Baltimore Visitors Guide
Baltimore, one of the country’s most important ports in early America, is a city of contradiction—cosmopolitan yet unpretentious and anchored in the past yet up-and-coming. Although rich in history, Baltimore never feels dated, and is a top destination for Maryland tourism with many Baltimore hotel options. Situated on the Patapsco River near Chesapeake Bay, visitors flock to the city for its vibrant Inner Harbor, its world-class museums and its highly rated restaurants. Whether you’re bringing the kids to watch black-footed penguins play at the Maryland Zoo or heading out with friends on a late-night bar crawl, Baltimore offers fun for die-hard sports fans, discriminating culture vultures and everyone in between.
Top Things to Do in Baltimore
What to Eat
Local dishes like crab cakes, steamed blue crabs and soft shell crab sandwiches are specialties that are always in high demand—and rightfully so. Traditionally served on crackers and flavored with Old Bay seasoning, a Baltimore spice mix invention, crab cakes can be found at takeout-only stands and upscale eateries alike. Another seafood standby is Atlantic whiting, a cornmeal-crusted fish that Baltimoreans call "lake trout." Deep fried with all of its bones and served with fries and hot sauce, this low-cost platter is a local favorite.
Don't Miss the National Aquarium, Baltimore
When you’re visiting, take a trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore to see 17,000 animals living within the National Aquarium’s two pavilions on the Inner Harbor. Star inhabitants of its various ecosystems include a giant Pacific octopus, bottlenose dolphins, a rescued 500-pound green sea turtle named Calypso, and sand tiger, sandbar, nurse, sawfish and blacktip reef sharks. Walk-through sections like Upland Tropical Rain Forest and Australia: Wild Extremes allow you to get an up-close look at reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and tropical birds.
When to Visit Baltimore
As the weather heats up during summer, Baltimore begins drawing larger crowds, especially on weekends. Between May and September the city plays host to a full schedule of festivals, many honoring the cultures of its ethnically diverse people. But the biggest draw is Artscape in mid-July, a sprawling, free event its organizers claim is the country’s largest of its kind.
Baltimore Travel Tip
While relatively cheap parking options abound, relax during your Baltimore hotel stay and avoid the hassle of driving altogether by hopping on the Charm City Circulator. The bus shuttle’s four lines are free, arrive at stops every 15 minutes and serve many popular areas across downtown Baltimore including Fell's Point (green route), Camden Yards and the Aquarium (orange route), Baltimore Penn Station (purple route), and Fort McHenry and the Inner Harbor (Banner route).