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Scenic views aren’t the first thing most people think of in relation to the city of Baltimore, but that doesn’t have to be the case. As a harbor city with lots of hilly terrain, Baltimore is primed for some impressive views. Here are a few of my favorites, but there are still many more to discover.
Federal Hill Park
Anytime you visit Federal Hill Park, you’ll most likely see multiple photographers with their DSLR cameras and maybe even one with professional lights set up. That’s because this is a view that can’t be missed when in Baltimore. The park is located in the historic Federal Hill neighborhood on the south side of the Inner Harbor and literally on a hill. It served as a military outpost during the War of 1812 and Civil War, hence the panoramic view of the city from above and the cannon facing downtown. I always find it peaceful here since the elevation blocks out the city noise, allowing you to reflect, read a book, take a stroll, or whatever you choose to do to relax.
Top of the World Observation Level
Located on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center building at the Inner Harbor, the Top of the World Observation Level serves many purposes. It’s used as a local art gallery, event space, and visitors are welcome to enter just to check out the 360-degree panoramic view of the harbor, Chesapeake Bay, and Francis Scott Key Bridge. Stationary binoculars are available to observe the activity below and city maps and guides are available to help plan your visit.
Operated by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, the Top of the World Observation Level is a must-see stop if you’re strolling along the Inner Harbor and want to see more of the city without traveling too far. There is usually a small entrance fee ($6 for adults), but I’ve personally never paid to enter. Free public events are held frequently and have allowed me to enter and enjoy the space at no cost.
Harbor East, Fells Point, and Canton Waterfront Park
There’s more to the Baltimore Harbor than just the touristy Inner Harbor area. The harbor stretches for miles and therefore, connects to multiple different neighborhoods where tourists are not in such full force. Those neighborhoods include Harbor East, Fells Point, and Canton. Harbor East is still fairly touristy, with its high-end boutiques and shops like Anthropologie, Lululemon, a Whole Foods Market, and the Maryland Athletic Club. It’s also home to the Four Seasons Hotel and Legg Mason building, both of which have amazing views. The former has a stunning view of the harbor from its pool and the latter has a 360-degree view of the city from its top floor. East of the Inner Harbor as its name signifies Harbor East is a short walk along the water and a great place to stop for a bite or a browse.
If you continue walking east, you will enter Fells Point. Here, you can continue walking along the water and see Baltimore landmarks like the Domino Sugar factory and the Rusty Scupper seafood restaurant (also with a great view) across the harbor. It’s also a great place to observe huge cargo ships come in and dock. Or, if you’re more into nature than industry, you can watch the ducks and fish take advantage of the seagrass installed to keep the marine ecosystem healthy. There are also multiple restaurants right on the water so you can enjoy the view while enjoying a meal.
Moving further east, Canton Waterfront Park is a continuation of the harbor view, but with more green space. This is the perfect place to go when you don’t want to fight with people over the sidewalk, but instead, rest on a bench or lay out on a blanket with only the occasional jogger, dog walker, or other loungers to distract you. If you are looking for a more social environment with a view, wait until one of the many festivals is happening in the park, including the Baltimore Wine Fest in June and the Baltimore Seafood Festival in September.
When the weather is nice, Sandlot is the place to be. This outdoor bar and restaurant gets its name from the sand that covers the ground, creating a beach-in-the-city vibe. It’s located in Harbor Point, a more secluded development within the Harbor East neighborhood and sits right on the Inner Harbor. The Sandlot is a great place to watch the 4th of July fireworks over the water, with its wide-open view. It sometimes features live music or a DJ and has games like cornhole and volleyball available to all. So when spring and summer arrive, be prepared to grab a beach chair or towel and buy a wine slushie to enjoy the warm weather while gazing at the beachy harbor view.
The Inner Harbor isn’t the only good view in Baltimore. For those interested in architecture and history, the city has a lot to offer. The neighborhood of Mt. Vernon is one of my favorite for beautiful architecture. Topside, a bar and restaurant on the top floor of Hotel Revival, has a perfect view of the Mt. Vernon Monument in the neighborhood’s center and all the unique buildings that surround it. Topside makes for a great date night or just a nice dinner with friends because not only do you have an almost 360-degree view of Mt. Vernon, but the view is made even more special when you watch the sunset. This is also the perfect spot to watch the fireworks above Mt. Vernon Monument on New Year’s Eve–away from the cold and with a drink in hand.