Explore my city guest blogger Alison from Five Family Adventurers
Welcome to Baltimore, one of the most fascinating cities on the US East Coast. Maybe not the first place that comes to mind when you think of family vacations, but there’s more to Charm City than you might think. This week Explore My City takes you on a 24-hour highlights tour of historic Baltimore.
Baltimore, Maryland is a diverse city rich in culture and industrial history and growth that helped shape the United States today. The city continues to grow and expand in the arts and culture while also attracting some of the most recognized names in business. However, to get to know Baltimore, you should really get to know Baltimore’s unique and strong industrial and maritime past.
The Museums of Baltimore
There are wonderful museums in downtown Baltimore that would appeal to tourists young and old, art museums, a science museum, the famous Baltimore Aquarium; but visiting them, although wonderful, you really have no idea you are in Baltimore.
The two museums truly unique to Baltimore and the history that has helped shape the famous, family friendly city are The Baltimore Museum of Industry and The B&O Train Museum.
Canning became an important industry in post-Civil War Baltimore, so what’s more appropriate than having a museum built in an 1860’s oyster cannery?
The museum is right on a port that was once connecting the world of commerce. Inside the museum, visitors will have the opportunity to discover Baltimore’s industrial heritage; oyster canning, printing and even a mock early 1900’s pharmacy featuring the Noxema product created and produced in Baltimore.
There are interactive game designing exhibits for kids and for young kids there are hands-on craft making, stories and tours. Make sure to take a walk along the water to visit the Baltimore, the oldest steam-powered tug-boat in the United States, now owned by the Baltimore Museum of Industry.
She was an official welcoming vessel for the city of Baltimore, an icebreaker, and auxiliary fireboat. Now she is a National Historic Landmark.
Take a stroll
Explore the waterfront and take in the sites, especially the Domino Sugars Factory in the distance, which processes 7 million pounds of sugar per day.
After a visit to the Baltimore Museum of Industry, take a walk to the historic Federal Hill neighborhood for lunch at Abby Burger. These award-winning, hand-patted burgers will please even the pickiest eaters.
Don’t worry they have wild game options and vegetarian options. Go for the Simply AJ10 burger, created by the famous Orioles baseball player Adam Jones.
Federal Hill neighborhood is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Baltimore, with cobblestone streets and homes dating back to the 18th century.
Cross Street Market with nearly a dozen stalls of fresh food items and gifts, it is fun to walk through and experience some local offerings. Take a stroll up to Fort McHenry located in Federal Hill, to learn about how the city defended itself against the British in the War of 1812. From here you can let your kids run around and take in the stunning views of the city.
A visit to the B&O Museum will bring you to one of the largest collections of locomotives and train equipment in the world. It is the birthplace of American Railroading and was one of the first places to have a passenger station.
For the past 130 years, B&O has been servicing rail trains and continues to do so today. Upon entering the large rotunda, visitors will witness the dawn of rail trains from the beginning up to modern times.
There are steam engines, electric, diesel, coach, and freight trains. They even house small objects used in train history like dining plates, pocket watches, lanterns and equipment.
You can also take a mile-long train ride along the less scenic views of Baltimore. Throughout the museum, there are plenty of kid zones for kids to play and many trains they can run in and out of. Kids will love exploring the different locomotives and running around the rotunda.
On some of the trains, kids will love pretending that they are driving the train and taking over the controls. Adults alike love the experience. A visit to Fells Point historic neighborhood is a great segway from seeing how trains connected the country and the port was the second-largest point of immigration in the US after Ellis Island.
Walk along the cobbled streets and check out some of the boutiques before grabbing lunch at Thames Street Oyster House. They have a great variety of Maryland seafood favorites as well as a raw bar.
Crabs is what’s for dinner
Eating crabs for dinner is a traditional Baltimore, outing. They are prepared whole, steamed and heavily seasoned with Chesapeake Bay seasoning which varies from place to place. The two places to try while in Baltimore are
- LP Steamers a local favorite with a great roof deck, but otherwise non-descript.
- Bo Brooks although it has tons of tourists, locals still go and it has the best view of the harbor.
If you are lucky and in town during an Orioles game, head over to Camden Yards and take in one of Baltimore’s best. The stadium is open and welcoming with affordable ticket prices and plenty to eat and drink.
It’s conveniently located downtown within walking distance from most downtown neighborhoods. Fans are fun and you may even get an autograph from the Oriole bird, also know as “The Bird.”
Where to Stay in Baltimore
Sagamore Pendry Hotel This upscale hotel now occupies a 1914 pier building with 128 rooms and a pool overlooking the harbor. Located in historic Fells Point, this new hotel used to be the building used in the Homicide TV series.
Hotel Monaco Located in the original B&O 1906 beaux – arts office building the Hotel Monaco offers luxury and conveniences to its visitors. The hotel offers 202 rooms designed to resemble a train or train station and is in a central downtown location, convenient for getting to all the Baltimore historic neighborhoods.
About the Blogger – Alison Netzer
I have been an avid traveler since a young child, exploring the world by myself and now with my family. I am a mom, wife and individual when not running after three little dependents and a fat Labrador.
I do work, but traveling, writing and raising three is my best work. I love to learn about new cultures, food and now try to bring that information to others in order to encourage them to embrace what the world has to offer. Life is short-fill it with family travel and adventures you will not regret it. It is a wonderful time. Oh, we are also baseball-obsessed, not sure how that snuck into our lives.
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© Our Globetrotters Images © Alison Netzer