Federal Hill in South Baltimore is the large hill that most tourist will see while walking in the Inner Harber. If you climb the hill there is a large tree shaded park with several monuments. From the top of the hill you will be able to take the best photo's of the Inner Harbor.
Historically during the Civil War Baltimore and the people of Maryland were divided in their allegiance to the Union and Confederate forces. Federal Hill was occupied by the Union forces. Canons were placed on the hill and aimed at the city as a warning to be faithful to the Union. The Hill remained occupied for the duration of the Civil War. Today as you walk along the hilltop and see the canon aiming directly at the Inner Harbor you will realize what a deterrent they must have actually been during the war.
In 1788, 4,000 people feasted here to celebrate Maryland's ratification of the new US Constitution. Later, this was an observatory, where watchmen kept an eye out for approaching ships.
During the Civil War, Union troops occupied Baltimore. Maryland was a neutral state, not aligned with the Union or the Confederacy. The city had a great many supporters of both sides, making the situation extremely tense. So the Union Army took the high ground, set up its artillery, and prepared for trouble.
But, the troops soon became friends with the local populace, who saw them as protectors rather than occupiers. The hill became a park in 1880.
Since that time, the Federal Hill neighborhood has become one of the "happening" places in Baltimore. And the view of the Inner Harbor and the skyline in second only to that from the Top of the World.
Federal Hill is located just on the south side of the Inner Harbor. It's a great neighborhood for a stroll and along the way you'll be able to appreciate the charming brick homes, many of which date to the 19th century and the oldest here even date to the 18th century (many of the oldest ones have markers with historical information written on them). Don't forget to stop at Federal Hill Park for some great views over the harbor.
Federal Hill Park has one of the best views of Baltimore, overlooking the Inner Harbor, you can't miss the hill if you are standing in the Inner Harbor. You can either climb the steps on Battery Avenue's east side or access from Warren Avenue on the southside with a more gradual climb up Battery Avenue.
There are benches where you can take a breather as you look out over the harbor. Access to the park is free.
You can see a cannon trained on the city whic commemorates the Civil War and a couple of statues of heroes from the War of 1812, Major George Armistead and Major General Samuel Smith.
Just a short walk south from the Inner Harbor, you'll find the Federal Hill Historic District, a quiet, safe neighborhood to stroll around in. Stop by the Visitors Center first and grab a copy of the Historic Federal Hill Walking Tour brochure which points out buildings that factor into the history of the neighborhood and the best examples of the Federal Hill District architecture. The walking tour starts and ends near the Cross Street Market so be sure to plan your lunch stop there and get some yummy seafood at Nick's in the market.
Federal Hill is one of Baltimore's oldest and best preserved neighborhoods, dating to the 18th century when it was integral to the city's industrial growth and the center of the city's port. The Federal Hill rowhouses and churches, made from local salmon red brick, dominant the area. Most of these rowhouses have flat fronts, shutters painted black and other assorted colors and without much ornamentation and mostly date to the 19th and 20th centuries.
You can see an example of one of the few wood houses remaining in Baltimore at 130 E. Montgomery, after the 1804 fire, wooden structures were forbidden in high density areas.
Another highlight is going to the top of Federal Hill Park for a terrific view over the Inner Harbor, a great spot to rest your feet on one of the benches overlooking the Harbor. I was up here during the Ravens game on Sunday and it's so close you could hear the fans chanting and cheering :-)
Look for Federal Hill from the Inner Harbor, towards the Science Center side.
Walk up there and enjoy the great view!! It's also a great place to sit and rest for a while...there's always a nice breeze. Since you're there, take a walk around the neighborhood and see the historical, beginning of the century townhouses.