Best of Baltimore

There's more to this city than the Orioles and Old Bay-seasoned crabs. From Little Italy to American Visionary Museum, see the attractions that reveal the many sides of Charm City.

Photos

Rooftop Movies -- Perth, Australia

Rooftop Movies -- Perth, Australia

Australia’s balmy nights just got cooler atop this rooftop oasis in Perth. You’ll have the Perth city skyline in the background while watching popular releases and cult classics. The scene at Rooftop Movies has a retro-Miami Beach feel complete with palm trees, astro turf, a series of vintage caravans from which food and drinks are served, beach chairs to lounge in and hundreds of pink flamingoes. 960 1280

Jarrad Seng  

Millennium Park -- Chicago

Millennium Park -- Chicago

Chicago?s Millennium Park is already an impressive sight, even without its new state-of-the-art 40-by-23-foot LED movie screen. The park?s latest high-tech attraction draws both Chicagoans and tourists alike to spread a blanket out on the Great Lawn for its Summer Film Series. 960 1280

  

Mirage City Cinema -- UAE

Mirage City Cinema -- UAE

Past meets future at Mirage City Cinema, with ancient Sharjah architecture in the backdrop of a modern open-air movie projection. Floor carpets, which were traditionally used in Arab cultures for relaxing, are scattered throughout the courtyard, adding to the laid-back atmosphere of the outdoor cinema space. 960 1280

Buro Ole Scheeren   

Cine Thisio -- Athens

Cine Thisio -- Athens

It has to be a surreal experience to have ancient Greek ruins in the background as you watch a summer blockbuster. Built in 1935, Cine Thisio is the oldest outdoor movie theater in Athens, with impressive views of the Acropolis and the Parthenon just beyond. 960 1280

Basil Koutroumani  

Little Italy Film Festival -- Baltimore

Little Italy Film Festival -- Baltimore

After a meal in Baltimore's Little Italy, stay for "Cinema al Fresco," one of Little Italy's most popular events, now in its 16th year. Movies are projected on the outside wall of Ciao Bella Restaurant, and you’ll see all the Italian-themed classics from Moonstruck to Cinema Paradiso. 960 1280

VisitBaltimore.com  

Movies at the Mural -- Seattle

Movies at the Mural -- Seattle

Watch movies by moonlight with the Space Needle and the starry skies as the backdrop to Seattle’s summer Movies at the Mural. Picnic on the Mural Amphitheatre lawn, in front of a giant, state-of-the-art, 45-foot screen. 960 1280

shelmac, Flickr  

Open Air Cinema -- Bondi Beach, Australia

Open Air Cinema -- Bondi Beach, Australia

It’s no surprise that beach-loving Australians watch movies on the beach, too. Watch a film at Open Air Cinema amid views of Australia's most famous beach, Bondi Beach. Before the show begins, grab some gourmet food and drinks from a festival bar and listen to local musicians, then settle in for a full night of beachside entertainment. 960 1280

Phil Whitehouse, Flickr  

Kamari Cinema -- Santorini, Greece

Kamari Cinema -- Santorini, Greece

As in ancient times, the open-air theaters of Greece are still a part of the country’s cultural life -- and a popular way to spend a summer night. Enjoy a big fat Greek movie (at least one with Greek subtitles, anyway) at the outdoor Kamari Cinema on the Greek island of Santorini. 960 1280

Courtesy of Kamari Cinema  

Boulder Outdoor Cinema -- Boulder, CO

Boulder Outdoor Cinema -- Boulder, CO

Boulder's Outdoor Cinema is a popular summer night tradition for many outdoors lovers. While waiting for the sun to set and the movie to begin, enjoy local musicians and a trivia contest. 960 1280

Michael Totays  

St. George OpenAir Cinema -- Sydney

St. George OpenAir Cinema -- Sydney

Located at Mrs. Macquarie’s Point, St. George OpenAir Cinema offers stunning views of Sydney Harbour. The movie screen literally rises out of Sydney Harbour. No need to pack a blanket and a picnic basket; this cinema has stadium seating and its own bars and restaurants. 960 1280

Sarah Rhodes  

Outdoor Cinema at Parc de la Villette -- Paris

Outdoor Cinema at Parc de la Villette -- Paris

How can a summer night in Paris get any more romantic? Perhaps by watching a French film on a blanket at the Parc de la Villette with a Parisian picnic of cheese, baguette and wine. 960 1280

A. Legrai  

Montjuic Castle/ SalaMontjuïc -- Barcelona

Montjuic Castle/ SalaMontjuïc -- Barcelona

Every summer Barcelona’s locals gather at the moat area at Montjuic Castle to watch classic and current movies. It wouldn’t be a Spanish night without a little music, so enjoy live music like bossa nova and flamenco before the movie starts. 960 1280

SalaMontjuïc  

Film on the Rocks -- Denver

Film on the Rocks -- Denver

Watching a film at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is sure to be unforgettable -- this is the only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheatre in the world. Thanks to Mother Nature, the design of the amphitheatre consists of two 300-foot monoliths -- a dramatic backdrop for movie night. 960 1280

Paul Maynard  

Film Night in the Park -- San Francisco

Film Night in the Park -- San Francisco

Film buffs gather in beautiful Bay Area parks like Dolores Park for Film Night in the Park. This year's 23st season offers crowd favorites from Up to Silver Linings Playbook. 960 1280

  

Screen on the Green -- Washington, DC

Screen on the Green -- Washington, DC

The tourists might take over the National Mall in the summer, but Washingtonians take it back for the summer movie series Screen on the Green. Each event in the series attracts approximately 15,000 Washingtonians (tourist are allowed, too). Arrive early with blankets to picnic on the Mall and enjoy one of DC’s most popular summer nights out. 960 1280

Erin M, Flickr  

Film4 Summer Screen -- London

Film4 Summer Screen -- London

London?s Somerset House, a spectacular neoclassical building in the heart of London near the River Thames, offers a dramatic backdrop to watch a movie under the summer night stars. Tourists and locals alike rank Film4 Summer Screen as one of the city's best things to do in the summer. 960 1280

James Bryant  

January

January

Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Nevada City, CA
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Jason Rainey  

February

February

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Missoula, MT

At the historic Wilma Theater in downtown Missoula, Montana’s largest cinema event showcases an average of 125 nonfiction films annually. Along with screenings of new and classic documentaries, the festival includes film discussions, pitch sessions and workshops for aspiring filmmakers.
More Festivals in February:
Magnolia Independent Film Festival -- Starkville, MS
Appalachian Film Festival -- Huntington, WV
Big Dam Film Festival -- Quincy, IL
Carolina Film and Video Festival -- Greensboro, NC
StarLite Film Festival -- Winter Garden, FL
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flickr, BigSkyFilm   

March

March

Disposable Film Festival
San Francisco

Disposable video is considered any short film made on an inexpensive device, such as a cell phone. But while moments captured with low-cost video technology may be considered "disposable," that doesn't mean they're not worthy of attention. Kicking off each year in San Francisco before going on tour across the country, this festival gives the work of non-traditional filmmakers the chance to be taken seriously.
More Festivals in March:
Ann Arbor Film Festival -- Ann Arbor, MI
Charlotte Film Festival -- Charlotte, NC
DIY Film Festival -- Hollywood, CA
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Jamie Lubiner  

April

April

Aspen Shortsfest
Aspen, CO

Set among the mountains of Colorado, Aspen Shortsfest is an Oscar-qualifying international competition featuring a selection of drama, comedy, animation and documentary -- all at 40 minutes or less.
More Festivals in April:
Atlanta Film Festival – Atlanta
Independent Film Festival of Boston – Boston
Nashville Film Festival -- Nashville, TN
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NOIR Concepts  

May

May

Maryland Film Festival
Baltimore

An annual 4-day event, the Maryland Film Festival screens approximately 50 feature films and 75 short films of all varieties including documentary, animation, experimental and hybrid. The festival also includes a vintage silent film with live musical accompaniment, a classic 3-D film and a feature selected and hosted by legendary filmmaker (and Baltimore native) John Waters.
More Festivals in May:
3-Minute Film Fest -- Santa Fe, NM
Big Island Film Festival -- Kohala Coast, HI
Cheyenne International Film Festival -- Cheyenne, WY
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Holly Burke  

June

June

Waterfront Film Festival
Saugatuck, MI

Looking to provide a "Middle Coast" venue for independent filmmakers, entertainment professionals from LA, NYC and Michigan created the Waterfront Film Festival, set in the tranquil resort village of Saugatuck.
More Festivals in June:
Little Rock Film Festival -- Little Rock, AK
Nantucket Film Festival -- Nantucket, MA
San Antonio Film Festival -- San Antonio
Staten Island Film Festival -- Staten Island, NY
960 1280

Waterfront Film Festival  

July

July

da Vinci Film Festival
Corvallis, OR

What began as a humble screening of animations in 1999 has evolved into a 3-day exhibition of indie film in the genres of documentary, animation, shorts, and experimental. The da Vinci Film Festival is held as part of "da Vinci Days" where the small town of Corvallis is taken over by artists, engineers and teachers in a sensory experience inspired by the ultimate Renaissance man.
More Festivals in July:
Sacramento Film and Music Festival -- Sacramento, CA
New Hope Film Festival -- New Hope, PA
Real to Reel International Film Festival -- Shelby, NC
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da Vinci Days, Inc.  

August

August

Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival
Birmingham, AL

Located in several venues throughout Birmingham’s historic theatre district, Sidewalk promotes a sense of creativity as filmmakers and film-goers mingle between screenings. Enjoy the outdoors as well with the addition of Sidewalk Central, a live entertainment and vending venue.
More Festivals in August:
Fandana Film Festival -- Huntington, IN
Feel Good Film Festival -- San Clemente, CA
Minneapolis Underground Film Festival – Minneapolis
The Indie Gathering -- Hudson, OH
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SayBre Photography   

September

September

DOCUTAH
St. George, UT

Organized by Dixie State College, DOCUTAH embraces Utah’s gorgeous scenery by screening its documentary submissions in outdoor venues among the red rocks of southern Utah. Master class seminars and filmmaker panels where student documentarians can learn the art of documentary filmmaking round out the experience.
More Festivals in September:
Jaxon Film Fest -- Jackson, MI
Phenom Film Fest -- Shreveport, LA
Latin American Film Festival -- Providence, RI
Great Lakes International Film Festival -- Erie, PA
Actors Film Festival -- Las Vegas
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John Scarafiotti  

October

October

Tallgrass Film Festival
Wichita, KS

The largest independent film festival in Kansas, this 4-day event showcases more than 100 films from around the world, including foreign, documentary, short, GLBT, retrospective and premiering films. The festival prides itself on giving a voice to films that would otherwise not have a theatrical screening in the region.
More Festivals in October:
Austin Film Festival -- Austin, TX
Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival -- Buffalo, NY
International Children's Film Festival – Chicago
Midwest Ski Film Festival – Milwaukee
Modern Film Fest -- Kannapolis, NC
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Tallgrass Film Association   

November

November

Columbus International Film & Video Festival
Columbus, OH
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Columbus Film Council  

December

December

Santa Fe Film Festival
Santa Fe, NM

Beginning in 1999 as a way to promote Santa Fe's identity as a cultural hub, the Santa Fe Film Festival quickly turned into a premier event for the area. The festival offers awards to films in the categories of best feature, best Native American film and best Latino film, among others.
More Festivals in December:
Reel Independent Film Festival -- Hollywood, CA
Moondance International Film Festival -- Boulder, CO
DocMiami International Film Festival -- Miami
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Larry Lamsa, flickr  

Stadium

Stadium

Located on Russell Street, the M&T Bank Stadium is home to the Baltimore Ravens. The stadium’s capacity is large enough to hold 71,004 fans. And just in case you didn’t know, the Ravens head into the Super Bowl with 10 wins and 6 losses for the 2012 NFL regular season. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Candlestick Park

Candlestick Park

In comparison, San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, home to the 49ers, has a seating capacity of 69,843. After winning 11 games and losing 4 during the 2012 NFL regular season, the 49ers are now preparing for their big game against the Baltimore Ravens. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Military Site

Military Site

Baltimore’s Fort McHenry is best known for successfully defending Baltimore Harbor against a British navy attack during the War of 1812. It was during the attack that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the poem that would eventually become the US national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 960 1280

National Park Service  

Presidio

Presidio

In 1776, the Presidio started out as a military base, but it would close its doors as an active base in 1989 as part of a military reduction program. Now a public park, the Presidio has wooded hills and the best panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bridge and the Pacific Ocean. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Crab

Crab

In Baltimore, nothing beats delicious soft blue crabs, served up at dozens of local restaurants, including Schultz’s Crab House, Crab Shanty and Mariner’s Landing. 960 1280

istock  

Dungeness Crabs

Dungeness Crabs

And in San Francisco, who can deny the incredibly fresh taste of Dungeness crabs at Anchor Oyster Bar, Crazy Crab’z, Sotto Mare and other local restaurants. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Waterfront

Waterfront

Both cities have great harbors. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is the site of the National Aquarium, Sports Legends at Camden Yards and, just a few blocks away, Port Discovery Children’s Museum. Shop until you drop at Harborplace and the Gallery, and end your shopping spree with a casual walk along the picturesque waterfront. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

In San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf is home to dozens of restaurants, bars and shops sure to keep any tourist busy. A variety of boat charters and bay cruises begin at the wharf, including boat tours to Alcatraz Island. The Aquarium of the Bay, Ghirardelli Square, Pier 39 and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum are just a few tourist attractions located nearby, and we’d be remiss to not mention the crowds that stand around to watch the street performers and sunbathing sea lions. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Art Museum

Art Museum

Located in Baltimore’s Federal Hill neighborhood, the American Visionary Art Museum showcases original works of art created by self-taught artists. The museum comprises 3 renovated historic industrial buildings and sculpture gardens; all create the “un-museumy” atmosphere to display works by visionary artists, including Ho Baron, Nek Chand, Ted Gordon and Leo Sewell. 960 1280

Paul Burk  

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Founded in 1935, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was the first museum on the West Coast devoted to modern and contemporary art. From modern masters to younger, less established artists, more than 27,000 works of art are on display. Visitors can take a self-guided tour, as well as watch video screenings, view interactive kiosks or participate in public programs to learn more about modern art. 960 1280

Jamie McCaffrey, flickr  

Most Popular Attraction

Most Popular Attraction

The National Aquarium is the most popular tourist destination in Baltimore. In 2003, aquariums in Baltimore and Washington DC, joined forces to become one National Aquarium; today, the facility showcases living collections of more than 16,000 animals, from more than 660 species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, all living in a makeshift natural habitat. 960 1280

National Aquarium ©  

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

In San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is the most popular tourist attraction in the City by the Bay. The famous bridge was named after the Golden Gate Strait -- the entrance to San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. As of May 2012, almost 2 million vehicles had crossed the Golden Gate Bridge since opening to traffic on May 28, 1937. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Historic Neighborhood

Historic Neighborhood

Welcome to Fell’s Point, a Baltimore neighborhood and historic district once populated by a large number of Polish and Irish immigrants. The waterfront community is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, coffee bars, music stores and the highest concentration of pubs in the city -- more than 120. 960 1280

duluoz cats, flickr  

North Beach, San Francisco

North Beach, San Francisco

The American Planning Association has named San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood one of 10 “Great Neighborhoods in America.” Also known as Little Italy, the area has historically been home to a large Italian-American population. It was also the historic center of the 1950s beatnik literary movement. Today the neighborhood is populated by young professionals, families and Chinese immigrants. 960 1280

Alfonso Jimenez, flickr  

Light Rail

Light Rail

One option for getting around Baltimore is the city’s light-rail system; it has a few main routes, including one that runs from Penn Station to Camden Yards. 960 1280

Gregory Wass, flickr  

Muni

Muni

Out on the West Coast, the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni), is one of America’s oldest public transit agencies. Today it carries over 200 million customers per year. Unlike Baltimore’s limited light-rail service, the Muni runs 24 hours, 7 days a week. 960 1280

Prayitno, flickr  

Familiar Sign

Familiar Sign

It really isn’t a competition, but we thought we’d throw in a couple famous signs that most people will be familiar with after visiting the 2 Super Bowl cities. Like this, for example: Take a quick glance at Baltimore’s skyline and you’ll notice the Domino Sugars sign atop the company’s plant. 960 1280

Mr. T in DC, flickr   

The Castro Sign

The Castro Sign

Although it doesn’t light up San Fran’s skyline, the famous Castro sign does light up the neighborhood. The Castro was one of America’s first and largest gay neighborhoods. 960 1280

Ludovic Bertron, flickr  

Best Food

Best Food

In comparing neighborhoods, Baltimore’s Little Italy is known for its authentic Italian food served at more than 30 restaurants, nestled between the Inner Harbor and historic Fell’s Point neighborhood. 960 1280

Daniel Lobo, flickr  

Chinatown, San Francisco

Chinatown, San Francisco

We could compare Baltimore’s Little Italy to San Francisco’s Little Italy, but we decided to go in a different direction. We opted instead to highlight San Fran’s Chinatown, where authentic Chinese food is served at restaurants like Golden Gate Bakery, Hunan Home’s Restaurant and Wing Sing. 960 1280

Thomas Hawk, flickr  

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