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Considered one of the finest examples of Neoclassical architecture, the Baltimore Basilica is the nation's oldest Catholic cathedral. Begun in 1806 and completed in 1821, the cathedral was designed by Benjamin Latrobe, architect of the U.S. Capitol. With its six Corinthian columns fronting a grand portico, the cathedral resembles a Greek temple. Nine stained-glass windows fill the massive interior with light. Visitors in recent years have included Pope John Paul II and the late Mother Theresa.
East meets West at The Walters. The museum was established in 1934, with a gift from prominent art collector Henry Walters as its initial collection. On one hand, its collection spans nearly the entire history of Western art. Its spacious galleries are home to Greek and Roman statuary, Baroque carvings and a large collection of Renaissance paintings. On the other hand, its elegant Hackerman House wing holds one of the largest collections of traditional Asian art in the United States.
Towering above Mount Vernon Place is Baltimore's Washington Monument. The marble Doric column towers 178 feet (54.25 meters) with a statue of George Washington at its crown. The reward for climbing the steep, winding 228 steps is a breathtaking, bird's-eye view of Baltimore. The base contains a small museum with exhibits chronicling the architecture and development of the monument, which took nearly 15 years to build (1815-1829).
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.
This aquarium is perhaps the greatest attraction in Baltimore's celebrated Inner Harbor. The exhibits start small with samples of marine life from local waters, but visitors soon find themselves eye-to-eye with sharks, rays and other very large creatures. The simulated rainforest ecosystem is truly awe-inspiring. The regularly scheduled dolphin shows are very popular, especially with children.
Babe Ruth is so much a part of New York Yankees lore, people forget that he was born, raised and introduced to professional baseball in Baltimore. This museum celebrates the Babe's Baltimore roots, displaying his boyhood bat, the score card from his first professional game. Artifacts from his father's saloon, which stood where Oriole Park is today, are also on display. The museum is also the official repository of Orioles team memorabilia.
Opened in 1992, this baseball stadium incorporates the old Baltimore & Ohio RR Warehouse building into its asymmetrical design. The home plate and right field foul pole came from the old Memorial Stadium, former home of the Orioles. Ninety-minute tours are given on weekday mornings as long as there isn't an afternoon game. If the O's are in town be sure to grab a ticket, as seeing a game here is a real treat!
'Visionary Art' is a term used to describe art that is created by people who use ordinary media to express their own intensely personal ideas about life. This museum has assembled a wonderful collection of this very Visionary art. Since Visionary artists generally lack formal training, and work outside of established art traditions, their works are as bold, innovative and inspirational as the visions that spawned them. Children under six years of age are free.
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.
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.
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.
The soul of this museum is its spacious wing dedicated to Modern Art masters like Rothko, de Kooning, Pollock and their contemporaries. The museum has the second largest private collection of Andy Warhol's works. It also features Oceanic and American Indian art, a sizable Old Masters collection and a beautiful sculpture garden. The BMA is also home to the Cone collection, which is a treasury of Early Modern masterpieces.