Boston to Baltimore: awesome weekend trips

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, Philamuseum.org) — 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 (Muralarts.org/tour).

Where to eat: For an authentic and inexpensive bite, head to Reading Terminal Market (51 N. 12th St., 215-922-2317, Readingterminalmarket.org) 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, Vedgerestaurant.com).

Where to stay: Choice picks include the modern Hotel Palomar Philadelphia (117 S. 17th St., 888-725-1778, Hotelpalomar-philadelphia.com), 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, Rittenhousehotel.com), 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, Odundefestival.org) 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 (Elitefitnesstours.com/baltimore). For patriotic fun, take a ride down the Chesapeake Bay on the Fort McHenry Boat Tour (Friendsoffortmchenry.org) 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, Waterfrontkitchen.com) 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, Missshirleys.com).

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

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, Honfest.net), 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, Bostonbyfoot.org), 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, Bostonchildrensmuseum.org), which encourages hands-on learning.

Where to eat: Explore Legal Harborside (270 Northern Ave., 617-477-2900, Legalseafoods.com), 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, Intercontinentalboston.com) 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, Thehotelveritas.com) 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., Sowasundays.com), New England’s largest outdoor weekly bazaar, open now through the end of October.

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