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Overview

Baltimore, situated on a natural harbor in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, grew up as a trade port for grain and tobacco and, despite varying fortunes through its history, is still one of the busiest ports in the United States. The city's blue-collar brashness and the stereotypical, big-haired "Hon" have been lovingly caricatured in the films of John Waters and the hit musical "Hairspray," but don't think Baltimore has only kitsch to recommend it: for instance, there's a world-class aquarium, an art museum, and a science center; Fort McHenry, birthplace of "The Star-Spangled Banner"; the country's first Roman Catholic cathedral; and a vibrant ...

Baltimore, situated on a natural harbor in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, grew up as a trade port for grain and tobacco and, despite varying fortunes through its history, is still one of the busiest ports in the United States. The city's blue-collar brashness and the stereotypical, big-haired "Hon" have been lovingly caricatured in the films of John Waters and the hit musical "Hairspray," but don't think Baltimore has only kitsch to recommend it: for instance, there's a world-class aquarium, an art museum, and a science center; Fort McHenry, birthplace of "The Star-Spangled Banner"; the country's first Roman Catholic cathedral; and a vibrant waterfront and several distinctive neighborhoods full of great dining, shopping, and cultural attractions both highbrow and offbeat. Baltimore's history as a port draws visitors to the Inner Harbor to tour historic vessels like the restored USS Constellation and to explore the harbor itself by schooner, paddle-wheeler or even kayak.

Stillman Rogers
About the Expert

Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Any time, although it is crowded in May for Preakness Stakes.