A Guide to NACAC 2023: Things to See, Eat and Drink in Baltimore

Fall is officially underway and many admissions professionals have been on the road since August visiting high schools, attending college fairs and, notably, this month, heading to Baltimore to attend one of my favorite conferences of the year, NACAC.

I love NACAC for a variety of reasons: the opportunity to get inspired by speakers like Jay Shetty; to hear national discourse around admissions and enrollment hot topics through educational sessions like the ones my colleagues, Ken Anselment and Rosa Arroyo Driggers, are hosting; and the chance to connect with friends and peers from throughout the United States for a quick coffee, meal or cocktail.

As you’re getting ready to head to Baltlimore, we offer a handful of recommendations for things to see, eat and drink during your time in the city.

To See:

If you venture outside the Baltimore Convention Center area, we encourage you to take a 15-minute ride to the Baltimore Museum of Art to spend time with their impressive collection–including works by Matisse and Picasso–as well as their array of African and Asian art. If you get hungry while exploring, Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen overlooks the sculpture garden and serves locally sourced farm-fresh food that preserves Chesapeake culinary traditions.

To Eat:

Baltimore has a variety of exquisite restaurants to choose from, featuring Beard-nominated chefs, Best of Baltimore winners, and establishments that serve the community not only through food. While not exhaustive, here are a few of our favorites:

  • Cindy Lou’s Fish House: You may find me here one night while I’m in Baltimore, enjoying seafood, views of the harbor and southern-inspired dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious.
  • Ekiben: For a more casual experience with a focus on Asian-style comfort food, I’d recommend Beard-nominated Ekiben. Here you’ll find pork buns, rice bowls and a variety of Asian-fusion sides that are mouthwatering.
  • Mera Kitchen Collective: The concept of this restaurant gets me excited. As a worker-owned cooperative, Mera Kitchen Collective started off as a series of pop-ups and now has a brick-and-mortar that empowers refugees to tap into their culinary heritage through cooking.

To Drink:

If you’re in the mood to enjoy a quick happy hour with colleagues, we have a few options for you, too.

  • Topside: If the weather is nice, we highly recommend Topside, the rooftop bar at Hotel Revival. It’s a quick walk or ride from the convention center and offers guests great cocktails and beautiful views of the city.
  • The Brewer’s Art: If you prefer a brewpub offering a wide selection of beer (and craft cocktails, too), add The Brewer’s Art to your list. It’s a Baltimore favorite with a great atmosphere serving outstanding food and drinks.
  • The Bluebird Cocktail Room and Pub: A 15-minute ride will take you to the Bluebird Cocktail Room, a funky bar that focuses on craft cocktails. While you’re there, head downstairs to the pub, a place they describe as “a cozy, candlelit, underground gathering space for lovers of American whiskey, cured meats and classic literature.”

This should get you started, but if you need help—or want some company—please reach out! We’d love to have a conversation with you, catch up and share some of the exciting things that are happening at RHB.

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