Baltimore - AttractionGuide

Baltimore
Attractions

Welcome to MetroGuide Networks' overview of Baltimore-area attractions. The Greater Baltimore area is full of attractions for all ages. Built on tradition and civic pride after being established in 1729 to serve economic needs of 18th century Maryland farmers, the town of Baltimore gradually began to take on a life of its own and never stopped. Bustling Baltimore set a standard for urban renewal with redevelopment of the Inner Harbor in the late 1970s. Dilapidated wharves and warehouses were torn down and replaced by attractions, restaurants and retail shops such as Harborplace, opening in 1980 to tremendous fanfare. The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland Science Center and hotels soon followed and growth with new attractions continues, including an NFL football stadium. As a major travel destination attracting nearly 13 million visitors annually, Baltimore's crown jewel -- its Inner Harbor -- serves as a scenic waterfront magnet with dozens of retail enterprises, eateries and attractions. The harbor's fun, festive atmosphere is enhanced by street entertainers, open-air concerts, fireworks, parades, paddle boats, cruise boats and outdoor ice skating. Historic neighborhoods, many within walking distance of each other, surround the Inner Harbor, offering stylized character, history and cuisine. Little Italy is a pasta lover's paradise with outdoor movies on summer weekends, festivals of San Gabriel and St. Anthony, and two bocce ball courts. Fells Point, the oldest section of Baltimore, retains the feel of an old English neighborhood with cobblestone streets, and plentiful pubs and restaurants. The best view of the city is from the top of Federal Hill on the south side of the Inner Harbor. Baltimore has restaurants to satisfy nearly every craving, especially for fresh seafood from Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is known for fabulous crabs, and it's only a short leap from the water to tasty crab cakes or a mouth-watering crab imperial.

Below is a list of some suggested things to do in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area, with links to more details when available.

Babe Ruth Museum
George Herman Ruth was born here in 1895, and in 1968 the Babe's home was almost razed. Newspaper clips on display tell how 216 Emory Street was saved, to open in 1974 as a baseball shrine to the legendary slugger.
216 Emory Street. (410) 727-1539
Baltimore Civil War Museum
President Street Station, debuting in 1850 and the first documented underground railroad site, houses this museum. The station played a pivotal role in the Pratt Street riot, resulting in the first death of the Civil War.
601 President Street. (410) 385-5188
Baltimore Museum of Industry
Admission is free at this facility chronicling Baltimore's industrial and labor history. Exhibits include a 19th century print shop, garment loft, and the 1906 steam tugboat SS Baltimore.
1415 Key Highway. (410) 727-4808
Baltimore Streetcar Museum
Roll along with the history of Baltimore streetcars and quite possibly you'll end up wondering how such a delightful, efficient system ever went out of vogue. Museum exhibits detail the history and virtues of the still often-desired streetcar, and the car house shelters a dozen versions of these charming old people-movers.
1901 Falls Road. (410) 547-0264
Baltimore Zoo
Boasting the largest colony of African black-footed penguins in the U.S., Baltimore Zoo also has a Chimpanzee Forest, Leopard Lair and the African Watering Hole, a six-acre open habitat with rhinos, zebras, and gazelles.
Druid Hill Park. (410) 366-5466
B&O Railroad Museum
Set within Mount Clare Station -- the western hemisphere's oldest railroad depot and birthplace of the B&O -- nearly 200 pieces of rail equipment are in and around five historic buildings, including the largest enclosed Roundhouse ever constructed. The Museum, dedicated to preservation of American railroading through legacy of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, Western Maryland Railway, and mid-Atlantic regional railroads, is a full affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
901 West Pratt Street. (410) 752-2490
Charles Street Corridor
Amid award-winning 19th- and 20th-century architecture, Charles Street ranks as Baltimore's main thoroughfare with shops, galleries, museums, parks, churches, and “restaurant row.”
Downtown Baltimore.
Enoch Pratt Free Library
Collections on Baltimore authors Edgar Allan Poe and H.L. Mencken are at this public library, established in 1886 and among the world's renowned book repositories.
400 Cathedral Street. (410) 396-5430
Evergreen House Museum
Oriental art, Tiffany glass, and a 23-K gold bath are among accoutrements of this 48-room Gilded Age mansion, built in the 1850s and purchased in 1878 by John W. Garrett, president of B&O Railroad for his son T. Harrison Garrett. The estate was bequeathed in 1942 to Johns Hopkins University, with stipulation that it remain open to “lovers of music, art and beautiful things.” Tours are conducted hourly.
4545 North Charles Street. (410) 516-0341
Fells Point
Dating from 1730, this neighborhood has homes from before the War of 1812 (and more from before the Civil War), while featuring antiques shops, boutiques, dining and nightlife.
On the waterfront near Inner Harbor
Fire Museum of Maryland
Among the largest collections of antique firefighting equipment in the East, museum pieces date to 1806, and include a working fire alarm telegraph system, and other fire memorabilia.
1301 York Road. (410) 321-7500
Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine
Surrounded by water on three sides and far enough from Baltimore to provide protection without endangering the city, this fortification was renamed "Fort McHenry" after James McHenry, a Federalist politician supporting new fort construction. During the War of 1812, the British attacked in September 1814, bombarding Fort McHenry from ships outside Baltimore harbor for 25 hours. Defenders held firm, saving Baltimore and inspiring poet-lawyer Francis Scott Key to pen the poem which became The Star-Spangled Banner national anthem.
East Fort Avenue. (410) 962-4290
Great Blacks in Wax Museum
Rosa Parks being dragged from the Montgomery, Alabama transit bus, athletes Jackie Robinson, Joe Lewis and Jesse Owens standing tall in sports garb, along with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Secretary of State Colin Powell are among more than 100 life-sized figures depicting dramatic historical scenes within a past, present, future context at America's first was museum of African American history. A renovated firehouse, a Victorian mansion, and two former apartment dwellings with nearly 30,000 square feet of space also showcase a full model slave ship and a gift shop.
1601-1603 East North Avenue. (410) 563-3404
Harborplace & The Gallery
Connected by a skywalk, the twin glass pavilions of Harborplace offer some of the city's best shopping and dining. An amphitheater features ongoing entertainment by day, and evenings bring frequent concerts.
Pratt and Light streets. (410) 332-4191
Holocaust Memorial and Sculpture
Erected in 1980, the memorial and sculpture stands as a reminder of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis in Europe between 1933 and 1945.
Water, Gay and Lombard streets.
Hopkins Plaza
Musical events, art exhibitions and ethnic festivals unfold on this plaza, anchored by the Mercantile Building, the Mechanic Theatre and the France Memorial Fountain.
Redwood, Charles, and Lombard streets.
Inner Harbor
A promenade around the water's edge leads past the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, the Baltimore Maritime museum and other prominent attractions. Baltimore's Water Taxi makes 15 daily stops at major Inner Harbor sites.
Water Taxi, (410) 563-3901
The Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus
Founded in 1876, the 128-acre campus is the site of the Homewood House Museum, the 1901 home of Charles Carroll, Jr, whose father was one of four men from Maryland to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Charles and 34th streets. (410) 516-8000
Lacrosse Foundation and Hall of Fame Museum
Born of the North American Indian, christened by the French, and adapted and raised by the Canadians, America's oldest sport – a combination of basketball, soccer and hockey – rewards coordination, agility and speed over brawn. Permanent and changing exhibits include vintage equipment and uniforms, rare photographs and other cherished memorabilia. The Hall of Fame Gallery covers the all-time greats with computer interactive displays, a documentary, "More than a Game: A History of Lacrosse," and visitors can capture the thrills of play during the multimedia "Lacrosse…The Spirit Lives."
113 West University Parkway. (410) 235-6882.
Ladew Topiary Gardens
Acclaimed topiary hedges and figures in 15 thematic flower gardens are spread out over 22 acres designed by Harvey S. Ladew, (1887-1976), foxhunter, and self-taught gardener, who delighted in trimming and coaxing shrubs and trees into unnatural ornamentation. Ladew's equestrian-inspired manor house, open for guided tours, has an impressive collection of English furniture. The Nature Walk, opened in 1999 on the 250-acre Ladew tract, is a 1.5 mile trail through the woods and fields, and a short boardwalk extends through wetland forest and marsh. Self-guided tours are aided by a printed map.
3535 Jarretsville Pike, Monkton. (410) 557-9466
Market Center
More than 400 merchants, including unusual discount stores, ethnic food purveyors and specialty shops, plus the Lexington Market, open since 1782, make this a culturally diverse, colorful collage of commerce steeped in Baltimore heritage.
Franklin, Liberty, Baltimore and Greene streets.
Maryland Science Center
Three floors of hands-on exhibits entertain all ages at this national visitor center for the Hubble space telescope, which also accommodates an IMAX theater and the Davis planetarium.
601 Light Street at Key Highway, Inner Harbor. (410) 685-5225.
Maryvale
Built between 1914 and 1916 and modeled after England's Warwick Castle, this grand departure from the ordinary serves as a European treasure in Baltimore's backyard. Gothic arched windows, stone towers and a port cochere are mere hints at grandeur within, including Tudor-Style carvings, diamond-paneled, beveled-glass doors, oak-panelling, and an immense fireplace in the solarium. Maryvale's grand winding staircase is oft-favored as a bride's entrance.
113000 Falls Road. (410) 252-3528
National Aquarium in Baltimore
Some 10,000 creatures, representing 600 species of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians are here in naturalistic habitats such as the Atlantic Coral Reef and the Rain Forest.
Pier 3, 501 East Pratt Street. (410) 576-3800
National Museum of Dentistry
Open wide and celebrate the heritage of dentistry while learning the importance of a healthy smile. Rows of skulls at the entrance set the scene for blood-curdling tales of ancient torture with early anesthetic-free dentistry. Exhibits cover all things pertaining to dentistry, including Her Majesty's Crowns with Queen Victoria's dental instruments, and a video extolling major teeth feats like water-skiing via a tooth grip. Gift shop shelves are filled with items from Brushtime Bunny Bathrobes and tooth-shaped pasta to chocolate toothbrushes with white-chocolate paste, and, for golfers, Cavi-Tees.
31 South Greene Street. (410) 706-0600.
Oriole Park at Camden Yard
Tours are on tap at this old-fashioned ball park, built in the ‘90s and seating more than 48,000, incorporating intricate architectural detail with modern amenities.
333 West Camden Street. (410) 542-9400.
Pimlico Race Course
Site of the Preakness Stakes (the third Saturday each May), with potential for the third jewel following the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.
Hayward and Winner avenues. (410) 542-9400.
Ride the Ducks of Baltimore
Explore Baltimore by land and sea on these remarkable amphibious vehicles, including a tour of the historic areas followed by a trip into the Inner Harbor.
Outside the Light Street Pavilion in the Inner Harbor. (877) 887-8225.
Star Spangled Banner Flag House and 1812 Museum
Visit the home of widow Mary Pickersgill, who with help from daughter Caroline and a friend, sewed the flag reigning over Fort McHenry, inspiring Frances Scott Key to compose his Star Spangled Banner poem on the back of an envelope. On September 14, 1814, Key had spotted the stars and stripes --l miraculously waving after 25 hours of British bombardment --.from a ship eight miles down the Patapsco River. Previosly, knowing how important Fort McHenry was, as the British burned the White House and advanced toward Baltimore, authorities had decided worried citizenry would find it uplifting to see a huge, high-flying flag at the fort. Congress had decreed in January, 1794, that new flags should have 15 stripes and 15 stars, for the 13 colonies plus Vermont and Kentucky. In summer 1813, Pickersgill was asked to make two, one large along with a smaller version to fly in bad weather. It was decided the big flag would be 30 feet by 42 feet to have sufficient impact from a distance. A nearby malt house brewery was the largest place the seamstress could find for the massive project, involving hand-sewing with flat felled seams and tight stitching to ward off wind destruction. Stars (24 inches point to point) and stripes (two feet wide) required 400 yards of wool.
844 East Pratt Street. (410) 837-1793.
Top of the World
An observation floor offers a panoramic view of harbor and city, along with multimedia exhibits on the history of Baltimore.
World Trade Center, 401 East Pratt Street. (410) 830-2000
Urban Pirates
At the end of South Ann Street at Thames Street, board the Fearless for a family-friendly adventure featuring spectacular views, games, water cannons, treasure hunting and story times.
Ann Street Pier, Fells Point. (410) 327-8378
War Memorial Building
This tribute memorializes those who gave lives and services during World War 1, and was re-dedicated for World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans.
101 North Gay Street at Lexington Street. (410) 685-7530
Washington Monument & Museum at Mt. Vernon Place
Begun in 1815, this 178-foot column was the nation's first architectural monument honoring George Washington. It was created by Robert Mills, later designing the monument in Washington, D.C. Visitors can climb 228 steps for a sweeping city view.
North Charles Street at Mt. Vernon Place. (410) 396-0929
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Baltimore: A view of a trolley in the Historic Fells Point area