Evergreen Museum & Library

Top choice in Baltimore

Well worth the 7-mile drive north from the Inner Harbor, this grand 19th-century mansion provides a fascinating glimpse into upper-class Baltimore life of the 1800s. The house is packed with fine art and masterpieces of the decorative arts – including paintings by Modigliani, glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany and exquisite Asian porcelain – not to mention the astounding rare book collection, numbering some 32,000 volumes. 

Johns Hopkins University caretakes this and another historic house museum, the more contemporary Homewood Museum. Both are in Baltimore’s historic Charles Street corridor. Located between the campuses of the Notre Dame of Maryland University and Loyola University Maryland and surrounded by 26 acres of gardens and woods, it is also a popular venue for private weddings. Visits here are by guided tour, offered on the hour until 3pm.

Garrett family history

Even more impressive than the collection is the compelling story of the Garrett family. Patriarch John W Garrett was president of the B&O Railroad and he purchased the home in 1878 for his son T Harrison. The Garretts were world travelers – T Harrison's son John W, who inherited the house in 1920, was an active diplomat for some years. They were also astute philanthropists, as well as lovers of the arts, if not always successful performers in their own right – though that didn't stop the younger John W's wife, Alice, from taking the stage (her own, which you'll see in the intimate theater below the house).


Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Baltimore attractions

1. Johns Hopkins University

1.31 MILES

Maryland is lacrosse heartland, and its residents are arguably the sport's most fanatic followers. The best place to watch 'lax' is Johns Hopkins…

2. Baltimore Museum of Art

1.62 MILES

Works by Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, Georgia O'Keeffe and Andy Warhol fill the galleries, and the museum hosts thought-provoking temporary exhibits with a…

3. Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

2.17 MILES

For a walk on the wild side, pay a visit to the Maryland Zoo's resident giraffes, penguins and chimpanzees. Zookeeper chats, giraffe feedings and goat…

4. National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

2.87 MILES

This simple but thought-provoking African American history museum has exhibits spotlighting Frederick Douglass, Jackie Robinson, Dr Martin Luther King Jr…

5. Washington Monument

3.56 MILES

For the best views of Baltimore, climb the 227 marble steps of the 178ft-tall Doric column dedicated to America's founding father, George Washington. The…

6. Maryland Historical Society

3.59 MILES

With more than 350,000 objects and seven million books and documents, this is among the world's largest collections of Americana. Highlights include one…

7. Walters Art Museum

3.63 MILES

The magnificent Chamber of Art & Wonders re-creates the library of an imagined 17th-century scholar, one with a taste for the exotic. The abutting Hall of…

8. Enoch Pratt Free Library

3.77 MILES

Established in 1882 when philanthropist Enoch Pratt gave the city a $1 million endowment toward the remarkably progressive idea of a establishing a…