By By Allison Robicelli
This article highlights some of the places mentioned in the recently published book, “111 Places in Baltimore That You Must Not Miss,” by Allison Robicelli. For more information on the book, click here www.111places.com/guide-books.
September in Baltimore is a sports fan’s dream. With baseball and football season overlapping, the city will be a sea of Ravens Purple and Orioles Orange. Even if you don’t get the chance to catch a game, there’s plenty of “locals only” sporting sights to add to your itinerary.
Our Playground at Stadium Place
Beloved Memorial Stadium – the former home of MLB’s Orioles and late Baltimore Colts of the NFL – was demolished back in 2002. What could possibly take the place of the city’s epicenter of excitement, a worthy heir to the title “World’s Largest Outdoor Insane Asylum”? Why, a playground of course! And this isn’t just any old park– with castle turrets, a puppet theater, a play village and a shaded area for parents to relax, this kid-designed utopia is in a class all its own.
Johnny Unitas Statue
Football fans were ecstatic when the NFL brought football back to Baltimore in 1996 – most locals had still not gotten over that horrible day back in 1984 when the Colts skipped town in the middle of the night to move to Indianapolis. It was fitting that when fans flocked to entrance of Ravens Stadium (now M&T) they would be greeted by legendary Colts quarterback, Super Bowl champion and Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas.
Camden Yards Tours
Built inside a landmark 19th century railroad station, Oriole Park at Camden Yards is arguably the most beautiful ballpark in all of Major League Baseball. If “dem O’s” are in town, catching a game is a no-brainer. If they’re on the road, schedule a private tour and go behind-the-scenes to see the Yard the way the players do.
Upton Boxing Center
Boxing fan? You’ve definitely got to swing by Upton, where the next generation of champions is currently in training. “The House of Champions” has churned out state champions, Golden Gloves and Silver Gloves winners, US Olympic Team finalists, and Junior Olympic medalists. The center is open to hopefuls as young as eight years old, so there’s no doubt that one day an Upton boxer will be fighting for a title in Vegas, and you’ll be able to say you saw them way back when.
Jockey Room BMA
Enthusiasts of the Sport of Kings should head to the Baltimore Museum of Art, and seek out a small room tucked away in the back of the second floor. You’ll find a world-class collection of English sporting art, as well as trophies from several prestigious races, including the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. The crown jewel of the collection is the Woodlawn Vase, which is awarded every May to the winner of Baltimore’s leg of the Triple Crown: the Preakness Stakes.
He may not have been a Baltimore boy, but does that really matter when it comes to Michael Jordan? Anyone who witnessed MJ’s reign most definitely has a soft spot in their heart for the man who was indisputably the greatest of all time. If you want to be transported back to that time, check out the 9/10 Condition in Pigtown, a consignment sneaker store that could double as a museum: from the vintage 90s apparel, to the display cases of retro Air Jordan merch, to the shrine to Space Jam in the front window.
If you’re looking for a riotous soccer tavern, you can do no better than Slainte in Fell’s Point where, as they say, “Soccer is Religion”. Here you’ll find 18 giant HD screens broadcasting matches from across the globe, with hardcore supporter clubs following their team's every move. Have a pint, make some new friends, and don’t worry about embarrassing yourself–at Slainte, there’s no such thing as being “too enthusiastic”.
When the Ravens are at home, South Baltimore smells with the irresistible aroma of hot pit beef – seriously, what’s the point of catching a live game if there’s no tailgate party? Join the festivities at the Gameday Firehouse, where there’s cheap beer, live music, mouthwatering food, and every single cent you spend goes directly to the Baltimore Fire Department’s Widows and Orphans Fund.
It’s been said that calling Lefty Kreh the “King of Fly Fishing” is a bit of misnomer – in angler circles, he’s considered more of a god. Throughout his long, storied career, the rod and reel shop behind his success has been Tochtermann’s, a mom and pop shop in Fell’s Point that’s been equipping everyone from total novices to the titans of the sport since 1916.
It’s impossible to talk about sports without mentioning Under Armour, the multibillion dollar sportswear giant that calls Baltimore home. Not far from the company’s Locust Point headquarters you’ll find the 89,000 square foot, multipurpose field they donated to the city: Banner Field. This state-of-the-art sports center is home to several recreational leagues, as well as competitive play for youth sports. Open to the public it’s a great place to watch a free game – or to jump on the field and get in on the action yourself.