Within Walking Distance
Near the port for your cruise from Baltimore is historic Fort McHenry. This military outpost inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner after he saw the giant flag rise up as a sign of successful defense during an 1814 battle. The flag still flies high over the historic grounds. Examine the fort’s collection of military relics and catch an antique artillery demonstration.
Beyond the Port Area
In addition to the bustling shops and delicious seafood restaurants of Baltimore, the historic Inner Harbor has numerous attractions celebrating the city’s legacy as a port. Watch the firing of the Parrott rifle and climb the ladders of the USS Constellation, one of four historic ships docked in the harbor. Explore the other three, along with the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, on a visit to the Historic Ships in Baltimore Museum. Watch marine biologists feed zebra sharks in the National Aquarium, one of the nation’s finest.
The waterfront Fell’s Point neighborhood was a shipbuilding center in the 1700s. Today, period homes and a robust collection of shops and restaurants line the tidy streets. A walking tour with the Fell’s Point Preservation Society unlocks the stately captains’ historic homes.
Once you’ve got a sense of Baltimore, Maryland, from the sea, get a different perspective by climbing Federal Hill. One hundred steps lead to the park’s cannon and monuments overlooking all of Baltimore. In the surrounding Federal Hill neighborhood, discover America’s modern folk art at the American Visionary Art Museum, which holds one-of-a-kind works—including a small scale model of the Lusitania—behind its shiny, curved façade.
If you’re on a cruise from Baltimore during baseball season, snag tickets to a game at retro-style Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Nearby, the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum celebrates the Baltimore native son and baseball legend. At the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, witness the turntable in action at the Roundhouse building, hop on old rail cars, and board a train for a short ride around the grounds. The museum oversees the oldest railroad station in the U.S., Ellicott City, where old inns and antiques shops still line this mill town’s Main Street.
Shopping in Baltimore
Along the Inner Harbor’s brick-lined sidewalks, The Gallery, Light Street Pavilion, and Pratt Street Pavilion of Harborplace Mall brim with brand-name and specialty shops. For antiques and collectibles, hit North Charles and North Howard streets in the pretty Mount Vernon neighborhood. Browse for local produce and hot-from-the-oven baked goods alongside handmade crafts at Broadway Market and Lexington Market—both more than 200 years old.
Dining in Baltimore
The signature dish of Baltimore, Maryland, is steamed blue crabs, in season from May to October. Locals refer to the messy process of removing the succulent meat as “picking.” Get your hands dirty at Obrycki’s in Fell’s Point, a renowned seafood and crab house. Tuck into al dente pastas and fresh seafood at long-time favorites like Aldo’s and Sabatino’s, topped off with tiramisu and cappuccino at Vaccaro’s, all on the homey, low-rise streets of Baltimore’s authentic Little Italy.