Category: Looking Up Downtown

Looking for a good excuse to enjoy the beautiful spring weather? Get outside on our upcoming tours!

If you’re looking to get outside and enjoy springtime in the city, we have plenty of opportunities to get some fresh air on our upcoming walking tours, a bike tour through Druid Hill Park, and the latest chance to get inside the Shot Tower.

On Saturday, May 11, our Baltimore by Foot series continues in Union Square where we’re asking what H.L. Mencken might think of summer concerts and window boxes. That same day, we’re also offering our final Lexington Market tour for the spring—and it even has a few spots still open! The following Saturday, May 18, our last Baltimore by Foot tour for the season explores the history (and future) of arts and entertainment on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Early next month, on Saturday, June 8, we hope you can put a little air in your tires and ride along for The Nooks and Crannies of Druid Hill Park by Bike with our two veteran tour leaders Dr. Ralph Brown and artist Graham Coreil-Allen. We keep to a modest pace and a mostly flat grade so people of all biking abilities are welcome.

Finally, whether it rains or shines, our Monumental City Tours continue on Sunday mornings with Historic Jonestown and the Shot Tower on May 12 and Mount Vernon and the Washington Monument on May 19. These affordable tours are a great way to show off the city to visiting family and friends.

With wishes for a happy spring, I hope to see you on one (or two or more!) of our upcoming tours.

Behind the Scenes at City Garage and the Maryland House

Our upcoming tours give you an insider’s look at one of the most talked about projects in Baltimore, let you step into an often overlooked gem at the Maryland Zoo and tell the love stories of Mount Vernon. We are also bringing back our popular Monumental City tours on Sundays from April to November!

On April 14, our Port Covington tour offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the City Garage and a chance to talk with Sagamore Development about their vision for the future of South Baltimore. Originally developed in 1904 around the end line of the B&O Railroad, the Port Covington area is today poised to become Baltimore’s largest urban redevelopment project.

For our Maryland House tour, Tony Azola of the Azola Companies and Lori Finkelstein of the Maryland Zoo will guide you through an architectural gem located just next to the Rogers Mansion. The Maryland House was built for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and then rebuilt on the Zoo grounds. Special thanks to Preservation Maryland for co-hosting this tour! We also will hold our Mount Vernon Love Stories tours (rescheduled from a very cold Valentine’s Day weekend) on April 9 at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Finally, our Monumental City tours return starting April. These tours are a great way to explore Baltimore on Sunday mornings. Join us for as we explore Jonestown and the Shot Tower (1st Sunday); Landmarks and Lions Downtown (2nd Sunday); Mount Vernon and the Washington Monument (3rd Sunday); and the Patterson Park Pagoda (4th Sunday).

Looking Up Downtown tours are free for Blue Star Families now through Labor Day


As a participant in the Blue Star Museums program, first launched in the summer of 2010, we are proud to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families for Looking Up Downtown walking tours from now through Labor Day, Monday, September 3. On this 75-minute guided walking tour, everyone from first-time visitors to Baltimore to born-and-raised locals can learn something new and surprising about the architecture and history of downtown Baltimore.

The route – less then one mile and stroller friendly for families with small children – winds through the grounds of the Zion Lutheran Church, continues past a few enduring local landmarks like the Alex Brown & Co. building that still bears the scorch marks from the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. the and ends right back where it started at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market. All Looking Up Downtown! Gargoyles & More walking tours start at 9:30am on the first and third Sunday from April through November. Meet at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market in front of the Hollywood Diner at North Holiday and South Saratoga Streets. RSVP to join us this weekend or stay tuned to check out another tour later this year!

Don’t forget to check out other local history museums participating in the Blue Star Museums program this summer! In Baltimore, along local museums and historicsites include:

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families.



Spring is here and Looking Up Downtown is back at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market

Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts
Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts

Spring has arrived and our popular Looking Up Downtown Tours are back. This Sunday is your chance to discover a piece of the Berlin Wall in downtown Baltimore, stumble upon a War of 1812 cannon ball, and catch a glimpse of the noble lions, hellish fiends, and neo-Egyptian sphinxes that call the buildings downtown home! With our quick 75-minute guided walking tour you will learn about the architecture and the history of downtown Baltimore. Our route winds through a yard of the early 19th century Zion Lutheran Church, past Baltimore City Hall to pay a visit to the proud survivors of Baltimore’s Great 1904 Fire and return right back where we start at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market!

Looking Up Downtown – Gargoyles & More!
Sunday, April 7, 9:30am to 10:45am

Tours continue twice a month on the first and third Sunday from April through November.
Meet at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market – at the Hollywood Diner, N. Holliday and S. Saratoga Streets
RSVP online today! $5 for adults. Children under 16 are free!


Stop by the Baltimore Farmers’ Market for our new Looking Up Downtown tour

Did you know that there are hundreds of lions peering down on unsuspecting pedestrians on Calvert Street, that a piece of the Berlin Wall is now embedded in a downtown church, and that an unexploded bomb from the War of 1812 is perched along the sidewalk on Redwood Street? There are even a pair of 15th century squirrels gathering nuts on a doorway that is an exact copy of a door at the Basilica di Sant’ Andrea in Mantua, Italy by 15th Century Renaissance father Leon Alberti.

Whether its every day for work or occasionally for jury duty, most of us walk the streets of downtown Baltimore without realizing the wealth of grotesques, carvings, and statuary that abounds throughout the core of downtown. With help from Baltimore historians Fred Shoken, Wayne Schaumburg, and Matthew Mosca, we’ve put together a tour to explore the architecture, serious and whimsical, and the wonderful history in our city center. From noble lions and hellish fiends, from neo-Egyptian sphinxes and squirrels of Renaissance Italy, we bet you’ll be as amazed as we were to learn about the veritable menagerie of wildlife downtown.

Please join us this Sunday as we host the first in our new Looking Up Downtown tour series. If you can’t join us this Sunday, we’ll be offering the tour on the first and third Sunday of each month from August through November. So grab your shopping bag for the Farmers’ Market and your walking shoes for the tour and get ready to be surprised at how much is going on downtown above our very heads.

Looking Up Downtown Walking Tour

Sunday, July 29, 9:30 am – 10:30 am
Baltimore Farmers’ Market – Meet at the southeast corner of the market (Gay Street and Saratoga Street)
Tours ongoing every first and third Sunday from August through September.
$5 for adults. Children under 16 are free!
RSVP online today!