As the birthplace of the national anthem, Baltimore has a lot to live up to on the Fourth of July. I'm expecting ramparts gallantly streaming, bombs bursting in air, rockets red glare... and everything else Francis Scott Key promised me. (By the way, if you're wondering, a rampart is a barrier along a castle, road, river, etc.)
This is my first year living downtown for the 4th of July, so I'm pretty excited that I get to stake out my parking spot and my fireworks spot a few days early. But there's more than fireworks happening in Baltimore.
Here are my top picks for Fourth of July events in Baltimore:
This is technically outside of Baltimore, but the Fourth of July that I spent at the Star Spangled Spectacular is by far my favorite--and I was only eight years old at the time. I think fireworks are great, but I've never been a fan of the loud booms associated with the beautiful colors. What am I fan of? Beautiful classical music timed perfectly with a fireworks show. The BSO plays gorgeous classical music that makes the fireworks display almost magical. This is my top pick for families, couples, and anyone with an ear for music. Tickets are on sale online for $20.
Pets dressed up in cute costumes on parade? Count me in. AVAM is giving away prizes in different categories, but my favorite is "Owner and Pet Look-alike." The event is free, and there's definitely nothing else like it going on for Fourth of July.
Head to the the Top of the World Observation level in the World Trade Center for food, fun, and some of the best views of fireworks you're going to get downtown. This is a pricier option, $50 for adults and $25 for children, but it will have an awesome view, and you won't have to deal with the crowds below... crowds when parking? That's a whole other issue; I wish you the best of luck finding a spot downtown.
What better way to celebrate America's independence than with some libations? PubCrawls.com is hosting a Red, White and Brew pub crawl that starts at The Point in Fells. For $2 you get access to what are supposedly bar specials. My advice? Don't pay the $2, just gather your friends and do your own pub crawl in Fells, and definitely get star spangled hammered (sorry, couldn't help myself with the pun).
Despite my other suggestions, 99 percent of Baltimoreans will probably be watching the fireworks at the Inner Harbor. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m., but there are other events going on throughout the day, including a volleyball tournament and live music. Remember to get there early and try to walk or take public transit to avoiding the parking mess.