Planning a jaunt through the Northwest USA? Be sure to check all the best things to do in Baltimore, MD, off your travel bucket list. As Maryland’s largest city and its most interesting urban travel destination, Baltimore is a must-see for any East Coast itinerary.
Affectionately known as “Charm City,” Baltimore prides itself on being one of America’s friendliest cities. Aside from its charming personality, the top tourist attractions in Baltimore cater to every style of traveler.
If you’re traveling with kids, family-friendly points of interest like the Port Discovery Children’s Museum and the National Aquarium will keep the little ones occupied. Foodies, on the other hand, will love chowing down on delicious food at the city’s finest restaurants, especially in the historic Fell’s Point neighborhood, jam-packed with superb seafood eateries and hip taverns.
Not sure what to do in Baltimore on your upcoming holiday? Get the inside scoop and travel Charm City like a pro with this guide to the best places to visit in Baltimore, MD.
Got more travel plans on the horizon? Check out all our other attractions guides and our United States Travel Guide for more ideas on where to go, when to visit & what to do!
Best places to visit in Baltimore, MD
Where can you watch majestic rays float by, giant pacific octopuses outsmart their opponent, and learn more about the mysterious creatures of the deep? The National Aquarium, of course! Located on East Pratt Street at the Inner Harbor, this top Baltimore attraction will be easy to spot from a mile away with its modern glass architecture, neon wave, and colorful tile mosaic.
At the National Aquarium’s touch tank exhibit, your kids will love touching moon jellies and their reef pals—and so will you! Start your day by finding Nemo in the clownfish exhibit and wrap it up with a 4D movie experience based on the lives of your favorite aquatic creatures.
To keep the fun going, book a dolphin training session, an aquarium sleepover in the shark tunnel, or a tour of the rescue center, which is a must for animal lovers.
Want to bring home a souvenir? Most of the apparel sold in the National Aquarium gift shop is made from recycled water bottles and supports ocean conservation efforts. Cool!
The Walters Art Museum
For a fun and free attraction in the city, head over to The Walters Art Museum, located on North Charles Street. Though smaller than other art museums in Baltimore, it packs a big punch; art lovers will not be disappointed here!
The Walters Art Museum’s permanent collection showcases the evolution of art throughout history, dating as far back as 5,000 BCE all the way to works created in the modern day.
If you want to support the museum and its mission to spread the love of art to everyone, be sure to bring home an artisan-crafted souvenir from the gift shop or spring for a docent-led tour.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Curious about all things Americana? Venture over to the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. Located on the tip of Locust Point at the entrance to Baltimore Harbor, this national park is one of the best places to go in Baltimore to learn about American history.
When you arrive at Fort McHenry National Monument, start at the visitor center for a quick lesson before heading out to the Historic Zone and Star Fort to explore.
Surely, you’ve heard the Star-Spangled Banner, the United States national anthem. But did you know it was written about an invasion at Fort McHenry?
After the War of 1812 and an attack on Baltimore, Francis Scott Key drafted the lyrics and coined the popular nickname for the United States flag.
Federal Hill Park
One of the finest outdoor spaces to visit in Baltimore is Federal Hill Park. It’s known as one of the best vantage points for a view of the city skylines, while still feeling removed from the hustle and bustle of the downtown streets.
Federal Hill Park has a playground for kids to blow off some steam as well as sprawling green lawns where you can sit down with a good book and listen to the birds chirping.
There are loads of good restaurants within walking distance, as well as a few top Baltimore attractions, too, making Federal Hill Park the perfect place to set up camp for a leisurely afternoon.
American Visionary Art Museum
Art lovers simply can’t leave the city without visiting the American Visionary Art Museum. This top Baltimore attraction is dedicated to shaking things up and pushing the boundaries of the creative mind.
This art gallery sets itself apart from the other art museums in Baltimore, with an eclectic permanent collection, unorthodox exhibitions, and a slew of quirky events. From a weird little robot family to a giant fluffy dog sculpture, the American Visionary Art Museum will have you redefining your idea of what art should be.
There are a dozen ways to get to the museum, even if you’re not driving yourself around the city. You can gain easy access through a regular public transit route or take a water taxi from the harbor.
B&O Railroad Museum
All aboard! If you’re looking for a niche museum to humor a train lover in your travel crew, look no further than the B&O Railroad Museum. (And even if you’re not a train enthusiast, don’t worry: This popular Baltimore museum will keep everyone else entertained, too!)
Inside the Beaux Arts building, also known as the Roundhouse, your group will discover the world’s largest collection of early locomotives. You can even take a train ride together here!
The B&O Railroad Museum is not just a hot attraction for train lovers: history buffs can join in the excitement, too!
Going as far back as the late-19th century, the historic train station played a surprisingly significant role in American history. You’ll be flabbergasted to learn the first stone railroad and the first mile of commercial railroad track in the United States was laid here.
Druid Hill Park
For a big dose of outdoor recreation, head over to Druid Hill Park and stay all morning. The park sprawls 774 acres and was one of the first massive urban parks in the United States.
Whether a disc, racket, or ball is your personal sports equipment of choice, Druid Hill Park has a course or court with your name on it. Within the park boundaries, you can even cool off at the public pool, meander the Rawlings Garden Conservatory and Botanical Garden, or get your daily steps in on a forested hiking trail.
Even if you’ve planned a busy week and can’t find the time to enjoy all the amenities, at least plan a stop for a quick picnic lunch. Druid Hill Park is located close to other top Baltimore points of interest like the Maryland Zoo, making this an easy choice for your itinerary.
Baltimore Museum of Art
Any art lover visiting Maryland needs to add a trip to the Baltimore Museum of Art to their vacation bucket list. It’s the largest art museum in Maryland, with over 95, 000 works of art in its permanent collection. If you want to see it all, you’re going to need to dedicate some serious time to this gallery.
Aside from its large permanent collection, the Baltimore Museum of Art hosts up to eight traveling exhibitions at a time—be prepared for an overdose of inspiration! You’ll have the chance to admire pieces from every corner of the globe, including Africa, the Americas, Europe, the South Pacific, and Asia.
Before leaving, take in one of the museum’s frequent jazz performances to round out your artsy day.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
This one’s just for the kids! The Port Discovery Children’s Museum is one of the top places to see in Baltimore if you’re traveling with little ones under the age of ten.
You’ll love watching your kids scream and giggle as they scale crazy playscapes, get creative in art workshops, and play interactive games. There’s also a big focus on imaginative play at Port Discovery Children’s Museum, with mock grocery shop and restaurant setups.
Worried about your toddler? The Port Discovery Children’s Museum has age-specific zones to help keep the littlest visitors safe.
If the kids still have too much energy at the end of the day, bring them to museum’s sports gym to burn it off.
Maryland Science Center
Need fun indoor activities to wait out a rainy day? A trip to the Maryland Science Center is the answer. Located at the Inner Harbor on Light Street, this hands-on museum is sure to be a hit with the entire family. No boring staring at glass cases around here!
Your kids will love exploring their way through interactive exhibits about the human body, space, weather, light, and more. They can even conduct their own experiments and participate in a dinosaur dig!
Though the Maryland Science Center was designed with your little ones in mind, you’ll have just as much fun as them (and maybe more!) during your visit.
If you’d like to make a day of it—and fill in a few blanks in your Baltimore itinerary—add on a stop at the center’s planetarium and catch an immersive flick at the IMAX theater.
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is the place to be if you want to admire exotic species from all over the world in a fun, family-friendly environment.
Carve out enough time in your day to wander through all the Maryland Zoo’s top exhibits, from elephants and monkeys to giant tortoises and snakes. End your visit with a walk through the dinosaur garden where life-size animatronics graze and play. (Watch out though: They’ve been known to spit water at unsuspecting guests!)
To up the ante, book a behind-the-scenes training experience with beloved zoo residents like African penguins, rhinos, and even Okapi. This chance to get up close to your favorite animals in a way you never imagined possible is a vacation activity you will never forget!
The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum
If you fancy yourself a cheeky wax museum or two, then you’re in for a real treat when you visit The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum. After all, this is no ordinary wax museum!
The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum expertly marries a quirky, fun attraction with important history lessons about social justice, human rights, and the “movers and shakers” of the Black community.
Walk through the gallery, featuring the likeness of over 150 prominent black citizens in African- American history, and prepare to learn a whole lot about their contributions to American society and culture.
Top of the World Observation Level
Baltimore’s pride and joy, a visit to the Top of the World Observation Level is essential during your vacation. Ascend almost to the top of the Baltimore World Trade Center—27 floors up—and gaze upon spectacular views of the city skyline and harborfront.
Though the Baltimore World Trade Center is not nearly as tall as its New York counterpart, it’s the world’s largest tower built in the shape of a hexagon.
The Top of the World Observation Level is conveniently located on East Pratt Street. It’s close to dozens of other top attractions, including the National Aquarium and the Port Discovery Children’s museum. Plan on a few other stops for a whole day of fun!
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Baseball is a big part of Baltimore’s culture. So it’s no stretch to claim that catching a ballgame at Oriole Park at Camden Yards is a must on any list of the best things to do in Baltimore.
Snag some MLB tickets to watch the Baltimore Orioles play in their home city and hum the tune of “take me out to the ball game” all day long.
Oriole Park isn’t just for baseball fans, either. Between the beautiful stadium for architecture aficionados, the Birdland Mural collection for art lovers, and good eats for the foodies, there’s something for everyone to appreciate here.
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Pay attention to the game-day giveaways when booking your tickets; Oriole Park often gives fans exciting freebies like fireworks and pricey MLB merch.
Baltimore Museum of Industry
Longing to learn about the city’s industrial past? Step into history at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Located on Key Highway at the harbor, this popular history museum tops the list of what to see in Baltimore for 20th-century history buffs.
Baltimore was once a “manufacturing powerhouse” and the Baltimore Museum of Industry offers you a unique glimpse into the city’s industrial heyday. As you walk through the museum’s halls, you’ll learn about the various industries that shaped Baltimore into the city it is today.
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The permanent exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Industry will guide you through steel mills, forges, canneries, print shops, pharmacies, and more. Interpretive signage tells the story of how each industry impacted the citizens of Baltimore; come ready to read! You’ll even spot some classic automobiles and a steam tug boat docked outside.
Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum
Calling all amateur poets and bookworms! The Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum is one of the best places to visit in Baltimore for a literary experience.
Once the personal home of the iconic American writer, the Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum on Amity Street promises an inside look at the author’s private life. Famous works including Serenade, The Coliseum, and The Visionary were all written here; you can almost feel literature history in the air!
The Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum is now designated a National Historic Landmark. They’ll even provide you with a list of other landmarks throughout the city that Poe was known to frequent.
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Be sure to check the official website for fun events like Gothic tea parties and poetry readings; the Edgar Allan Poe fan community in Baltimore is still thriving!
Phoenix Shot Tower
An offshoot of the Carroll Museums, the Pheonix Shot Tower is one of the top points of interest in Baltimore. Back in the 1840s, this historic landmark was the tallest building in the United States. There are only three shot towers of its kind still standing in the country; this is an attraction you won’t want to miss out on!
For a unique way to experience the Pheonix Shot Tower, also known as the Old Baltimore Shot Tower, book a Baltimore Trolly Tour. You’ll feel small riding alongside the 234-foot brick tower. Be sure to hop off the trolley to take a humourous photo showing the scale!