Baltimore belongs to the state of Maryland, which together with Washington DC and Virginia state form the United States Capitol Region. The city is the largest independent city in the USA in terms of population. And it is located in the maritime region of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay.
In the past, Baltimore was the second main gateway for immigrants to the United States and an important center of production. With approximately three hundred years of history, the city offers days of full family fun. Baltimore is proud of its African American origins, and this is clear in the countless African American museums and monuments in the city.
Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in Baltimore (MD)
1. National Aquarium
Considered as one of the best aquariums in the USA, the National Aquarium is a public aquarium located in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore. It was inaugurated in 1981 during the so-called Baltimore urban renewal period.
The aquarium’s collection includes over 16,500 animals from 560 different species. Besides, the Aquarium has several special attractions. For example, the dolphin show, a huge swimming pool full of rays, and aquariums with sharks. But one of the coolest parts is the 4-story tank with corals in which you descend through it on a spiral ramp.
2. Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Built in the 1990s, the Oriole Park at Camden Yards is home to the Baltimore Orioles, a Major League Baseball team. From the outside, the stadium looks like an old building with a retro design. But once you go in, you can see what a modern, beautiful, and well cared for this stadium is.
With a capacity to hold 45,000 fans, the park has a lot of amenities that will make your baseball experience amazing. Even though you may bring your own food to Oriole Park, it is worth trying the food options around there. Mainly the raw oysters and the traditional hot dogs accompanied by a cold beer.
3. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
From the Civil War to World War II, Fort McHenry National Monument is an important landmark that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the US National Anthem. Located in the Inner Harbor, the importance of the fort began when the Americans bravely resisted the British during the War of 1812.
The fort itself has a visitor center that exhibits a short movie telling the story of the Battle of Baltimore and how it is connected to the Star-Spangled Banner. Around the building, there is a lovely park with a walkway overlooking the water. The place is easily accessible for the entire family and wheelchairs.
4. Patapsco Valley State Park
Founded in 1907, the Patapsco Valley State Park offers recreational activities such as hiking and camping along 32 miles of the Patapsco River. The park is known for its well-maintained trail opportunities and scenery. With over 200 miles of trails to be explored, the park has hiker-only trails and multi-use trails. Some trails are hard to navigate with a large number of rocks, but it is a wonderful workout.
Make sure to check out the Cascade Falls, the very shallow Avalon area of the river great for splashing, the Hilton area with its two large playgrounds, and the suspension bridge over the river.
5. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
With 2,500 slot machines, over 100 table games, and the only World Series of Poker room in the state, the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore is the second largest casino in Maryland. In addition, the casino offers a wide range of cuisine and restaurants with renowned chefs, including the famous Master Chef’s Gordon Ramsay.
Horseshoe Baltimore also offers a variety of nightlife options, including the 14forty Bar. This is the only one in Baltimore, serving drinks throughout the week. The multi-level bar features live entertainment, a VIP area with bottle service, as well as a full menu with craft cocktails.
6. The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
While it is not the largest zoo, the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore houses over 1,500 birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. It was built on the pleasant grounds of the Druid Hill Park in 1876. The animal exhibits are very large and well maintained, you can see that the animals are obviously well cared for.
Besides guided tours, the zoo also offers a variety of activities. You can do yoga classes at the zoo, be part of the penguin encounters, visit the giraffe feeding stations, have breakfast with the animals, and even brush and groom a goat.
7. Port Discovery Children’s Museum
Considered one of the best children’s museums in the United States, Port Discovery offers three floors of educational and interactive attractions besides many games. In the center of the museum, a large toy filled with tunnels, slides, and climbing spaces competes with other thematic rooms, such as the cafeteria, the gas station, the supermarket, the farm, the football field, among others.
Children definitely have a hard time choosing what to do first with so many playful activities: music, dance and also curious exhibitions, as of some animals. In addition to all attractions, there is also a Legos-only room, where creativity can run wild between parents and children. For babies, there is a separate room, with age-specific activities.
8. Patterson Park
Baltimore’s most intensively used large park is Patterson Park with its 19th-century design. This massive green space played a major role in the War of 1812. This is where the American troops stood during the battle of North Point. Nowadays, the park’s amenities include playgrounds, basketball courts, swimming pools, a dog park, a garden, and an ice rink during winter.
Patterson Park is surrounded by a residential area that relies on this park for outdoor activities. In addition, the park hosts many events throughout the year. For example, the Halloween lantern parade, the food truck festival, and the LatinoFest all happen right there.
9. Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art is the museum with the largest collection of Matisse paintings in the world! Artwork from Picasso, Monet as well as Michelangelo, Impressionists’ work, and a sculpture garden are some of the other highlights. The Asian and African collections are also among the favorites of the museum’s visitors.
The building itself has such an eclectic design that you should take your time walking around and soaking in the art. This is a great place to take the family, and there are tons of events happening each week as well.
10. Druid Hill Park
Established in the 1860s the Druid Hill Park is the perfect little green oasis amid Baltimore’s urban chaos. Besides its historical importance during the War of 1812, the park provides a relaxing atmosphere and a beautiful view of the city.
There is something for everyone at Druid Hill Park. You can explore trails for walking, biking, and running as well as visit a beautiful conservatory full of plants and flowers. The Maryland Zoo is also located there with all kinds of animals. In addition, you will also find swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, pavilions to rent, ball fields, disc golf courses, and Baltimore’s Farmers market.
11. American Visionary Art Museum
The American Visionary Art Museum is a small museum with unusual rotating exhibits by self-taught artists. This funky museum might not be for everyone, but it is definitely fun with none of the traditional art exhibits. The art ranges from sculpture and embroidery to oil. Some of its items can be considered as provoking with random background stories to them, while others are simply beautiful.
They offer short, guided tours that show a quick glimpse into all the history present in the modern pieces. The museum is close to the Inner Harbor and its gift shop is worth spending 30 minutes in by itself being especially fun for the kids.
12. Federal Hill Park
With two points of entry and situated just south of downtown, the Federal Hill Park offers one of the best views in Baltimore. The park has a path going around it with a great little green space for the city and the original cannons used during the Civil War. At Federal Hill Park history and leisure come together and while you can visit the Battle of Baltimore monument, the kids can have fun at the playground. Besides the gated playground, this peaceful park also has a basketball court.
Interestingly, the hill on which the park is located has several tunnels. These underground passageways were used among other things to store beer kegs in the 1800s.
13. B&O Railroad Museum
Even though we are past the age of trains, they are still impressive, and the B&O Railroad Museum is a national historic landmark with nearly 200 locomotives. There you can see, touch, hear and explore everything there is to know about trains. The museum also exhibits a model train display, and you can even go on rides on an old train.
Overall, the museum is a fun place with a lot of great information about the history of trains. They also have some of the earliest trains built in the US.
14. Canton Waterfront Park
Besides providing views of Fort McHenry, you can also view the Blue Angels Air Show and Tall Ships coming into the Inner Harbor from the Canton Waterfront Park. In addition, the park is home to the Korean War Memorial dedicated to the 527 Marylanders who died in the conflict.
The eight acres of green area are filled with recreation options and the park is a popular destination for outdoor activities. Other than the boat ramp and a fishing pier, visitors can enjoy the Canton Waterfront Park to go jogging and have picnics.
15. The Walters Art Museum
The former home of one of the elite Merchant families of the state of Maryland, the Walters Art Museum, contains some of the finest art from all over the globe. This historic gallery features 36,000 pieces of art including paintings, artifacts, and films.
You can explore the centuries of art organized by room, category, time period, and creativity levels. Of particular interest are some old combat armor, mummies, hieroglyphics, and two Faberge eggs. The museum is not large, and it will probably take you less than an hour to walk through it.
16. Edgar Allan Poe’s Grave
Besides the police tales for which Allan Poe is now universally known, the author of “The Raven” died in Baltimore in 1849, being initially buried in an unmarked grave. It was not until 1875 that Edgar Allan Poe’s Grave became a marble and granite memorial dedicated to the 19th-century gothic author.
Signs surrounding the grave provide a snapshot into Poe’s life. However, not only is Poe buried there but so are several veterans of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Interestingly, some burial stones and vaults are in rather strange locations, such as under the porch or walkway of the church.
17. Cylburn Arboretum
Covering 200 acres and featuring over 20 gardens, the Cylburn Arboretum is a nature museum with century-old trees. The arboretum facilities include the Vollmer Visitor Center, the Civil War-era Cylburn Mansion, and the Greenhouse Classroom.
This is the perfect place in the city to walk a loop through the trails and pathways weaving through interesting trees and gardens. In the spring when the trees bloom, you will find a great variety of flowers and pollinators. The trees are all labeled in case you want to learn more. You can also have a picnic or walk your dog (on a leash!).
18. Baltimore Museum of Industry
The Baltimore Museum of Industry takes you on a time travel through the beautifully curated collection of Maryland’s industry over the years. For example, you can see the city’s Industrial Revolution animated via displays with an interactive 1865 oyster cannery. In fact, a lot of the exhibits are hands-on and interactive. And besides the cannery, you can also view an old corner store, a garment loft, print shop, and pharmacy to name a few of the exhibits.
During your visit, be sure to attend one of the guided tours. They will provide so much insight and history. In addition, you get a great view of the museum overlooking the water and the boats nearby.
19. Double Rock Park
The 102-acre Double Rock Park is a quiet little park with a nice stream flowing through the trees. The park offers several short trails leading to the stream where you will find big rocks to just sit on and relax. Besides the trails, there are also a few athletic fields and ball fields as well as playgrounds for the kids and an open area to run and fly a kite.
Watch out and wear comfortable shoes as some areas are not paved with loose rocks and tree roots. In addition, some of the walking paths can be covered with leaves making the ground quite slippery. So be careful not to slip and fall.
20. Historic Ships in Baltimore
In the Inner Harbor region of Baltimore, several American Navy Historic Ships compose the Historic Ships Maritime Museum with a collection of 1850s military ships. Four ships which are national historic landmarks, USS Constellation, USS Submarine Torsk, USCGC Taney, and the Chesapeake lighthouse, are part of this collection and can be visited daily.
Historic Ships represent one of the most impressive collections of military ships in the world, which were in activity between the mid-19th century and the 1980s. Located a short distance from each other, it is a super cool tour to do as a family. Just try to imagine how the people who worked on the ships used to live. In general, the ships and the submarine are very well preserved.
21. Washington Monument and Mount Vernon Place
A major cultural and historical landmark for the city of Baltimore, the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon Place is a great hang out area. The surrounding neighborhood has a very interesting old architecture with many statues and fountains. The parks around the monument are the perfect setting for a nice walk or picnic on the lawn. There is also a historic trail where you can learn the history of the Mount Vernon area.
Mount Vernon Place itself offers a gallery and a walking tour to the top with a nice view. However, the climb up is a workout and not for those who are unfit or claustrophobic.
22. Rawlings Conservatory
Located in Druid Hill Park, Rawlings Conservatory is Baltimore’s botanical garden with 0.5-acres of gardens and 5 greenhouse areas constructed in 1888. The landscape is incredible with its open greenery, complemented by an array of beautiful flowers scattered neatly across the grounds. The conservatory has a few different rooms and environments, ranging from desert to tropical to an orchid room.
So, take your time and look at each plant individually and not as a room full of plants. You can also purchase some food and feed the turtles and fish that live in the ponds.
23. The Baltimore Basilica
With the official name of Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Baltimore Basilica was the first metropolitan cathedral built in the United States. This historic site contains neoclassical architecture, a 17th-century organ, impressive works of art, and much more.
This is not the typical ‘beautiful church’ but it is beautiful in its own way. The crypt is one of its highlights. By supporting the dome, the crypt is constructed uniquely and architects from all over come to see the support system!
24. Top of the World Observation Level
Baltimore has its own World Trade Center and on the 27th-floor you can visit the Top of the World Observation Level with 360-degree views of the city and the harbor. Besides the breath-taking view, you can have a guided tour and learn all there is to know about Baltimore. For example, you will hear amazing historical facts from when and who created Baltimore to people in the arts, sports, celebrities, and things seen for the 1st time in Baltimore.
At the observation deck, there is also a beautiful memorial to the 9/11 World Trade Center and the 68 men, women, and children who called Maryland home and were killed that day.
25. The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum
Baltimore has been home to many “freedom fighters” and the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum tells the story of the African Americans of this region. This history and culture museum mixes well with art by using wax statues to bring famous black characters back to life. From athletes to lawyers and rodeo stars, you will meet them all!
The museum might look small from the outside, but the staff surprises the visitors by the use of space and the large number of exhibits. The exhibitions include a Journey to Freedom, the Slavery Era, the Magnificence of Africa, Islamic Africa, the Colonial Period, among others.