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A Tour of Federal Hill

Enjoy a panoramic view of Baltimore’s downtown and Inner Harbor from historic Federal Hill. Here’s how to make a full day of your visit.

Federal Hill was a defensive stronghold during the War of 1812 and replica cannons sit atop the neighborhood’s namesake hill in honor of its role as a military outpost. Now, Federal Hill is characterized by historic brick row homes and numerous locally-owned shops and restaurants. It’s home to both newcomers and families that have lived here for generations. Its charm combines 19th century history with beautiful architecture and ample entertainment.

Things To Do in Federal Hill

Enjoy the spectacular view of downtown while casually strolling through Federal Hill Park or another one of the area’s green spaces like nearby Riverside or Swann. During the warmer months, you’ll almost always find a street fair happening in the heart of the neighborhood surrounding the historic Cross Street Market, a 19th century marketplace with plenty of modern-day eats and drinks.

Must-sees in Federal Hill include the American Visionary Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Federal Hill is also located right next to Locust Point, where Fort McHenry calls to history buffs. Art aficionados will appreciate the number of independent art galleries in this neighborhood, including The Pink Art Gallery and School 33 Art Center.

To pick up local keepsakes and gifts, head to SoBotanical, Phina’s Fine Linens & Gifts, The Book Escape, Pandora’s Box Boutique and Cheese Galore & More.

For a one-of-a-kind show, head to Illusions Bar & Theater. The 1920s-esque theater and bar in serves up illusions, mentalism and even a bit of danger with a side of comedy in an interactive 90-minute show.

Sports fans will enjoy watching Orioles and Ravens games on the purple patio at Mother’s Grille, around the bar at Magerk’s Pub or on Watershed’s rooftop patio.

End the day with a night out on Charles Street, which boasts several busy bars and nightclubs including The Charles, Ropewalk Tavern, Banditos and Game On.

Events in Federal Hill

There are several annual events and festivals in Federal Hill. Get a true feel for the neighborhood at these can’t-miss events.

Federal Hill Third Thursdays

On the third Thursday of each month, visit Federal Hill galleries and shops for specials and refreshments. Look for balloons outside participating establishments.

Annual Jazz & Blues Festival

Listen to popular and up-and-coming jazz and blues acts on two different stages in Federal Hill. Admission is free, as is parking. The event also boasts a Kid’s Zone for the youngsters’ enjoyment. Any proceeds for the festival support neighborhood initiatives.

Kinetic Sculpture Race

Each May, human-powered moving sculptures race around Federal Hill and the rest of the city, starting and ending at the American Visionary Art Museum. For years the Kinetic Sculpture Race has attracted spectators along the race course to see the wildest and most creative works of art on wheels, including the famous giant pink poodle, Fifi.

Flicks From the Hill

On Thursdays in July and August at 9 p.m., grab a blanket or a folding chair and catch a free film on Federal Hill. Flicks from the Hill is sponsored by the American Visionary Art Museum, and admission into the museum is free on these days starting at 5 p.m.