Lacks, source and namesake of the famous HeLa cell line

  • Barry Levinson, Oscar winning film director

  • Thurgood Marshall, first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice

  • Eli Lilly, pharmaceutical chemist, founder of Eli Lilly and Company

  • Ogden Nash, poet and humorist

  • Michael Phelps, multiple-world record Olympic swimmer

  • Edgar Allen Poe, poet

  • Tupac Shakur, rap artist and hip hop performer

  • Jada Pinket Smith, actress

  • Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

  • Anne Tyler, author

  • John Waters, filmmaker

  • Oprah Winfrey, television personality, actress, producer

For information about what to do and see, the Visit Baltimore website is a good resource Below is a brief guide to a few of Baltimore's most popular neighborhoods.




Johns Hopkins Corporate Security maintains a list of ground travel options for getting around Baltimore

Taxi cabs, Uber or Lyft fee-for-service options will offer the most flexibility.



Water taxis offer a great way to get around and see the city from the water. Taxi routes connect the waterfront neighborhoods of Federal Hill, Inner Harbor, Fell’s Point, Canton, and Fort McHenry, and day passes are available for unlimited trips.


Charles Village/Remington

Johns Hopkins University Main Campus, Baltimore Museum of Art, shops, restaurants

  • One World Café: West University Parkway. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free restaurant

  • Paper Moon Diner: West 29th Street. You won’t believe your eyes when you step inside. All-day breakfast, and lots of vegetarian and vegan options.

  • Clavel. West 23rd Street. Fresh, upscale, very tasty, family run taqueria.

  • R House. West 29th Street. This industrial building used to be a car dealership. It was been transformed into a chic food court with 10 different food stalls and open seating.


Federal Hill 

Historic neighborhood, Federal Hill Park, Cross Street Market, American Visionary Arts Museum, Museum of Industry, Fort McHenry, Downtown Sailing Center, waterfront promenade, shops, restaurants


Fell's Point & Canton

Neighboring historic communities featuring bars, restaurants, shops, and waterfront. Broadway Market, Canton Waterfront Park, Kayaking, Farmer’s Market (Saturdays), Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park, Ghost tours, Robert Long House, Patterson Park, Waterfront, Water Taxi


Inner Harbor

Main tourist area, Visitor’s Center, National Aquarium, Shot Tower, Maryland Science Center, Edgar Allen Poe’s Gravesite and Memorial, waterfront promenade, harbor cruises, water taxi, street performances, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, shops, restaurants

While there are hundreds of options for dining in the Inner Harbor, this is a highly trafficked tourist area, and restaurants are mostly franchises. Federal Hill, Little Italy, and Fell’s Point are nearby and offer higher quality food, from local businesses, at better prices. 


Little Italy

Historic Italian neighborhood, Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Flag House. In the summer, the neighborhood features outdoor movies—usually featuring Italian themes. 

  • Amicci’s: High Street. Family owned restaurant featuring fresh made Italian food. 2017 recipient of the Diner’s Choice Award.

  • Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop: Albemarle Street, Little Italy. Pastry shop and dessert café.


Mount Vernon

Maryland Historical Society, Basilica of the Assumption (first cathedral built in the United States), Walter’s Art Museum, Baltimore Washington Monument, Peabody Library



Like many cities around the world, Baltimore experiences crime. The East Baltimore Medical Campus maintains its own security force, and works closely with the Baltimore Police Department on public safety and crime investigations. Like anywhere, it's not wise to walk while distracted, on the phone, or with headphones on, and it's safest to walk in groups of two or more people. After dark it's safest to take a taxi or Uber.



Washington, DC: 1 hour train   |

Philadelphia: 1 hour train   |

New York: 3 hour train  |

Boston: 7.5 hour train; 1.5 hour flight  |