It’s the home of the Ravens and Orioles, crab cakes, Edgar Allan Poe and the world’s tallest five-sided building. Baltimore is a great place to exercise your five senses, and there is something in this city for everyone.
There are many ways to get to this metropolis.
Amtrak is the fastest way to travel, arriving in about an hour. Depending on the seat you reserve, a roundtrip ticket costs $40 to $100. Greyhound buses are a little cheaper, especially if you are going on a weekday. The ride going each way can take up to two hours. For a round trip ticket, it will cost you less than $40.
Driving is also an option. It allows you to travel at your own pace. But with gas prices these days, you might want to reconsider. Other things to keep in mind are parking lot fees ($5 to $20 for all day) and toll fees ($12 total).
Federal Hill Park
The best way to start the day is with a stroll or a jog up the grassy hills of Federal Hill Park.
During the Civil War, the park served as a strategic Union stronghold. Now it fulfills a different purpose – breathtaking scenery. Looking straight toward Inner Harbor from the top of the hills is an indescribable feeling.
Inner Harbor is “where the sights, sounds and shopping are simply sensational,” or so that’s what the brochure promises. The harbor is broken up into two pavilions and a glass atrium, which are known as Light Street Pavilion, Pratt Street Pavilion and the Gallery.
Besides a ton of shops, there are dozens of restaurants and eateries. Most specialize in seafood, such as Phillips Seafood Buffet, which charges $25 a person.
For fun and fudge, the Fudgery is the only
place where employees sing and dance as customers order.
The National Aquarium
For ocean lovers, the National Aquarium in Baltimore is the place to go. The aquarium has thousands of sea creatures to see, including dolphins. These lovable animals perform tricks and interact with audiences.
The $25 admission fee also allows you to explore the rainforest floor. The entire exhibit is covered in a thin layer of fog with trees, vines and flowers everywhere. Hidden in the greens are birds, snakes and more of nature’s secrets. In such an environment, it’s easy to forget that you are in Baltimore and not South America.
Baltimore World Trade Center
With 28 floors, the World Trade Center in Baltimore is said to be the tallest five-sided building in the world. It costs $5 to get to the 27th floor of this pentagon-shaped building. But a chance to observe the city from such a height, especially at night, is priceless.
For a real connection to the past, exploring the USS Constellation is the thing to do. This war ship built by the U.S. Navy helped stop illegal slave trade during the mid 1800s. Although the original ship was damaged, this four-deck replica is well-capable of telling its story, sending chills down the spine.
Every hour, the museum schedules a different activity for visitors to engage in and learn something about the past. It costs $8.50 for a captain (adult) to board this historic ship.
Shops and Restaurants
It’s a sports-lover’s paradise. The ESPN Zone Bar and Restaurant has big screen TVs with high definition for a better viewing experience and appreciation of the action. Besides selling food and drinks, the studio stores are stocked with sports merchandise.
Next door to the ESPN Zone is a two-floor Barnes & Noble bookstore. The first floor is entirely dedicated to books. The second
floor allows people to sit out on a balcony.
It features a fish tank, a CD section and a Starbucks.
During mid-afternoon, spare some time to watch the street performers at the Amphitheater, located between the two pavilions. No matter who is performing, the audience always seems to love the acts.
If you have any energy left over after all that walking around, try watching whichever
birds are in season: the Ravens or the Orioles.
Anne Ha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.