Things to do
Searching for a House? Baltimore, MD Offers Historic Character and 21st-century Conveniences
Finding a delightfully livable neighborhood is one of the best parts of buying a house. Baltimore, MD has dozens of distinctive neighborhoods, and each one has its own feature, and flavor.
Many historic Baltimore communities have seen a welcome resurgence as older homes have received a restoration that restores them to their former glory. Other properties have been transformed into businesses or multi-family communities.
Baltimore’s numerous attractions appeal to residents and visitors of varied tastes. Numerous recreational activities abound just a short drive away.
Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore, was founded in 1729. It was intended as a tobacco and grain shipping port but became known for its shipbuilding activities. During the War of 1812, U.S. forces successfully defended nearby Fort McHenry. Attorney Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star-Spangled Banner lyrics during the bombardment. Several decades later, Maryland chose not to secede from the Union during the Civil War. Union troops occupied the city, creating a conflict with many citizens who sympathized with the Confederates. Around World War I, Baltimore began its own industrial revolution with the development of oil refineries, steel plants, and war industries. Following World War II, Baltimore experienced notable urban blight before a highly successful renovation of the city’s waterfront and downtown sections. Today, Baltimore is a well-known seaport and has a diverse service-focused economy. Manufacturers produce goods for domestic and international use.
Things to do in Baltimore
Things to do in Baltimore
Baltimore offers a veritable feast of family-friendly activities. Some attractions are located at the Inner Harbor while others are spread throughout the city.
B&O Railroad Museum
The B&O Railroad Museum showcases America’s historic railroads and the trains that traveled them. Located in an historic roundhouse, the B&O Railroad Museum features train exhibits, train rides, and other attractions.
The Cylburn Arboretum is a beautiful park containing 20+ colorful gardens and 100-year-old trees. A Civil War-era mansion and a nature museum add to Cylburn’s ambience.
Maryland Science Center
The Maryland Science Center invites visitors of all ages to get up close and personal with science. Intriguing programs, expert demonstrations, and one-of-a-kind experiences draw visitors every year.
National Aquarium in Baltimore
This world-class aquarium showcases animals and plants in highly diverse global habitats. Visitors wind their way through the Open Ocean experience and enjoy the distinctive ecosystem in the top-level rainforest. The Aquarium is an experience that should not be missed.
Baltimore’s historic character has given rise to several well-known landmarks. Many more “must see” destinations have come upon the scene during recent years.
Historic Fort McHenry lies at the entry to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The brick-and-stone fort became part of American history during the Battle of Baltimore on September 13-14, 1814.
During a 25-hour British bombardment of Fort McHenry, American attorney Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the words of the Star-Spangled Banner, now the United States’ national anthem. He had boarded an anchored British troop ship to negotiate an American civilian’s release.
Today, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine welcomes visitors by land and sea. Fun fact: The red-white-and-blue Francis Scott Key Buoy is anchored in the approximate location in which Key wrote his famous words. The buoy is also visible from the adjacent Francis Scott Key Bridge.
Commissioned in 1855, this large wooden warship carried 22 guns and served in multiple military conflicts. When the Civil War began, the USS Constellation assisted the Union in the war effort. The ship helped to capture the CSS Sumter, a Confederate steam cruiser.
In 1955, the USS Constellation was decommissioned and brought to the Inner Harbor, where it is moored at Harborplace. The only surviving Civil War Era ship, it has been named a National Historic Landmark. The ship is a favorite tour destination for visitors of all ages.
Baltimore’s Washington Monument, over 200 years old, is the first United States monument dedicated to the country’s first president. Located in Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon neighborhood, the 178-foot-tall landmark required ingenuity and determination to build.
Inside, the Washington Monument’s white marble interior has been restored to its original beauty. Visitors will enjoy the stair tower, a lookout with a commanding view, and an onsite gallery.
Baltimore’s mid-Atlantic geographic location gives it both northern and southern weather conditions. During the summer, residents and visitors can expect hot, muggy weather with temperatures in the low-to-mid 90s. Pop-up thunderstorms are common during the late spring and summer. In early December, colder weather arrives and generally stays through early March. Winter high temperatures average 43 degrees Fahrenheit while lows average 31 degrees Fahrenheit. However, Baltimore typically sees numerous lows in the teens throughout the winter. Snow in Baltimore is an enigma. The city’s proximity to the Chesapeake Bay means warmer air mixes in during the winter storms. This often results in torrents of cold rain rather than inches of snow. However, Baltimore city has historically seen its share of two-foot blizzards.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the 4/1/20 Census determined that Baltimore city had a population of 585,708. This represented a substantial population decrease from the 4/1/10 Census figure of 620,961.
However, note that the Census figures only pertain to Baltimore city and not the surrounding counties. Baltimore’s suburban areas have continued to experience steady growth for the past decade.
Arts in Baltimore
Arts in Baltimore
Baltimore is virtually brimming with cultural offerings. Museums, a symphony orchestra, an opera company, and theater companies draw spectators with varied tastes.
Three Memorable Museums
Three distinctive museums draw visitors who enjoy diverse historical and artistic exhibitions. The Walters Art Museum contains numerous ancient Egyptian artifacts along with other works estimated to be 7,000 years old.
The Baltimore Museum of Art specializes in the Old Masters’ works including Rodin’s “The Thinker.” The Museum also contains the world’s largest Matisse collection. Finally, the American Visionary Arts Museum showcases an unconventional outdoor art collection.
Superb Musical Performances
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has long been an important part of the city’s music scene. Today, the Symphony performs classical and current genre music in its two year-round concert halls. In addition, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra brings its stirring performances to communities and classrooms.
The Baltimore Concert Opera is bringing opera into the 21st century. Mount Vernon’s Engineers’ Club grand ballroom hosts highly personal operatic performances. World-class singers, piano accompaniments, and easily visible English translations bring classic opera to life.
Distinctive Theater Companies
Baltimore hosts three diverse theater companies. The Baltimore Center Stage regional theater has received rave reviews from audiences for decades.
The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company Theater delivers classic Shakespearean plays in a strikingly restored 19th-century bank. The Baltimore Theater Project offers an intimate experimental theater experience.
Schools in Baltimore
Schools in Baltimore
The greater Baltimore metro area is home to numerous historic higher education institutions. Research-focused Johns Hopkins University offers a wide range of programs. The Peabody Institute Conservatory of Music is under the Johns Hopkins umbrella. The University of Maryland system includes the University of Baltimore, the University of Maryland (Baltimore), Coppin State University, and Towson University. Other notable institutions include Goucher College, Loyola University Maryland, Maryland Institute College of Art, Morgan State University, and Notre Dame of Maryland University. High-achieving High Schools Baltimore also boasts several technology-focused high schools. These high-ranking educational institutions include Eastern Technical High School, Western School of Technology and Environmental Science, and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. Several other Baltimore-area high schools have earned good statewide rankings. These include Baltimore City College, Centennial High, Glenelg High, Marriotts Ridge High, and River Hill High. Middle and Elementary Schools Within each community (or community cluster), elementary and middle schools serve children near their house. Baltimore, MD schools may also host community activities.
Choosing a home in an historic, yet contemporary, area means buying much more than a house. Baltimore, MD offers intriguing connections to American history along with thriving cultural venues. Residents of all ages (including families with children) will enjoy Baltimore’s numerous parks and places to explore on a day trip.
College-age students (and their parents) will appreciate the renowned higher education institutions that call Baltimore their home. Taken together, these compelling reasons make this mid-Atlantic city worth consideration when buying a house. Baltimore, MD has much to offer for those who embrace the past while enjoying a 21st-century quality of life.
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