Fells Point (Baltimore), Maryland
Fells Point's is one of Baltimore's oldest neighborhoods, and in fact, was founded long before Baltimore became a city. The town was first settled in 1730 by William Fell, and it soon became a major port and shipbuilding center. In 1797, the town combined with Baltimore Town and Jones Town to form the city of Baltimore. Fells Point's prosperity continued as immigrants flowed to the area to fill the jobs quickly being created. However, the professional class moved north to higher ground and lower densities, leaving behind the area's more diverse working class.
It's this diversity and working class spirit that has imbued most of Fells Point's character throughout the years. The area has some of the largest concentration of bars in the city. But in recent years more boutiques and restaurants have opened to serve the growing professional class that has come back to the area and participated in its gentrification.
Speaking of gentrification, development of the city's posh Harbor East community has replaced aging brownfields and warehouses and served as a bridge, connecting the touristy Inner Harbor in the heart of Baltimore with the Fells Point community. Now one can travel seamlessly through several trendy communities to reach Fells Point. In fact, if you really want to enjoy the scenery, you can stroll the Baltimore Waterfront Promenade to get to Fells Point, or if you dont't feel like walking, take one of the Water Taxis that travel through the area.
Fells Point is about a mile east of downtown Baltimore. Fells Point's two Main Streets include Thames and Broadway while other shops, restaurants, and businesses can be found along Aliceanna, and Fleet Streets. Set your GPS for the intersection of Thames Street and Broadway to find the heart of Fells Point.
We start our tour of Fells Point on Thames Street, one of the Main Streets in the area. From here, we'll head east into the heart of Fells Point. This is a view of the Bond Street Wharf, one of the newer office and retail developments built in the area, named after the cross street that intersects with Thames Street.
Here's Thames Street looking east. Brown's Wharf is a more historic building, but it has also been renovated into offices and shops. Notice the cobblestone street. Those are known as Belgium Blocks. Also, Thames is pronounced just like it's spelled, with a long "A" sound, unlike the more famous river in London.
This is another view of the redeveloped retail along the front of Brown's Wharf, this time facing westbound. Here you can see the brick sidewalks.
Fells Point is an interesting study in contradictions. Here you have a Mediterranean Tapas restaurant with outdoor dining next to a tattoo parlor.
A row of shops on Thames Street, including a gift shop selling Natty Boh merchandise. Mr. Boh is the famous mascot for National Bohemian beer, originally brewed in Baltimore and still a favorite in the city.
The Horse You Came In On Saloon is believed to be the oldest continuously operating saloon in the country (even during Prohibition somehow). Fells Point is known for its large number of bars and taverns dating back to when the areas's primary industry came from being a seaport. Today, Fells Point is famous for its nightlife and has the largest concentration of restaurants in Baltimore.
Across the street, we see more of the redevelopment that has taken place, and between two of the buildings, we can get a view of the harbor in the distance.
In the past, Fells Point had more of a rowdy reputation, dating back to its days as a seaport. Today, with gentrification, you'll find more boutiques and gift shops moving in to the area.
And with that gentrification comes more sidewalk cafes. Just make room for the bike riders.
This is an example of some of the eighteenth century architecture you'll find in Fells Point. This is one of the oldest parts of Baltimore City. In fact, Fells Point was originally its own town with streets first being laid out in 1763, before incorporating with Baltimore Town and Jones Town to form a new Town of Baltimore in 1773 and later Baltimore City in 1797.
Here is another view of the same set of shops we were looking at from before. Above, you can see the Baltimore Orioles mascot hanging high from a flag.
We made it to the intersection of Thames Street and Broadway. These are the two Main Streets in Fells Point, although you'll find businesses on many of the other side streets. Broadway is, well, a very broad street with parking, markets, and parks in the middle. Here, at its southern end, we see Broadway Square, a large public plaza.
Also on the corner of Thames and Broadway is the Admiral Fell Inn, a high end hotel located in the heart of Fells Point.
The Water Taxi is one way to get around the city. The signs point out the various locations that the different color-coded routes can take you to.
Here's a Water Taxi now. It's also a scenic way to check out Baltimore and you can bypass the street traffic as well.
This pier juts out into the harbor. Locust Point, another gentrifying area can be seen in the distance.
If we turn around, we can look back and see redeveloped space used for office, condos, shops, and restaurants. This is actually behind the Brown's Wharf development we saw earlier. We also see people walking along the Baltimore Waterfront Promenade, which almost entirely wraps around the city's waterfront area.
Also, we can see some of Fells Points more historical buildings, including the Baltimore Recreation Pier Building. If you look carefully, you can see a Water Taxi docked and loading up with passengers.
This is one of the markers for the Baltimore Waterfront Promenade. As you can see, there are signs and maps on the post so you can follow these around the waterfront to get a feeling for the city.
We're back on Thames Street. Here are some more shops and bars at the corner of Thames and Broadway, including a popular ice cream shop. Also notice the rail tracks still embedded in Thames Street.
On the southeast corner of Broadway Square we see this hot dog stand.
We continue our tour down Thames Street. The Baltimore Recreation Pier Building was originally built as civic assembly space in 1914. It's most famously known as the set where NBC's Homicide: Life on the Streets was filmed. It has stood vacant since then, but most recent plans call for it to be turned into a hotel.
Across Thames Street are more shops, pubs, restaurants, and hotels, all with historic flare.
Here's another view of the north side of Thames Street. The building that has The Preservation Society sign above it is also the Visitor Center. In this picture, you get a good view of the cobble stones on Thames Street along with the old rail lines running down the middle.
This is another view Thames Street. People are outside enjoying lunch on the beautiful day. You can tell by the signs that one of the local specialties is seafood.
The Cat's Eye Pub is popular with locals and features many local bands. Fells Point is the biggest nightlife area in Baltimore City and is reminiscent of the days when sailors would come to shore looking for a drink and a good time.
We make it to the corner of Thames Street and Ann Street. Here on the northwest corner of the intersection, we get a good view of the well-preserved eighteenth century architecture you can find in Fells Point.
On the northeast corner of the same intersection we see some more shops and restaurants in attractive architecture.
Fell Street heads southeast so it forms this oddly triangular block. This is the corner of Fell Street and Ann Street.
This is the furthest east that we will head before turning back. This is the corner of Thames Street and Ann Street, another one of those oddly shaped blocks caused by Fell Street.
Now we'll doubleback and head north on Broadway. We will go north on the east side of Broadway first and then eventually head back south on the west side.
This is a view of Broadway and Lancaster Street. You can tell this is a sports bar by the Baltimore Orioles mascot over the door. Go O's!
Along this stretch of Broadway, the Broadway Market occupies the median between the two halves of Broadway. The Broadway Market dates back to 1763 when four sheds ran down to the harbor and served the sailors and immigrants in the area.
Here's an interior view of the Broadway Market. Today the market serves locals and tourists alike with an ecclectic mix of foods and specialty items. You can eat in or order carry out.
We take a detour off Broadway and head east down Aliceanna Street. This is a view looking back westbound towards Broadway.
And on Aliceanna, you'll find some high-end restaurants like Louisiana, which features this rather impressive entrance. If you continue to head east on Aliceanna, you would eventually land in Baltimore's Canton neighborhood, home to more shops and restaurants.
We return to Broadway and continue heading north. Here are some more of the restaurants and other businesses you'll find along this stretch just north of the intersection of Broadway and Aliceanna.
A little further north on Broadway we find some more stores, including these staples for the locals. It's funny to see how a large big box store was able to reduce its footprint to make itself fit in a community like Fells Point.
Now we make it to Fleet Street, which is the northern boundary of our tour. We turn right on Fleet Street and head east to check out a few more shops and eateries.
It just goes to show it pays to step off the beaten path. If you're looking for something different, Ze Mean Bean Cafe offers traditional Eastern European Cuisine.
Here are some more unique stores and antique shops that you'll find along Fleet Street.
We make it back to the intersection of Fleet Street and Broadway. This is the north side of the north building of Broadway Market. As you can see by the sign, renovations were occurring at the time.
This mural painted on the side of a bank building depicts Fells Point's seafaring history. You can see this on the northwest corner of Broadway and Fleet Street. If you were to continue heading north on Broadway, you would enter Upper Fells Point the heart of Baltimore's growing Latino community and sometimes referred to as "Spanish Town."
We now go down the west side of Broadway, heading south back towards Thames Street and the waterfront. The Smashburger has since closed.
If we turn right and head west on Aliceanna Street, we find more shops and restaurants. In the distance, you can see new high-rise office, hotel and residential towers going up in the Harbor East area of Baltimore.
Locals hang out at the intersection of Aliceanna Street and Bethel Street. Vines almost completely cover the top half of the Blue Moon Cafe.
Across the street are more historic properties along Aliceanna Street. On the far right, is the new office of Fells Point Main Street. It actually used to be a city-owned Public Comfort Station. Notice the two front doors? One was for men and one was for women.
We head back to Broadway and continue to head south again toward Thames Street and the waterfront.
More shops and restaurants along this busy stretch of Broadway. A local is waving hello to somebody.
We turn around to get a northbound view of Broadway as well.
We make it to the intersection of Broadway and Lancaster Street. The next block down is set back a bit to make room for Broadway Square, the large open space we saw earlier on our tour.
Heading slightly further south we see some motorcycles heading past the row of shops along Broadway.
We cross the intersection and turn around and get a northbound view of Lancaster and Broadway. Bertha's Mussels is very famous around Baltimore and you'll find many cars sporting the restaurant's bumper stickers around town.
And if we head a little further south, we make it back to the Admiral Fell Inn, which we had seen earlier at the intersection of Thames Street and Broadway. So we have made a complete circle and have concluded our tour. Now to get something to eat.
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Fells Point Main Street
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