If you’re in Baltimore in May, chances are all the locals will be talking about is “the Race,” which means the Preakness held at Baltimore’s 1870 Pimlico Race Track. There’s a wonderful party atmosphere with events the entire week leading up to the race. Ticket holders picnic in grand style and watch the horses from the beautiful green grassy infield. It’s a great day in the spring sunshine whether your horse or someone else’s wins.
Strolling through Baltimore’s heady, perfumed flower gardens is one of the great rewards of having outlasted the winter chill. One of the highlights of the spring flower season are the 80,000 brilliantly-hued tulips and plethora of flowering trees in Sherwood Gardens in the Guildford residential area. Also worth a special visit are the sweet-scented roses and Easter lilies at the Howard Peter Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens in Druid Hill Park.
The Kinetic Sculpture Race held in May (and sponsored by the American Visionary Museum in Federal Hill) is an event that could only be hosted in the city that brought you the flamboyant John Waters and his pink flamingos. The race features car-sized moving sculptures – picture a massive pink poodle, head scanning the crowd, and you’ll get the idea – built by devoted teams who then pedal the floats through town.
Another only-in-Baltimore spring festival is Flower Mart located by the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon. Like an Easter parade and a flower show combined, Baltimoreans wear their most elaborate bonnets and flowered ensembles to purchase – you guessed it – flowers and plants. The crowd enjoys live music and the signature snack: a lemon sucked through a peppermint candy straw.
One of the best ways to enjoy Baltimore in the spring is by meandering by bike on one of the shady trails encircling the city. Gwynns Falls Trail is a 15- mile stretch that takes you past most of the charming neighborhoods of Charm City. Starting in a wooded, stream-filled glen on the west side of town, the trail ends in the heart of town. More serious bikers may want to try the 41-mile North Central Railroad Trail, which follows old railroad tracks all the way to the Pennsylvania border. Bike rentals are available at Light Street Cycles.
Spring is baby time at the Maryland Zoo, the traditional time for many of the animals to give birth to offspring. In addition to the super-cute animal babies, the zoo also hosts an Easter egg hunt and other spring-themed activities.
Spring is an ideal time to take to the calm waters of the Baltimore Harbor. For hands-on fun, try one of the festively-decorated paddleboats, kayaks or sailboats available for rent along the Inner Harbor. Or just take it easy aboard a harbor cruise around the Bay.