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A series of guided tours takes tourists around and away from the Inner Harbor, offering a bit of history and culture. The Heritage Walk guides tourists through Baltimore's oldest waterfront neighborhoods, including Little Italy and Jonestown. It's offered free May through October weekdays at 10am and weekends at 10am and 1pm. Tours start from the Inner Harbor Visitor Center.

The Mount Vernon Cultural Walk goes up Charles Street for a glimpse of Baltimore's financial district and some of its best-known cultural institutions. The tour ends at the iconic Washington Monument in picturesque Mount Vernon. The tour begins at the visitor center daily at 1pm May through October. For a look at Baltimore's African-American Heritage, join the tour on the Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail. It's given Sunday mornings May through October to take advantage of a visit to the Arabbers' Market, held only on Sundays. The tour includes a ride on the Metro.

For information on any of the tours, call tel. 443/984-2369 or visit www.starspangledtrails.org.

The Fell's Point Visitor Center, 1724 Thames St. (tel. 410/675-6750; www.preservationsociety.com), offers tours of some of Baltimore's oldest streets April through November. Walking tours, including the Immigration Tour at noon and Secrets of a Seaport, depart from here on Saturdays. Authentic Fell's Point Ghostwalks are offered Friday and Saturday at 7pm. African American History Tours get underway at 3pm on Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for children 11 and under; reservations are a must. Tours of the 1765 Robert Long House on Ann Street, the oldest residence in Baltimore Town, are offered Tuesday through Saturday at 1:30pm. Tickets are $5.

African American Cultural Tours focus on contributions of local African Americans, such as Harriet Tubman and Thurgood Marshall, as well as important landmarks, including locations where the TV series The Wire was shot. Tours on area movie locations are also available. Call tel. 410/727-0755; reservations are essential.

Baseball fans will enjoy the 90-minute tour of Oriole Park at Camden Yards (tel. 410/547-6234; http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com). Well-informed guides fill you in on where Hall of Famer Eddie Murray hit his 500th home run, why there are no bat racks in the dugout, and how many miles of beer lines run under the seats. The tour visits places the average fan can't see: the dugouts, scoreboard control room, and the press box. Buy tickets at least 30 minutes beforehand at the box office at the north end of the stadium; prices are $9 for adults and $7 for seniors and children. During the baseball season, tours are conducted on away-game days, four times a day. Call ahead to confirm times.

Cruises & Boat Tours

There's no shortage of options for seeing Baltimore from the water. Several touring boats will inevitably be docked at the Inner Harbor during your visit, but the cheapest way to get on the water is to take Baltimore Water Taxis (tel. 800/658-8947 or 410/563-3901; www.thewatertaxi.com). It provides transportation to various destinations, including Harborplace, Little Italy, Fell's Point, Canton, and Fort McHenry, but you're welcome to stay on for the entire route.

Baltimore Spirit Cruises gives 2-hour lunch, 3-hour dinner, and 1-hour sightseeing cruises as well as themed and midnight cruises on two 450-passenger ships, which dock by the Light Street Pavilion (tel. 866/312-2469; www.spiritcruisesbaltimore.com). The food is passable, but the cruise is worthwhile. Tickets are $20 for sightseeing tours, $35 for lunch and $70 for dinner cruises. Children's ticket prices begin at $12.

Annapolis-based Watermark Tours (tel. 410/268-7601) offers 45 minute tours of the Inner Harbor six times a day on weekdays and nine times on weekends May through October. Tickets are $15 for adults and $6 for ages 3 to 11.

The Black-Eyed Susan,  a 150-passenger paddle-wheeler, offers Sunday brunch, jazz, sunset, and murder mystery cruises departing from the Broadway Pier in Fell's Point. Cruises cost $30 to $120. Call tel. 410/342-6960 or visit www.theblack-eyedsusan.com.

Tired of serious cruises? Urban Pirates (tel. 410/327-8378; www.urbanpirates.com) leaves Fell's Point five times a day in summer and in spring and fall on weekends only on an adventure involving treasure, enemy ships, and swashbuckling. Daytime tours are kid-friendly; evening tours are best left to the adults. Tickets are $20 for ages 3 and up, $10 for little pirates.

For a tall-ship adventure, plan an autumn trip on a New England schooner that docks in Baltimore for several cruises on the Chesapeake. The 103-foot Mystic Whaler (tel. 800/697-8420; www.mysticwhaler.com) offers 3- and 5-day Chesapeake Bay cruises from Baltimore. Prices for 3 days range from $450 to $590.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.