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.
The sight of the American flag flying over Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the 'Star Spangled Banner'. The fort is best known for the part it played during the War of 1812, successfully holding off an attack by the British Navy. When Scott Key saw the flag still flying over the fort after surviving the attack, he wrote the poem that became the national anthem. Today, the fort is a National Historic Park. The restored barracks hold exhibits of military and historical artifacts and a well-kept trail runs along the water's edge, affording spectacular views of ships entering and leaving the busy harbor.
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.
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).
This 173-acre (70 hectares) woodland park in the heart of Baltimore offers nature lovers a respite from the noise and congestion of the city. Formerly an estate, the home and grounds are open to visitors today and include a horticultural reference library, a bird and nature museum and a gift shop. The grounds include formal and woodland gardens and trails. Throughout the year, symposiums, workshops and exhibits on a variety of horticultural-related subjects are held.
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.
First established in 1729 along the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore was the site of several noteworthy events of the American Revolution and the War of 1812, the most notable being the Battle of Baltimore. An American lawyer, Francis Scott Key, witnessed this battle unfold in 1814, the sight of the American flag fluttering above the ramparts of the nearby Fort McHenry his inspiration for the United States' National Anthem - the Star Spangled Banner. Today, Baltimore's Inner Harbor is where the action is at, ripe with superb restaurants, fabulous boutiques and some of the city's most popular attractions, including the national Aquarium, the American Visionary Art Museum and the Maryland Science Center. Nearby, Fells Point is the historic quarter of Baltimore, its cobblestone streets and lively pubs still reminiscent of the city's British roots. The city is also known for its African American heritage, illustrated by various monuments, museums and landmarks. With its nautical roots, down-to-earth spirit and homegrown culture, Baltimore remains 'Charm City' even as world-class museums and family-friendly attractions bring more and more tourists to its shore. For a real taste of Baltimore's local flavor, catch an O’s Game at Oriole Park, picnic at Fort McHenry, and attend one of the city's many festivals, parades and celebrations.
Baltimore's bustling Downtown has served as the city's heart ever since the city was recognized in the year 1796. The city's central business district is home to five major neighborhoods of Camden Yards, Inner Harbor, City Centre, Mount Vernon and Westside. Of these, Inner Harbor remains the prime tourist and commercial center, frequented by millions of people throughout the year. A collage of entertainment options, retail establishments, swanky hotels and swish restaurants are found here. These Power Plant Live!, Harborplace and Walters Art Museum which finds itself in Mount Vernon. Downtown is also where one locates the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, the 19th-century residence of celebrated American playwright Edgar Allan Poe.
Housed inside a beautiful structure inside the Johns Hopkins University campus, the George Peabody Library stocks a magnificent collection of over 300,000 books. The library was initiated in 1860 with an aim to provide latest literary material covering all branches of knowledge except law and medicine. These books, mostly belonging to the 18th and the 19th Century, provide perfect research material covering British art and architecture, History of America, Biographies, English and American literature as well as Greek and Latin classics and an exploration section for exclusive collection of maps. A majestic place for book lovers, the place is often referred to as the 'Cathedral of Books'. Visit the university website for library catalog and event updates.
The four squares that surround the historic Washington Monument together form Mount Vernon Place. These four squares were created after the monument was built in order to create a spectacular setting for it. Although the monument is the crowning jewel of the park, by itself too the park is a sight to behold. Verdant trees, grass and shrubs, paved walkways, and beautiful statues and fountains dot the park, making it one of the finest urban landscapes in the world. Mount Vernon Place also has plenty of benches and dining options and is surrounded by houses that have still retained their old-world charm, making it a great spot for spending a peaceful day. Located nearby are the Lexington Market, the Hippodrome Theater, and the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.