With a population rapidly approaching 700,000, Baltimore is the biggest city in Maryland and covers an area of more than 80 square miles / 210 square kilometers. Close to Washington DC, Baltimore lies on America’s eastern coast and contains an important port, complete with large harbor. Many of the main sights and attractions in the city can be found around the central downtown district, which is divided into a number of notable areas, such as the city center, the Inner Harbor, Camden Yards and also the West Side. Throughout this area you will find a large selection of shops, restaurants, bars and important structures. Also, the Fells Point area, close to the Inner Harbor, is known for its vibrant and animated nightlife and entertainment venues.
There are plenty of places worth a visit in the Baltimore area and top attractions include many notable landmarks, historical buildings, appealing museums and a number of art galleries, which contain works by many famous artists. Must-see sights in the city include the National Aquarium, the Basilica of the Assumption, Robert East Lee Memorial Park, the Maryland Zoo African safari experience, the Star Spangled Banner Flag House and also the city’s most famous sight, the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. Museums in Baltimore are also plentiful and top museum attractions include the extensive Baltimore Museum of Art, the B&O Railroad Museum, the baseball-related Babe Ruth Museum, and the Maryland Science Center, complete with IMAX theater and planetarium. Annual festivals in Baltimore include the Baltimore Blues Festival – held in Paterson Park each May, July’s Artscape along the Mount Royal Avenue, the popular Taste of Baltimore festival in October, and December’s festive Washington Monument Lighting Ceremony.
Baltimore and its surrounding districts feature a range of fine hotels at all levels. For budget accommodation, looks for motels along nearby Interstates and close to the airport. Reasonably priced accommodation is available in the city center, together with a number of top, five-star hotels, with luxury facilities. Waterside hotels around the Inner Harbor area are amongst those most desirable, although the Mount Vernon area is becoming an equally appealing place to stay. Historic hotels are plentiful in the Fells Point area, together with affordable family-run bed and breakfasts.
For the best selection of shops in the city, head to the Harborplace area, which contains over 200 shops, including a number of independent outlets and fashion boutiques. Also, the nearby Village of Cross Keys is home to an array of appealing small shops and specialty stores. For antiques, take a trip to Howard Street, where you will find a cluster of notable antique stores, which have become known as the city’s ‘Antique Row’. Baltimore also features a number of large and modern shopping malls, such as Security Square and Owing Mills. The regular Lexington Market is another major shopping draw card and has been established for more than 150 years, with an enormous selection of market traders.
With its scenic coastal location, it is hardly surprising that Baltimore restaurants specialize in seafood and all things fishy. Much of the local produce comes from the nearby Chesapeake Bay and many of the city’s restaurants serve steamed crab, amongst other local dishes. For lively dining in Baltimore, look no further than the restaurants around Mount Vernon and Fells Point, while for more exclusive establishments, the restaurants along Charles Street are some of the most highly regarded in the city.
A number of public transportation options are on offer in the Baltimore area, such as buses, trains and popular trams. Many visitors to the city find that hiring a car is the most convenient way to travel around, being particularly useful for day trips and excursions to nearby towns and cities, such as Annapolis and Washington DC. Situated just 10 miles / 16 km from the city, Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) is the state’s main airport and caters for large numbers of passengers each day. A range of ground transportation is available at the airport, including taxis, shuttles and trains.