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What Is Baltimore Known For? [2024]

What is Baltimore known for? From historic landmarks like Fort McHenry to cultural attractions like Inner Harbor, discover all the unique and exciting things to do in Baltimore.

Baltimore, affectionately dubbed "Charm City," is a thriving metropolis nestled in the heart of Maryland, along the picturesque shores of the Chesapeake Bay. With a rich history, diverse culture, and an indomitable spirit, Baltimore stands as a beacon of resilience and innovation.

If you’re considering a move to this charming city, you might be wondering just what Baltimore is known for. In this guide, we’ll explore what makes Baltimore truly unique, as well as the facets that contribute to its appeal.

What Is Baltimore Best Known For? 25 Charming Things About “Charm City”

1. Inner Harbor

The Inner Harbor is an iconic waterfront district that serves as a hub of activity, seamlessly blending history, entertainment, and natural beauty.

Boasting beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay, the Inner Harbor offers a plethora of museums and popular Baltimore attractions for all ages. Visitors can explore the historic ships, take the family to the Port Discovery Children’s Museum, or listen to some live music at Power Plant Live.

At Inner Harbor, you’re welcome to stroll along the promenade lined with shops and delectable seafood restaurants, or watch street performers add to the lively atmosphere. You can even hop aboard a water taxi for a scenic journey across this Baltimore harbor, making it easy to navigate all the attractions. Whether you seek a relaxing afternoon or an evening of waterfront dining, the Inner Harbor offers endless possibilities.

2. Baltimore Museum of Art

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) is renowned for its diverse collection and commitment to fostering artistic appreciation and education.

Boasting an impressive array of over 97,000 works spanning centuries and continents, the BMA offers visitors a journey through the annals of art history. From Indigenous Arts of Ancient America to masterpieces by famous artists like Vincent van Gogh, Picasso, and Henri Matisse, the museum's collection captivates art enthusiasts of all tastes.

Beyond its impressive galleries, the BMA also hosts engaging exhibitions, educational programs, and community events that enrich the cultural landscape of Baltimore.

A visit to the BMA promises an enriching experience that demonstrates how the power of art can ignite imaginations and foster connections across generations.

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3. Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens stand as a symbol of pride and passion for the city, captivating sports fans with their grit, determination, and legacy. Since their inception in 1996, the Ravens have left an indelible mark on the NFL landscape with numerous playoff appearances, division titles, and two Super Bowl championships in 2001 and 2013.

In addition to their on-field prowess, the Ravens unite the community with their unwavering support and philanthropic endeavors. From charitable initiatives to fan engagement events, the Ravens exemplify the spirit of camaraderie that defines Baltimore. To truly immerse yourself in this vibrant sports culture, there's no better place than M&T Bank Stadium, where the cheers of Ravens fans can be heard across the city.

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4. Fort McHenry and The Star-Spangled Banner

Baltimore forever holds a special place in American history as the birthplace of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Inspired by the valiant defense of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key's poem immortalized the sight of the American flag "through the perilous fight." This pivotal moment not only ignited a sense of hope and resilience, but also birthed the nation's stirring anthem.

Today, the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine stands as a testament to that legacy. Visitors can explore the fort's storied past through exhibits and guided tours, standing where Key witnessed the battle and feeling the weight of history.

The sight of the star-spangled banner waving proudly overhead continues to evoke a powerful sense of patriotism. Beyond Baltimore, "The Star-Spangled Banner" transcends its origins, becoming a reminder of America's ideals: freedom, unity, and the pursuit of a more perfect union. Fort McHenry’s ramparts, steeped in the legacy of the War of 1812, echo with tales of valor and sacrifice, offering a poignant reminder of the price of freedom.

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5. National Aquarium

The National Aquarium in Baltimore stands as a captivating aquatic wonderland that invites visitors on an immersive journey through the depths of the world's oceans and waterways.

Home to over 17,000 animals representing more than 750 different species, the National Aquarium offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the wonders of marine life up close. At the National Aquarium, visitors can marvel at the graceful movements of dolphins in the Dolphin Discovery exhibit or embark on a virtual dive into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

The National Aquarium is also committed to conservation and education. Through interactive programs, behind-the-scenes tours, and hands-on experiences, the aquarium fosters a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all life on Earth.

6. Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe, one of America's most renowned literary figures, left an indelible mark on the world of literature and continues to fascinate readers with his macabre tales and haunting poetry. Poe's works, like “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart,” delve into the depths of the human psyche, exploring themes of madness, death, and the supernatural.

Though he was born in Boston, Poe is forever associated with Baltimore, having spent some of his formative years in the city. Poe Baltimore pays homage to its literary luminary and the inspiration he found amidst Baltimore’s dark and enigmatic streets, with various landmarks, tours, and events dedicated to Poe, including the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum and Poe’s Grave at Westminster Burial Ground, where visitors can step into the author's world and gain insight into his life.

7. Maryland Crab

What seafood is Baltimore known for? Start with Maryland crab! It's a local obsession, famous for its sweetness and unique flavor. Steam it, grill it, or try it in crab cakes or soup – this Chesapeake Bay staple is one you won't want to miss.

From casual crab shacks to fancy waterfront restaurants (Faidley's Seafood is a must-try!), Baltimore offers crab in all its delicious forms. It's a versatile crustacean, perfect for a messy feast with friends or a more upscale meal. So grab a bib (and maybe a mallet), because every bite of Maryland crab is a taste of Baltimore's rich maritime history and love of seafood.

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8. Fells Point Historic District

Step back in time on Baltimore's waterfront at Fells Point Historic District. Dating back to the 18th century, this neighborhood boasts a colorful past as a bustling port and center of trade and commerce. Today, Fells Point enchants visitors with its cobblestone streets that wind past charming shops, quaint taverns, and cozy cafes.

History buffs can explore Chase’s Wharf or peek into the Robert Long House, while foodies can browse Broadway Market for an array of local cuisine. For a classic Baltimore experience, end your day with a cold drink at Baltimore’s oldest bar, The Horse You Came In On Saloon.

9. Artscape

Artscape stands as a celebration of creativity and community, showcasing the artistic talent and cultural diversity of Baltimore. Held annually in the heart of the city, Artscape transforms the streets into a sprawling outdoor gallery, featuring a dynamic mix of visual arts, live performances, and interactive installations.

As one of the largest free arts festivals in the United States, Artscape attracts visitors from near and far, drawing crowds eager to immerse themselves in the creative energy that permeates every corner of the festival grounds.

10. Frederick Douglas

Frederick Douglass, a legendary figure in American history and a towering advocate for freedom and equality, has deep roots in Baltimore. Born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland, Douglass made his daring escape to freedom in 1838, eventually settling in Baltimore where he found refuge and began his transformative journey as a leader in the abolitionist movement.

Today, visitors to Baltimore can trace Douglass's footsteps and learn about his remarkable life and legacy at sites like the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park, which honors his contributions to the struggle for equality. From his humble beginnings to his rise as a prominent statesman and advocate for social change, Douglass's indomitable spirit continues to inspire hope and drive progress in the ongoing pursuit of justice and equality.

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11. American Visionary Art Museum

The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) is a one-of-a-kind museum showcasing a diverse array of unconventional and thought-provoking artworks. A testament to the power of creativity and self-expression, AVAM celebrates the work of self-taught artists and visionaries from around the world.

More than just a museum, AVAM fosters a spirit of inclusivity and exploration, inviting visitors to embrace their own creativity. At AVAM, you’re welcome to marvel at the whimsical wonders of the museum's permanent collection or participate in a hands-on workshop. Through engaging exhibitions, interactive installations, and educational programs, AVAM inspires visitors to celebrate the unique talents and perspectives that make us all artists in our own right.

12. B&O Railroad Museum

Wondering what to do in Baltimore? As the birthplace of American railroading, you’ll find plenty to do and see at the B&O Railroad Museum. The museum is a living testament to America's rich railroad heritage and offers visitors a glimpse into the golden age of steam locomotion through its vast collection of trains, artifacts, and exhibits.

At the B&O Railroad Museum, visitors can step aboard beautifully preserved trains, explore historic roundhouses, and learn about the ingenuity of the men and women who built and operated the nation's first railroad. Through engaging educational programs, special events, and immersive experiences, the B&O Railroad Museum brings to life the sights, sounds, and stories of America's railroad history.

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13. Baltimore Orioles

Since their establishment in 1901, the Baltimore Orioles have been a pillar of Baltimore's sports culture. With numerous division titles, pennants, and three World Series wins, the Orioles boast a rich legacy of success and a loyal fan base that spans generations.

Enjoy the classic backdrop of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the electric atmosphere of game day by attending an Orioles game, a quintessential Baltimore experience. Whether you're cheering on the home team from the stands or relishing in the timeless traditions of America's pastime, the Baltimore Orioles offer an unforgettable sporting experience.

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14. Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins University and Hospital stand as pillars of excellence in education, research, and healthcare, leaving an indelible mark on Baltimore and the world beyond.

Founded in 1876 through a visionary endowment by philanthropist Johns Hopkins, the university has since established itself as a global leader in higher education, renowned for its cutting-edge research, innovative programs, and commitment to academic excellence.

Complementing the university's academic prowess, Johns Hopkins Hospital provides world-class healthcare to Baltimore’s residents and patients worldwide. With a legacy of medical innovation dating back over a century, the hospital remains at the forefront of patient care, research, and medical education.

Together, Johns Hopkins University and Hospital embody the spirit of discovery and service that defines Baltimore's identity as a mecca of innovation and progress.

15. National Bohemian

National Bohemian, or "Natty Boh" for short, isn't just any beer in Baltimore; it's a cultural icon brewed since 1885. This American lager embodies the city's spirit – laid-back, friendly, and fiercely loyal.

Whether cheering on the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards or enjoying a crab feast at a waterfront restaurant, National Bohemian embodies the spirit of Baltimore, embracing its traditions and celebrating its unique character.

From sporting Mr. Boh merchandise and attending events like Artscape, National Bohemian helps build Baltimore's sense of community. With their love for good times and good company, Natty Boh exemplifies the warmth and camaraderie that make Baltimore a city like no other.

16. Lexington Market

Established in 1782, Lexington Market is one of the oldest continuously operating public markets in the United States, so it is steeped in history and tradition.

Teeming with fresh seafood, local produce, international flavors, and Baltimore classics like crab cakes and pit beef, Lexington Market's lively stalls are a feast for the senses. Visitors flock from all over to savor the city's culinary heritage, while locals browse for unique gifts and souvenirs.

Aside from its diverse offerings of food and drink, Lexington Market serves as a gathering place where communities converge, fostering connections and camaraderie amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life.

17. Berger Cookies

Berger Cookies hold a special place in the hearts—and taste buds—of Baltimoreans, serving as a beloved sweet treat synonymous with the city's culinary identity. These famous cookies, characterized by their thick layer of rich, fudge-like icing atop a soft vanilla shortbread base, have been a local favorite since their creation in the early 20th century by German immigrant Henry Berger.

With their irresistible combination of decadent chocolate and buttery cookie, Berger Cookies have earned a devoted following and are a staple at bakeries and grocery stores throughout Baltimore. You won’t regret trying a bite of a Berger Cookie! They're a sweet taste of Baltimore's history.

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18. Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum hosts an extensive and diverse collection of art spanning millennia and continents. Founded in 1934 by philanthropist Henry Walters, the museum's holdings encompass over 36,000 objects, ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts and European masterpieces to Asian ceramics and medieval manuscripts.

With its stunning galleries and immersive exhibitions, the Walters Art Museum invites visitors to explore and appreciate the beauty and significance of art from around the world. Through engaging programs, educational initiatives, and community partnerships, the Walters Art Museum enriches the cultural landscape of Baltimore and fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of the arts for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

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19. Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay, is a defining feature of Maryland's landscape. Stretching over 200 miles along the East Coast, the Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and a vital ecosystem teeming with diverse marine life.

Its tranquil waters and scenic shores offer endless opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration. For Baltimore residents, a quick trip to the Inner Harbor opens doors to adventures like kayaking or sailing on the Bay itself, and fishing charters are available for those looking to catch their dinner. Biking or hiking trails with stunning scenic views are also available along the bay at Patapsco Valley State Park.

No matter how you choose to enjoy it, the Chesapeake Bay serves as a backdrop for year-round enjoyment for nearly all of Baltimore’s residents.

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20. Druid Hill Park

Spanning over 745 acres, Druid Hill Park is one of the oldest landscaped public parks in the United States, and boasts lush greenery, beautiful lakes, and winding pathways. Originally designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Druid Hill Park provides a tranquil retreat for outdoor recreation, leisurely strolls, and family picnics.

Druid Hill Park is also home to several notable attractions, including the Maryland Zoo, which houses a diverse collection of animals from around the world. The park also features the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens; the conservatory is a glass greenhouse offering a stunning array of plant species from tropical rainforests to arid deserts.

With its scenic landscapes and cultural attractions, Druid Hill Park invites visitors to reconnect with nature and experience the beauty and tranquility of Baltimore's green spaces.

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21. Washington Monument

Standing tall at 178 feet, Baltimore's Washington Monument is the first major monument dedicated to George Washington in the United States, predating its more famous counterpart in Washington, D.C.

Constructed from locally-quarried marble in the early 19th century, it serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of America's first president and a symbol of civic pride for Baltimore.

Visitors can climb the 227 winding steps for panoramic vistas of the city, offering a chance to reflect on the rich history and heritage that the monument embodies. This architectural marvel, designed by famed architect Robert Mills, stands as a reminder of the visionary leadership and enduring principles upon which the nation was founded.

22. Reginald F. Lewis Museum

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, named after Baltimore's trailblazing entrepreneur, Reginald F. Lewis, stands as a beacon of enlightenment in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Through exhibitions, interactive displays, and programs, it offers a comprehensive exploration of Black Marylanders’ heritage and contributions.

Museum visitors embark on a journey through centuries of struggle, resilience, and triumph, encountering untold stories and the voices that shaped history. From artistic achievements to civil rights milestones, the museum fosters dialogue, understanding, and empathy across communities, celebrating the diverse tapestry of African American experiences.

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23. USS Constellation

Moored with pride in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the USS Constellation boasts the distinction of being the last all-sail warship built by the U.S. Navy in 1854. This historic vessel served in various roles – flagship, training vessel, and protector of American interests abroad – throughout the 19th century.

Today, the Constellation offers a unique opportunity to step back in time. Explore its four decks and lose yourself in over 50,000 artifacts – photographs, documents, and more – that bring to life the challenges and triumphs of life aboard a 19th-century warship.

Knowledgeable docents lead guided tours, sharing fascinating tales of the ship's adventures and the brave sailors who called her home. Touring the USS Constellation’s towering masts, billowing sails, cramped living quarters, and powerful cannons is a journey through maritime history you won't forget.

24. Babe Ruth

Born George Herman Ruth Jr. in Baltimore's Ridgely's Delight neighborhood in 1895, Babe Ruth's legendary baseball journey began on Baltimore's sandlots. Honing his prodigious talent there, he soon joined the Baltimore Orioles, a then minor league team. Major League scouts quickly recognized his potential, leading to his departure for the big leagues with the Boston Red Sox and later, the New York Yankees.

Despite national stardom, Baltimore remained a touchstone for Babe Ruth. He maintained close ties to the city, and today, visitors can explore his legacy at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum. Exhibits and memorabilia there commemorate his awe-inspiring home runs, larger-than-life personality, and enduring impact on America's favorite pastime.

25. Pit Beef

When considering what foods Baltimore is known for, pit beef absolutely tops the list. This popular dish showcases slow-roasted beef brisket, traditionally cooked over charcoal or wood in large open pits. The result? A masterpiece of smoky flavor and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

The meat is sliced paper-thin, piled high on a kaiser roll, and topped with Baltimore’s bold “tiger sauce” (a blend of horseradish and mayonnaise) and the refreshing crunch of raw onions.

For the quintessential Baltimore pit beef experience, head to a local stand. Some legendary spots include Pioneer Pit Beef (try their killer gravy fries!) or Chaps Pit Beef, which is a Baltimore institution. No matter where you choose, prepare to experience a true Baltimore tradition, one delicious bite at a time.

Renter Life in Baltimore

Renting in Baltimore offers a dynamic and (generally) affordable East Coast experience. Diverse neighborhoods like the waterfront of Fells Point or the energetic Hampden boast distinct personalities and amenities, making Baltimore one of the best places to live in Maryland.

Foodies will love the dining options, while nightlife enthusiasts will find lively bars and clubs. Cultural attractions like the Baltimore Museum of Art and the National Aquarium provide enriching experiences.

However, renter life in Baltimore isn't without its challenges. Certain neighborhoods may have higher crime rates, so doing your research is crucial. While the cost of living is lower than some coastal cities, public transportation can be limited, making a car helpful. Still, the tight-knit community spirit and range of housing options, from trendy lofts to appealing rowhouses, make Baltimore a compelling choice.

Beyond affordability, Baltimore's rich history, thriving arts scene (including world-class museums and theaters), and welcoming atmosphere create a unique blend of tradition and innovation. It's a city where renters can truly embrace "Charm City" and make it their own.

Find Your Next Apartment in Baltimore With Apartment List.

Ready to embark on your next chapter in Charm City? Let Apartment List be your guide to finding the perfect apartment in Baltimore, Maryland.

Whether you're drawn to the waterfront views of the Inner Harbor, the history of Mount Vernon, or the energy of Canton, Apartment List offers a comprehensive database of listings and rental market trends to help you discover your dream home in Baltimore.

With our user-friendly search tools and personalized recommendations, finding your next apartment in Baltimore has never been easier. Simply take our personalized quiz, and let Apartment List do the rest.

More FAQs About Baltimore

What Is Baltimore Famous For?

Baltimore is famous for its rich history, buzzing arts scene, and culinary delights like Maryland crab, Pit Beef, and Berger Cookies. Iconic landmarks such as the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry add to its fame, making Baltimore a beloved American city with a charm all its own.

Why Is Baltimore Called “Charm City”?

Baltimore earned the endearing nickname "Charm City" due to its unique blend of historic charm, cultural vibrancy, and welcoming atmosphere. The moniker originated in the 1970s as a marketing slogan to highlight the city's appealing qualities and promote tourism. Over time, "Charm City" has come to symbolize Baltimore's enduring allure, characterized by its engaging neighborhoods, vibrant arts scene, and friendly residents.

What Are 3 Fun Facts About Baltimore?

  1. Baltimore is home to the nation's first dental school, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, founded in 1840.

  2. National Bohemian, a beloved beer brand in Baltimore, is credited with issuing the first six-pack of beer, revolutionizing the way beer was packaged and sold to consumers.

  3. Baltimore is the birthplace of the first modern umbrella. In the early 19th century, Samuel Fox revolutionized umbrella design by introducing the steel ribbed umbrella frame.

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Dr. Alyssa Straight-Rollins
CONTENT EDITOR
Dr. Alyssa Straight-Rollins crafts SEO-powered content for Apartment List. Read More

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