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Boston to Baltimore: awesome weekend trips

The Odunde Festival, held each June on Philadelphia's

The Odunde Festival, held each June on Philadelphia's South Street, is the largest African-American street festival in the nation. Photo Credit: GPTMC/M. Edlow

In need of a weekend getaway this summer? Look no further. Here are three destinations just a few hours outside of the city.

The so-called “sixth borough” is a great weekend escape full of award-winning eateries, soulful entertainment and historical sightseeing.

What to do: For some history lessons, Independence Hall, the birthplace of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and the Liberty Bell Center are open year-round. To get your art fix, visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art ($20 admission for adults, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pwky., 215-763-8100, — home of the famed steps from “Rocky” — and explore Philly’s awesome street art, touted as the world’s largest outdoor gallery, by foot, bike or trolley on the Mural Arts Program tour (

Where to eat: For an authentic and inexpensive bite, head to Reading Terminal Market (51 N. 12th St., 215-922-2317, to shop for locally grown produce and sample an assortment of food merchants, including Hershel’s East Coast Deli, where New Yorkers will feel right at home noshing on a delish bagel and lox with the works. Veggie lovers will flip for the creative dishes at upscale vegetarian eatery Vedge (1221 Locust St., 215-320-7500,

Where to stay: Choice picks include the modern Hotel Palomar Philadelphia (117 S. 17th St., 888-725-1778,, with a prime Center City location and a nightly wine happy hour with truffle popcorn, and the stately Rittenhouse Hotel (210 West Rittenhouse Square, 800-635-1042,, where a proper afternoon tea is served daily in the elegant Mary Cassatt Tea Room.

Getting there: Two hours by car, train or bus.

Summer pick: The Odunde Festival (June 8, is a popular cultural celebration with food, dance, live music and a marketplace featuring African fabrics and jewelry.

From food to culture, see what this waterfront city in Maryland has to offer.

What to do: You can’t come to the city of “Bawlmer” without hanging at the Inner Harbor, home to shops and restaurants aplenty, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the world-famous National Aquarium. Fitness buffs will enjoy taking an active tour of the Harbor with Elite Fitness Tours ( For patriotic fun, take a ride down the Chesapeake Bay on the Fort McHenry Boat Tour ( to the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, where visitors can hear about Francis Scott Key’s experience in the hours leading up to writing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Where to eat: Dine on foodie-approved American fare at the seed-to-table eatery Waterfront Kitchen (1417 Thames St., 443-681-5310, in historic Fells Point, and chomp on an authentic Maryland crab cake, fried chicken and waffles and other down-home brunch delights at Miss Shirley’s Cafe’s Inner Harbor location (750 E. Pratt St., 410-528-5373,

Where to stay: Check out the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront (700 Aliceanna St., 410-385-3000, in the trendy Harbor East neighborhood, or the central Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore (550 Light St., 410-234-0550,

Getting there: Three and a half hours by car, Amtrak or bus.

Summer pick: Experience the flamboyant culture that inspired the John Waters film-cum-Broadway musical, “Hairspray,” at HonFest 2014 (June 14-15,, a street fair and pageant in the city’s folksy Hampden neighborhood.

The historic Massachusetts city has something for the whole family.

What to do: Get a closer look at the historic city on the Heart of Freedom Trail walking tour ($12 adults, $8 children 6-12,, which begins with the city’s establishment in 1630, continues through the American Revolution and concludes with a discussion of its modern development. For more culture, take the kids to the Boston Children’s Museum ($14 adults and children; 308 Congress St., 617-426-6500,, which encourages hands-on learning.

Where to eat: Explore Legal Harborside (270 Northern Ave., 617-477-2900,, a swanky three-floor space overlooking the Boston waterfront that includes a raw bar, extensive menu and a rooftop lounge for cocktails, music and small bites.

Where to stay: The luxury InterContinental Boston (510 Atlantic Ave., 617-747-1000, overlooks the developing waterfront area and is walking distance from the Amtrak station. Or opt for a stay in Harvard Square at the sleek 31-room boutique Hotel Veritas (1 Remington St., 617-520-5000, in Cambridge.

Getting there: About four hours by car, bus or train.

Summer pick: Spend a sunny Sunday at SoWa Open Market (460 Harrison Ave.,, New England’s largest outdoor weekly bazaar, open now through the end of October.

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