Every year we’re asked, “Why did you pick this city for the NTC?” While we weigh fiscal and geographical considerations, when it comes right down to it, we choose a city that we think you’ll like, and we think you’ll love Baltimore.
We won’t gloss over the fact that Baltimore has significant challenges, including socioeconomic disparity and poverty. It’s not unique in that regard. But amidst these challenges are opportunities. A great deal of the positive change happening in Baltimore is being led by folks working together to create community, and by nonprofits working creatively to support those communities.
You’ll notice that Baltimore is a place of incubators, innovators, and makers. Over at R. House, you can check out ten food stalls featuring some of Baltimore’s best chefs, play some shuffleboard, and sample local spirits at r.bar. Before you go, check the events calendar at B.Willow, where you can attend a terrarium building workshop, drop in on a yoga class, or see a show.
Local nonprofits like Creative Alliance and Motor House offer opportunities for exhibitions, live performances, and digital arts. Don’t forget to visit Graffiti Alley, preserved by a nonprofit arts organization supporting Baltimore street artists. You’ll definitely want to fire up Instagram a lot on this trip. I’m hoping to see lots of you in front of Baltimore Love Project’s murals, but I also hope you’ll find Megan Lewis’ work and share it far and wide. NTEN community member Dani Faulkner introduced us to Megan when some of our team visited Baltimore last year. Since then, we’ve been fawning over her work.
For some of you, no NTC is complete until you’ve sung your hearts out, so start planning your big numbers for karaoke at Walt’s Inn. Any city so generous to give us the likes of Eubie Blake, Billie Holliday, Cab Calloway, Ric Ocasek, David Byrne, Tori Amos, Sisqo, and Frank Zappa is a place to find amazing live music. The Cat’s Eye Pub has you covered. While in Fells Point, make time to honor Lady Day by visiting the Billie Holliday Arts Project.
Baltimore is home to a ton of museums and historical sites. You can visit Edgar Allen Poe’s Grave, stand on the spot where Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner,” or check out a set of George Washington’s dentures at the National Museum of Dental History. Those places are interesting, of course. But the real gems in Baltimore are the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, the American Visionary Art Museum, and the Peabody Library, one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.
The real vibe of Charm City is in the neighborhoods, so don’t be shy. In early February, we’ll share the community events doc for planning your visit. Pick a few places you’d like to see, find some fellow NTCers, and go explore Baltimore. We’re sure that you’ll all leave singing “Good Morning, Baltimore,” letting a little Baltimorese into your conversations, and planning for a John Waters movie night.