African-American Cultural Tours, 10 E. Lee St., suite 707, (410) 727-0755.
Baltimore-Area Convention and Visitors Association, 100 Light St., (410) 659-7300, (800) 282-6632.
Baltimore City ArtsNet, www.baltimorecity.gov/arts/index.html.
Baltimore Office of Promotion, 200 W. Lombard St.,(410) 752-8632, www.baltimoreevents.org.
Baltimore Visitor Center, 451 Light St., Inner Harbor.
American Dime Museum, 1808 Maryland Ave., (410) 230-0263, www.dimemuseum.com, $5, ages 7-12 $3, ages 6 and under free. Ballyhoo may bring to mind Sideshow Bob, but there's more than foolish caperings to this exotic and unusual carnival/sideshow museum.
American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, (410) 244-1900, www.avam.org, $6-$8, ages 3 and under free. Is there anything hipper than a do-it-yourself artist? How about some totally tripped-out ones? That's what you'll find in the current exhibit High on Life: Transcending Addiction, on display through Sept. 1.
Baltimore Civil War Museum/President Street Station, 601 President St., (410) 385-5188. Baltimore is officially full of Civil War history geeks; learn enough about the city's conflicted Civil War status to enter any dive-bar intellectual conversation at this downtown museum. Their Civil War lecture series includes "Freedom's Soldiers: The Black Military Experience in the Civil War Era" May 28.
Baltimore Maritime Museum, piers 3 and 5, Inner Harbor, (410) 396-3453, www.baltomaritimemuseum.org. $5-6, ages 6-14 $3. You won't see a yellow submarine at the BMM, but you will find the record-breaking WWII USS Torsk SS 423, which patrolled the Pacific torpedoing enemy warships. If that's not bad-ass enough for you, it has teeth! It's just one of the museum's amazing vessels with unbelievable stories onboard.
Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, (410) 396-7100, www.artbma.org, free-$7. Home to the world-famous Cone collection and over 100,000 other works, this uptown museum is the easiest place to get your art on in B-more. Arts and Crafts School fans must-see--a presentation of William Morris' elegant cotton textiles through Sept. 14.
Baltimore Museum of Industry, 1415 Key Highway, (410) 727-4808, www.thebmi.org, $7. This Locust Point waterfront museum pays homage to the Industrial Revolution and the hard-working people who didn't know what it was like to check e-mail and sip coffee like folks at neighboring TidePoint. Learn the trade origins of garment-making and metalworking hands-on.
Baltimore Streetcar Museum, 1901 Falls Road, (410) 547-0264, www.baltimoremd.com/streetcar. This museum dedicated to Baltimore's transportation history takes you on a guided carhouse tour of the charming streetcars that preceded the light rail. Don't miss the Trolley Theatre or the gift shop.
Baltimore Zoo, Druid Hill Park, (410) 366-5466, www.baltimorezoo.org, free-$11. There's so much to see in the Baltimore Zoo's African region, it hardly leaves enough time for the most popular exhibits: prairie dogs and polar bears!
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Cathedral and Mulberry streets, (410) 727-3564. The nation's oldest metropolitan Roman Catholic cathedral is located right downtown for you to pop in and praise God.
Clyburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Ave., (410) 396-0180. The Baltimore Bird Club Bird Museum and the Nature Museum are nested on 207 acres of gardens and wooded trails.
Contemporary Museum of Art, 100 W. Centre St., (410) 783-5720, www.contemporary.org. Priding itself on innovative presentations and cross-disciplinary exhibitions, this Mount Vernon museum satisfies the cutting-edge art tooth.
Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center, 847 N. Howard St., (410) 225-3130, www.eubieblake.org. The museum honors Baltimore jazz greats such as Eubie Blake and Billie Holiday. Plus, it offers programs and classes.
Evergreen House, 4545 N. Charles St., (410) 516-0341, www.jhu.edu/historichouses. The Italianate mansion, home to Picassos and Shakespeare folios, continues to patronize the arts with their artists in residency program, and an open house July 5-6. On display through Sept. 14, Evergreen House 2002 resident artist Maggie Thomas' Paintings of Evergreen.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Fort Avenue and Wallace Street, (410) 962-4290, www.nps.gov/fomc. History buffs and buffoons alike will appreciate this 18th century fort that was attacked by the British during the War of 1812.
George Peabody Library, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place, (410) 659-8179, free. Driving past the Peabody is enough to make you want to live in Mount Vernon. This library is more than beautiful, it also holds more than a quarter-million volumes dating back to the 1500s.
Great Blacks in Wax Museum, 1601 E. North Ave., (410) 563-3404. The nation's first wax museum of African-American history boasts more than 100 life-size figures captured in their historical settings, and you know they pump the AC.
Harbor Boating and Water Taxi, 1615 Thames St., (410) 563-3901, www.thewatertaxi.com. Get back to the city by the bay by taking a boat trip--a short jaunt across the harbor will get you to almost any downtown attraction.
Hi-Flyer Tethered Balloon Ride, 35 Market Place, (410) 949-2359, www.portdiscovery.org, $8.50-$15. Wouldn't you like to ride in Port Discovery's 450 feet high helium-filled beautiful balloon, beautiful balloon? No smoking!
Historic Senator Theatre, 5904 York Road, (410) 435-8338, www.senator.com. This uptown Art Deco movie house invites you to see a flick on the largest indoor screen in the region without the duplicity of a megaplex. No authentic theatre would be complete without private skyboxes available upon advance registration for groups of 15 or more.
Homewood House Museum, 3400 N. Charles St., (410) 516-5589, www.jhu.edu/historichouses. Charles Carroll built this Federal-style home in 1801 as a country retreat wedding present for his son. See its 19th century appeal with artifacts passed down from the family.
Irish Shrine at Lemmon Street, 920 Lemmon St., (410) 669-8194, www.irishshrine.org. This glimpse on Irish life circa 1840 shows what life was like working on the train in Southwest Baltimore. Tours offered 10:30 a.m. May 10, June 14, and Aug. 9 highlight St. Peter's Church and the Hollins Market.
Jewish Museum of Maryland, 15 Lloyd St., (410) 732-6400, www.jhsm.org. Catch a glimpse of Maryland's Jewish past by visiting the museum's exhibits along with the Lloyd Street and B'nai Israel synagogues, which date back to the mid-1800s. From Tent to Temple: Life in the Ancient Near East is an interactive exhibit on display through July 31 that teaches young viewers all about life during Biblical times.
Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-5225, www.mdsci.org, free-$16. Asteroids in the Atrium may sound like a painful condition, but this asteroid simulation explains how Maryland is out of this world! Also, see how JHU is involved with the NEAR mission and the FUSE spacecraft. IMAX brings the Titanic back to life once more with James Cameron's revisit to the site of the legendary wreck in Ghosts of the Abyss.
Mission Space Media, 338 N. Charles St., 2nd floor, (410) 752-8950, www.missionmedia.net. This intimate art space also functions as a design, Web, recording, and all-purpose technology haven. Host to hip acoustic-friendly performers and artists alike. July features a solo show of works by local artist Lauren Bass.
National Aquarium in Baltimore, Pier 3, 501 E. Pratt St., (410) 576-3800, www.aqua.org, free-$17.50. As Maryland's number one tourist attraction and a prominent feature on the Baltimore skyline, it's no wonder that it was the place to go . . . on the infamous television show Blind Date. This national aquatic museum now features the exhibits SharkQuest and SeaHorses. Don't forget to get steamy in the Amazon rain forest.
Port Discovery, 35 Market Place, (410) 727-8120, www.portdiscovery.org, free-$11. This kid-powered museum is where to take the young and the restless in the middle of summer vacation. Port Discovery offers an urban tree house, a robot zoo, and a mystery house.
St. Jude's Shrine, 512 W. Saratoga St., (410) 685-6026. Isn't it comforting to know if you are ever down and troubled, there is a place to go? This shrine is dedicated to Jude, the patron saint of desperate and hopeless causes.
Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry, 31 S. Greene St., (410) 706-0060, www.dentalmuseum.org. Brush up on your oral hygiene history with the permanent exhibit, 32 Terrific Teeth, or see George Washington's original grill (not wooden).
Top of the World Observation Level and Museum, 401 E. Pratt St., (410) 837-8439. Baltimore's World Trade Center's elevation of 423 feet, and 360-degree view provides near-limitless views of our beautiful B-more.
U.S.S. Constellation, 301 E. Pratt St., (410) 539-1797, www.constellation.org. The last all-sail ship the U.S. Navy built, the Constellation used to cruise the seas in search of slave vessels. Nowadays you can head onboard and go on a young recruit's tour of duty, or learn about the $7.5 million project to restore its Civil War appearance.
Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000, www.thewalters.org, free-$8. This midtown museum of art is best known for its ancient, medieval, and Renaissance collections. The Walters continues to participates in the citywide Vivat! St. Petersburg festival with the Fabergé Menagerie exhibit to July 27.
Washington Monument, Charles and Monument streets, (410) 396-0929. For the historian, the base of the monument outlines Washington's Revolutionary War victories. For the sight-seer, the 228 spiraling staircase offers you a view of the central spine of Baltimore City.
Artscape, 6-10 p.m. July 26, noon-10 p.m. July 27-28, Mount Royal Avenue between Lanvale and Cathedral streets, (410) 396-4575. Billed as the nation's largest arts festival, you can bet beyond all the literary, performing, and visual arts on hand, there is a funnel cake waiting for you in the Mount Royal Cultural corridor.
Baltimore Herb Festival, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 24, Leakin Park, (410) 448-1281, $5. This festival celebrates and commemorates basil as the official herb of 2003, with its over 40 known varieties, both savory and medicinal.
Baltimore Museum of Industry Fourth of July Celebration, July 4, 1415 Key Highway, 410.727.4808 x133, www.thebmi.org, $25 per car, $5 per person. Why not try a new perspective of the fireworks display at the Point? The Museum opens its doors to a B.Y.O.Lawn Chair! Hamburgers, hot dogs, soda, and beer for sale. Arrive early--the cut off is 150 cars.
Charles Village Festival, May 31-June 1, Wyman Park Dell, 29th and Charles streets, www.charlesvillage.net. The celebration kicks off Saturday with a 5K race and a kids 1K run. Stand by for the parade at 10 a.m. beginning from St. Paul and 23rd streets. On Sunday, catch the Garden Walk for a peek at more than 30 secret gardens. And don't miss the live entertainment both days.
Ethnic Festivals. Since the 1970s, Baltimore has been honoring its many heritages with multi-ethnic crafts, food, fun, song, and dance. Among the ones planned for this summer are the Polish Festival, May 31-June 1, Patterson Park, (410) 276-4019, www.pattersonpark.com; the Greek Festival, June 6-8, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, (410) 633-5020; the African-American Heritage Festival, June 6-8, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, (410) 318-8286, www.aahf.org; the Latino Fest, June 28-29, Patterson Park, (410) 783-5404, www.latinofest.org; the Caribbean Festival, July 18-20, Druid Hill, (410) 230-2969; the International Festival, Aug. 1-2, War Memorial Plaza at Fayette and Gay streets, (410) 396-3141; the German Festival, Aug. 15-17, Carroll Park at Washington Blvd., (410) 522-4144; the Ukranian Festival, Sept. 6-7, Patterson Park, (410) 687-3465; the Irish Festival, Sept. 19-21, Fifth Regiment Army at 29th Division Street near Howard Street, (410) 472-2291, www.irishfestival.org.
Evening of Traditional Beverages, 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 6, Homewood House, 3400 N. Charles St., (410) 516-8639, $20-$25. This annual event recognizes rum as this year's ardent spirit. Attend a discussion on its production from an early 19th century standpoint, followed by a reception on the lawn.
Fells Point Walking Tour, call for times, starts at 808 S. Ann St., (410) 675-6750, www.preservationsociety.com. The Preservation Society offers many different tours of interest from the architectural to the ghostly.
First Fridays on the Avenue, 6-8 p.m. June 7, July 5, and Aug. 2, West 36th Street in Hampden, (410) 235-5800. Avenue merchants pass the buck on Fridays with discounts and specials while the streets bustle with live music and children's activities.
Garden and Home Tour, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 7, 1-4 p.m. June 8, Park Avenue and Reservoir Street, (410) 383-8535, $10. The ninth annual self-guided tour features 30 gardens (with treats), 15 houses, 50 artists, and two bands. Private tours on Sunday.
HERO AIDS Walk Maryland, registration 7 a.m., opening ceremonies 9:30 a.m. June 1, Baltimore City College High School, 3220 the Alameda, (410) 685-9255. The Health Education Resource Organization (HERO) offers care services and resources for people with HIV/AIDS. Help them raise funds just by pledging to walk.
Honfest, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 14, Café Hon, 1002 W. 36th St., (410) 243-1230. The HonFest, now in its 10th year, celebrates with its famous "best Bawl'merese" contest, live music, crafts, and of course--the best Hon award, hon.
Kids' Stuff, 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays July 1-31, Federal Hill Park, between Warren and Battery avenues, www.baltimoreevents.org, free. This series of outdoor shows for kids ages 10 and under offers 45 minutes of magic, music, and storytelling.
Little Italy Open-Air Film Festival, dusk Fridays July 11-Aug. 29, Da Mimmo Italian Restaurant parking lot, 217 S. High St., (410) 727-6876, free. While in the neighborhood digging on cannelloni or cannoli, take advantage of this open-air film series that uses state-of-the-art rowhouse projection. Depending on the week, catch Moonstruck, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, or High Society. By tradition, Cinema Paradiso concludes the series.
Old Bay Shrimp Peel and Eat Contest, Aug. 30, Harborplace Amphitheater, Light and Pratt streets, (800) 427-2671, www.harborplace.com. It's no doubt this deliciously salty event brings out every native Baltimorean for a chance to outdo the next.
Pride 2003, June 14-15, (410) 837-5445. Operating for 20 years, Baltimore Pride has succeeded in achieving community outreach through its June festivities. The parade gets underway Saturday at Franklin and Charles streets and is followed by a block party at W. Eager Street between N. Charles and Cathedral streets. And the festival concludes Sunday in Druid Hill Park
Sowebo Festival, noon-9 p.m. May 25, Hollins Market, 1100 Hollins St., (410) 244-8368. Returning this year with even more activities to entertain the kids, the Southwest Baltimore festival offers a multitude of unjuried art, live music, and tasty food options to entertain the bohemians.
Spice It Up, 7 p.m.-midnight June 6, Baltimore Clayworks, 5707 Smith Ave., (410) 578-1919, $20-$25, ages 12 and under $10-$12. This lively street festival is the first chance to purchase handmade pottery at a bargain (the sale is open to the public Saturday and Sunday) and includes spicy international food from more than 15 restaurants along with live music.
SPORTS & RECREATION
Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, 216 Emory St., (410) 727-1539, www.baberuthmuseum.com, free-$6. Dedicated to one of the most famous athletes of all time, this sporty museum pays tribute to other homegrown heroes as well. On display now, the exhibit Johnny Unitas: The Babe Ruth of NFL.
Baltimore Bayhawks, Ravens Stadium, Russell and Hamburg streets, (410) 481-7328, www.BaltimoreBayhawks.com. If you want the biggest bang for your sports buck, Baltimore's winning lacrosse team's tickets are your best value.
Baltimore Orioles, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 333 W. Camden St., (410) 685-9800, www.TheOrioles.com, $5-$40. Have you seen the sea of empty stadium seats on TV recently? Get a posse together, help bolster dem O's, and take advantage of fallen ticket prices by GOING TO SEE A BALLGAME. While the Birds are away, try one of the daily ballpark tours to learn about our stadium and sports broadcasting. For tour information call (410) 547-6234.
Baltimore Sports and Social Club Softball, June 9, Patterson Park, (410) 464-5444, www.baltssc.com. This adult recreational giant brings on the softball for summer with two leagues. Team Social--for those that put the sport before the social and team X-Social--for those that put the social before the sport. So, which team are you going to be on?
Bocce Tournament, 10 a.m. June 8, Little Italy bocce field, 902-904 Stiles St., (410) 685-7013. Come check out this Italian sport that appears to combine duckpin and tenpin bowling--it's not just for old guys anymore.
The 4th Annual Holabird/USTA Women's Satellite Tennis Tournament, July 13-19, Druid Hill Tennis Complex, (410) 396-6694. In recent years, women's tennis has been notoriously outranking men's in attitude and excitement. Come see the next crop of women tennis pros from around the world--for free!
Gwynns Falls Trail, Leakin Park, (410) 396-0440, www.gwynnsfallstrail.org. This greenway accesses over 2000 acres of lush woodland wilderness available for hiking, biking, fishing, picnicking, and finding some solitude in an urban setting.
Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training 5K/10K Run, registration 6-7 a.m., the run starts 7:30 a.m. May 25, War Memorial Plaza, Lexington and Gay streets, (410) 576-9626 x. 145, www.finishedproduct.com, $20, in advance $15. This multi-level run benefits homeless veterans and other veterans in need.
Mount Pleasant Golf Course, Northern Parkway near Harford Road, (410) 254-5100. Mount Pleasant offers inexpensive golfing with the first hole right inside the city limits.
Pimlico Race Course, 5201 Park Heights Ave., (410) 542-9400, www.marylandracing.com. Why drive all the way to West Virginia for slots, when there's live racesand really cold beerevery Wednesday through Sunday here?
Robert E. Lee Park, entrances off of Lake Ave., Bellona Ave., (410) 396-0808. The trails pick up on an old railroad track next to Lake Roland, and continue on enough scenic paths to scramble your city senses. Amidst the twisty trails, you'll find some drop-offs to brave or watch. Bring your doggie or your helmet!
Antique Row, 800 block of North Howard Street. Antique shops line this historic Mount Vernon neighborhood block currently undergoing a facelift.
Baltimore Farmers Market, 8 a.m.-noon Sundays, Holliday and Saratoga streets, www.bop.org.Get downtown for some non-fluorescent produce shopping, rain or shine. Each week more than 40 farmers bring their must-sell irresistible organic goods to the cityfolk.
Hampden Shopping on The Avenue, 36th St., (410) 332-4191. It's the best place to pick up a one-of-a-kind gift for anyone from your grandma to your favorite hipster. Specialty merchants include Galvanized/Sturgis Antiques, Mud and Metal, Ma Petite Shoes, and the Shine Collective.
Harborplace and the Gallery, Light and Pratt streets, (410) 332-4191, www.harborplace.com. These harbor hubs are a convenient place to take a break while trundling around your visiting relatives. Eat, shop, or shop.
Lexington Market, 400 W. Lexington St., (410) 685-6169, www.lexingtonmarket.com. It's the best place to get crab cakes, chocolate, fresh roasted peanuts, Berger cookies, real butcher meatstuffs, crazily decorated sheet cakes, and anything else the 80 quality vendors are selling. Stop over before a O's game.
Waverly Farmer's Market, Saturdays 7 a.m.-noon, the 400 block of E. 32nd Street, (410) 366-6362. This year-round emporium is not just the uptown farmers market, it's the place to see and be seen by the Charles Villagers.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201