Baltimore, the largest city in the state of Maryland, is a major seaport with a wide range of things to see and do including historic landmarks, museums, parks, dining, and shopping. Although much of the city's tourism centers around the picturesque Inner Harbor, Baltimore is a destination with many unique attractions and distinct neighborhoods worth exploring. Visitors of all ages will find a variety of fun and interesting activities year-round. This guide highlights the best of the attractions in Baltimore.
Visit the National Aquarium
Located in the heart of the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, the National Aquarium is one of the largest tourist attractions in the state of Maryland. It features three pavilions and a living collection that includes more than 700 species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Among the most popular exhibits are the Amazon Coral Reef, the Australian Wild Extremes, Jellies Invasion, Dolphin Discovery, Tropical Rainforest, and Shark Alley. There is a 4-D Immersion Theater and a Children's Discovery Gallery. The Aquarium is a "must see" destination, great for all ages, and among the best things to do in Baltimore. To avoid crowds, visit early or late in the day on a weekday.
Explore the Maryland Science Center
Located next to the Light Street Pavilion in the heart of the Inner Harbor, the Maryland Science Center inspires children and adults to appreciate science with dozens of interactive exhibits, presentations in the world-famous Davis Planetarium, larger-than-life movies in the five-story IMAX Theater, and hundreds of hands-on programs. Visitors can touch a 100 million-year-old cryolophosaurus skull found in Antarctica, walk through a giant maze to see how proteins are made, play music on a stringless laser harp, try on a space flight suit and get up close with inhabitants of the Chesapeake Bay such as live turtles, fish, and crabs. The Maryland Science Center offers a variety of programs for all ages and continuously offers new things to see and do.
Explore Fort McHenry
During the War of 1812, soldiers stationed at Fort McHenry defended Baltimore from British attack and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star-Spangled Banner”, which became the national anthem. Administered by the National Park Service, Fort McHenry is a National Monument and Historic Shrine that is open to the public year-round. Visitors enjoy a self-guided tour or guide ranger talks (during the summer months). Special events include twilight tattoo ceremonies; Living American Flag; National Flag Day; a concert series; Civil War Weekend; and Defenders' Day - The Star-Spangled Banner Weekend.
Visit Baltimore's Art Museums
Baltimore is home to three museums that present powerful works of art and offer a variety of programs and events. The Baltimore Museum of Art features an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. The Walters Art Gallery includes ancient art, medieval art and manuscripts, decorative objects, Asian art, and Old Master and 19th-century paintings. The includes ancient art, medieval art and manuscripts, decorative objects, Asian art and Old Master and 19th-century paintings. The American Visionary Arts Museum is a national museum and education center for creative, intuitive, and self-tutored artistry.
Attend a Baseball Game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Baseball fans enjoy watching the Baltimore Orioles compete in Major League games at the beautiful stadium at Camden Yards. The one-time railroad center is located just west of the Inner Harbor and only 2 blocks from the birthplace of baseball's most legendary hero, George Herman "Babe" Ruth. Oriole Park is state-of-the-art, yet unique, traditional and intimate in design. The Baltimore Orioles are a beloved team with a spirited following.
Tour the Historic Ships
Located at the Baltimore Inner Harbor within easy walking distance of each other, four historic ships and a lighthouse tell the stories of life at sea from the mid-19th century to the mid-1980s. The USS Constellation served as the flagship of the African Squadron, a unit that suppressed the Trans-Atlantic slave trade off the coast of West Africa, and was active during the American Civil War. Lightship Chesapeake was completed in 1930 and was among the most modern and capable ships in use with the US Lighthouse Service and the USS Torsk was a World War II submarine. USCGC Taney is a United States Coast Guard High Endurance Cutter, notable as the last ship floating that fought in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse was built in 1855 and is the oldest screw-pile lighthouse in Maryland. Hands-on tours, special events, live cannon firings, and educational programs are available for a fee.
Dine in Little Italy
Baltimore’s Little Italy is home to more than a dozen cozy, family-owned restaurants located just a few blocks from the Inner Harbor. The authentic Italian neighborhood draws visitors with its aroma of home-style Italian cuisine from traditional, modern, casual and upscale restaurants. Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop is a local favorite for authentic Italian desserts. Aside from the food, Little Italy offers a calendar of annual events, from bocce ball and Italian festivals for St. Antony and St. Gabriel to an open-air cinema during the summer.
Explore Fells Point
The historic waterfront community, with its 18th‑ and 19th‑century homes and storefronts are one of the most interesting neighborhoods to explore in Baltimore. It is a 15-minute walk or a 10- minute water taxi ride from the Inner Harbor. Walk along the streets with names like Shakespeare and Fleet, or Thames Street and Broadway. Fells Point is a wonderful place to eat and shop. Chesapeake Bay seafood is at its best here. Dining options range from local pubs to upscale fine dining restaurants.
Visit the B & O Railroad Museum
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is located about 1.5 miles west of the Inner Harbor and is home to the oldest, most comprehensive collection of railroad artifacts in the Western Hemisphere. The museum tells the history of American railroading and its impact on American society, culture, and economy. The 40-acre site is regarded as the birthplace of American Railroading and includes the 1851 Mt. Clare Station, the 1884 Baldwin Roundhouse and first mile of commercial railroad track in America.
Explore Federal Hill: See a Panoramic View of Baltimore
This quaint neighborhood is picturesque with brick homes, locally owned shops, art galleries, and the Cross Street Market, an old-fashioned fresh food market first opened in 1846. Federal Hill offers the best view of the Inner Harbor and the downtown skyline. From the Inner Harbor, walk south on Light Street, turn left on Warren Avenue and proceed to the end of the road. Climb the steps to the top of Federal Hill Park and enjoy the panoramic views.