A city of neighborhoods and nicknames, Baltimore is about as welcoming an urban environment as you’re likely to find anywhere in the country. From blue crabs to ‘Natty Boh,’ locals love their city’s quirky staples and are quick to share the secrets of their hometown with visitors. Whether you spend your time enjoying the endless attractions at the Inner Harbor, the cobblestone streets of Fell’s Point, or in one of the lesser-known corners of town, it’s easy to see why B’more’s best-known nickname is “Charm City.”
Most first-timers will head straight to the Inner Harbor and for good reason: some of the city’s most innovative and impressive cultural attractions are side-by-side in this landmark district. Four historic ships are on display – a WWII Coast Guard cutter, a WWII Navy submarine, a 1930’s lightship and the one-of-a-kind USS Constellation, a warship first launched in 1797, as well as the National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, world-class galleries and more. From there, it’s just a quick water taxi to Fort McHenry National Monument, one of the country’s most beloved historic sites. After American soldiers repelled a British naval attack during the War of 1812, the tattered flag hanging above the fort inspired Francis Scot Key to pen the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’
Plenty of Paddling
If wandering the waterfront just isn’t enough, kayak rentals are also available to explore the historic harbor from a whole new perspective. You can paddle past the tall ships and the Domino Sugar Factory at your own pace or join a tour led by expert guides on the area’s background. More intrepid paddlers can enjoy picturesque surrounds about a half-hour away at Loch Raven Reservoir or Gunpowder Falls State Park, where top-notch bass and trout fishing are also available. For a relaxing outing, hop aboard one of the smaller charter schooners docked in the Inner Harbor for an exclusive day or night tour.
Walking Through History
With upwards of 200 distinct neighborhoods to discover, walking tours are one of the best ways to experience the historic architecture, iconic monuments and unique cultural attractions that dot the city. Run by the Baltimore National Heritage Area, the Fell’s Point heritage trail winds along cobblestone streets and past some of the region’s oldest homes. The Mount Vernon Cultural Walk features the Walters Art Museum, Enoch Pratt Free Library, the Peabody Institute, and the nation’s very first monument to George Washington. For an easy escape into nature, try the Gwynns Falls Trail, a 15-mile urban greenway that connects 2000 acres of parkland throughout the city. Designed for both hiking and biking, it sets a new standard for outdoor access in an urban setting.
Sporting an outsized number of American icons for a city its size, visitors wanting a deep-dive into Baltimore’s roots should look no further than its hometown heroes. Small attractions like the Edgar Allen Poe House and the Billie Holiday murals in Fell’s Point draw history buffs with an eye for culture, but the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum downtown is a must-see for sports fans. Just two blocks from historic Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles, the museum sheds light on the city’s incredible sports legacy, as well as one of baseball’s greatest home-run hitters.
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