Spend the morning walking around Baltimore’s Inner Harbour, where majestic tall ships reveal this East Coast city’s rich maritime legacy. And be sure to visit the star-shaped Fort McHenry, birthplace of America’s ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ anthem.
No visit to Baltimore is complete without exploring the historic Inner Harbour. Step aboard a collection of impressive ships – a Pearl Harbour-era cutter, a 1930s lightship, a sail-powered warship dating back to 1797. Then stroll around brick walkways flanked by chic boutiques, restaurants serving mid-Atlantic seafood and photo-worthy views of the water.
Relive the Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry, where in 1814, by dawn’s early light, Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics of The Star-Spangled Banner, the United States’ national anthem. Enter this star-shaped citadel to follow a period-costumed guide around the grounds, watch an educational film and see a replica of the 15-starred American flag.
Satisfy all your souvenir needs and more at Harborplace, a festival marketplace during your Baltimore cruise. Mount Vernon’s Antique terraced houses: a string of retailers dating to the 1840s. The Hampden neighbourhood is known for its indie stores and vintage clothing outfitters – or browse Thames Street in Fells Point for vinyl records, books and trendy clothing.
You can’t leave Baltimore without feasting on Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, which are steamed in Old Bay seasoning or served as golden brown cakes. Little Italy’s trattorias serve up pasta, tiramisu and cannoli – and National Bohemian Beer, lovingly nicknamed Natty Boh, is a local staple. Lexington Market is a foodie’s paradise where nearly 100 vendors shuck raw bar fare; you can also enjoy deli sandwiches and the famous Berger cookie.
Cruises from Baltimore facilitate encounters with almost 20,000 sea creatures spanning seven stories of interactive exhibits at the National Aquarium. Widely considered one of the best in America, this mind-boggling aquatic space includes a rooftop rainforest, multi-storey shark tank and reef recreations that are home to turtles, stingrays, bottlenose dolphins, sharks and more.