One of the world’s most up and coming destinations, the vibrant waterfront city of Baltimore offers so much for visitors to enjoy - from celebrating America’s favourite pastime at one of the nation’s best stadiums to dining adventures that spotlight the bounty of the historic Chesapeake Bay, and special events and exhibitions only available during the summer. Families and couples looking for a quick getaway will enjoy late summer savings with the Advance Purchase Rate at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. Don’t miss the end of the sunny season’s happenings, with the top 10 highlighted below:
1) Complimentary Outdoor Film Festivals
July and August 2012, various Baltimore neighbourhoods
Several of Baltimore’s neighbuorhoods have made a summertime tradition of hosting complimentary outdoor film festivals. There are multiple opportunities in July and August to delight with a movie night under the stars. On Wednesdays, Films on the Pier attracts moviegoers to the Fell’s Point waterfront as dusk falls. Visitors can also relax on Thursday nights with the American Visionary Art Museum’s Flicks From the Hill. Grab a blanket, picnic under the stars, and watch a great film selection inspired by AVAM’s current exhibition ALL THINGS ROUND: Galaxies, Eyeballs & Karma. On Friday nights, one of Little Italy’s more popular events, Cinema al Fresco Open Air Film Festival, takes centre stage. Movies are projected on the outside wall of Ciao Bella Restaurant from across the street of a third floor window at the kindness of its homeowner.
2) After Hours with the Animals at the Maryland Zoo
Thursdays in July and August, the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Experience an evening at the Maryland Zoo with a cool summer stroll among the animals every Thursday in July and August when the Zoo is open late. Bring the family or someone special for a rare chance to explore the exhibits after hours. Roam near the elephants, stretch out beside the giraffe, hang out with chimpanzees and enjoy a more laid back zoo experience without the normal traffic. Come early and stay late, or enter after 4:00 pm and save wildly with half-off regular admission rates.
3) Grand Prix of Baltimore
Labor Day Weekend: August 31 - September 2 all day, the streets of downtown Baltimore
Downtown Baltimore turns into a racetrack for The Grand Prix of Baltimore, a major motorsports event on a 12-turn course that runs through the heart of the city along the Inner Harbor. The three-day “festival of speed” will feature the IZOD IndyCar Series, the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron, a new racecar design for 2012 and turbocharged engines from Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus. The starting lineup includes Will Power, the 2011 winner at Baltimore, four-time champion Dario Franchitti and young stars such as Marco Andretti.
4) Fort McHenry: Picnic Lunch and Military Tattoos Bugle Call
August 4, 12:00 pm, Fort McHenry
History buffs will delight in a private picnic lunch at Fort McHenry, the location of one of the key battles of the War of 1812 and inspiration behind Francis Scot Key’s Star Spangled Banner. Later, enjoy free festivities surrounding the twilight tattoo ceremony. The tattoo is the military bugle call sounded shortly before Taps each evening. The evening twilight tattoo ceremony at Fort McHenry is the oldest tradition in Baltimore and has been taking place since the fort was garrisoned in 1799. More than 200 years old, the ceremony involves flags, military music and precision marching. The Fort McHenry tattoos usually feature the 1814 Fort McHenry Guard together with guest units, usually US Army, Navy, or Marines.
5) Cirque du Soleil Presents Dralion at the 1st Marnier Arena
August 22-26, various times
Dralion is the fusion of ancient Chinese circus tradition and the avant-garde approach of Cirque du Soleil. The show’s name is drawn from its two main symbols: the dragon, representing the East, and the lion, representing the West. Dralion derives much of its inspiration from Eastern philosophy with its perpetual quest for harmony between humankind and nature. Suspended in time between the past and the future, Dralion is a celebration of life and the four elements that maintain the natural order: air, water, fire and earth. Innovation soars to new heights as it defies the laws of nature. Dralion is a dynamic performance that transcends the boundaries of the imagination and leads guests into a dreamscape with a new and sparkling perspective.
6) The Local Markets
Take in the enticing sights, sounds and scents at Baltimore’s public markets. Free and open to the public, visitors can sample local flavours at Baltimore’s Cross Street Market in Federal Hill, Lexington Market near the Hippodrome theatre and the historic Broadway Market in Fell’s Point. Walk around, watch butchers and fishmongers at work, and smell wonderful food cooking. The annual Baltimore Farmers’ Market, the largest producers-only market in Maryland, offers great deals on produce, herbs, flowers, fruit and more.
7) More Great Dining and New Restaurants Opening
Baltimore is quickly becoming a hot spot for culinary travellers. Many of Baltimore’s chefs including Pastry Chef Chris Ford of Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore have been touted in publications such as Food and Wine – Ford recently received the magazine’s inaugural “People’s Best New Pastry Chef” award for 2012. Epicureans will further revel in culinary delight with several notable restaurant openings including PABU, a modern take on traditional izakaya style dining ideally located along the beautiful inner harbor adjacent to Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. The restaurant was created by celebrated chefs Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga, chef-owner of Hana Sushi in Northern California. Keeping in line with Chef Mina’s and Chef Tominaga’s philosophy of using only the highest quality, freshest fish and incorporating local ingredients, the menu features a range of great dining options including small plates, grilled items from the exposed robata grill, as well as sushi and sashimi. The Japanese phonetic translation of pub, PABU is modeled after traditional Japanese drinking establishments, and offers an extensive beverage menu of eclectic Asian beers and a distinct whiskey-inspired cocktail list. One of the world’s only female Master Sake Sommeliers curates a comprehensive sake repertoire featuring more than 100 different types of the rice wine.
8) Baltimore Orioles Game at Camden Yards
During the spring, summer and fall, the area’s rich baseball culture comes to life with the city’s beloved Orioles playing ball at Camden Yards. Sports enthusiasts will appreciate a baseball game at the retro-ballpark, widely considered one of the nation’s best stadiums. The park recently received a makeover as part of its 20th anniversary, and new features include a roof deck above the centre field batter’s eye, the Art of the Game sports art gallery and enhanced food options including Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant, named for former Orioles catcher and 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey. Many of the stadium’s memorable food options remain, including Baltimore’s most famous culinary creation: crab cakes. As part of the anniversary celebration, the park is also unveiling large bronze sculptures of six legendary Orioles throughout the season that are accessible to fans year-round, even during non-game day hours.
Sports fans also won’t want to miss a quick stop by the Babe Ruth Museum. Recently renovated in the spring, the museum that honours the late sports legend and “Sultan of Swat,” who was born in Baltimore, is a short walk from the stadium and easy to find by following 60 painted baseballs along the sidewalk.
9) Long Summer Sunsets and Sailing Around the Inner Harbor
Photograph lighthouses, sail toward a magnificent sunset, cruise into a Colonial-era port or simply enjoy a romantic boat ride around the moonlit Inner Harbor. Few harbor towns match the charm and sophistication of Baltimore. With views that served as inspiration for The Star-Spangled Banner, a summer boating adventure around the Inner Harbor is the perfect way to take in the wonder of Baltimore’s neighbourhoods and rich history. Locals and out-of-town guests with more time can further immerse themselves in water-based fun with fishing, crabbing, and sailing excursions around the Chesapeake Bay.
10) The New Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore
Nestled in Charm City’s hip Harbor East neighbourhood, Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore offers an ideal getaway to enjoy all of the best that the city has to offer this summer. With impressive panoramic views of Baltimore’s enchanting harbor and marina, the Hotel is a true urban oasis with luxurious accommodations, exquisite dining and Spa designed to help guests relax and unwind amid all of the festivities. The Hotel offers Baltimore’s first and only outdoor infinity pool featuring full service bar and grill overlooking the majestic marina and harbor. The rooftop pool terrace is an ideal setting for relaxing with its plush deck chairs, luxury cabanas, and over-the-top poolside massage treatments. Destination dining completes the resort-like experience with three Michael Mina restaurants: Wit & Wisdom, a classic American tavern; LAMILL COFFEE, a European-inspired specialty coffee and pastry shop; and PABU, a Japanese izakaya.