The Baltimore Experience Exploring the City Scenic Byways
Four scenic byways cross the City of Baltimore and the boundaries of the Baltimore National Heritage Area. Each byway is part of the Maryland Scenic Byways program and is an immersive journey based on a theme. Two of the byways have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation as national scenic byways and are some of the most significant routes in the United States based on their scenery, history, and culture. Each byway affords a unique way to experience Baltimore and is definitely worth the drive.
Charles Street National Scenic Byway
Length: 12 miles
In every great city, there is a great street central to the history that unfolded around it. Such is the case of Baltimore’s Charles Street. Named for Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the street reflects Baltimore’s progress over three centuries. Charles Street connects the natural wooded landscapes of Baltimore County with the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore and Federal Hill neighborhood. Today the Charles Street National Scenic Byway serves as a pathway to the many fascinating features of Baltimore, including its history, architecture, and culture. Visit the Charles Street Byway section to learn more about the history of Charles Street and the numerous attractions along the byway.
Falls Road Scenic Byway
Falls Road (MD 25) follows the Jones Falls Valley from northeast Baltimore County to downtown Baltimore. Early settlement in the valley focused on grist and cotton mills powered by the waters of Jones Falls. Goods produced at the mills and elsewhere in the valley were taken into town via the Falls Road Turnpike, and later the North Central Railroad. Today, the Falls Road corridor remains largely rural, providing easy access to historical and cultural attractions as country landscapes give way to Baltimore’s cityscape. Within the heritage area the byway follows Falls Road from the vicinity of Roosevelt Park into downtown, ending at Maryland Avenue.
Maryland’s Historic National Road
Length: 170 miles in Maryland; 824 miles from Illinois to Maryland
The Historic National Road was the nation’s first federally-funded interstate highway. Opening westward expansion, it became a transportation corridor for the movement of goods and people. The road extends from Baltimore City to western Illinois. Visitors experience 200 years of American history as they visit classic inns, tollhouses, diners, and motels along the route. Within the heritage area the road, designated a National Scenic Byway, follows Pratt Street (eastbound) and Lombard Street (westbound) for almost two miles, as well as a quarter-mile mile section on Frederick Road (MD 144) where it crosses the Gwynns Falls Greenway.
Star-Spangled Banner Byway
Length: 106 miles
In Baltimore, visitors following the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and Scenic Byway learn about the places, people, and events of the War of 1812. The emphasis is on the events of the summer of 1814, when the citizens of Baltimore successfully defended the city from invasion by British forces on the land and from the water. The entire byway, which is also a National Historic Trail, retraces the movements of British and U.S. forces during the final months of the war. The byway connects 1812-related sites including Patterson Park, Federal Hill, Fort McHenry, and Fell’s Point.
The Baltimore Heritage Area Association manages portions of the Charles Street Scenic Byway located within the boundaries of the heritage area. Funding from the Federal Highway Administration and support from the Maryland State Highway Administration has enabled the heritage area and its partners to bring to life several byway initiatives, including the development of a corridor management plan, launch of a public awareness campaign, and publication of a map and guide of the Charles Street Byway.