If you’re headed to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 21, you might want to start planning out your Preakness week schedule now. The days leading up to the second jewel of the Triple Crown are filled with excitement that pervades all of Charm City. From nightlife to fine dining to other events that will get you hyped for Preakness day, here’s our list of the top things to do in Baltimore on Preakness week.
Lexington Market (Distance from Pimlico: 5.0 miles, 13 minutes)
The market dates back to 1782, which makes this Baltimore landmark one of the oldest markets in the country. You'll find 102 vendors at the market, including local dining staples like award-winning Maryland-style crab cakes at Faidley's. For dessert, stop in at Berger's Bakery for a world famous Berger Cookie. You’ll also find live music and occasionally other entertainment when you pop in. The highlight will be Thursday's Crab Derby (now in its 26th year). It’s a sight to behold - just YouTube "Crab Derby.”
Sunrise at Old Hilltop (at Pimlico)
Beginning on Tuesday and running through Friday, Pimlico will host its popular sunrise tours from 6 to 9 a.m. These amazing free tours (yes, free!) include early morning access to the grandstand apron while watching the Preakness contenders’ workouts, an escorted tour of the stable area, and a chance to potentially see and interact with trainers, owners, exercise riders and jockeys. The last tour registration for Thursday and Friday is 8:45 a.m.
Orioles Game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Distance from Pimlico: 5.5 miles, 15 minutes)
There are few venues that provide a better setting to take in a game than Camden Yards. There isn't a bad seat in the house and you'll find great eats all over the park. You've got to grab an "O" shaped butter pretzel and wash it down with the signature brew that has a cult following in Baltimore, National Bohemian - or, as the locals call it, "Natty Boh.” The Orioles will be hosting the Seattle Mariners from Tuesday to Thursday of Preakness week. The Thursday game starts at 12:30 p.m. and will give you plenty of time to explore the city at night.
Horseshoe Baltimore Casino (Distance from Pimlico: 9.7 miles, 19 minutes)
It’s one of the newest and most chic casinos in the entire region. In addition to the slots, table games and off-track betting area, you’ll also find some really good food and drink at the Horseshoe. Celebrity chefs include James Beard Award-winners, John “Johnny” Besh and Aarón Sánchez, and TV chef Guy Fieri. Whether it’s the Sanchez Outdoor Deck, Tequila Tasting Room, Guy’s Backyard Patio, or Binion’s Piano Bar, there’s something for every mood and taste at the Horseshoe. You can also catch the Preakness at the Horseshoe in the 14Forty bar and lounge. 14Forty is hosting a “Big Race Party” where you can watch the Preakness on the big screen, enjoy great drink specials and drawings for free casino play.
Hot Air Balloon Festival (Distance from Pimlico: 18 miles, 24 minutes)
The Preakness Celebration Hot Air Balloon Festival is a truly a unique experience. You can watch - for free - as an endless stream of breathtaking hot air balloons ascend into the Maryland sky. Tethered balloon rides are another option, at a reasonable $15 for adults and $8 for kids. This event is perfect for children as well as those young at heart. The festival, which runs from Thursday through Saturday, will also feature handmade crafts, retail and food vendors, and live entertainment.
Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum (Distance from Pimlico 7.5 miles, 14 minutes)
Visit the home of one of Baltimore’s most famous all-time residents, Edgar Allan Poe. He lived in the house at 203 North Amity Street in the early 1830s and left about a decade before penning “The Raven”, from which Baltimore’s football team derives its name. The Poe House & Museum is only open from Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The house includes exhibits on Poe’s foster parents, his life and death in Baltimore, and poems and short stories written in Baltimore. It also features significant artifacts including Poe’s chair, lap desk and telescope.
Power Plant Live! (Distance from Pimlico 7.6 miles, 15 minutes)
If you’re looking to have one big night out on Preakness week, you can’t go wrong at Power Plant Live! where you’ll find food, drink and all sorts of entertainment. This massive spot features a beer garden, daily food and drink specials at multiple bars and restaurants, and live music on the Mex deck on Friday and Saturday. You’ll have your choice of 10 restaurants for dining and a dozen places in total where you can grab a drink. Power Plant Live! will be hopping all throughout Preakness week.
America’s Best Racing’s Pre-Preakness Party (#ABRPRK16), sponsored by Sagamore Farm at The Mt. Washington Tavern (Distance from Pimlico: 2.0 miles, 6 minutes) Wednesday, May 18, 7-10 p.m.
In just three years, this must-attend ABR bash has turned into the biggest open-to-the-public party on Preakness week. If you arrive early enough, you’ll enjoy some free food provided by ABR and event sponsor Sagamore Farm. There will be a photo booth, a raffle to benefit the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and a lot more. You’ll also get to rub elbows with jockeys, trainers and horse owners. Be sure to share your photos on social media and follow the action using #ABRPRK16.
A Night with the Stars, Stargazing at the Maryland Science Center (Distance from Pimlico 8.2 miles, 18 minutes)
The Maryland Science Center offers a beautiful view of the stars and the moon every Friday night. The telescope is on the building's roof. What could possibly make a night on a rooftop in Baltimore's inner harbor better? The stargazing is free. Weather permitting, the festivities start at 7 p.m. and run through 10:30 p.m. Call any time after 9 p.m. to make sure there are no weather issues: (410)-545-2999.
National Aquarium (Distance from Pimlico: 7.3 miles, 14 minutes)
If you're in town with kids for the week, the National Aquarium should be high on your list of things to do. You can't miss the sharp looking angular glass structure when walking or driving around the Inner Harbor. Baltimore's National Aquarium features some of the most colorful jellyfish and coolest-looking sharks. If that isn't enough, there are dozens of birds, frogs, turtles and a whole lot of terrifying looking snakes to see, too. The Travel Channel named it one of the best aquariums in the United States, it attracts about 1.5 million visitors a year and I've never spoken to anyone who didn't have a spectacular time when visiting.