Federal Hill Park is a pristine park offering spectacular views of the Inner Harbor and a wonderful, fenced-in play area for the kids, complete with slides, a sandbox and monkey bars. Dogs are also welcome. While you're visiting the park, take a moment to learn about one of Baltimore's most prominent citizens. A monument details the life of Major General Samuel Smith, who helped defeat the British attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812. He went on to become a Congressman, then president of the Senate and, finally, mayor of Baltimore.
This small park, just south of the Inner Harbor, offers a gigantic, well-kept public swimming pool, where neighborhood children swim for a dollar a day during July and August. There are plenty of benches, and a small gazebo offers a shady spot for a picnic lunch. Other sporting facilities include basketball courts, and two ballfields. In 2008 this park was named one of Baltimore's historical landmarks.
Inner Harbor has come to be a significant place in the city of Baltimore and considered a must-visit attraction. The small waterfront, which serves as a top destination, rose to prominence during the 1950s when it was revitalized for recreational and leisure activities along with grass-covered parks for its people. Over the next decade, parks and plazas, buildings and hotels, even corporate conventions and government units were added to the Inner Harbor. Places like Maryland Science Center, Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Ripley’s Believe it Or Not - Odditorium, are major attractions that delight people of all ages. The area still embraces its glorious history and the Baltimore Museum of Industry is an apt example. Admirers of the past can take a step back in time by visiting any or all of the five historic ships that are permanently stationed at the Inner Harbor. The elevated 27th floor of the World Trade Center situated in Inner Harbor allows a bird-eye view of the city of Baltimore.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was once one of the most important freight and passenger lines in the country. The museum, located in a converted switching yard west of downtown, was the final destination for dozens of the steam locomotives and diesel engines that traveled along that railroad. Visitors are welcome to climb aboard and inspect the giant machines, many of which are kept in a restored house that also holds a wealth of historical displays and railroad memorabilia.
Commissioned in 1855, the USS Constellation was the last all-sail ship built by the United States Navy. Today, the historic vessel lies at anchor in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, where visitors can climb aboard and learn about the ship's history, including its mission to disrupt the slave trade and its latter role in delivering famine relief supplies to Ireland.
Maryland Science Center at Inner Harbor features interactive exhibits that focus on physics, marine biology and astronomy. The sprawling center includes a planetarium as well as an observatory, adding to its already impressive facilities. Of more local interest is the Chesapeake Bay estuary exhibit, which features several tanks of live creatures. Packages that include tickets to the IMAX theater are available.
The works of H.L. Mencken, the sage of Baltimore and Edgar Allan Poe, another writer often associated with the city, can be explored at this library. In fact, two rooms are devoted to their writings and their lives. One of the largest libraries in the county, the Enoch Pratt also serves as a State Library Resource Center, which provides all Maryland libraries with access to state and federal government documents and other materials. The library has an impressive collection of books about Baltimore, Maryland and the region.
Built in 1814 by Charles Wilson Peale, one of the first American painters to achieve a place of distinction in the fine arts, the Peale Museum features a collection of 40 Peale family portraits and houses several natural history displays. Peale's collection of specimens gave scientists and visitors the opportunity to study animals and plants outside their natural environment. This museum was the first to display the complete skeleton of a mastodon. It is still standing today and the building was registered as a National Historical Landmark in 1965.
Located on Mount Vernon Square, this small, but well-stocked museum offers visitors a lesson in the history of Baltimore and the region. Spanning the colonial period to the present, it features an extensive collection of early American portraits, quilts, furniture, ceramics and toys. Other exhibits highlight the Chesapeake Bay's maritime industry, Baltimore's role as a port, and Maryland's role in the American Civil War.
This center had humble beginnings as the Model Cities Art Program. It was renamed in 1984 when James Hubert "Eubie" Blake, the famous ragtime pianist, left his archives to the city. Today, through photos and memorabilia, the museum offers visitors a glimpse of Baltimore's jazz legends—including Blake, Cab Calloway and Billie Holiday. In addition to the exhibit space, the center also arranges live jazz performances throughout the city and organizes lessons for students.
Maryland's goodwill ambassador to the world was modeled after the Baltimore clippers, the topsail schooners that helped America win the War of 1812. Since its launch in 1988, the 173-foot vessel has represented Maryland in 44 countries. The Pride has sailed more than 180,000 miles and played host to some 500,000 visitors. If you're lucky enough to be in Baltimore when the Pride is in port, take a tour of the vessel or stay on board overnight and sail with the crew.