Its almost ASMS time!
Since I've been around Baltimore (with some short interruptions) the last 11 years, I've been getting a lot of questions about the city.
Safety? Yes, Baltimore is the #2 city for homicides/year in the U.S. My suggestion: During a drug transaction, particularly one involving heroin or crack cocaine, do not try to get ahead. Know the fair market value for this purchase and stick to it. Virtually all crimes in Baltimore are linked to drugs. Not involved in the drug trade? You're going to be fine.
In all seriousness, most crimes in the Baltimore/DC area are "snatch and go" crimes where cellphones and tablets are grabbed from people's hands. The inner harbor where ASMS will be is heavily policed for these crimes. In 11 years, I've never been mugged (in Baltimore), my car has never been broken into and I've never felt like I've been in danger.
Worth noting, particularly if you are from the West Coast or Europe. In Baltimore, pedestrians typically DO NOT have priority in Baltimore. The Harbor has many cross-walks and is pedestrian friendly. However, 700 pedestrians in Baltimore were struck by cars in 2013. Be cautious.
Baltimore is a quirky town. It has its own dialect that is a little southern and a little made up. Lifetime locals often skip a lot of consonants and drawl vowels together
Example: "Baltimore" proper pronunciation: "Bawlmer"
"Oil" will be pronounced "awl"
Sentences often end in the word "Hon". Its a term of endearment. The first day of ASMS actually coincides with Hon-Fest, a celebration of Baltimore culture. If you want to immerse yourself in Baltimore culture, sneak out on Sunday and go (its in my neighborhood)
Baltimore is a GREAT food town. The inner harbor is mostly corporate restaurants with amazing views of the water. Want amazing Italian? Little Italy is a 15 minute walk (or 5 minute Uber) from the convention center. You can find virtually any food from any culture in Baltimore. One of my favorites in the Harbor? La Tasca Spanish restaurant. Beautiful views of the water.
If you get a chance, have some Baltimore blue crabs! There's nothing like them! And a 'Natty Boh' (National Bohemian beer, great, and $1.50 at a lot of bars, though I have paid as much as $3 for one in the Harbor...)
The Charm City Circulator is a free bus service, particularly set up for tourists! See the sights of Baltimore for free!
Uber is BIG and cheap in Baltimore. Lyft is also picking up steam. I always use Uber, and rarely if ever use other cab services. My personal preference.
Cool stuff near ASMS?
The National Aquarium
Edgar Allen Poe's house and grave
The Visionary Art Museum
The World Trade Center (get a great view of all of Baltimore for (I think) $4 "Top of the World"
Other ideas? Check out this "50 free things to do in Baltimore" article.
This town is FUN!!! See you there!