Baltimore is a one-hour drive from Washington, D.C., making for a great day trip, from its colorful art scene to the historic waterfront and interesting neighborhoods. Visitors will find an array of activities and things to do in Baltimore, one of the most popular cities in Maryland.
Visitors can enjoy walking around cobblestone streets, shopping at local boutiques, dining at award-winning restaurants, or learning something new at one of Baltimore’s many museums.
In this ultimate guide to the best things to do in Baltimore, we share some of the must-see destinations and can’t-miss attractions when visiting this city, as well as some interesting facts about Maryland. Add these to your Baltimore itinerary!
Best Things to Do in Baltimore
1. Explore the Inner Harbor
The Inner Harbor is the heart of downtown Baltimore. It’s home to the National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, and Port Discovery Children’s Museum. Visitors can easily spend a day in the Inner Harbor, visiting beautiful museums and eating at award-winning restaurants.
For more adventurous explorers, buy a ticket for one of the cruises that depart from the harbor or rent a Chessie Dragon Paddle Boat. No matter what you are in the mood to do, the Inner Harbor is one of the most famous places to visit in Baltimore.
2. The National Aquarium
The National Aquarium is located at the Inner Harbor and is known to be one of the best aquariums in the United States. With over 20,000 aquatic animals, visitors should plan on exploring the museum for two to three hours.
Besides fish, visitors can also find birds, reptiles, amphibians, marine mammals, and sharks in the aquarium’s exhibits.
This makes for a perfect destination 2-day Washington D.C. weekend trip with curious kids, and a fun activity adults and kids alike will enjoy.
3. Maryland Science Center
The Maryland Science Center is another museum in the Inner Harbor and one of the most popular museums in Baltimore. Maryland Science Center is great for families: toddlers will enjoy the kid’s room, but older children will love it too.
Plan on spending an afternoon at the Maryland Science Center to see all of the exhibits.
4. Maryland Zoo
The Maryland Zoo, formerly known as the Baltimore Zoo, is home to nearly 2,000 animals. Visitors can spend about two to three hours walking around the park and visiting giraffes, elephants, rhinos, penguins, and more.
The Baltimore Zoo also offers special passes to meet endangered species or get up close and personal with penguins for an additional fee.
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5. The Peabody Library
The Peabody Library is one of the most beautiful libraries in Baltimore. The five-story iron and glass atrium lets natural light in, creating a serene and calming atmosphere. It is rumored to be the inspiration for Belle’s library in “Beauty and the Beast.”
The library is open to the public Monday through Saturday.
6. Explore Fells Point Neighborhood
Fells Point is a waterfront neighborhood full of quaint streets, local shops, and great restaurants and pubs. The area was established in the 18th century as a bustling shipbuilding port.
Fells Point has many historical sights and museums. Visitors can visit the Robert Long House, the oldest standing residence in Baltimore. Or stop for a drink at the oldest bar in the area, called The Horse You Came in on Saloon.
The Frederick Douglas-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum and the year-round indoor Broadway Market are also part of the neighborhood.
Those who want more adventure can check out one of the pirate cruises that leave from Fells Point. Urban Pirates allows visitors to board a pirate ship and cruise around the harbor of Baltimore. The company offers cruises geared towards kids or adults-only cruises.
Whether you are looking to learn more about the history of Baltimore or want to have some fun, the Fells Point neighborhood has it all.
7. B&O Railroad Museum
The B&O Railroad Museum is one of Baltimore’s most popular tourist destinations. The museum is dedicated to the history of American railroads.
Visitors can explore exhibits, take train rides, and watch a movie in the museum’s theatre. The museum also offers special events and workshops throughout the year. If you are a train enthusiast, this is one of the best things to do in Baltimore.
8. Port Discovery Children’s Museum
Port Discovery Children’s Museum is a hands-on museum that encourages kids to explore and imagine. The museum has three floors of interactive exhibits where kids can role-play as doctors, chefs, or construction workers.
There is also an area where kids can create art. Port Discovery Children’s Museum also offers a variety of programs and special events.
The Children’s Museum is an excellent air-conditioned space to let your kids run wild and for you to have some downtime. Kids from ages 1-12 will find plenty to do here.
9. Visit an Art Museum
You will want to check out one of Baltimore’s fantastic art museums when looking for things to do around Baltimore. Baltimore has a great art scene and art museums that cover all genres.
- The Baltimore Museum of Art has the most extensive collection of Henri Matisse’s work but also houses work from 19th-century, modern, and contemporary artists.
- The Walters Art Museum has older works from 5,000 B.C. to today. Visitors can explore Asian art, jewelry, furniture, and works from Millet, Monet, Manet, and Rousseau.
- For an art experience that is a bit different, check out American Visionary Museum. This museum includes work from self-taught artists like farmers, inmates, and mathematicians.
Additionally, Baltimore has some of the best street art, with over 250 murals.
10. Visit the Reginald F. Lewis Museum
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland’s African American History and Culture is the most prominent African American museum in Maryland.
It includes African American artifacts, art, documents, and photographs dating from the 1700s to today. The museum also holds events that include musical performances and workshops.
11. Catch a Sports Game
Baltimore is home to the Orioles and Ravens, so no matter what time of year you are visiting, you will be able to catch a football or baseball game. During fall and winter, head to M&T Bank Stadium to tailgate and see a Ravens game.
In summer and spring, go to Camden Yards for an Orioles game. As another option, you can sign up for a tour of Camden Yards or M&T Bank Stadium.
12. Take a Ghost Tour
Baltimore is known for being haunted. Several ghost tours take place around the city so if you are looking for things to do in Baltimore that are a bit out of the ordinary, check out one of these ghost tours.
The tours are led by professional guides and take you to some of the most haunted places in Baltimore. One popular tour is the Ghosts and Graves tour, which takes you to Edgar Allan Poe’s grave and the site of the Great Baltimore Fire.
13. Explore Fort McHenry
In 1812 Fort McHenry was used to keep away the invading British. It later inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem that we know today.
Visitors can picnic on the waterfront lawn and admire the historical fort, with Baltimore’s skyline in the background. The fort also offers ranger-led tours, educational programs, and has a museum.
14. Get Creative with a Maker’s Class
Baltimore, Maryland, is full of fun and eclectic artists; anyone can be part of Baltimore’s art scene. One fun thing to do in Baltimore is join a class or maker’s space. Anni Howe Papercuts invites anyone thirteen and up to learn how to create and cut paper designs in their studio.
Baltimore Clayworks teaches students how to create, sculpt, and glaze pottery.
Corradetti Glassblowing Studio and Gallery welcomes visitors to learn the art of glassblowing in their mini-workshops. There is also B.Willow, a beautiful plant shop for those who enjoy planting, or Baltimore Print Studios for those who want to learn about letterpress and screen printing.
15. Visit Edgar Allen Poe’s Grave
Fans of Poe can visit his grave located in Westminster Hall and Burying Ground. The graveyard is also the final resting place for many notable Baltimore residents, including Johns Hopkins and James McHenry.
Visitors can take a tour led by one of the cemetery’s caretakers or explore independently.
It’s a lovely area of Baltimore to walk around, and the cemetery is full of unique and unusual gravestones and crypts. Perfect for Poe!
Baltimore has so much going on and so many exciting things to see. Your whole family will find something that catches their interest. From museums and historical sites to outdoor activities and sports games, there is something for everyone in Baltimore.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to this wonderful city today!
This post originally appeared on Savoteur.
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.