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12 Offbeat Attractions in Baltimore

Looking for an experience that's a little bit different? See these offbeat sights in Baltimore.

Baltimore is a city of history: it has more monuments per capita than any other American city.

Then there's sports—the Ravens and the Orioles—and a thriving arts scene. Don't forget the Inner Harbor, with its own shops, restaurants and places to explore. But to find something really unique, you'll have to dig a little deeper. How about George Washington's false teeth? They're here, as is a real Egyptian mummy and a shoe shop that sells chocolate—the best of both, we might add. Add these to your itinerary to get a glimpse of Charm City's off-beat quirks.

George Washington's false teeth at the National Museum of Dentistry
George Washington's false teeth are on display at the National Museum of Dentistry. (Courtesy the National Musuem of Dentistry)

National Museum of Dentistry

The truth is George Washington never had wooden teeth. They were ivory—probably from a hippo—and a pair of them are on display at the National Museum of Dentistry. There are 40,000 objects related to the dental profession, even famous artwork. An unexpected place for a Warhol piece, but he made Saint Apollonia a subject of one of his works because of her martyrdom. Apollonia is the patron saint of dentistry, as the Roman Empire extracted all of her teeth when she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

Hogwarts Castle made entirely of matchsticks at Ripley's Believe It or Not in Baltimore
Hogwarts Castle made entirely of matchsticks is on display at Ripley's Believe It or Not. (Arielle Fragassi/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Hogwarts Castle at Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Artist Patrick Acton created a stunningly intricate model of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft—out of 600,000 matchsticks. The model of the school where Potter received his education is on display at Ripley's Believe It or Not! in Baltimore. This "odditorium" is filled with weird attractions and unusual illusions. 

The Goucher Mummy at Johns Hopkins Archeological Museum

Johns Hopkins Archeological Museum has more than 700 artifacts including a real mummy. On loan from Goucher College, the mummy is an adult female from ancient Egypt in the Ptolemaic Period, between 305 and 30 BCE. Examination at Johns Hopkins revealed she was probably 45-50 and was in relatively good health at the time of her death, causes unknown. Her display also contains funeral items that might have accompanied a mummy in the tomb. 

Cosmic Galaxy Egg at the American Visionary Art Museum
Cosmic Galaxy Egg at the American Visionary Art Museum (©Charlie Lyons-Pardue/Flickr, Creative Commons)

American Visionary Art Museum

It's hard to pinpoint one must-see attraction the American Visionary Art Museum because it's all worthy of a visit. The artists represented here are self-taught outsiders who did not have formal training, just an innate need to create. You'll find a "Giant Whirligig" outside, which weighs three tons and is 55 feet tall. Then there's the 8-foot tall, mirrored "Cosmic Galaxy Egg." The Jim Rouse Visionary Center contains three floors of exhibition space, with large sculptures, interactive exhibits, and a Bird's Nest Balcony that offers visitors a bird's-eye view of the buildings and gardens.

The Chamber of Wonders at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore
The Chamber of Wonders at the Walters Art Museum (©Walters Art Museum/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Chamber of Wonders at Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum began as a collection of parlor decòr purchased in the 1850s that William Walters and his son, Henry, curated over the course of their lifetimes.

The eponymous museum has a collection of jewelry, small sculptures, medieval armor on display in addition to a wealth of treasures from various civilizations Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ethiopian and Western Medieval art collections. But the Chamber of Wonders is more than just a collection of art. This replication of a 17th century parlor—owned by a fictitious nobleman—is organized by themes like the realm of nature, the realm of human ingenuity and the realm of the collector.

A memorial for Edgar Allan Poe
A memorial for Edgar Allan Poe (©Brooke Sabin)

Edgar Allan Poe's Grave and Memorial

Edgar Allan Poe was buried in 1849 in an unmarked grave and in 1875, a monument was erected to mark the grave of Baltimore's most famous poet. From 1949, every year in the very early morning of Poe's birthday—January 19—a mysterious, black-clad figure known as the "Poe Toaster" leaves a partial bottle of cognac and three roses on the poet's grave. The identity of the Toaster and the significance of cognac are unknown, as Poe never wrote about the drink. In 2010, the visitations just as mysteriously stopped. In 2015, the Maryland Historical Society organized a competition to choose a new individual and resurrected the tradition—though his or her identity also remains secret.  

National Electronics Museum

The quirkiness in this museum is its intrigue and fascination for electronics nerds all over the world. The National Electronics Museum celebrates science and engineering with more than 10,000 artifacts  and hands on exhibits. Explore electricity and magnetism, learn how the radar led to the development of the microwave oven and see yourself in infrared. The 13 galleries cover topics such as communications, Cold War Radar and Electro-Optics.

Geppi's Entertainment Museum
Geppi's Entertainment Museum (Geppi's Entertainment Museum)

Geppi's Entertainment Museum

Comic book and pop culture lovers have their own museum at Geppi's. "A Story in Four Colors" exhibit is an extensive comic book library illustrating how character-based products have entertained and educated children for generations. "America Tunes In" explores the influence of television from 1946-1960 and continues through exhibits leading up to "Going Global," that covers the effect of 24-hour news broadcasts in addition to computer and internet use. Also explore "Baltimore Heroes," highlighting the city's cultural pioneers.

Bromo Seltzer Tower
Bromo Seltzer Tower (Courtesy Visit Baltimore)

Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower

The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower was built in 1911 and was the tallest building in Baltimore serving as the headquarters of Bromo-Seltzer antacid. Today the tower serves as studio space for more than 30 artists, writers, jewelers and architects. Unlike other arts communities, this tower has a clock that spells Bromo-Seltzer instead of numbers. And you can climb the "ship's ladder" to the 16th floor and tour the clock room: bring your camera to get snaps of the 24-foot clock dials. On the 15th floor explore the museum that features an extensive collection of the iconic blue Bromo bottles.

Ma Petite Shoe

This unique shoe store combines the two things you don't usually see together: shoes and chocolate. Shop for designer shoes and artisan chocolates from around the world by brands including Jeffrey Campbell, and Seychelles. Sip an espresso at the store's cafè while nibbling a crepe and stay for the chocolate Happy Hour. 

Hunting Ground vintage clothing store in Baltimore
Hunting Ground is a vintage clothing store in an old Presbyterian Church. (©Kelsey Snell)

Hunting Ground

One of the most interesting about the this bohemian boutique is its location: the old Hampden Presbyterian Church. Built in 1875 from Texas Limestone, the building served as the church home until the 1970s, when Hampden Presbyterian merged with nearby Waverly Presbyterian. The building served as a community center, clinic, offices and apartments until 2011 when Church & Co. bought it, restored the building and now rents out the sanctuary for weddings, gatherings and musical performances. The Hunting Ground is in the old Sunday School building offering vintage clothing and accessories. 

The Charmery

It's a cute little ice cream shop on the corner of West 36th Street, but it's not your average ice creamery with its unique flavor selection. While you can get reliables like Pure Vanilla, Tell Tale Chocolate or NY Cheesecake, why not stretch your taste buds with a scoop of Old Bay caramel? Cinnamon ramen, mango sticky rice and mango lime hot sauce are also on the menu. There is ice cream for everybody including those that prefer vegan or lactose intolerant options.