Trying to find great activities and attractions in Charm City? Our guide to the best things to do in Baltimore is all you need to plan the perfect trip!
Nicknamed “Charm City,” Baltimore, Maryland, has plenty of charm with its reputable attractions, landscapes, history, and culture to experience first-hand.
This historical city was the place of the first dental school in the world, the first telegraph line, the first black-owned shipyard, the first stone railroad ever laid, and the nation’s first mile of commercial railroad established.
And you know what’s even more historically impactful about this city? Baltimore is the birthplace of the National Anthem!
And though this charming city offers plenty of historical attributes that draw in history buffs from all over the world, it is also home to two professional sports teams – the MLB Orioles and the NFL Ravens.
In addition, it’s the city with the best crab cakes, a renowned art scene, and was home to the famous American writer Edgar Allan Poe. This city located on the Chesapeake Bay has so much history and so many fun things to do!
So, if you’re scouring for what to do in Baltimore, Maryland, we’ve got you covered. Our list of the best things to do in Baltimore features National Historic Landmarks, prestigious museums, and much more.
READ NEXT: Don’t forget to check out our list of the best things to do in Washington DC, which is just a short drive from Baltimore!
Table of Contents
- The Best Things to Do in Baltimore, Maryland
- 1) Widen The Spectrum At The American Visionary Art Museum
- 2) Step Back In Time At The Baltimore Museum Of Industry
- 3) Learn About African American History At The Reginald F. Lewis Museum
- 4) Peer At Ancient Artifacts At The Walters Art Museum
- 5) Sightseeing At Inner Harbor
- 6) Feed Your Imagination At The Maryland Science Center
- 7) Visit One Of The Last Shot Towers At The Phoenix Shot Tower
- 8) Tour Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine
- 9) Take The Kids To Port Discovery Children’s Museum
- 10) Grab Popcorn For A Game At Oriole Park At Camden Yards
- 11) Explore Award-Winning Habitats At The National Aquarium
- 12) Go For A Rewarding Climb At The Washington Monument
- 13) Bask In Masterpieces At The Baltimore Museum Of Art
- 14) Hop On The Mile One Express At The B&O Railroad Museum
- 15) Adventure Through Downtown Baltimore
- 16) Step Into New Worlds At The George Peabody Library
- 17) Explore Fell’s Point
- 18) Bask In The Views At The World Trade Center
- 19) Visit The Home Of The Famous Writer At The Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum
- 20) Smile & Wave At African Penguins At The Maryland Zoo
- 21) Smell The Tulips At Sherwood Gardens
- Where to Stay in Baltimore, Maryland
The Best Things to Do in Baltimore, Maryland
There are plenty of things to do in Baltimore, Maryland, and we’ll tell you the best ones! From a historic midtown food stroll to stepping into new worlds at The George Peabody Library, below are the top Baltimore activities to partake in for a memorable trip.
1) Widen The Spectrum At The American Visionary Art Museum
The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM), located in Federal Hill Park, specializes in original thematic exhibitions and is the nation’s museum for intuitive and self-taught artistry.
This museum is a wonderland of creativity. When you enter this outstanding museum, leave your perceptions of traditional museums at the door.
Instead, humor, fresh thought, and creative intuition fill the space of featured works of self-taught artists, from prison inmates, farmers, and people with mental illness.
The American Visionary Art Museum in Federal Hill Park is committed to challenging the idealisms of what it means to be an artist.
- Address: 800 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Wednesday – Sunday
- Cost: $15.95
2) Step Back In Time At The Baltimore Museum Of Industry
In an 1860s oyster cannery, the Baltimore Museum Of Industry presents various types of industry and manufacturing from the early 20th century. With multiple interactive sections that include working equipment, visitors can join engaging tours and live demonstrations and participate in hands-on activities.
This museum welcomes visitors of all ages to learn the stories of the people who worked hard to build Baltimore.
The backbone of thriving Baltimore, industrial workers are highlighted as the initial founding of the port city and manufacturing hub that steadily transitioned into one of tourism, tech, research, and medicine.
Here, guests can look at and touch original and restored machinery, including a 1930s decker, 1860s cannery, 1930s print shop, and a 1920s garment loft. There are also World War II-era items and artifacts from other world wars.
- Address: 1415 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230, United States
- Hours: 9 am – 3 pm Wednesday – Sunday
- Cost: $12
3) Learn About African American History At The Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Named after one of the wealthiest African-American men in the 1980s who became the first African American to build a billion-dollar company, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum is the largest African American museum in Maryland.
The 82,000-square-foot museum presents permanent and temporary exhibits, a two-story theater, classrooms, a gift shop, reception areas, meeting rooms, and an outdoor terrace.
Dedicated to bringing dynamic educational programs to all ages, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum has developed African American curricula and teacher training to educate Maryland’s 850,000+ students and 50,000+ teachers.
The museum’s permanent collection features over 10,000 objects and an online collection of digitized images accessible to the public.
- Address: 830 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Thursday – Monday (opens at 12 pm on Sundays)
- Cost: $8
4) Peer At Ancient Artifacts At The Walters Art Museum
Founded in 1934, the Walters Art Museum preserves and presents collections established in the mid-19th century.
With over 36,000 artifacts from all over the world that span over seven millennia, the Walters Art Museum is one of America’s most distinctive museums. The campus for the museum includes five historic buildings and 36,000 art objects.
Visitors will encounter spectacular art pieces through the museum’s galleries, including 19th-century paintings of French country and ancient Roman sarcophagi.
- Address: 600 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Wednesday – Sunday (1 pm – 8 pm on Thursdays)
- Cost: Free
5) Sightseeing At Inner Harbor
A sightseeing hub, Inner Harbor is home to the National Aquarium, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, the Maryland Science Center, and more than a few historic ships and fresh seafood restaurants to grab a bite to eat at.
The Inner Harbor Visitor Center offers stunning waterfront views and close-ups of the Historic Ships in Baltimore’s floating museums.
For those looking to enjoy the water at Inner Harbor, hop on Chessie Dragon Paddle Boat, Cruise on the Bay by Watermark, and Hornblower Cruises for views of Baltimore on the water.
And when it comes to being a popular spot for the best things to do in Baltimore, Inner Harbor keeps giving. That’s why it’s one of Baltimore’s top entertainment centers, often hosting concerts, live music, and more.
To experience Inner Harbor, join this sightseeing cruise for an interactive tour and narration of Baltimore’s rich history.
6) Feed Your Imagination At The Maryland Science Center
Opened in 1976, the Maryland Science Center has three levels of exhibits, as well as an observatory and a planetarium.
As the oldest scientific institution in Maryland and one of the oldest in the nation, the Maryland Science Center dedicates its space to sharing the love of science at home and beyond.
After a significant expansion in 2004, new interactive exhibits were added to showcase earth sciences, dinosaurs, a dedicated gallery for temporary exhibitions, and an IMAX theater that uses 3D film technology.
This is one of the best family-friendly Baltimore activities to attend. Adults and children are guaranteed to learn at the Maryland Science Center and have a blast!
- Address: 601 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Wednesday – Sunday (Closes at 5 pm on Sat/Sun)
- Cost: $26.95
7) Visit One Of The Last Shot Towers At The Phoenix Shot Tower
Familiarly known as the Old Baltimore Shot Tower, the Phoenix Shot Tower stands nearly 235 feet. The red brick shot tower was the tallest structure in the United States when it was constructed in 1828.
Once upon a time, there were three types of this tower in Baltimore. Now, there are only a few left in the world. The shot tower was used from 1828-1892 to make buckshot for shotguns by dropping molten lead 215 feet. During its production, the Phoenix Shot Tower was one of the largest suppliers in the nation.
The shot tower has since been established as a National Historic Landmark and museum to preserve its history. Visitors can learn about interesting facts and the history of this impressive landmark through a light and sound show that tells the Phoenix Shot Tower’s story.
- Address: 801 E Fayette St, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 12 pm Saturday and Sunday
- Cost: Free
Read Next: Consider using our itinerary to plan how to spend a few days in Washington DC!
8) Tour Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine
A historical American coastal pentagonal bastion fort, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine played a vital role in the War of 1812. Fort McHenry defended Baltimore Harbor from the British Navy attacks during this intense point in American history.
This valiant defense inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words that soon became the national anthem for the United States, “The Star Spangled Banner.”
You should visit Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine for three reasons. First, it is the birthplace of the United States’ national anthem. Re-enactments, flag talks, and ranger programs are available for visitors to learn about the role the fort played in the famous “Star Spangled Banner”.
Secondly, as a National Park site, Fort McHenry offers refreshing walking, running, and biking trails with waterfront views to take in history and nature.
Thirdly, this site is a popular hosting spot for events. Living history programs take place almost every weekend during the summer and spring months, including fife and drum camp, junior ranger day, living history demonstration, fireworks show, Fleet Week air show, and the annual Star-Spangled Spectacular.
- Address: 2400 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230, United States
- Hours: 9 am – 5 pm
- Cost: $15
9) Take The Kids To Port Discovery Children’s Museum
Located in the historic Fish Market building in Inner Harbor, the Port Discovery Children’s Museum is among the top five children’s museums in the United States.
One of the top family-friendly Baltimore attractions, this museum engages child-driven learning in a safe, creative, and positive space.
Presenting many hands-on activities, children can engage in imaginative play and learning at the many attractive options spread across three floors, including the famous four-story SkyClimber, the musical exhibits, and the interactive art studios.
- Address: 35 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Tuesdays and Saturdays, 11 am – 5 pm Sundays, 9:30 am – 5 pm Wednesdays, 9:30 am – 3 pm Thursdays and Fridays, Closed Mondays
- Cost: Check the website for prices of all different activities
READ NEXT: Check out our West Virginia Road Trip Guide for more ideas in the area!
10) Grab Popcorn For A Game At Oriole Park At Camden Yards
The home baseball field of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles, affectionately known as the Birds, Oriole Park at Camden Yards is the first retro major league ballpark constructed in the 1990s.
There are some fun facts you should know about this baseball field.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards was constructed at a former major rail station, where it would derive its name. The film, Head of State, starring Chris Rock and Bernie Mac, was filmed at this location. And a statue of the legendary Babe Ruth, a native Baltimorean born in Pigtown, stands outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Head over to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to watch the Baltimore Orioles play, and don’t forget to take a picture next to the Babe Ruth statue!
- Address: 333 W Camden St, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States
- Hours/Cost: Check the MLB website to find game schedules and tickets
11) Explore Award-Winning Habitats At The National Aquarium
Formerly known as Baltimore Aquarium, the National Aquarium houses award-winning exhibits and over 20,000 animals to catch your eye.
As Maryland’s largest paid tourist attraction, it’s no wonder the National Aquarium is ranked one of the top three aquariums in the nation.
The aquarium features thousands of reptiles, mammals, amphibians, birds, and fishes in award-winning habitats that have been used to rehabilitate and release hundreds of marine mammals and endangered sea turtles.
It is dedicated to conservation efforts and helping to create the next generation of environmental stewards. At the top-ranked National Aquarium, expect to be amazed, educated, and impacted by its mission.
- Address: 501 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 4 pm (Closes at 8 pm on Fridays and 5 pm on Sat/Sun)
- Cost: $39.95
12) Go For A Rewarding Climb At The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument has been an iconic landmark in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood for more than 200 years as part of Baltimore’s impressive skyline.
Renowned architect Robert Mills designed the 178-foot landmark. It is the first landmark in the United States dedicated to President George Washington. Inside the monument is a stunningly restored white mark interior that houses a stair tower, a gallery, and a lookout.
Make sure to wear athletic shoes. The 227-stair climb makes for a strenuous workout but incredibly rewarding, with scenic views of the Baltimore skyline at the top.
Climbing the Washington Monument is easily one of the best things to do in Baltimore, Maryland!
13) Bask In Masterpieces At The Baltimore Museum Of Art
Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum Of Art is committed to artistic excellence and social equity. Connecting art to Baltimore and Baltimore to the world, the museum uses interpretation, collection, and art presentation to manifest a museum that welcomes anyone and everyone.
Presenting one of the most significant collections of 18th, 19th and 20th-century art, the Baltimore Museum Of Art has established a legacy of excellence since its founding, going so far as to create an equally significant collection of 21st-century modern art. It also has Renaissance paintings and a sculpture garden.
Visitors can bask in masterpieces by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Paul Cézanne, and even see the world’s largest collection of art by Henri Matisse. This world-class museum is a must when visiting Baltimore!
- Address: 10 Art Museum Dr, Baltimore, MD 21218, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Wednesday – Sunday (Closes at 9 pm on Thursday)
- Cost: Free
14) Hop On The Mile One Express At The B&O Railroad Museum
Opened initially as Baltimore & Ohio Transportation Museum, B&O Railroad Museum is a historic railway station and museum that preserves historic railroad equipment.
As the birthplace of American railroading, the museum is where the first railroad stone was laid. It was also where the nation’s first mile of the commercial railroad was established. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was established in 1827, though it didn’t break ground until July 4, 1828.
The museum houses historical objects, locomotives, and rail cars connected to a vital part of America’s history with railroading.
Welcoming those of all ages, the B&O Railroad Museum presents the most extensive collection of 19th-century locomotives in the original roundhouse that was constructed in 1884.
Hop on the Mile One Express, a 20-minute round trip train ride that takes visitors on the first commercial mile of railroad track laid out in 1830.
- Address: 901 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21223, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 4 pm
- Cost: $20
READ NEXT: Heading further north? Here is our list of the best things to do in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
15) Adventure Through Downtown Baltimore
Famous for its spectacular theater district, downtown Baltimore is a lively business and entertainment spot that draws in locals and tourists of all tastes to explore.
Want to buy tickets to a concert or sports game? Royal Farms Arena downtown is the place to find them. Are you looking for great places to satiate your appetite? Stop by the lively Lexington Market for local treats or try out the many other Irish pubs, seafood restaurants, and cafes that dot downtown!
You can also check out the Baltimore Basilica while wandering through downtown. The Baltimore Basilica, also called The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was the first Roman Catholica Cathedral built in the USA.
Heading downtown Baltimore to dip your toes into the local treasures, from history to culture, is easy. Simply put on your walking shoes and start adventuring.
Those who want a bit of excitement in their exploration of the city could also book haunted city spirits walking tour.
16) Step Into New Worlds At The George Peabody Library
Dedicated to the research of the 19th century, the George Peabody Library, connected to Johns Hopkins University, is fondly known as the “Cathedral of Books” in Baltimore.
Opening its doors in 1878, the library has consistently ranked among the most beautiful libraries globally. This library features a humongous skylight that stretches across six tiers of cast-iron balconies that hold over 300,000 volumes of books that date anywhere from the Renaissance to the 19th century.
The few special first editions in this stunning library include Poe, H. L. Mencken, Hawthorne, Don Quixote, and Darwin’s Origin of the Species.
A treasured Baltimore landmark, this library offers a step into unparalleled worlds and history through the written word, surrounded by impressive architecture.
- Address: 17 E Mt Vernon Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202, United States
- Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm Monday – Wednesday, 10 am – 7 pm Thursday, Closed Fri/Sat
- Cost: Free
17) Explore Fell’s Point
Hanging out in the exciting neighborhood of Fell’s Point is one of the most fun things to do in Baltimore.
Established in 1763, this historical neighborhood sits on the waterfront and has lots to see and do. Admire the historic architecture, browse the antique shops and craft stores, or visit an art gallery or street fair.
As one of the oldest neighborhoods in Baltimore, Fell’s Point has seen many historical figures pass through here. Singer Billie Holiday and famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass both lived here, and the Robert Long House is the oldest standing residence in the city.
Another highlight of Fell’s Point is the Broadway Market Hall where you can shop for fresh local food. If you head to Upper Fell’s Point, you’ll also find yourself near Patterson Park, a beautiful green space with picnic pavilions, fountains, and an observatory.
But you can’t leave Fell’s Point without stopping in one of the local seafood restaurants and tasting some famous Maryland crab cakes! For the full experience, go on a food and history walking tour of Fell’s Point.
18) Bask In The Views At The World Trade Center
The world’s tallest regular pentagonal-based skyscraper, the World Trade Center is the headquarters of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the World Trade Center Institute, and the Maryland Port Administration.
Settled on the water’s edge of Inner Harbor, the center offers extraordinary views of Baltimore. At 31 stories tall, the building offers impressionable perspectives of Baltimore and the harbor.
Top of the World is the only Baltimore attraction with inspiring views of Maryland’s urban center. But, of course, that’s no surprise, as this attraction is on the 27th floor of the building and offers unobstructed panoramic views!
- Address: 401 E Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD, 21202
- Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Wed/Thurs, 10 am – 7 pm Fri/Sat, 11 am – 6 pm Sunday
- Cost: $8
19) Visit The Home Of The Famous Writer At The Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum
The former 1830s home of the famous American writer Edgar Allan Poe, the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum opened to the public in 1949.
A small brick house, the building was where Poe fathered the modern short story and defined modern genres of science fiction, mystery, and horror.
This museum celebrates the gift Edgar Allan Poe presented to the city of Baltimore and the world by creating a legacy that inspired businesses, authors, and playwrights.
A National Historic Landmark, the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum is one of the most famous and visited Poe attractions.
- Address: 203 N Amity St, Baltimore, MD 21223, United States
- Hours: 11 am – 4 pm Thursday – Sunday
- Cost: $10 (Online bookings are recommended)
20) Smile & Wave At African Penguins At The Maryland Zoo
Formerly known as the Baltimore City Zoo, the Maryland Zoo, situated in historic Druid Hill Park, was established in 1876.
Stretching across 135 acres, the Maryland Zoo represents over 130 species of reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. Its four naturalistic exhibits are Northern Passage, Penguin Coast, African Journey, and Maryland Wilderness.
Penguin Coast’s state-of-the-art exhibit was specially designed for African penguins and seabirds. This exhibit is home to over 90 African penguins, boasting North America’s most prominent African penguin breeding colony.
- Address: 1 Safari Pl, Baltimore, MD 21217, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 4 pm
- Cost: $24
21) Smell The Tulips At Sherwood Gardens
Originally named Stratford Green, Sherwood Gardens is located in the center of a Registered Historic District. It’s a great sightseeing stop when you explore Baltimore!
Renowned for its annual tulip display, the garden began its foundation thanks to John W. Sherwood, whose home bordered the park. Sherwood imported tens of thousands of tulips every year, planting them on his property that surrounded the park.
He then created a pastoral space with rare trees, native plants, and flowering shrubs as a suitable backdrop for his prized tulips.
In the present day, over 50,000 tulip bulbs are planted annually. In addition, magnolias, dogwoods, and flowering cherries bloom along with colored azaleas and recent plantings such as Prague viburnum, catalpa trees, black lace elderberry, and river birch. It has become the most famous tulip garden in Maryland.
And you can bask in all of the various refreshing scents and displays of these unique plants at Sherwood Gardens.
- Address: 4310 Underwood Rd, Baltimore, MD 21218, United States
- Hours: 6 am – 7:30 pm
- Cost: Free
Where to Stay in Baltimore, Maryland
Now that you know the best things to do in Baltimore, Maryland, it’s time to decide where to stay during your vacation! There are accommodation options to suit all budgets, so you have options when you visit Baltimore.
Best Hostel in Baltimore
The only hostel in Baltimore, Bmorebunks Hostel is located only one mile from downtown and Inner Harbor, making it easy to walk to all of the best Baltimore attractions. At this spacious and cozy hostel, guests are surrounded by like-minded travelers and near plenty of valuable opportunities to take on in Baltimore.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Baltimore
A stylish hotel, Cambria Hotel – Arundel Mills BWI Airport features a high-end design in a convenient location for a sophisticated stay.
Only four miles from Baltimore-Washington airport, this hotel offers free airport transportation and a location only steps from top Baltimore activities, including dining, shopping, and entertainment.
Best Luxury Hotel in Baltimore
The bastion of world-class hospitality, The Ivy Hotel is situated in a historic Mount Vernon mansion with 17 guest rooms and suites, a luxury spa, an enchanting public space, and its bistro, Magdalena, A Maryland Bistro.
During your stay at this romantic getaway, pick a book from the library, test your piano skills, sip on freshly made coffee, make bets at the billiards table, and bask in the spectacular waterfront views at this luxury hotel!
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