Baltimore, often known as “Bawlmer” by locals, continues to be somewhat of an ugly duckling: a rebellious, working-class city that is nonetheless connected to its maritime past.
However, in recent years Baltimore has started to transform into a swan. Or, more precisely, has become better at showcasing things to do in Baltimore in the form of top-tier museums, hip stores, international cuisine, boutique hotels, heritage, and sports.
Baltimore is frequently disregarded in favor of its larger suburbs Philadelphia and Washington, DC, despite serving delicious crabs and a beautiful coastline.
The fact that this regenerated former industrial city is affordable gives it a significant edge over larger cities in terms of the number of historical and cultural attractions it can provide.
The city’s hub is Baltimore’s Inner Harbour, which is bordered by a number of world-class museums and the bustling Harborplace with its pavilions, stores, restaurants, and boardwalk. Several old ships that are open to visitors are docked here.
Beautiful buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries may be seen throughout the city, along with miles of waterfront walks that can be gently explored.
Still, wondering what to do in Baltimore? Check out our guide to 20 best things to do in Baltimore.
- 1. Explore the Internationally Renowned Walters Art Gallery
- 2. Visit the Historic Fort McHenry National Monument
- 3. For Outdoor Pursuits, Hike the Gwynn Falls Trail & Visit Leakin Park
- 4. Appreciate the Unusual arts at American Visionary Arts Museum
- 5. Inner Harbour is Baltimore’s Top Attraction
- 6. Experience the Coral Reefs at the Indoor National Aquarium
- 7. Baltimore Museum of Art is the Largest Museum in Maryland
- 8. View the City’s Artistic Scene
- 9. Railroad Museum Houses Excellent Collection of Historic Locomotives
- 10. Attend a Game at Oriole Park
- 11. Explore space travel at Maryland Science Centre
- 12. Kids May Have the Best Day Out at Maryland Zoo
- 13. The 99 Steps in Federal Hill Park
- 14. Pay a Visit to the Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum
- 15. The Midtown-Belvedere Nightlife is Something not to miss!
- 16. Enjoy Farm to Table Fare at Woodberry Kitchen
- 17. Marvel at the Washington Monument
- 18. The Work of Spies and Detectives is Displayed at the National Cryptologic Museum
- 19. Take an Evening Stroll at the Fell Point
- 20. Learn the City’s Commercial History at Baltimore Museum of Industry
- Places to Eat in Baltimore
- Places to Stay in Baltimore, Maryland
1. Explore the Internationally Renowned Walters Art Gallery
The Walters Art Museum in the Mount Vernon Cultural District stands out among the top Baltimore attractions. One of the few museums in the world that presents a thorough history of art from the third millennium BC to the early 20th century is this highly regarded international institution.
A remarkable collection of mahogany, jewellery, acrylics, and brass, as well as a sizable stock of illuminated manuscripts and rare volumes, are among its thousands of treasures.
The Walters’ holdings of Renaissance and Asian art are substantial, as are their collections of Egyptian, Greek, Syrian, Byzantine, Ethiopian, and European mediaeval art.
The collection contains specimens of every significant isometric view in French painting that occurred throughout the 19th century.
Special games, riddles, treasure hunts, and other activities to engage young brains are just a few of the ways the museum makes its exhibitions and collections accessible to kids.
2. Visit the Historic Fort McHenry National Monument
Just three miles southeast of the city centre is one of America’s most important historical sites. The National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, was supposedly inspired by Fort McHenry, which was built between 1798 and 1803 to defend the port access.
Baltimore was saved from conquest and invasion in 1814 at the battle of Baltimore when it withstood a 24-hour bombardment by a British fleet of 10 warships, five bomb ketches, and a missile ship.
In the visitor centre of the fort, there are exhibits and a movie on the fort’s history and is one of the top things to do in Baltimore this weekend. You can also tour the fort’s casemates and grounds to learn more about the fort and its history through guides and live performances. The iconic original flag is now featured in Washington, DC’s Museum of American History.
3. For Outdoor Pursuits, Hike the Gwynn Falls Trail & Visit Leakin Park
The perfect green urban escape, the 15-mile path traverses 30 Baltimore neighbourhoods and 10 parks, including Gwynn Falls, after which it is named.
Make your way past the Patapsco River, streams, forested walks, or the Inner Harbour by starting at one of the nine trailheads.
The park, also known as Leakin Park, has a variety of clay and gravel paths with varied degrees of difficulty, and is one of the best things to see in Baltimore.
4. Appreciate the Unusual arts at American Visionary Arts Museum
The American Visionary Art Museum, which showcases the work of self-taught artists from all around the world, is by far Baltimore’s most eccentric art gallery.
This is a vibrant, constantly-changing that pays tribute to the passion for art. Spoiler alert! This is not merely a gallery of paintings and drawings.
Exhibits could feature complex stitching, toothpick sculptures, textile mosaics, outfits prepared for local festivals, global folk art and works created by prisoners.
The main building’s architecture is a work of art in itself, and it has received numerous national and international accolades for both its style and beauty. Lonely Planet is renowned as one of the best places to visit in Baltimore.
A complete dragon from a Chinese New Year parade may be found among the towering exhibits in the sculpture barn, which was previously the Four Roses warehouse.
Save some time for the museum’s charmingly odd shop if you’re seeking original souvenirs or keepsakes.
5. Inner Harbour is Baltimore’s Top Attraction
You could easily spend several days in this area alone because the Inner Harbour is surrounded by so many of Baltimore’s tourist attractions and must-do activities.
The collection of historic ships docked here, all of which are accessible for visitors, is the main highlight here.
The three-masted sailing ship USS Constellation, which saw combat during the Civil War, is the main attraction here. A US Coast Guard Cutter, the Lightship Chesapeake, and the submarine USS Torsk are also available for tours.
Harborplace is a market and shopping complex with many stores, eateries, and open areas. It is a beautiful modern complex with two glass-enclosed pavilions in antique design. The Amphitheatre on the Promenade is where street performers showcase their talents.
6. Experience the Coral Reefs at the Indoor National Aquarium
The National Aquarium, housed in a magnificent architecture with views of the Inner harbour, is the Baltimore attraction that receives the most visitors.
This enormous complex’s exhibits cover a wide range of topics, including Australian marine life, ocean surface habitats, mangrove forests, Amazon river forests, subterranean marine life, Atlantic and Pacific coral reefs, and more.
The Tropical RainForest, a comprehensive ecosystem that rises five levels, deserves special mention.
Here, guests can explore from the forest floor to the cliffside dome and witness a variety of wildlife, reptiles, and larger creatures, including turtles and gorillas.
Visitors can also encounter dolphins, rays, and hundreds of other exotic species in the Atlantic Coral Reef Exhibit, and it is one of the fun things to do in Baltimore Maryland.
7. Baltimore Museum of Art is the Largest Museum in Maryland
The Baltimore Museum of Art is the biggest museum of art and is one of the best places to visit in Maryland.
It houses masterpieces from all over the world that span a variety of cultures, eras, and styles.
The largest collection of Matisse artworks in the entire world is part of the permanent collections in this museum.
Additionally featured are the original works of Andy Warhol, Picasso, Cezanne, and Vincent Van Gogh.
The museum houses excellent collections of American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts in addition to modern art.
The museum houses one of the significant African collections in the country, and modern and contemporary sculptures displayed in a sculpture garden. The admission is complimentary and is one of the free things to do in Baltimore.
8. View the City’s Artistic Scene
The artistic edge of Baltimore is evident everywhere you look. More than 250 vibrant graffiti created by local artists are dotted around the city. It portrays everything from the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem to significant women leaders and John Waters’ famous drag queen. Taking a stroll here is one of the cool things to do in Baltimore.
Graffiti Alley is a vibrant courtyard in the Station North Arts and Entertainment neighbourhood that draws selfie-takers because it is covered in colourful graffiti art.
9. Railroad Museum Houses Excellent Collection of Historic Locomotives
One of Baltimore’s most well-liked attractions, the B & O Railroad Museum provides a look at some of the country’s railway history. The Mount Clare Station serves as one of the museum’s operational locations.
The museum displays a sizable collection of locomotives and coaches, the majority of which are in operational condition and is one of the unique places to go in Baltimore.
The turntable, which links 22 lines with locomotives and coaches, is the focal point. All of the exhibits here are authentic and in good condition. A sizable open space in front of the facility is home to additional locomotives.
The first passenger train in the United States left from the Mont Clare Station in 1830 and headed to Ellicott’s Mills, making the station a significant part of American rail history.
10. Attend a Game at Oriole Park
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the city’s Major League Baseball team’s home, debuted in 1992 and is the primary Baltimore attraction.
Oriole Park, which avoids the bland multi-use suburban stadiums, has the historic urban atmosphere of traditional ballparks like Boston’s Fenway Park yet with all the most recent cutting-edge amenities.
It is in close proximity to the Inner Harbour and is positioned in the formerly significant train hub of Camden Yards.
It is conveniently located just two streets from George Herman “Babe” Ruth’s birthplace, baseball’s most illustrious hero.
Babe Ruth’s humble birthplace is now a museum, and a statue of him is located right outside the park. You may take a tour of Oriole Park to see the press box, club levels, and dugout in action.
11. Explore space travel at Maryland Science Centre
The contemporary Maryland Science Centre, is located at the southwest corner of the Inner Harbour. The museum’s three levels are filled with scientific exhibits and is one of the best places to visit in Baltimore for kids.
Adults will find the museum fascinating as they learn about physics, space exploration, and other themes. The museum also has a planetarium.
In the Dinosaur Mysteries exhibit, which has dig pits, a field lab, and excavation sites, and the replicas of life-size dinosaurs.
One of the most creative displays is a brick row-house “street” of storefronts inspired by Baltimore, with each one featuring activities and challenges related to that store’s theme.
For instance, one will learn how gears work at the bike shop, conduct sound experiments at the music store, or design and launch model planes at the airport.
12. Kids May Have the Best Day Out at Maryland Zoo
A visit to the zoo is among the top family-friendly activities in Baltimore. More than 2,000 animals have called this ancient zoo home since 1873. The zoo recently made some sizable improvements to the park grounds and animal habitats.
Ever wished you could pitch a fish to a penguin? You now have the chance to enter the pavilion and feed the critically endangered African Penguins. Or perhaps grazing a goat is more in line with your sense of adventure? If so, you will be able to guide your group around the farmyard lanes.
Giraffe feeding is the kindest and most calm animal engagement for families with young children. Hold out an olive branch to the enormous creatures as you stand on the platform and watch them gently grasp it with their enormous, grizzled tongues. Visit the petting area for additional animal encounters and experience what it’s like to pet a farm animal.
The carousel and the small Jones Zephyr Train are two more activities at the zoo, and is one o the fun things to do in Baltimore Maryland.
13. The 99 Steps in Federal Hill Park
Locals are aware that the expansive green slope known as Federal Hill Park may be reached by crossing Key Highway.
A spectacular view of the Baltimore skyscrapers and the Inner Harbour attractions, such as the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Harborplace Mall, and the Maryland Science Centre, awaits tourists, dog walkers, and fitness enthusiasts who ascend the 99 steps to the summit. And, it is one of the best morning stuff to do in Baltimore.
Monuments honouring the War of 1812 and the Battle of Baltimore in 1814, which the park served as a witness can be found here.
The Cross St Market, an antique indoor market packed with sellers selling produce, bouquets, bakery goods, meats, crabs, and snacks, is just a 12-minute walk from the park. The restaurant with the best food is Nick’s which is well-known for its crab fritters, mussels, and craft beers.
14. Pay a Visit to the Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum
Wondering what is there to do in Baltimore for horrors and mysteries? Baltimore’s most well-known adopted son lived there from 1832 until 1835, where he initially achieved popularity after novelling critically-acclaimed horror stories.
Despite being a Boston native, Poe achieved literary success in the 1830s in this Baltimore home. He resided in Philadelphia, Richmond, and New York City while always on the move.
After travelling, Poe returned to Baltimore in 1849, where he passed away mysteriously. He rests in the neighbouring Westminster Cemetery. Despite being unfurnished and having few relics, the modest house has an appropriately creepy atmosphere.
15. The Midtown-Belvedere Nightlife is Something not to miss!
Spend the evening at the Midtown-Belvedere area, which is close to Mount Vernon and home to an eclectic microbreweries, nightclubs, and cigar lounges.
Due to the presence of Symphony Hall, the Lyric Opera, and the Baltimore Theatre Project there, it might also be considered a part of the city’s arts district and is one of the top things to do in Baltimore MD.
The Brewer’s Art, a two-story dining and drinking establishment with a cavernous beer cellar, a classy dining room in the back, and a more relaxed bar-lounge up front, has long been a local favorite.
16. Enjoy Farm to Table Fare at Woodberry Kitchen
Visit the Woodberry Kitchen for a delectable assortment of dishes made using locally sourced ingredients and is one of the best places to visit in Baltimore for culinary delights.
Recent favourites include Cape May dayboat oysters, Chesapeake soft shell shrimp, Shenandoah Valley mutton with wheat berry garnish, and wood-roasted yellow squash with lavender yoghurt.
The rustic environment, complete with a wood-burning bonfire, gives an inferiority complex to the bustling downtown.
17. Marvel at the Washington Monument
Baltimore’s cultural hub is marked by the Washington Monument, which rises 178 feet above the palatial apartments in the Mount Vernon area.
The 206-year-old monument had a $7 million renovation in 2015 that enhanced the indoor gallery space at the foot of the monument. It introduces interactive 3D displays that offer a virtual tour of the site.
It serves as the Mount Vernon neighbourhood’s centrepiece and is the crowning achievement. The area’s unique old architecture gives it a European vibe and is one of the free things to do in Baltimore.
18. The Work of Spies and Detectives is Displayed at the National Cryptologic Museum
The National Cryptologic Museum is 20 minutes from the city center, exhibits the work of spies and counterspies as well as techniques for encoding strategic communications.
The real Enigma machine used to decode German transmissions during World War II is on display here and is one of the best things to do in Baltimore MD for kids.
From the simplest encryption floppies, technical manuals, encrypting teleprinters, supercomputers, and historical archives span all time periods.
As they explore the museum, kids are encouraged by a scavenger hunt to decipher messages and respond to questions.
The 90-minute guided tours are packed with intriguing information on the world of spies and codes, from the World War II Code Breakers to the importance of communications in the Cold War and later.
19. Take an Evening Stroll at the Fell Point
The ancient cobblestoned area of Fell’s Point, once the hub of Baltimore’s shipbuilding industry, is now an eclectic mix of 17th century homes and restaurants, pubs, and boutiques.
There are some excellent dining establishments here, as well as some fun neighbourhood bars where you may have a drink in the early evening.
However, some spots draw party lovers after the sunset and are one of the best places to visit in Baltimore at night. The Thames Street Oyster House is a great location anytime.
The exquisite dining area is located upstairs, where you may enjoy a crab feast while sipping cocktails at the vintage pub on the ground level.
20. Learn the City’s Commercial History at Baltimore Museum of Industry
The Baltimore Museum of Industry is a fascinating look into the wide range of industries and manufacturing that have occurred in the city over the years. It is a little out of the way, but one of the top Baltimore tourist attractions.
The focus is primarily on the employees and small company owners who served as the foundation for the growth of the city.
A wide range of activities and talents are represented by the preservation or replication of entire workshops.
You’ll see a print shop, a cannery, and you’ll get to witness some of the unique customs that Baltimore is known for. Some of them include whitewashed doorways and painted window screens and is one of fun things to do in Baltimore.
Places to Eat in Baltimore
There is much more to Baltimore’s eating scene than just steamed crab with an Old Bay crust. The greatest restaurants in Baltimore are now part of a diversified restaurant scene that embraces flavours from all over the world thanks to Charm City’s recent culinary revival. You can get Venezuelan burritos, Basque pintxos, and Asian fusion dumplings in addition to traditional fine dining establishments.
These establishments ought to be on your list of the top things to do in Baltimore, regardless of what you’re in the mood for.
- Hersh’s – This is the place to go if you’re looking for a comfortable setting to catch up with friends over delectable food and beverages. Pizzas have a burnt but chewy dough and unusual toppings like mussels and lemon or kale and pistachio. The bruschetta, risotto, and pizza are just a few delectable meals that benefit from the creamy smoothness of house-made gnocchi.
Address – 1843-45 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230
- Clavel – This lively taqueria serves Mexican meals, margaritas, and mezcal. Natural light floods the room, and the white walls and lights strung across the ceiling were inspired by the taco stands in Sinaloa, Mexico. Additionally, visit the nearby W.C. Harlan, the cosy nightclub owned by Lane Harlan.
Location – 225 W 23rd St, Baltimore, MD 21211
- L.P. Steamers – There is no finer place to eat Old Bay steamed crustaceans than on the rooftop of L.P. Steamers. This rustic Locust Point crab shack is the ideal place to get together with friends and pound some fried crabs. Views of the Baltimore skyline and Inner Harbour may be seen from the roof. Don’t overlook the Old Bay fries or crab cakes, while fried seafood platters are also excellent.
Address – 1100 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230
- Ekiben – To enjoy their piping-hot pita sandwich customers crowd into the cramped spaces of this Asian fusion restaurant. The combination of Indian, Ethiopian, and Thai flavours in broccoli and soy makes Ekiben’s version unlike any other. The tofu bits are covered in a hot black bean sauce, while the broccoli is garnished with fresh basil, scallions, and balsamic vinegar.
Location – 1622 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21231
Places to Stay in Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore has a beautiful shoreline, therefore the ideal place to stay to experience the city’s charms is downtown, close to the inner harbour. The stadiums, attractions, restaurants, and entertainment options are all centralised in the bustling downtown, making it simple to wander about.
If you are more interested in history and restored architectural treasures, lodging on the other side of the harbour, near Fell’s Point, is also a wonderful choice for stay.
Sports enthusiasts will want to stay on the west side, close to Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium. Listed below are a few popular hotels close to the action:
- Inn at Henderson’s Wharf – At Fell’s Point, this stay is a great upper-midrange option. It is a boutique hotel with magnificent rooms decorated in period fashion that is housed in a historic waterfront structure next to a marina. It includes a number of free facilities that are unusual for a property at this price point, such as butlers who can bring you tea, hot breakfast, straighten your clothes, or run a bath for you after a long day.
Address – 1000 Fell St, Baltimore, MD 21231
Phone number – +1-443-938-9509
- Royal Sonesta Harbour Court Baltimore – The National Aquarium and the American Visionary Art Museum can both be reached on foot from this hotel’s location, which overlooks the Inner Harbour’s water. This reasonably priced hotel has modern rooms that are tastefully decorated, quite comfortable, and equipped with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and microwave. Breakfast is complimentary.
Location – 550 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21202
- Hotel Indigo Baltimore Downtown – Located close to the Walters Art Museum in the Mount Vernon area of downtown. This chic mid-range accommodation is extremely reasonably priced and offers a unique decor option. The literary-themed rooms and suites feature flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, free Wi-Fi, and views of the city.
Address – 24 W Franklin St, Baltimore, MD 21201
- Hampton Inn & Suites Baltimore Inner Harbour – The National Aquarium is one of the numerous Inner Harbour sites that can be reached on foot from this fantastic family option. Warm colours and a contemporary design characterise the spacious and comfortable rooms and suites. The nicest accommodations for families with children are suites, which have pull-out sofas, hardwood flooring, and Jacuzzi baths.
Location – 131 E Redwood St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Overall, Baltimore is an enjoyable city to visit. It has a bit of everything, and the Inner Harbour area is a great place to experience it all. The city doesn’t have a ton of surface attractions like other destinations, but the history, sights, sounds, and friendly people make it highly worthwhile.