Back when gas was below $3 a gallon (the good ol’ days) one of last winter’s weekend snowstorms threatened to stop what was supposed to be a 2 day party/reunion with a few college friends in Manhattan. As Murphy’s law would have it, all flights into LaGuardia were canceled while most of us were in route to respective airports; but anyone who knows this group of overachievers will tell you we aren’t known for giving in…not even for mother nature. Long story short, we all put in for refunds, gassed up the cars and drove to the best mid-point we could find, Baltimore.

I’ll spare you the weekend details (another blog post for another day or perhaps a screenplay for the next Cohen brothers movie), but here are a few places I visited on this and other trips, that I think are worth stopping by…

Power Plant Live
This place is all day (and night) entertainment. Complete with an ESPN Zone, Barnes and Noble, Hard Rock Café, and a few other choice venues, it’s sort of a tourists dream. It’s tall (meaning it’s easy to find) and you could come back every night and visit a different venue or restaurant. ALSO: For those that are members, there’s Gold’s Gym inside.

Max’s on Broadway
If you like a cold beer with your convention, here’s the place. There are 72 drafts on tap and over 400 brands of bottled beer. Are you a non-drinker? Don’t worry, Max has something for you. You HAVE to try the burgers here. They won the Fell’s Point Best Burger award and once you taste it, you’ll know why.

Babalu Grill
If you hate GREAT Latin cuisine, then this isn’t your place. For the rest of us Babalu is a must visit on a trip to Baltimore. If you like an “energetic” atmosphere and authentic Latin inspired dishes this is the place. The Grill also morphs into a club at 11 on Fridays and Saturdays, so could dance away a few of the pounds you picked up.

G&M Restaurant
This place is only for the hardcore seafood fans. I say this because you’ll have to take a 15 minute from our Convention Hotel to get there, but it’s a small price to pay for Baltimore’s Best. Please note: Most VAR staffers can be bribed with gourmet seafood (hint, hint)

National Aquarium at Baltimore
If you’re bringing your spouse and kids, the Aquarium and Inner Harbor are great ways to spend the day. There are three mini-malls, boat tours, and every kind of souvenir you could think of.

Now as a first-time VAR convention-staffer, I have no idea how much time I’ll actually have to spend roaming the city (probably not much), but hopefully you will all get out there and enjoy it for me.

For more Baltimore attractions visit VARconvention.com or Baltimore.org.