The Baltimore Experience Exploring the City Urban Heritage Trails
Baltimore is an extremely walkable city, and a great way to dive into the city’s history and culture is with a pleasant hike along one of the heritage area’s urban heritage trails. Four trails wind their way through some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods, including Fell’s Point, Little Italy, Historic Jonestown, Bolton Hill, Upton, Mount Vernon, and Cathedral Hill.
From spring through late autumn, the heritage areas offered guided tours of two of the trails: Heritage Walk and the Historic Fell’s Point Trail. Visit the tour page for more information on guided tours for individuals and groups.
Length: 3.2-mile loop
Start/End: Baltimore Visitor Center at the Inner Harbor (401 Light Street)
Heritage Walk is a 3.2-mile walking trail through four distinct neighborhoods: the Inner Harbor, Little Italy, Historic Jonestown, and the city’s central business district. The trail connects 20 historic sites and museums, including the USS Constellation, Flag House and Star-Spangled Banner Museum, Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, and Jewish Museum of Maryland. Discover how a sleepy town along the Patapsco grew into the Chesapeake’s commercial and manufacturing center. The trail is marked with distinctive disks embedded into the sidewalk at 20-foot intervals and interpretive storyboard panels providing history and the trail route.
Mount Vernon Cultural Walk
Length: 3 miles
Start: Baltimore Visitor Center at the Inner Harbor (401 Light Street)
End: Pennsylvania Station (1515 N. Charles Street)
Cultural Walk explores the fine architecture and world-renowned institutions along Charles Street, a National Scenic Byway running through the heart of the city. Starting at the Inner Harbor, the trail winds through the city center (the central business district) and then heads north along Charles Street through the Cathedral Hill and Mount Vernon neighborhoods. Major attractions along the walk include the Baltimore Basilica, Walters Art Museum, and Baltimore’s Washington Monument.
Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail
Length: 2 miles
Start: State Center Metro Station (302 West Preston Street)
End: Upton/Avenue Market Metro Station (1702 Pennsylvania Avenue)
The Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail explores the community, civil rights legacy, and famous residents of Baltimore’s premier historic African American neighborhood. Major attractions along the trail include historic churches (Union Baptist, Sharp Street Memorial, Bethel AME, and Douglas Memorial), the home (and future museum) of civil rights leader Lillie Carroll Jackson, and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s elementary school. Colorful storyboard panels help guide visitors and provide some background on the amazing people that lived and worked the neighborhood.
Historic Fell’s Point Trail
Length: 4 miles
Start: Fell’s Point Visitor Center at the Inner Harbor (1724 Thames Street)
End: Broadway Pier (Thames Street at Broadway Square)
Fell’s Point is one the city’s oldest neighborhoods, tracing its history to the mid-1700s. The heritage trail winds along waterfront promenades and narrow streets, exploring maritime history, the defense of Baltimore during the War of 1812, and the people who made the deep-water shipbuilding center their home. Attractions along the trail include the Isaac Myers- Frederick Douglass Maritime Park and Museum, the childhood home of singer Billie Holiday, and one of the oldest residences in Baltimore.
Two additional heritage trails are slated for development by 2017. The Market Center Heritage Trail will explore the west side of the city center, once the city’s premier shopping district and now the focus of a state-designated arts and entertainment district. The Federal Hill/Sharp-Leadenhall Heritage Trail will weave through three distinctive neighborhoods which lie just south of the Inner Harbor and tell significant stories on the War of 1812 and the Civil Rights Movement.
About the urban heritage trail program
In 2003, the heritage area initiated the urban heritage trails program to develop interpreted walking routes throughout many of the city’s historic neighborhoods. Loosely patterned on Boston’s Freedom Walk, the heritage trails are designed to encourage heritage tourism in less-traveled – yet historically vibrant – neighborhoods. Heritage Walk, the first urban heritage trail, opened in 2005. Since then, the heritage area has established three additional trails: Mount Vernon Cultural Walk, Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail, and Historic Fell’s Point Heritage Trail. The program is funded through Baltimore City capital improvement funds with additional financial and operational support from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, the Baltimore City Department of Transportation, and Visit Baltimore and the Baltimore Visitor Center.