Come Early, Stay Late!
Ideas for Thursday Afternoon and All Day Sunday
RIDE THE WATER TAXI to FORT McHENRY
The beautifully sited fort, now a national monument and historic shrine, defended Baltimore from the British in the 1814 battle that inspired the writing of the National Anthem. A new visitors’ center opened this year with interactive exhibits, including one on memorable performances of the Star Spangled Banner (Jimi Hendrix, yes; Christina Aguilera, no). Especially on a nice day, riding the water taxi from the Inner Harbor to the fort is a great and inexpensive way to see the city and its booming waterfront neighborhoods. The taxis have several routes with different stops, so make sure yours is headed to the fort when you board.
CAMDEN YARDS and SPORTS LEGENDS MUSEUM
Baseball fans (and lovers of history, architecture, and great urban spaces) will enjoy a tour of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and a visit to the nearby Sports Legends Museum. The museum is housed in historic Camden Station, adjacent to the enormous B&O warehouse that anchors the east side of Oriole Park. Ballpark tours often sell out, so call for reservations. There are plenty of restaurants in the area around Camden Yards, including the Diamond Tavern in the Hilton Hotel with a nice view of Camden Station and the ballpark. Pick up game tickets while you are there—the O’s play the Blue Jays during AAUP weekend. From the Inner Harbor, walk west along Pratt Street or take the free Circulator Bus.
MOUNT VERNON and 19th-CENTURY BALTIMORE
Mount Vernon is a beautifully preserved square of 19th-century townhouses surrounding Baltimore’s 1815 monument to George Washington. Visit the stunning Peabody Library and the Walters Art Museum, both free. Lots of restaurants line Charles Street north and south of Mt Vernon. A few blocks south of the square and one block west of Charles, on Cathedral Street, visit the recently restored 1806 Catholic Basilica, designed by Benjamin Latrobe, and the main branch of the city’s venerable Enoch Pratt Library. From the Inner Harbor, take the free Circulator Bus north on Charles Street or enjoy an uphill walk to Mount Vernon (and an even more enjoyable downhill walk back to the hotel).
VISIT HAMPDEN, HON
Dozens of shops, galleries, and restaurants line “The Avenue,” also known as 36th Street, and some fondly celebrate the big hair, cat’s-eye glasses, and spirited aesthetic well known to fans of John Waters and Hairspray. Ask a local about the recent controversy over a restaurant owner’s move to copyright the word “Hon,” which brought a flurry of front page stories, editorials, and picket lines. Seriously. From the Inner Harbor, take a cab to Café Hon at the intersection of 36th Street and Roland Avenue.
JOHNS HOPKINS, the BMA, and JHU PRESS
IF KIDS ARE WITH YOU
The National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Maryland Science Center, and the B&O Railroad Museum are all terrific family destinations on or near the Inner Harbor.
Historic Bolton Hill, only 1.5 miles from downtown, is a neighborhood of elegant 19th-century row homes set among tree-lined streets. For dining, check out B, a Bolton Hill Bistro.
Canton was founded as a waterfront plantation by Captain John O’Donnell at the end of the 18th century. Today, Canton has been successfully transformed into a cozy, upscale waterfront community.