36 Hours In Baltimore

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You’ll probably need more than 36 hours to explore a historic city like Baltimore – but it’s not completely an unthinkable task.   In about a day and a half I took in some of the great history, scenery and well – charm.   After all, they do call this the charm city.

My first taste of Baltimore was an experience with the Charm City Circulator.  It sounds like the name of a newspaper in one of those Marvel comic book plots – but it’s actually a free transit system that takes you around town.   The hybrid buses run four different routes and take you to pretty much every place a tourist would want to go.  They were clean, spacious and best of all – choreographed by a slick GPS phone app that lets you track the location of the buses.  No waiting outside in the cold for the next bus – just look at your phone and see when it’s about to come down the street.

Baltimore is pretty walkable in the downtown area.   Sadly, the temperatures were below freezing with wind gusts over 30mph during my visit – so walking became a real battle.  However, on a pleasant day – getting around by foot would be a breeze.   The views of the inner harbor were beautiful despite the chilly temperatures and several of the pedestrian bridges connecting different sections were quite stunning.

During my visit – several attractions were on my list.  Here’s a list of them and how they stacked up to expectations:

Fort McHenry

Known best as the birthplace of the national anthem.  Francis Scott Key saw the massive American flag hoisted above the fort and knew the Americans had defeated the British.  The victory and sight of the flag inspired the lyrics.

Fort McHenry itself is still pretty much in tact with obvious restoration having taken place over the years.   You have a great view of the harbor and it’s fun to stroll around the grounds and imagine being part of that iconic battle.  It’s certainly not an all day experience – but well worth an hour of your time.

You might consider a visit to the Star Spangled Banner Flag House to compliment your trip to the Fort.

National Aquarium

This was one of Baltimore’s early attractions that brought some life (and tourists) back to the downtown area.   It is very well laid out and one of the nicer aquariums I’ve been to.   You’ll have to stick to a schedule if you stop by or you’ll spend an entire day watching sharks or colorful fish only seen at the bottom of the ocean.

Oriole Park At Camden Yards

Sports fans should absolutely stop by the Camden Yards area and have a quick photo with the Babe Ruth statue outside of Oriole Park.   We were fortunate enough to get a private tour of the baseball stadium but public tours are available.   The stadium was a model for many of the other MLB teams that renovated or re-built facilities over the last decade.  The suite section of the stadium was amazing – and quite frankly, the best that I’ve seen.  It was spacious, beautiful floors all the way around and even the trash cans had a fun Oriole theme.

Babe Ruth Birthplace

After a visit to the stadium, you can simply follow the markings on the sidewalk to the birth place of Babe Ruth.  Ruth was the greatest sports figure we’ve ever known in America and you can step inside his childhood home.  Some of the neat things inside include a score book that recorded the results of Babe’s very first baseball game.  There’s lots of signed memorabilia and a neat film produced specifically for the museum.

There’s also a Sports Legends Museum on the opposite end of Camden Yards with great sports memorabilia.

The score book recording Babe Ruth’s very first outing as a baseball player – on display at the Babe Ruth Museum & Birthplace in Baltimore.

Little Italy

Walking distance from our hotel – we stopped by the Little Italy neighborhood of Baltimore and enjoyed a great Italian meal.  There were tons of great smells spilling into the street as we tried to find the perfect spot for lunch.  All of the restaurants kindly put their menu outside so you can see if their entrees are to your liking.

Overall, I found Baltimore to be very walkable and people seemed to be friendly.  Two good indicators of a good place to visit.

Baltimore loves art.  They have three different Art museums in town including the American Visionary Art Museum, Walters Art Museum,  and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Kids will certainly enjoy the B & O Railroad Museum or the Maryland Science Center.

If you’re looking for a little “Road Quirk” – you might consider the National Museum of Dentistry or perhaps the Edgar Allan Poe home and museum.

For more information about visiting Baltimore – you can check out: visitbaltimore.org

Oh, and in case you’re wondering – YES, I did try a Baltimore crab cake.  Unfortunately, just not my thing.  But, trust me – I’m in the minority on this one as America’s pickiest eater.

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Bill is a travel journalist, broadcaster and freelance writer based in Saint Louis, Missouri. Bill travels all across the country doing positive stories, highlighting people and places making America great. He's the host of the weekly Rediscover America podcast and author of the new book 100 Things To Do In America Before You Die! Bill enjoys parks, talking to strangers, eating medium-rare steaks, playing Pickleball and telling good jokes.