Baltimore Travel Guide [y]

[y] Baltimore Visitors Guide

Whether you seek historic landmarks, fascinating museums or world-class entertainment, Baltimore has it all. Just a short drive from Washington, D.C., this historic city offers much for visitors to see and do. In addition to its plethora of attractions and historic landmarks, the city boasts unique neighborhoods to explore as well as exceptional restaurants, quirky galleries and a wide array of shops. No matter what you’re interested in, Baltimore is sure to have plenty of it.

Baltimore Fun Guide

The Inner Harbor area is the city’s crown jewel, hosting a wide array of attractions, shops, restaurants, historic landmarks and other points of interest. The Inner Harbor hosts a number of historic sailing vessels such as the USS Constellation as well as the National Aquarium, one of the largest and most renowned aquariums in the entire world. The Inner Harbor also holds the Maryland Science Center, a fascinating museum that focuses on science and technology, as well as fascinating cultural institutions like the Baltimore Civil War Museum and the American Visionary Art Museum. Finally, be sure to check out Harborplace, the centerpiece of Inner Harbor and home to a wide array of shops, restaurants, eateries and much more to discover.

Outside of Inner Harbor, Baltimore holds even more attractions and sites of interest to explore. Fort McHenry offers a fascinating look at the history of the War of 1812 and the importance of Baltimore’s role in that conflict. The historic neighborhoods of Fells Point and Little Italy host some of the city’s best restaurants while Federal Hill is packed with great restaurants, shops, galleries and boutiques of every sort.

Yet another top destination in Baltimore is Druid Hill Park, a great place to relax and unwind after a day of sightseeing in the city. The park plays host to the Maryland Zoo, one of the largest zoos in the country. The city also plays host to renowned museums such as the Baltimore Museum of Industry and the Walters Art Museum, both of which offer a staggering collection of exhibits and artifacts to discover. Other historical sites of interest in the city include the sprawling Lexington Market, the historic Edgar Allen Poe House, and the original Washington Monument in Federal Hill, a landmark that predates its more famous counterpart in Washington, D.C. by several years.

A unique mix of historic and modern, Baltimore is always a fun and fascinating place to visit. With its excellent restaurants, great museums and an endless array of historical sites, this city offers a little bit for everyone.

Welcome to Baltimore Downtown Hotels

Baltimore is known affectionately as the Charm City. The title is well deserved, as it has a unique charming charisma. One of the most popular locations in Downtown Baltimore is the Inner Harbor. The Inner Harbor is home to the National Aquarium, multiple restaurants, and shops. Activities include cruises and a water-taxi into the Baltimore Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay.

Across Baltimore Harbor is the historic Federal Hill area and Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner. More historic destinations include one America’s best hospital, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, home of a multitude of medical breakthroughs. Baltimore hosts a unique blend of history with daily life. One of the best examples is Camden Yards, home to the Baltimore Orioles, as well as the Ravens at M&T Stadium. Baltimore is home to a multitude of ethnic neighborhoods

The most intact areas are Little Italy and Greektown, both of which have multiple eateries that continue to represent their culture. Canton and Fell’s Point offer additional pubs and bars that can provide numerous destinations- day or night. Use our Search box above or click here to see available hotels!

Baltimore Weather

Like most cities in the mid-Atlantic region, Baltimore has four distinct seasons, meaning there’s a perfect time of year for virtually every traveler out there. The average temperatures are warmer than that of most of the large Northeastern cities, and the city receives less snowfall than other cities on the Eastern Seaboard, such as Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.

Spring & Fall

Spring and autumn in Baltimore are, for most people, the ideal times to visit the city. The temperatures in April and May, as well as September and October, hover in the 60s and 70s, with a few balmy 80 degree days popping up here and there. Because the city is located farther South than many other major cities in the Eastern corridor, warm temperatures often continue into November, with the winter season arriving a week or two prior to Thanksgiving.

Winters

Winters are short and relatively bearable, beginning in mid-November and continuing until the end of February. The average temperatures range between 29 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and while snow is common in many Northeastern cities during this time of year, Baltimore typically receives bouts of freezing rain and sleet in lieu of snow. Noreasters, or blizzards that typically dump feet of snow on to Northeastern cities in December and January, are rare. However, if a storm travels a path where it is likely to hit the Virginia and Washington D.C. area, Baltimore will also typically see significant snow accumulation. Snow is seen about 10 days a year in the Baltimore area, making it a perfect choice for those who like the benefits of having four distinct seasons, but dislike extremes.

Summers

Summers are short but intense, typically lasting only June, July, and August. It is rare for the mercury to climb above the 100 degrees Fahrenheit mark, but it is not uncommon to see half the summer hit highs above 90. The city proper and coastal towns are usually several degrees warmer than the outlying areas, due to the existence of an urban heat island in the center of the city. This exists not only because Baltimore proper has seen more construction and urban development, but because the breezes of the Chesapeake Bay do not travel in a manner that moderates the temperature within the city. The result is that although the city is hotter during the summer, it also receives less snow, sleet, and freezing rain than the outlying areas.

In comparison to most of the country, Baltimore has weather that is moderate and comfortable for individuals that enjoy seeing four distinct seasons. However, the majority of the year is defined by Spring and Autumn-like temperatures.

Baltimore Transportation

The city of Baltimore, Maryland, is easy to get to due to its centralized location on the East Coast. Luckily it is also easy to get around once you arrive thanks to plenty of transportation options.

One of the newest and fastest ways to get around downtown Baltimore is by using the Charm City Circulator. This brand new shuttle bus line includes 21 hybrid electric buses that take passengers to and from major landmarks and streets on three different, regular routes. Circulator buses connect citizens with points of interest on Federal Hill, the North Charles Arts District, Mercy Hospital, the University of Baltimore and Charles and St. Paul streets. There is no cost to ride any of these special shuttles, and stops are made along all routes approximately every 10 minutes. Hours for shuttle service last from very early in the morning to very late at night, and routes are run seven days a week. Stops include various shops, restaurants, museums and other attractions that are popular in the downtown area.

With its location on the water, it only makes sense that another good way to get around Baltimore is via water. The city is home to an extensive water taxi service that includes stops at the aquarium, science center, various harbors and points, Captain James Landing and even Fort McHenry, among others. Commuter service is free on weekdays, and affordable programs for frequent riders are also available.

A major mode of public transportation in Baltimore is the bus system. The Maryland Transit Administration regulates the city’s bus system, which offers affordable rides throughout the city most hours of the day and night. The MTA also operates a subway system throughout the Baltimore area that takes passengers on quick underground journeys from one point to another. Various bus and subway routes are scheduled daily, with maps available online and at boarding points throughout the city. One day, weekly and monthly passes are available for both public bus and subway lines in Baltimore.

Finally, inter-city transportation is rounded out by taxis and rented vehicles. Various companies run taxi services that may be called upon on demand for rides around the city to various addresses and points of interest. Cabs can be hailed on the spot or companies may be called ahead of time for specific vehicle reservations. Privately run companies also offer luxury vehicles and limo rentals for more stately rides around Baltimore.

Baltimore Attractions

Baltimore is a city filled with a rich history and amazing culture, which makes it one of the best cities in the United States to visit. While it is not hard to find something fun to do in Baltimore, these are the four best attractions in the city.

>> Visit our Top Baltimore Attractions Guide

Baltimore Dining

Best known historically as the place where Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics to the national anthem of the United States, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Baltimore is a popular modern city to visit today. The city has much to see, and its location near Washington, D.C. makes it a great place to stay. Those staying in Baltimore will find the urban center has great eating. The city is known for its seafood, and especially its steamed crab as well as its pit beef sandwich. Some of the most popular restaurants and cafes in Baltimore serve seafood and American cuisine.

Fells Point

A historic district to the southeast of Downtown with numerous pubs and restaurants, Fells Point is also where the small in size Little Italy community is found.

  • Little Italy Pizzeria – The pizza is traditional New York Style, and the establishment is a top eatery in Little Italy. This is the place to get authentic toppings like garlic, black olives and sausage. Open late, locals are often there late.
  • Thames Street Oyster House – People feel comfortable and welcomed when they come to this restaurant. Upstairs seating gives views of the cobblestone street and the waterfront. Crab cakes, lobster macaroni and cheese and bread pudding are some items on the menu.

Midtown

Near Bolton Hill and the performing arts district, the Charles Street area has several excellent restaurants and eateries.

  • Aloha Sushi Restaurant – Casual dining, this restaurant serves a long menu of sushi, sashimi and special rolls that are influenced by local Baltimore cuisine. Aloha Sushi is an excellent fast food option.
  • Sofi’s Crepes – The orders are quickly prepared, but evening crowds at this popular little spot owned by a local can keep customers waiting 20 minutes for their turn. The crepes are made of natural ingredients and filled with a sweet or savory filling. Barbecue and “The Classic” are favorites.

South Baltimore

A fast-growing area, South Baltimore has many restaurants and new, upscale neighborhoods.

  • L. P. Steamers – A great seafood family dining place for lunch and dinner, this older establishment has authentic Baltimore cuisine like crab cakes and oysters. The dive is casual with brown paper tablecloths and steamed whole crabs.
  • Pazzaluna – Romantic bistro and Italian cuisine, local and slightly upscale, this restaurant rivals the Italian restaurants in Little Italy. Fabulous traditional food like gnocchi di patates, pasta Bolognese and ravioli are served.

Baltimore Events

Children’s Fireworks

takes place on the evening of January 1st at Inner Harbor in Baltimore. A special fireworks display is presented for children and families.

Baltimore Boat Show

, hosted by the Baltimore Convention Center, takes place mid to late January. This event features hundreds of sail and powerboats, fun activities for families and lots of interactive exhibits.

Baltimore St. Patrick’s Day Parade

is the largest in Maryland and the oldest parade in this history of Baltimore. It starts in historic Mount Vernon at Charles Street and Franklin Street. Over 2,000 spectators participate in the exciting parade which is loaded with marching bands, step dancers, local politicians, Irish dancers, and lots of green as far as the eye can see. The parade continued south on Charles Street then advances along Pratt Street, near Baltimore’s beautiful Inner Harbor.

Summer Concert Series

is hosted at The Harborplace Amphitheatre during June, July, and August. A different live band performs every Friday night. The event is catered by Planet Hollywood.

Artscape

, located on Mount Royal Avenue and North Charles Street, is an annual arts festival that takes place in July. This fun-filled event is one of the largest, free art festivals in the United States. It features outstanding musical performances by a variety of regional, local, and national talent performed on several outdoor stages. There are both outdoor and indoor visual arts exhibitions. Vendors display and sell fine arts/crafts, as well as food. This is a great event for children and families.

Fells Point Fun Festival

takes place the first weekend in October in the Fells Point National Historic District in Baltimore, MD. This is an outdoor street festival where live bands perform jazz, rock & roll, blues, folk, country, and more on five different stages. There are food vendors, arts & crafts vendors and retailers for worldwide. Carnival rides are available for the thrill-seekers and young-at-heart. This event also features the docking of the Tall Ships and the Carnival of Wonders.

Monument Lighting Family Festival

takes place annually in December at the Walters Art Museum and is free to the public. Families can enjoy the festive holiday season by watching the lighting of the Washington Monument. Music, film, and performances are added to the celebration, making it a fun event for all.

There are many sporting events such as major league baseball and soccer during April; The Preakness, an annual horse race hosted by the Pimlico track, during May; The National Football League and college football during September; as well as many more taking place throughout the year.

Family Fun near Downtown Baltimore

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

At the Goddard Space Flight Center, families can learn about space and science all while having loads of fun. The center offers several exciting exhibits that feature hands-on activities, models, satellites and rocket equipment. Some of the exhibits families can experience include a showcase of the planet, Jupiter. The fascinating exhibit, Frozen, displays places on earth that stay frozen year-round. Other exhibits offer fun programs where families can learn all about satellites and how they work. Visitors can also learn about the solar system, black holes, planets and galaxies. There is even a Rocket Garden, which features rocks and other artifacts collected from space.

Deep Creek Lake

Surrounded by scenic mountains and rivers, Deep Creek Lake offers a wide range of nature and outdoor activities. If visiting in summer, families can enjoy the likes of fishing, swimming, boating, camping, picnicking, hiking, cycling and horse riding. Winter activities include snowshoeing, snow skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding and snow tubing.

Annapolis City Dock

Annapolis City Dock is a wonderful place where families can enjoy a walking tour or sightseeing cruise together to learn about the history of this important seaport. In addition to beautiful scenery, the area offers interesting historic sites and plenty of dining and shopping choices.

Six Flags America

Featuring the largest water park in the area, live shows and more than 100 exciting rides, Six Flags America is a fun amusement park that attracts adults and children of all ages. The park presents 8 thrilling roller coasters that include the Superman Ride of Steel, the Wild One and Joker’s Jinx. There is also a recreated Looney Tunes Movie Town where kids can meet cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal

Dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal is today a national historic park featuring a towpath that stretches nearly 185 miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, Maryland. Families can walk or cycle this path together while checking out the lovely scenery and historic structures such as
aqueducts and lock houses.

Strathmore Music Center

With a capacity of 2,000 seats, Strathmore Music Center is an excellent concert hall that presents world-class performances by well-known artists from music genres like blues, pop, folk, classical, jazz and more. Adults and children both will delight in concerts featuring their favorite musicians. During the summer, families can enjoy children’s performances and concerts outdoors.

Brookside Gardens

Covering 50 acres, the Brookside Gardens in an award-winning garden complex featuring various themed gardens designed to impress everyone in the family. Visitors will enjoy a fragrance garden, butterfly garden, aquatic garden, children’s garden, trial garden and a Japanese garden. Additionally, the Brookside Gardens offer fun learning programs and activities for both adults and children.

Shopping near Downtown Baltimore

High-End Shopping

Because there’s nothing wrong with discerning taste. Enjoy a sophisticated afternoon at the Doubledutch Boutique, voted “Best of Baltimore” for five consecutive years and offering all the latest trends and indie designs, or kill a few hours at Milagro browsing rack upon rack of jewelry and fine accessories. Poppy and Stella is an ultra-fab destination for heels and purses; Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, a sharp suit. Studio C. Jewelry & Gifts specializes in hand-crafted jewelry with gold and heartbreaking gemstones.

Thrifty Shopping

Watching your budget? Don’t worry, Baltimore is also a great place to catch a deal. Charlotte Elliott offers everything from fine art to vintage clothing in a cozy little shop in Hampden, and the Woman’s Industrial Exchange is a non-profit gift shop with handmade goods and crafts at low prices but high values. Hampden Junque is full of odds and ends that will delight anyone looking for a sale. The ZONE lives up to its name sending customers into a trance of clothing racks and inexpensive footwear.

Specialty Shopping

Indulge your sweet tooth with one of the many confectioneries around Baltimore, like Charm City Cakes, a bakery specializing in one-of-a-kind creations, or A. Kirchmayr Chocolatier, a private chocolate shop of European delicacies like truffles and marzipan. Stop by for a weekly tasting at Bin 604 Wine Sellers or embrace the kid within with a trip to aMuse Toys. Bookstores, too, are a thriving business in Baltimore: Take your pick of The Book Escape, Atomic Books, The Kelmscott Bookshop, or a good old-fashioned Barnes and Noble.

Souvenir Shopping

Take a piece of Baltimore home with you! Pandora’s Box, with its selection of unique and eclectic trinkets, is a much more lasting choice than a simple key chain or a t-shirt. Lucinda Gallery & Gifts offers everything from candles to homemade ceramics for the tourist who desires something traditional. Zelda Zen is master of cards and ornaments, while Paradiso is the place to be for fine art and jewelry. It isn’t a holiday unless you have the souvenirs to show for it!

“Everything Under the Sun” Shopping

If you don’t have the time or energy to browse individual stores, consider hitting one of Baltimore’s many shopping centers to streamline the process. The Mondawmin Mall, for example, has three floors of all your favorite brands, and the Gallery at Harborplace offers everything from cafes to retail shops to live entertainment on the waterfront. Arundel Mills, just a few miles south of Baltimore, offers more than 225 retailers and its own movie theater; Towson Town Center, to the north, boasts even more.

Map of Hotels in Baltimore

  1. Baltimore-Washington Int Airport – Find hotels near Seven & Hanover
  2. Baltimore Downtown – Find hotels near Woodlawn & Highlandtown
  3. Johns Hopkins University – Find hotels near Wyman Park & Charles Village
  4. Baltimore National Aquarium – Find hotels near Patterson Park & Sharp Leadenhall
  5. Baltimore Patterson Park – Find hotels near Fells Point & Milton Montford
  6. Patapsco Valley State Park – Find hotels near Cooksville & Sykesville.
  7. Baltimore M&T; Bank Stadium – Find hotels near Sharp Leadenhall & Washington Village
  8. Baltimore Hunt Valley – Find hotels near Oregon Ridge Park & Phoenix.