Baltimore's Historic Charles Street
Surrounded by rolling green countryside, this byway features historical, cultural and recreational attractions-- from rural landscapes to the glittering Baltimore cityscape.
Baltimore’s grandest and best-known artery, Charles Street takes you on a journey through some of the city’s most fashionable cultural, residential and commercial areas. Stop to shop, dine, and seek out world-class entertainment. At the same time, take note of several institutions whose influence extends beyond Baltimore’s borders to the nation and the world.
The Washington Monument at Mt. Vernon Place was the first major monument to honor George Washington. Explore exhibits in the base of the monument and climb the stairway to the top.
Open for Exploration
The Baltimore Museum of Art is home to an internationally-recognized collection of 19th century, modern and contemporary art, including the largest collection of works by Henri Matisse in the world. Admission is free.
Charles Village to Mount Vernon Place
Charles Village was developed in the late 19th century as one of Baltimore’s first suburban neighborhoods. Stop by Lovely Lane United Methodist Church, a Stanford White-designed building established in 1884 as a centennial monument to the founding of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Music and art enthusiasts will enjoy a stop at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center. A gallery, musical theater and other features help to tell the story of Baltimore’s creative community, with special emphasis on jazz great Eubie Blake and other artists such as Billie Holiday.
While traveling through the Mount Vernon Place National Historic Landmark District, you can’t miss the 208-foot-tall monument topped by a 16-foot statue of George Washington. Nearby is the Maryland Historical Society’s headquarters, which contains treasures such as an original manuscript of Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner.”
The admission-free Walters Art Museum delivers art and artifacts spanning more than 5,000 years, while across from the Walters, the Johns Hopkins-affiliated Peabody Institute contains an art gallery, public library and music academy, and hosts music and dance performances.
From here, visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Completed in 1821, it is known as “America’s First Cathedral” and is considered one of the finest examples of neo-classical architecture in the world.
As you approach Baltimore’s famous waterfront area, other cultural attractions take center stage. These range from the Royal Farms Arena, specializing in concerts and professional sporting events, to the Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center. Cornerstone of the city’s recent westside renaissance, the Hippodrome presents rich and diverse entertainment amid early 20th-century grandeur.
Watch for summertime festivals offering food, art and entertainment taking place on Charles Street.
The Charles Street Byway starts in historic Lutherville and winds through residential streets before it reaches central Baltimore.
Inner Harbor Area
The Inner Harbor area, Baltimore’s main commercial center, is a hub for restaurants, shopping and waterfront attractions. The National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, and the American Visionary Art Museum offer fun for all ages. Guided heritage walking tours are also offered, connecting 20 historic sites and museums. Stop by the Baltimore Visitor Center for information and tickets.
Just south of the main harbor area is Federal Hill, where Cross Street Market sells the usual fresh seafood and locally grown produce along with a variety of unusual products like pigs’ ears, pickled eggs and ox tails. If you are looking for more conventional dining options, enjoy a nice meal at one of the many taverns, restaurants and pubs that line the streets. After dark, explore the energetic nightlife.
Fans of professional sports will want to visit Camden Yards, home to the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, and M&T Bank Stadium, the roost of football’s Baltimore Ravens. Learn about Maryland’s proud athletic heritage at the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum.
Stop by the Baltimore Visitor Center to pick up a Harbor Pass for discounted entry to several of these attractions, as well as the Top of the World Observation Level, located atop the world’s tallest pentagonal building, the World Trade Center in Baltimore.
Follow the Belgian Block streets of Fells Point to pubs, eateries and eclectic specialty shops. This waterfront National Historic District is also a gathering place for artists such as Robert McClintock, whose studio is located on Thames Street.
Baltimore’s financial district is a mix of old and modern architecture, with the highlight being Charles Center, a striking metal and glass building designed by modern architectural pioneer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.