It's easy to spend an entire visit to Baltimore exploring the famous Inner Harbor district. Why not wander a bit further and see this colorful city for all it is. Sports fans, photographers, history buffs and those who love the ocean all have special places to visit here. There's plenty to eat here too, from ballpark hot dogs to the city's famous crab cakes and lots of specialties in cozy restaurants -- try Little Italy and Fells Point for some great choices. For kids, the aquarium is fun and fascinating and for couples, enjoy the waterfront park for a sunset stroll.
Along with a beautiful view at any time of day, Baltimore's Inner Harbor district has museums, party spots, nautical destinations and observation points all within a short walk of each other. The National Aquarium helps visitors explore the ocean and its wonders with marine life including dolphins and electric eels. Maryland Science Center covers the stars with an observatory and planetarium plus an IMAX theater and three levels of exhibits. The Top of the World Observation Center on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center has a 360-degree view of the city and harbor. There's a collection of warships from the past including the U.S.S. Constellation. 'Power Plant Live!' offers dining, dancing, and nightlife in an old power plant that once generated the city's electricity.
The National Aquarium has a diverse population of marine life including octopi, sharks, jellyfish, and coral presented in engaging exhibits. The aquarium is themed to help visitors explore the world and learn about local marine populations and how they are changing. This is also the place to learn about the Maryland seashore and mid-Atlantic ocean life in preparation for a visit to the state's beaches, harbors, and coastal parks.
It's not just the delicious local crab meat but also the special spices and preparation in big cakes which are so satisfying to eat. You can get them in the inner harbor restaurants, downtown restaurants, seaside seafood shacks and even delicatessens where they are served in a sandwich. A local potato chip manufacturer even sells chips with crab cake spice flavoring.
Charles Village, located around Johns Hopkins University and built in the mid-19th century, has typical student energy, bookshops, eclectic food, and shopping. Vintage clothing and other items are easy to find here, and casual eats include pizza and burritos or Jamaican, Indian and southern food plus kebabs. The Baltimore Museum of Art with a beautiful sculpture garden.
The U.S.S. Constellation is one of several historic ships available to visit in Baltimore. She was built at the end of the 18th century and engaged in protecting the seagoing commerce of the new United States. She has a vivid history of battles and triumphs, even a few tragedies from which she recovered. If the name is familiar, she is the namesake of the USS Constellation (CV 64) and other Navy ships over the years. Visitors can explore the ship and learn what life was like aboard at Pier 1.
The Baltimore Orioles play here and Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass here. When you visit a game you can enjoy crab fries and Korean barbecue as well as traditional baseball park fare. A short walk from the Inner Harbor area, Oriole Park at Camden Yards offers tours to the public which last about an hour and a half. Check the Orioles' website for more information.
Baltimore is organized around neighborhoods, some historic and some still establishing themselves. Little Italy is just east of the Inner Harbor space. It became home to large numbers of Italian immigrants during the 20th century. It is known as one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, in part because of its close-knit character. Italian traditions and food are easy to find here, and in the summer there's an outdoor film festival. Other neighborhoods to visit include Mount Vernon, Fell's Point, Federal Hill, and The Westside.
Downtown is a mix including the University of Maryland-Baltimore and the Bromo Arts District centered around the Emerson Bromo-Seltzer Tower which is one of the city's three designated arts districts. The huge Lexington Market, established in 1782, provides an indoor venue for food and ingredient shopping.
Fells Point is a historic maritime district founded in the mid-1700s. It is a beautiful area which served as host to generations of immigrants and workers in the shipbuilding industry. Visitors looking for good pubs, bars, and restaurants in the city will likely end up here. It has its own visitor center and Maritime Museum. The Carroll Mansion was home to one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and for those who believe in ghosts, a local tour provides information about historical and haunted Fells Point.
The first civic monument to George Washington is here, designed by the same person as the Washington Monument in DC. Visitors can climb for an excellent view. The area surrounding the monument is Mount Vernon, called Baltimore's cultural center for all the museums, theaters and performance venues. You can catch the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performing here. Johns Hopkins University's George Peabody library is breathtakingly expansive and a beautiful place to explore called the "cathedral of books."