10 Can't-Miss Things to Do in Baltimore
Spend a day in Baltimore and you'll understand how its beautiful waterfront views, people and experiences earned it the name "Charm City." Explore the wonders of the undersea world at the National Aquarium. Open your mind with out-of-this-world art at the American Visionary Arts Museum. Experience history, culture, and the creative spirit at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture. Get pampered at the Four Seasons. In Baltimore, charm is everywhere and adventures await.
At the heart of Baltimore, this waterfront oasis is home to amazing attractions like the Maryland Science Center, National Aquarium, and American Visionary Arts Museum. Lined with fantastic restaurants (seafood, of course, is our specialty!) and eclectic shopping options in Fells Point, Canton, Harbor East and Harborplace that range from quirky to chic, the harbor is also super easy to get around. Walk, bike, or even rent a scooter and cruise the 7-mile brick promenade from end to end, or hop on a water taxi or Harbor Cruise and explore from off shore!
The British Navy called Baltimore a “Nest of Pirates,” and the Fells Point neighborhood still likes to let its pirate flag fly. Just walking the quaint streets, you can feel the ghosts of buccaneers past. Leave the land-lubbers behind with a trip on an actual pirate ship with Urban Pirates. They’ve got cruises for the kids as well as adults-only adventures. Or plan your Fells Point port call for the annual Privateer Festival with food, music and more Jolly Rogers than you can shake a cutlass at. Costumes encouraged!
At the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture tour 400 years of art and culture and better understand the remarkable contributions of Maryland’s African-American community. Meet inspiring legends at the waterfront Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park. And be blown away by history seemingly come to life at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum.
Whatever the time of year, Maryland sports fans show up to support their ball-playing birds in and around Baltimore. In the fall and winter, the M&T Bank Stadium parking lot packs with tailgate parties for Ravens games, while in the spring and summer, Camden Yards—the best stadium in baseball—fills with friends and families as the Orioles rule the roost.
In Baltimore, art is everywhere, but these three amazing museums take things to another level. The famous Walters Art Museum dives deep with art and artifacts from ancient Egypt and beyond. How far beyond? The oldest works date back seven millenia! The Baltimore Museum of Art may be known for its collection of works by the old masters including Rodin’s “The Thinker” and the largest Matisse collection in the world, but the BMA’s new spirit of inclusion means you’ll find works from around the world and up to the minute on display. And of course, the unique American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) is the national home for outsider art that must be seen to be believed. Plan your visit during the museum’s annual Kinetic Sculpture Race to witness amphibious, human-powered creations speeding (well, at least moving) through the streets and waters of Baltimore.
Called one of America’s top-10 “Hipster” neighborhoods, Brooklyn and Portland ain’t got nothing on Hampden. Centered on 36th Street, known by locals simply as “The Avenue,” you’ll find world-class restaurants, top-notch cocktail bars, great shopping with alternative bookstores, record shops, boutiques that actually live up to the name. Visit on First Fridays for music, comedy, and more, or check out the weekend long HONfest celebrating the Charm City style made famous by filmmaker John Waters’ Hairspray style, and Hampdenfest which puts Baltimore’s best bands front and center.
Artscape, the country’s largest free arts festival just so happens to hail from Baltimore, as every July, thousands of attendees gather in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District of Baltimore for one full weekend of music, dance, theater and more. During this quirky annual tradition, browse or buy local artworks, hear headlining musicians across multiple stages and snap a selfie with one of the decked-out “art cars” that line North Charles Street.
With its revolutionary architecture and dedication to conservation, the giant National Aquarium is one of the most influential aquariums in the world. With stunningly beautiful exhibits like Animal Planet Australia, Blacktip Reef, Shark Alley, the Amazon River Forest, plus the immersive 4-D theater, the National Aquarium makes exploring our ocean planet fun.
Now a National Monument & Historic Shrine, during the War of 1812, Fort McHenry repelled the British, saving the city and inspiring Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem. A picnic on the fort’s sprawling, waterfront lawns is a great way to get in touch with history and to see the skyline of Baltimore.
Stand under the soaring cupola of the B&O roundhouse then board one of the museum's historic trains for a ride down the rails. With working trains, model gardens and rides for the kids, the next stop is fun at the B&O Railroad Museum and, as a bonus, you get to cross off a spot on your Monopoly board bucket list. Pro-tip for rail-riding aficionados, make a side trip to the Baltimore Streetcar Museum to experience a bit of Baltimore history.