When you think of best kept secret of the traveler, you don't think of Baltimore. You think perhaps of the Seychelles, or Corsica, but not Baltimore. Yet, Charm City has a lot to offer and it is one of the best kept secrets in the US for a two-day weekend in spring.
First off, Baltimore has some of the best spring and late fall weather in the United States. It's lovely and temperate, not too humid until mid-June hits, and just a real pleasure to walk around and enjoy.
Charm City also has some of the most beautiful Federalist architecture in the US. But, unlike many little towns, which look and are pure tourist traps, Baltimore is a living, breathing, often struggling city. That sense of grit combined with the beauty of the setting, weather, and architecture are a rather unique experience. And one shouldn't miss either historic Mt Vernon or the Guildford Mansions, which are still among the most beautiful turn of the century homes of the country.
The city also has wonderful, and underrated, museums and attractions. The home of Edgar Allen Poe is a well preserved, must hit for literary buffs, and the Walters Art Museum has one of the best collections of historical and ancient art anywhere. It is almost never crowded so, unlike the Met, you can explore its beauty in solitude. And, for those who like great old mansions and beautiful university campuses, Johns Hopkins has both, with a leafy, walking campus punctuated by the country home of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Finally, the city has excellent food, especially for a mid-size US city, with at least one excellent option for every genre. Helmand may be the best Afghan food on the East coast, and is well-liked by the city's power set, while Isabella's, in Little Italy, may be unassuming but it has some of the best pizza I've had (and I live in Manhattan). Even the creatively named 'Thai Restaurant,' located in a stretch of the city made famous by the TV show The Wire, is an oasis, with better Thai than I've had anywhere outside of Woodside, Queens.
So, give Charm City a try. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised