(Ben Claassen)

The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles renew their rivalry next week, facing off at Camden Yards on Monday and Tuesday before moving to Nationals Park for two more contests Wednesday and Thursday. For the first time in two years, these games actually mean something beyond bragging rights: This is Bryce Harper vs. Manny Machado. 15-win Stephen Strasburg vs. 15-win Chris Tillman. The best team in the National League East vs. one of the best teams in the American League East.

It’s the perfect excuse to take an afternoon off and enjoy a baseball game in a different city. Naturally, the idea of playing hooky made us think about some of our favorite things at either end of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

(Pickles photo by Gabe Dinsmoor For The Baltimore Sun; Bluejacket photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post)

Best spot for drinks near the ballpark

Baltimore: Pickles Pub
Directly across the street from Oriole Park, Pickles has a large outdoor area with multiple bars and stands selling foot-long hot dogs and Italian sausages. 520 Washington Blvd., Baltimore. 410-752-1784.

D.C.: Bluejacket
Some of the most interesting and flavorful beers in Washington come from the 20 taps and five English-style casks at this brewpub near Yards Park. 300 Tingey St. SE. 202-524-4862.

Place for a celebratory, yet classy, cocktail

B: WC Harlan
Some of the best cocktails in Baltimore are found behind an unmarked door in Remington, where bartenders deftly wield bottles of amaro and gin. Order the rotating Cocktail du Jour, sit back and enjoy the intimate, candlelit atmosphere. 400 W. 23rd St., Baltimore. 410-925-7900.

D.C.: Copycat Co.
The chalkboards behind the bar are works of art as well as cocktail menus. Pick your poison from the week’s theme, or let veteran bartenders Devin Gong and Rob Tinney make up a drink on the spot. Bao buns and dumplings are the perfect snacks. 1110 H St. NE. 202-241-1952.

(Bo Brooks and Cantina Marina photos by Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

Best waterfront drinks

B: Bo Brooks
The Canton restaurant is known for crabs on its dockside deck, but it also has a large tiki bar where orange, cucumber lime and grapefruit jalapeño crushes are crushed, customers play cornhole and the vibe is more Ocean City than Baltimore. 2780 Lighthouse Point, Baltimore. 410-558-0202.

D.C.: Cantina Marina
The laid-back, divey atmosphere makes you forget you’re in D.C. — or it would, if you couldn’t see the Washington Monument beyond the boats docked at the Gangplank Marina. Go for a Dark and Stormy or michelada, and catch the free shuttle to Nationals Park. 600 Water St. SW. 202-554-8396.

Flagship local craft beer

B: Union Craft Brewing Duckpin Pale Ale
Named after one of Baltimore’s favorite sports, Duckpin combines bright, citrusy hops and caramel malts.

D.C.: DC Brau Public Pale Ale
The first of DC Brau’s ales to hit taps in 2011, the Public is a rich, full-bodied pale ale with pine and grapefruit notes.

(LP Steamers photo by Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post; Meats & Foods photo by Maura Judkis/The Washington Post)

Must-try iconic dish

B: Crabs at L.P. Steamers
Every Baltimorean has a favorite crab house and can tell you why it’s better than all the others. This summer, we’ve been picking crabs at this 20-year-old institution in South Baltimore’s Locust Point neighborhood. Go for the sweet, meaty blue crabs; stay for the hush puppies and homemade sides. 1100 E. Fort Ave., Baltimore. 410-576-9294.

D.C.: Half-smokes at Meats & Foods
Ben’s Chili Bowl is Washington’s most famous purveyor of half-smokes, the spiced, smoked sausages that are frequently a mix of beef and pork, and topped with chili. But the best half-smokes in town are down Florida Avenue at Meats & Foods, where the house-made sausages offer heat and a snappy casing; the spicy chili is optional, but welcome. 247 Florida Ave. NW. 202-505-1384. 

The city's classic immigrant cuisine

B: Eastern European at Sophia’s Place
Ukrainians, Poles and other Eastern Europeans began arriving in Baltimore in the 19th century, and the areas around Fells Point and Patterson Park still have churches and businesses catering to these communities. Sophia’s Place, inside Fells Point’s Broadway Market, is a destination for fried pierogies, borscht and stuffed cabbage, among other Polish treats. Inside Broadway Market, 1641 Aliceanna St., Baltimore. 410-342-6105.

D.C.: Ethiopian at CherCher
Washington and its suburbs are home to more Ethiopians than any region outside of Africa. Tim Carman, The Post’s $20 Diner columnist, raves about the spicy raw beef dishes known as kitfo and tere sega at CherCher, and named this Shaw spot one of his favorite cheap eats of 20151334 Ninth St. NW. 202-299-9703.

(Peter's Inn photo by Chiki Kawajiri/The Baltimore Sun; Little Serow photo by Joseph Victor Stefanchik for The Washington Post)

No-reservations restaurant worth the wait

B: Peter’s Inn
A new menu pops up every week at this 37-seat restaurant in a converted Fells Point rowhouse. Chef Karin Tiffany focuses on gourmet comfort food: Last week’s offerings included a seared scallop paired with uni, a shiso leaf, duck prosciutto and dried plum hoisin; the week before featured seared scallops with spinach, bacon, black lentils and fennel sauce. Make sure you’re out front when doors open at 5:30 p.m. if you want to dine at 6:30, and don’t forget to order the garlic bread. 504 S. Ann St., Baltimore. 410-675-7313.

D.C.: Little Serow
Johnny Monis’s basement-level ode to Northern Thai cuisine isn’t for everyone: The multicourse meal is served family style, without a choice of dishes or substitutions. There’s no room for groups larger than four. The kitchen doesn’t hold back on the heat, and unusual ingredients, including duck offal and pig ears, are frequently front and center. But seven or eight courses cost just $49, so there’s always a line of adventurous eaters before the restaurant opens at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. 1511 17th St. NW.

Best place for indecisive eaters

B: Mount Vernon Marketplace
Baltimore is a city of markets (Lexington, Cross Street, Broadway), and the newest one, which opened last October, has a decidedly foodie bent. There are stands specializing in Korean mandu and bibimbap, charcuterie, sorbet, Chesapeake oysters and Ethiopian coffee. Thirsty? One counter sells beer and cider by the glass or in growlers to go. 520 Park Ave., Baltimore.

D.C.: Union Market
Over the past four years, the eclectic mix of food vendors has made Union Market a destination for tourists and foodies looking to graze on oysters, bagels and pop-up eateries, as well as a destination for Washingtonians eager to buy fish, meat, produce and cheese to take home. 1309 Fifth St. NE.

Where to catch the band everyone will be talking about next year

B: Ottobar
The roll call of bands who’ve played this gritty, beloved club — and its predecessor on Davis Street — would include the White Stripes, Double Dagger, Le Tigre, Dan Deacon and Animal Collective, but just about any lineup will feature some act you’ll be telling your friends about the next day. 2549 N. Howard St., Baltimore. 410-662-0069.

D.C.: U Street Music Hall
Clued-in fans caught Sam Smith, Disclosure, Rita Ora, Odd Future and Saint Lucia here well before those acts moved on to much larger festival stages. The club hosts shows under the “9:30 Club Presents” banner for acts that are worth your attention but not quite big enough to fill the landmark club. 1115 U St. NW. 202-588-1880.

(Mr. Trash Wheel photo courtesy of Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore; Bei Bei photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post)

Nonhuman local mascot

B: Mr. Trash Wheel
No, it’s not the guy you’re thinking of. Mr. Boh left Baltimore decades ago and isn’t coming back. Instead, we’re going with Mr. Trash Wheel, a hard-working water wheel that has removed hundreds of tons of garbage from the Inner Harbor while running a popular Twitter account, and even hosting hilarious Q&A sessions on Reddit.

D.C.: Pick a panda, any panda
More than 2.3 million people visited the National Zoo last year, and zoo officials estimate that at least 80 percent of them visited the Giant Panda Habitat. Those who can’t make it to Northwest Washington can tune in to see the pandas doing something cute (sleeping! eating! sleeping again!) on the zoo’s Pandacam.

Museum worth paying for

B: American Visionary Art Museum
The strange, beautiful and otherworldly combine at this museum, which celebrates outsider and self-taught artists. Don’t miss the collection of kinetic sculptures from the annual race around the Inner Harbor. 800 Key Hwy., Baltimore. 410-244-1900. $15.95, $13.95 seniors, $9.95 students and children; age 6 and younger free.

D.C.: Phillips Collection
America’s first museum of modern art, founded in 1921, is renowned for its collection of Impressionist and modernist masterpieces, including Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” and Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration Series.” 1600 21st St. NW. 202-387-2151. $12, $10 students and seniors, age 18 and younger free.

(Patterson Park photo by Amy Davis/The Baltimore Sun; Yards Park photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency)

Best place to let the kids run around

B: Patterson Park
One of the two playgrounds inside this sprawling 137-acre park was inspired by Baltimore landmarks, including rowhouses and a pint-size Bromo Tower. There is also a boat lake, fountains and a dog park. Bordered by E. Baltimore Street, S. Ellwood Avenue, Eastern Avenue and S. Patterson Park Avenue. Open dawn to dusk.

D.C.: Yards Park
A short walk from Nationals Park, this riverfront park offers fountains and water features for splashing; wide, grassy lawns; a boardwalk along the Anacostia River; gardens; and a dog run. 355 Water St. SE. . Open from sunrise to two hours after sunset.

Tourist site worth braving the crowds

B: Fort McHenry
The birthplace of our national anthem is full of living history, with soldiers, musicians, artillery and musket demonstrations, and, of course, the raising and lowering of a reproduction of the Star-Spangled Banner. 2400 East Fort Ave., Baltimore. 410-962-4290. $10, age 15 and younger free. Admission is good for seven days.

D.C.: National Air and Space Museum
Yes, it’s one of the most-visited museums in the world. But the freshly renovated Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall shows off its priceless artifacts, including the Spirit of St. Louis and an Apollo lunar module, in a new and flattering light. Independence Avenue and Sixth Street SW. 202-633-2214. Free.