Baltimore understands if you’re unaware of many of its charms. With Washington, DC less than an hour south and Philadelphia two hours to the north, Baltimore is used to being overshadowed and underrated. But the truth is that the town that calls itself Charm City lives up to that moniker, and it offers a wide range of things to see and do.
If you are coming to Baltimore for RAPS’ 2015 Regulatory Convergence, don’t miss the chance to experience some of what the city has to offer. Following are 10 great things to do and see around town, but this list is just a start. Check out other resources, including USA Today’s 10 Best website, The Travel Channel, TripAdvisor, Paste’s 6 Reasons Baltimore is Still Charm City, Visit Baltimore’s 50 Free Things to do in Baltimore and few suggestions for things to see around the inner harbor from an ambassador with Baltimore’s Waterfront Partnership. In addition, check Visit Baltimore’s Show Your Badge program for a list of places where your conference badge gets you a discount.
1. Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry is probably best known for its role in Frances Scott Key’s writing of The Star Spangled Banner. The American flag that stood over the fort during a pivotal battle during the War of 1812 served as Key’s inspiration for the song. The Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is open to the public, and while there is a fee for the tour inside, it’s free to stroll around the grounds.
2. Camden Yards
Oriole Park at Camden Yards is well-known to baseball fans as one of the Major Leagues’ must-see parks. Completed in 1992, this is the park that set the standard the new “retro” ballparks that followed. While baseball’s regular season will be over by late October, tours of the park are offered through November.
3. American Visionary Art Museum
The American Visionary Art Museum exhibits artwork created by self-taught or “outsider” artists, who usually have no formal training and, according the museum’s website, “whose works arise from an innate personal vision.” From the building’s strikingly unusual exterior to the eclectic pieces in the AVAM’s permanent and temporary exhibitions, this museum offers a unique art experience.
4. Baltimore Museum of Art
While the Baltimore Museum of Art does not offer the quirkiness of the AVAM (see above), it does boast the world’s largest collection of works by Matisse, as well as an impressive collection of contemporary art. Bonus: general admission is free.
5. National Aquarium
The National Aquarium is one of the inner harbor’s most popular attractions and can get quite crowded during peak times. It’s a great place for kids and families, especially since the Aquarium’s new Living Seashore exhibit opened in May.
6. Dine Out
In case you didn’t know, Baltimore is developing something of a reputation as a foodie town. While you’re in town, take advantage of some of the city’s many great eateries. There are myriad places to choose from, many of which aren’t far from the convention center and Convergence hotels.
7. Bromo Seltzer Tower
You may recognize the distinctive Bromo Seltzer Tower, which can be seen from some angles beyond Camden Yards’ left field. Originally built in the early 20th century by the inventor of the headache remedy, its clock face features the worlds Bromo Seltzer in place of numbers. Today, the tower has been converted to artists’ studios and offers an open house on Saturdays. You can even tour the clock room on the 15th floor.
8. World Trade Center Observation Deck
Baltimore’s pentagonal-shaped World Trade Center building sits in the center of the inner harbor, and is intended to suggest the prow of a ship. The 27th floor observation deck offers a 360-degree view of Charm City.
9. The Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum is another great stop for art lovers. Located in the city’s historic Mount Vernon neighborhood, this museum’s collection is dedicated to world art from pre-dynastic Egypt to 20th-century Europe. Admission is free.
10. Peabody Music Library
The George Peabody Music Library at the Johns Hopkins University is another of Baltimore’s well-kept secrets. It houses one of the largest and oldest music collections in the country, which is impressive on its own, but it may be the building’s interior that is most striking. The library’s main hall has six tiers of columns rising 61 feet from a black-and-white marble floor to a ceiling-length skylight. It’s such an inspiring space that it’s become a sought-after wedding venue.
To find out more about the Regulatory Convergence or to register, go to RAPS.org/convergence. To learn more about what to do and see in Baltimore, visit RAPS.org/2015/baltimore.