African-American Cultural Tours, 10 E. Lee St., suite 707, (410) 727-0755.
Amanda's Bed and Breakfasts Reservation Service, 3538 Lakeway Drive, Ellicott City, (443) 535-0008, (800) 899-7533 www.amandas-bbrs. com.
Baltimore-Area Convention and Visitors Association, 100 Light St., (410) 837-4636, (800) 282-6632.
Baltimore City ArtsNet, www.ci.baltimore.md.us.
Baltimore Office of Promotion, 200 W. Lombard St., (410) 752-8632.
American Dime Museum, 1808 Maryland Ave., (410) 230-0263. Celebrated by the likes of National Public Radio and other major media, this small museum's collection of sideshow-style oddities includes a giant mummy and a two-headed calf. Moo.
American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, (410) 244-1900, www.avam.org, $4-$6. This is work by self-taught artists--art made when no one is looking, when there are no rules, when the artist works straight from intuition. The current show Treasures of the Soul: Who Is Rich? runs to Sept. 2. While you're there, don't miss the wildflower garden in the sculpture plaza.
B&O Railroad Museum, 901 W. Pratt St., (410) 752-2490, www.borail.org, free-$7. "The birthplace of American railroading," as it calls itself, the B&O celebrates Baltimore's rich rail history with artifacts and actual locomotives you can touch.
Baltimore Maritime Museum, piers 3 and 5, Inner Harbor, (410) 396-3453, www. baltomaritimemuseum.org. This watery museum (not literally) includes the USCGC Taney, the last warship still afloat from the bombing of Pearl Harbor (it also was part of the search for Amelia Earhart), and the Knoll lighthouse.
Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, (410) 396-7100, www.artbma.org, free-$6. Maryland's largest art museum, the BMA boasts more than 100,000 artworks, including pieces by Matisse, Picasso, and Renoir.
Baltimore Museum of Industry, 1415 Key Highway, (410) 727-4808, www.thebmi.org. Take a stroll back through Industrial Revolution-era Baltimore and find out how our local foremothers and forefathers made their mark. Exhibits, replicas, room-size installations, and children's interactive activities make the Baltimore Museum of Industry more than just educational.
Baltimore Streetcar Museum, 1901 Falls Road, (410) 547-0264, www.baltimoremd.com/streetcar . Watch videos about trolleys, take a ride on one, and buy memorabilia about them.
Baltimore Zoo, Druid Hill Park, (410) 366-5466, www.baltimorezoo.org, free-$9.50. The debate continues: Do zoos provide a valuable service by helping to save endangered species and teaching humans to see beyond their own species? Or are they just cruel forms of entertainment? Or both? The Baltimore Zoo's extended Saturday hours during the summer give you more time to find out.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Cathedral and Mulberry streets, (410) 727-3564. As befits an institution with such a long name, the basilica took 15 years to build, from 1806 to 1821--which also makes it the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States. The pope visited, so why shouldn't you? Guided tours are conducted Sundays at noon.
Contemporary Museum of Art, 100 W. Centre St., (410) 783-5720. Once nomadic, this museum is now easier to find in its permanent Mount Vernon home.
Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Ave., (410) 367-2217. This 176-acre estate has trails and gardens, a nature museum with dioramas and interactive exhibits, and a horticultural reference library. Don't miss the annual rose show 1-4 p.m. June 2, the Freestate Daylily Society's exhibit and sale noon-4 p.m. July 8, and the Bats, Birds, and Blooms evening garden walk 8 p.m. Aug. 3.
Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry, 31 S. Greene St., (410) 706-8314. If a dentistry museum sounds a little dull, consider that this one has George Washington's teeth and dental tools created for Queen Victoria. The building was once the country's first dental college.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Fort Avenue and Wallace Street, (410) 962-4290. If it weren't for Fort McHenry, we'd have nothing to sing before the ballgame. Actually, we might all be playing cricket. The fort protected Baltimore from an attempted British invasion during the War of 1812, and the battle prompted Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner." But you already knew that from your grade-school history class, right?
George Peabody Library, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place, (410) 659-8179, free admission. Owned by Johns Hopkins University, this library is home to more than a quarter-million volumes dating back to the 1500s. If you don't have time to read them all, stop in to marvel at the impressive five-story architecture and cast-iron balconies.
Great Blacks in Wax Museum, 1601 E. North Ave., (410) 522-9549. You might know that Baltimore is home to the country's first ESPN Zone, but did you know that it also has the nation's first wax museum devoted to African-American history? That ESPN place has a much bigger hype machine, but skip the games and overpriced beer there and instead enjoy the 100 wax figures at Great Blacks.
Harbor Boating and Water Taxi, 1732 Thames St., (410) 563-3901, www.thewatertaxi.com. Take the scenic route--this water taxi can get you to more than 35 Baltimore attractions, including Fort McHenry and the National Aquarium.
Jewish Museum of Maryland, 15 Lloyd St., (410) 732-6400, www.jhsm.org. Maryland's long and colorful Jewish heritage is preserved here with rotating exhibits (Cornerstones of Community: Maryland's Historic Synagogues is up until July 15), an extensive research library, the Lloyd Street and B'nai Israel synagogues (they date back to the mid-1800s), and a children's museum.
Kids Kaleidoscope, Roland Park Country School, 5204 Roland Ave., (410) 323-5500, www.rpcs. org. Remember when you were a kid and couldn't wait for summer vacation? And remember being bored by the third week? Keep that from happening to your tykes by enrolling them in Kaleidoscope's programs, including day camps, creative-arts and theater instruction, athletics, and even driver's-ed and babysitting workshops.
Maryland Historical Society, 201 W. Monument St., (410) 685-3750, www.mdhs.org. The name pretty much says it all. The Baltimore Album Quilt Tradition Show, June 16-Sept. 9, shows how quilts can function as photo albums, folk tales, and domestic art.
Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-5225, www.mdsci.org, free-$9.50. See the many science--or perhaps, in some cases, pseudoscience--exhibits (Titanic Science: The Real Artifacts, the True Stories is up until Sept. 3), let the Davis Planetarium rock your cosmic sensibilities, and super-size your film experience at the IMAX Theater (L5: First City in Space and Michael Jordan: To the Max play all summer).
Mount Vernon Museum of Incandescent Lighting, 717 Washington Place, (410) 752-8586. The 8,000 items on display here include a light bulb from the Enola Gay cockpit. Visits are by appointment only.
National Aquarium, Pier 3, 501 E. Pratt St., (410) 576-3800, www.aqua.org, free-$15. If visiting the zoo presents a moral dilemma for you, resolving a trip to the National Aquarium might be an even bigger challenge, especially when you get to the dolphin shows. If you do go, here are some other things you'll see: a shark tank, a sea-cliff habitat with puffins and other North Atlantic birds, and an Amazon rain forest.
Port Discovery, 35 Market Place, (410) 727-8120, www.portdiscovery.org, free-$11. Three floors of kids' attractions include an art studio, a robot zoo, and an urban treehouse.
St. Jude's Shrine, 308 N. Paca St., (410) 685-6026. St. Jude is the patron saint of desperate and hopeless causes, but you can pretend you are here just to visit the gift shop.
Top of the World Observation Level and Museum, 401 E. Pratt St., (410) 837-8439, $2-$4. The Pentagon is a pretty big place, but it ain't so tall--certainly not as tall as Baltimore's World Trade Center, which is the tallest pentagonal building in the world. Did you hear that? The tallest in the whole goddamn world. Impress out-of-towners with that fact and the 360-degree view from the observation level, where a museum fills them--and maybe you too--in on some B-more history.
Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000, free-$5. Besides art--ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and more--the Walters also has suits of armor, manuscripts, and other historical items.
Washington Monument, Charles and Monument streets. If you think D.C.'s Washington Monument is phallic, check out this one. Admire it from the base--that is, the street--or climb inside for a view from the head--um, the top--between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. Afterward, take a walk through the surrounding neighborhood of Mount Vernon and admire the abundance of pretty, historic rowhouses.
Artscape, 6-10 p.m. July 13, noon-10 p.m. July 14-15, Mount Royal Avenue between Lanvale and Cathedral streets, (410) 396-4575. Yeah baby, this is "the nation's largest and premier arts festival." Continuous music on three outdoor stages, visual-arts exhibits, workshops on the literary arts, and lots and lots of food, glorious food.
Balticon 35: Maryland Regional Science-Fiction Convention, noon-2 a.m. May 25, 10-2 a.m. May 26-27, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. May 28, Omni Inner Harbor Hotel, 101 W. Fayette St., (410) 563-2737, www.balticon.org. If William Shatner were here, he'd tell you to get a life. But he's not, so go ahead and enjoy the sci-fi animation, art, books, films, games, music, and poetry.
Baltimore Herb Festival, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 26, Leakin Park, (410) 448-1281, $4. Right on. Herbs rock. Members of the sage family, such as fruit-scented, blue, tricolor, and common, are this year's featured herbs, and experts tell you how to easily incorporate them into your life. You can also take a crazy train ride or a walk through the woods.
Big Kaabooom!, July 4, American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, (410) 244-1900, www.avam.org. Spend a wild Independence Day at the Visionary. The day of inspired fun includes a pet parade, a pie-eating contest, a Mr. Potato Head beauty pageant, a homemade-instrument workshop, dancing to live zydeco, and the Kaabooom! part: fireworks.
Camp Widget at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, July 16-Aug. 10, Baltimore Museum of Industry, 1415 Key Highway, (410) 727-4808, www.thebmi.org. Kids ages 8-12 are invited to explore their imaginations and learn some new ways of looking at the stuff around them through programs on history, invention, sociology, and economics.
Charles Village Festival and Parade, June 2-3, Wyman Park Dell, 29th and Charles streets, (410) 662-7777, www.charlesvillage.net. Celebrate summer in the city with a 5K race, loads of children's activities, food galore, arts and crafts, and a parade. Musical acts scheduled include Carl Filipiak and the Todd Butler Group.
CitySand 2001, noon-4 p.m. June 16, Harborplace amphitheater, Light and Pratt streets, (410) 332-4191, www.harborplace.com. Sand castles have now been co-opted into fine art. This juried sand-castle contest transforms 100 cubic feet of granules into royal sand creations.
Ethnic festivals. What would summer in Baltimore be without ethnic fests? Don't know because it never happens. Here is this year's lineup:
German Festival, noon-10 p.m. Aug. 17-19, Carroll Park, (410) 837-4636.
Greek Festival, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. June 8-10, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 520 S. Ponca St., (410) 837-4636.
Hispanic Festival, noon-10 p.m. Aug. 11, noon-9 p.m. Aug. 12, Patterson Park, (410) 837-4636, www.pattersonpark.com.
International Festival, noon-10 p.m. June 15-16, War Memorial Plaza, Fayette, Gay, and Lexington streets, (410) 837-4636.
Italian Festival, June 9-10, St. Leo's Roman Catholic Church, Stiles and Exeter streets, (410) 675-7275.
Latino Fest, noon-11 p.m. June 23, noon-9 p.m. June 24, Patterson Park, (410) 783-5404, www.eblo.org, $3, children free.
Polish Festival, 4-10 p.m. June 1, noon-10 p.m. June 2-3, Pulaski Monument, Patterson Park, (410) 837-4636, www.pattersonpark. com.
Fells Point Walking Tour, 10 a.m.-noon May 26 and July 28, starts at 808 S. Ann St., (410) 675-6750, www.preservationsociety.com. Check out the historic Fells Point waterfront's 18th- and 19th-century buildings, the neighborhood's maritime industry and commerce, and the charming folk who live and work there.
Frederick Douglass Walking Tour, 10 a.m.-noon June 9 and July 14, starts at 808 S. Ann St., (410) 675-6750. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass once called Fells Point home, as did many enslaved and free blacks and runaways. After this walking tour, you'll never see Fells Point the same way again.
Freestyle, 5-9 p.m. June 7, Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, (410) 396-7100, www.artbma.org. Cajun band Vic Sadot's Planete Folle plays in the Wurtzburger Sculpture Garden while a mini "Cannes Film Festival" runs in the Meyerhoff Auditorium while kids make wearable paper art.
A Garden Odyssey, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 2, 1-4 p.m. June 3, Bolton Hill, (410) 383-8535, (410) 462-1657. This annual event offers a voyeuristic peek at more than 20 private gardens in Bolton Hill, along with music and refreshments.
HERO AIDS Walk Maryland, June 3, registration 7 a.m., opening ceremonies 9:30 a.m., Baltimore City College High School, 3220 the Alameda, (410) 685-1180, ext. 266. Participating in this annual walk is good for you and good too for the Health Education Resource Organization, Maryland's largest provider of HIV/AIDS services. Walk or just support those who do, and enjoy the live entertainment.
Kids' Stuff Entertainment Series, 10:30-11:15 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays June 12-July 26, Federal Hill Park, free. This annual summer series of children's shows gives you a good reason to enjoy the view from atop Federal Hill.
Memorial Day Remembrance, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 26-27, Baltimore Maritime Museum, Pier 5, Inner Harbor, (410) 396-3453. Before running to the ocean this Memorial Day weekend, take a little time to remember, and thank, those who gave their lives in seagoing military service. This event includes stories and exhibits.
Mount Washington Village Festival, noon-5 p.m. June 3, Mount Washington Village, (410) 435-0533. It's shady and cool up in Mount Washington, and that's what you want from a summer festival.
Pride 2001, June 16-17, (410) 837-5445. What is there to be proud of if you are gay or transgendered? At least as much as if you are not gay or transgendered. Celebrate it during this weekend of events, including a block party at Eager and Charles streets on Saturday and a festival at Druid Hill Park on Sunday.
Sowebohemian Festival, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. May 27, near the Hollins Market, (410) 727-1168, www.sowebo.net. Billed as "an excursion into urban arts," this yearly event includes lots of nonjuried art exhibits, live music, and family entertainment. And beer.
Spice It Up, 7-11:30 p.m. June 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 2, noon-5 p.m. June 3, Baltimore Clayworks, 5707 Smith Ave., (410) 578-1919, admission $15, in advance $12. This annual event adds even more heat to a hot June weekend with a street festival Friday night (spicy international food, beer, and world-beat music from Mama Jama) and a seconds sale of clay items that continues Saturday and Sunday.
Still Out of Our Minds, 9 p.m. June 8, 14Karat Cabaret, 218 W. Saratoga St., (410) 962-8565, $6. This second-annual evening of entertainment to benefit Out Front, an HIV-prevention program for young gay men and their friends, includes music by the Gold Bug, comedy courtesy of Los Placebos, and performance art from Meduza, Vulveeta Spread, and Eddie Xavier.
Uplifting Minds Talent Competition, 4-8 p.m. Aug. 24, Mondawmin Mall, Reisterstown Road and Liberty Heights Avenue, (410) 366-3900. Who will be the next Dru Hill? Dru Hill member Jazz and other notables such as Vanessa Williams are expected to help find out today as kids ages 7-21 compete in the categories of art, fashion, literature, and music.
If you live in Baltimore, maybe you should think of these as "sendaways"--places to send out-of-town guests to.
Admiral Fell Inn, 888 S. Broadway, (410) 522-7377, www.admiralfell.com. If you know anything at all about Fells Point, you probably know that the best thing about this renovated inn with a clever name might well be what's outside: free parking.
Biltmore Suites, 205 W. Madison St., (410) 728-6550, www.biltmoresuites.com. This old Victorian hotel is located in historic, happening, and hopping Mount Vernon.
Inn at Government House, 1125 N.Calvert St., (410) 539-0566. Dating to the 19th century (just barely--it was built in 1899), this mansion and two adjoining town houses were once home to bottle-cap inventor William Painter. How's that for historic significance?
Looking for a B&B? Baltimore's got some:
Ann Street Bed and Breakfast, 804 Ann St., (410) 342-5883.
Mr. Mole Bed and Breakfast, 1601 Bolton St., (410) 728-1179.
Scarborough, 1 E. Montgomery St., (410) 837-0010, www.scarborough-fair.com.
Tair Ar Ddeg, 13 Elmwood Road, (410) 323-5279. Richard and Kathleen Truelove play host as you spend the night and eat a big breakfast in their Roland Park home. And you don't have to fight with other guests over the last muffin--this B&B has only one guestroom.
SPORTS & RECREATION
Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., (410) 727-1539, www.baberuthmuseum.com. What started as a shrine in 1974 memorializing the place where Babe Ruth grew up has become not only a museum preserving his history but also Baltimore Orioles and Colts archives. Programs on the second Saturday of each month include Show Me the Money, about sports agents (11 a.m. June 9), and Bullpen Stories, a reading by O's bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks and children's activities (10 a.m. Aug. 11).
Baltimore Orioles, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 333 W. Camden St., (410) 685-9800, www.orioles.com, $7-$35. How 'bout dem O's? How 'bout dis: The once mighty, later miserable, and now rebuilding hometown baseball team's home season lasts until Sept. 23.
Charles Street Cycling Classic, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. May 27, Charles and Read streets, (410) 437-7483. Don't bring your three-speed--only licensed bikers are participating in this fund-raiser for the Arabber Preservation Society's museum. But novice bikers are welcome to watch, and to drink in the Brewer's Art beer garden.
ESPN Zone, 601 E. Pratt St., (410) 685-3776. Play some sporty video games or air hockey, shoot some hoops, eat some food, drink some beer.
HERO and MCC Bowling Party, 6 p.m. July 13, Seidel's Duckpin Bowling, 4443 Belair Road, (410) 685-1180, (410) 319-8319, $10-$15. This bowling party puts the "fun" in fund-raiser. Compete for most pins, highest foursome team score, and best bowling outfit while raising dough for the Health Education Resource Organization and Metropolitan Community Church.
Mount Pleasant Golf Course, Northern Parkway near Harford Road, (410) 254-5100. It's not on a mountain, but it is pleasant, plus it's inexpensive and challenging.
Pimlico Race Course, 5201 Park Heights Ave., (410) 542-9400. See the horsies run around the track and win money if your favorite one gets around there the quickest. Races start 1 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays to June 9; gates open 11:30 a.m.
Antique Row, 800 block of North Howard Street. Window shop along this stretch of antiques shops in Mount Vernon and you just might spot something you left behind in a past life.
Baltimore Farmers Market, 8 a.m.-noon Sundays, Holliday and Saratoga streets, (410) 837-4636, www.bop.org. Get there early for the fresh produce and other foodstuffs, plus baked goods. Got a hangover from last night? Some strawberry lemonade on ice and onion bread will take care of that.
Designer's Hardware, 239 W. Read St., (410) 223-3640. After you do the Home Depot thing, step up a bit and visit Designer's, where they have brushed silver towel rods, fancy light fixtures, and brass knobs for everything you can think of knobbing.
Fells Point. Shopping near the water on cobblestone streets with a cup of ice coffee in hand sure beats going to the mall. Some of Fells Point's more interesting shops include Black Planet Radical Books, the kind of bookstore that leaves you vowing to never again enter another chain franchise starting with the letter "B"; Reptilian Records and Sound Gardenb--both kick ass in vinyl and CD; Ninth Life, which has no competition in the girly-shit department; and Ten Thousand Villages, where you can shop for imported art and crafts without guilt, because the artisans are paid fair wages to make them.
Harborplace and The Gallery, Light and Pratt streets, (410) 332-4191, www.harborplace.com. Speaking of malls, these two at the Inner Harbor are the focus of Baltimore's tourism and convention trade. Visitors, and many residents too, flock there for souvenirs, predictable food, and overpriced clothing. If that's your thing, this is the place for it.
Lexington Market, 400 W. Lexington St., (410) 685-6169, www.lexingtonmarket.com. Before there was Safeway and long before there was Fresh Fields, Lexington Market brought people and food together in a loving embrace. Opened in 1782, Lexington is the oldest continually operating city market in the nation. Produce and prepared food abound in the countless stalls. Events include a sweet-potato-pie-eating contest 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. June 7 in the center court.
Second Sunday Antique Market, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. June 10, July 8, and Aug. 12, Broadway Square, 800 S. Broadway, (410) 675-4776. Browse the old furniture, art, collectibles, and whatnot offered by 40 dealers from all over Maryland.
Sturgis Antiques, 6328 Sherwood Road, (410) 262-5383. This family-run antiques store specializes in local estate items, and litters the floor with treasures from all over the country and overseas. The folks running Sturgis are knowledgeable about what they sell--pick up something, ask questions, and test them out.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201