Twice a month, Say Hello To America will be showcasing the voices behind the official social media accounts of destinations all across the United States and the city they represent. This week, say hello to Erica Malanga, the voice for Baltimore, Maryland. Erica is new to Visit Baltimore, but not to the city. She’s lived in Maryland most of her life and spent the past five years creating strategic social media plans for local and national brands at one of Baltimore’s top creative agencies. Erica is passionate about finding new and innovative ways to promote the history, heritage, food, attractions, and QUIRKS of Charm City!
1. What time of year is best to travel to Baltimore?
I recommend visiting Baltimore late May through early September. While there’s plenty to do all year round, the better the weather, the easier it is to navigate and explore.
2. How would you describe the people of Baltimore?
Baltimore is called Charm City for a reason! Our people are quirky, friendly, spirited, and CHARMING!
3. What is your favorite thing about Baltimore?
Tough question! If I had to pick one thing it would be the history of Baltimore. In fact, Baltimore was recently named one of the top 15 places to experience American culture by Expedia. African American, sports, and literary history all collide here. You can start your day at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, work your way over to the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum, and end your day at Edgar Allan Poe’s grave.
4. What is Baltimore’s most famous landmark or attraction?
It would have to be the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. It inspired the Star-Spangled Banner, our national anthem!
5. Name one “secret” location that a traveler must visit.
Not sure that it is a secret, per se, but I recommend a visit to Graffiti Alley. Instagram-lovers can thank me later.
6. What is the best/easiest mode of transportation to get around the city?
From buses to water taxis, trains to ride sharing apps, Baltimore has a lot of transportation options. The Charm City Circulator is a fast, free, and green way to get around the city. Speaking of green, Baltimore recently launched a new Bike Share System equipped with electric bikes that provide an extra ‘zip’ when riding around town!
7. Is there any festival or event in Baltimore that a traveler should specifically plan a trip around?
Light City Baltimore! Friday, March 31 through Saturday, April 8, 2017, this free public festival will transform the city into a playground of interactive light art installations, concerts, performances, and activities for the whole family. Last year’s inaugural event drew nearly 400,000 visitors and we are anticipating an equally groundbreaking experience this year. The BGE Light Art Walk is a 1.5 mile trail along the Inner Harbor and worth the trip alone, but I am personally most excited to see Neighborhood Lights, an artist-in-residence program that will extend the magic of Light City to eight of our most distinct neighborhoods!
8. What are the best family-friendly attractions that Baltimore has to offer?
Baltimore has a number of great family-friendly attractions including the National Aquarium, Port Discovery, the Maryland Science Center, the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, and the Maryland Zoo.
9. What is Baltimore’s signature food that every visitor has to try?
Great. Now I have “Miss Baltimore Crabs,” from Hairspray, stuck in my head! When family and friends visit from out of town, I take them for their crab fix. Whether cracking them over newspaper or enjoying in a creamy soup – you can never go wrong with crabs in Baltimore.
10. If I only had one day to explore Baltimore, what MUST I see or do?
Only one day? Start in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and work your way out! Kick things off with an under-the-sea adventure at the National Aquarium, head to Dooby’s for a pork bun and iced coffee, and then hit the Walters Art Museum for a touch of culture. End your night in Fell’s Point – I’ll leave the bar choice to the visitor as there are tons to choose from.