Baltimore is one of those cities that you really have to visit in person to really understand why it's so special. This iconic Maryland city not only has a rich and fascainting history, but it also has so many fun things to do with kids! It also makes for a GREAT family day out, which we love!
Located in the Capital Region of the USA, Baltimore is one of the most popular cities to visit (not only in the North East, but the entire USA!), so we can't wait to share with you our most popular things to do in Baltimore, including our "Top 9 Family Attractions" that you can enjoy on your next family day out!
There are so many fun things to do with kids in Baltimore, so make sure check out our entire Baltimore City Guide we've carefully put together, so you know exactly how to plan your family day out when you visit this Maryland favorite!
Image Credit: Visit Baltimore
In this Baltiore City Guide, we share with you our top things to do with kids and the family, including some pretty iconic museums, as well as plenty of attractions that ensure you make the most of the harbor and water. We'll share must-do experiences that really will ensure you make the most of your timee in Baltimore, along with some fun surprises too! We know budgets are always a factor when planning a trip, so also in this Baltimore City Guide we've also listed some super fun things to do with kids that are completely FREE!
Baltimore is so easy to explore too, and to help you out we let you know the best way to see the sights via public transport, and we also share some super fun facts all about the city, so you can impress your friends!
If you want to explore a bit further out, this Baltimore City Guide also features our favorite day trip. We also check out some famous faces who were born in Baltimore, all of which help you plan your Baltimore family day out - and more!
So whether this is your first trip to Baltimore, or perhaps you were born in the city but never had time to really explore all of it, and you think "I wonder what is there is to do near me in Baltimore?", then keep reading, because we have the top 9 things to do in Baltimore with kids...and more!
Image Credit: Visit Baltimore
Did you know that the Baltimore area was actually inhabited as far back as 10th milennium BC? Yep - BC! Back then, the Paleo-Indians actually inhabited the area, then in the 1600s, the area was home to Native Americans, including Powhatan, Susquehannocks and the Piscataway tribe.
Fast forward to 1608, and Captain John Smith ventured from Jamestown to northern Chesapeake Bay, resulting in the first European expedition to the area. Then, in 1659 the County of Baltimore was drawn up, and the Port of Baltimore was created in 1706, followed by the Town of Baltimore in 1729.
The 18th century saw Baltimore really take its shape. The marshes were drained and filled, canals were formed and bridges were built. The first printing press was introduced in 1765, and soon became the largest city within the Middle Atlantic colonies.
During the Revolutionary War, the city expanded even further with merchants and entrepreneurs significantly growing the shipping, flour and grain industries. In 1797, the City of Baltimore was incorporated, becoming the largest city in the American South. In 1812, the city was the location for the infamous Battle of Baltimore, after which the dedicated residents really allowed the city to thrive.
Thanks also to the establishment of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and the influence of many wonderful cultures in the area, Baltimore has made it's mark as atruly special city in the USA.
Image Credit: Visit Baltimore
If you love history, Baltimore really has some really great things to do with kids that really immerse you in the city. The Historic Ships in Baltimore will send you back in time, and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum is such an important piece of the city's history. Another iconic attraction in the city is the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum - a true legend!
Then you have the attractions that are so much fun for kids, such as the Maryland Science Center, and National Aquarium. Let's not forget about the Port Discovery Children's Museum either!
Don't miss a visit to the Fort McHenry National Monument either - a certain song was written there, that you might just know!
If you don't have a car in Baltimore, there are a number of ways you can get around the city with ease! Let's start with a super fun one - the water taxi! The Baltimore Water Taxi actually offers an unlimited day pass for one great price, which will take you to over 30 attractions and neighborhoods. Plus you get to see the water from a whole new perspective!
Then you have the Charm City Circulator, which a FREE downtown bus service that runs across four routes, ensuring you have plenty of options to get to your downtown destinations.
Another option in getting around Baltimore are the electric scooters. For a small fee, you can pick one up whenever you find one, and just drop it off when you get to your destination!
Finally, the MTA Bus Service has over 60 bus routes which include CityLink, LocalLink and Express BusLink, with fares only $1.90 for one route of $4.40 for the day. You can pay with cash on the bus, or download the CharmApp mobile fare app!
Source and Image Credit: More information here: Visit Baltimore
Main Image Credit: Visit Baltimore
With locations such as The Horse You Rode In On Saloon (also the oldest in the USA and the beloved haunt of Edgar Allen Poe!), you know you're in for a treat already with US Ghost Adventures if you're brave enough to take on one of their ghost tours! They offer a tour with 5 stops, or an extended tour with 12 stops, sharing with you all the haunted secrets of the city!
Baltimore also happened to be on the front lines of almost every major war in the early days of the USA, from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, so with a history like that, you might just be surprised how much activity a city like Baltimore holds! Are you brave enough to meet the OTHER residents!?
Image Credit & Website: US Ghost Adventures
Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Baltimore!
1Port Discovery Children's Museum
Port Discovery Children's Museum is a museum designed just for kids, with three fun-filled floors of interactive, hands-on exhibits that are designed for them to learn, play, experiment, create and imagine!
Kids can get active and hone their problem solving skills in The Sky Climber, or be Captain of their own cargo ship! There's a creative arts studio where kids can create works of art, they can put on a theater production or pretend shop in the grocery shop - just to name a few!
Image Credit: Port Discovery Children's Museum
The Historic Ships in Baltimore represent one of the most impressive collections of military vessels in the WORLD! At this must-visit day out, you can explore the USS Constellation, as well as the US Submarine Torsk, the US Coast Guard Cutter Taney AND even the Lightship Chesapeake!
This experience allows kids to experience 19th century sea life, as you learn not only about the history of the ships but also the people that worked on them, and what their life was like!
Image Credit: Historic Ships in Baltimore
Not only does Maryland Zoo have 135-plus acres to explore, filled with beautiful animals from all over the world, but it's also the third oldest zoo in the entire country, so there is a rich history to be explored also!
In addition to coming face to face with the animals, kids can also enjoy a Carousel ride, a train ride, and plenty of zoo experiences such as feedings where you can learn more about the animals, plus animal trainings too!
Image Credit: Maryland Zoo
Babe Ruth is a baseball icon - and he was also born and raised in Baltimore - so why not visit the very place this sports hero was born, and check out the museum filled with memorablia and artifacts that allow you to learn all about this local legend, and be inspired.
Kids can learn all about his upbringing, and how he rose to be one of the greatest - from his time with the Boston Red Sox, to his incredible career with the New York Yankees. (You can even see his actual slugger too!)
Image Credit: Babe Ruth Museum
Fort McHenry National Monument could very well be the most important attraction in the entire city of Baltimore - and then some! Fort McHenry was an incredibly important defense post during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.
It was the impressive defense of the fort that inspired Francis Scott Key to write words that would one day become the United States national anthem! Learn about this plus the rest of the fort's rich history - from the Civil War to WWII - during your time at this incredibly significant historic attraction!
Image Credit: NPS
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum (or B&O Railroad Museum) showcases a really seminal part of Baltimore's rich history, and allows families to learn all about the broader story of American railroading!
During your visit you can explore immersive exhibits, an impressive collection of historic American railroading objects, as well as sensory-friendly programming and of course real historic locomotives that kids always love to see up close in person! Choo choo!
Image Credit: BORail.org
More learning fun in Baltimore at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, where kids can explore galleries, enjoy fun guided tours, AND attend programs that all tell the stories of the people, businesses, and inventions that shaped the Industrial Revolution and propelled the state of Maryland into the 21st century!
Located in Baltimore's Inner Habor, the exhibits, collections and archives within the museum offer an insightful and eye opening experience for the whole family, and it's a great place for kids to visit too! You just never know what you might discover!
Image Credit: BMI
Learning and science IS fun, and that's exactly what the Maryland Science Center is all about. This Baltimore favorite is filled with great, interactive exhibits and experiences where kids really can let their imaginations run away with them!
The museums is exhibits cover a whole range of topics, from the marvels of Planet Earth, how The Human Body works and of course, kids favorites - dinosaurs! Don't miss the rooftop observatory too, where the wonders of the Universe come to life!
Image Credit: Maryland Science Center
Who doesn't love a visit to an aquarium!? The National Aquarium is home to thousands of wonderful creatures that represent hundreds of species - and it's all in the one fun complex that is a great day out for kids.
You'll find weird and wonderful creatures of the oceans and rivers, from the graceful Blacktip Reef Sharks, to adorable Peacock Mantis Shrimp, but not only that, you'll encounter animals you might not expect at an aquarium, such as Puffins and Golden Lion Tamarins!
Image Credit: National Aquarium
George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr, also known as Babe Ruth, was an iconic American professional baseball player, whose career spanned 22 Major Leagues between 1914 and 1935.
He began his career with the Boston Red Sox, but made his mark on sports history as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees.
Image Credit: Public Domain
Frank Zappa was an American singer, songwriter, and composer, whose music often consisted of sound experiments, nonconformity, and satire of American culture.
His career spanned over 30 years, and musical styles ranged from rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion and even orchestral. He also directed feature films!
Image Credit: Public Domain
5 Fun Baltimore Facts
Impress your friends with your amazing Baltimore knowledge!
- Baltimore has over 250 neighborhoods, and each one has it's own distinct culture, history, architecture and style!
- The first ever United States post office system was inaugurated in Baltimore in 1774!
- The largest collection of Matisse paintings in the entire world can be found in Baltimore (at the Baltimore Museum of Art!)
- Baltimore is the birthplace of the American national anthem! Written by Francis Scott Key at Fort McHenry, in 1814.
- The last Civil War vessel still afloat lives in Baltimore - the USS Constellation!
Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids In Baltimore
Marvel at the Baltimore Museum of Art!
Not only is the Baltimore Museum of Art the LARGEST art museum in the state with over 85,000 works of art within its walls, but it's also home to the largest Matisse collection in the entire world!
Within the collection you can be inspired by art from Asia, Africa and Europe, marvel at ancient mosaics, enjoy contemporary art and 19th century sculptures, and even enjoy free guided public tours so you can really immerse yourselves in this truly special experience!
Image Credit: Baltimore Museum of Art
Enjoy even more art at The Walters Art Museum!
Keep that art-tastic day going with ANOTHER free admission art museum in Baltimore - The Walters Art Museum! Here, there are over 36,000 pieces of art to take in, so make sure you allow enough time to be inspired, and really appreciate their incredible collection
During your time at the museum, you can see actual knights’ armor, as well as ancient statues, and plenty of colorful paintings. The Fabergé Eggs are always fun to look at, as is the Chamber of Wonders. The museum also hosts a variety of free family programs too , from drop-in art classes on Saturdays and Sundays to museum tours with family-friendly guides!
Image Credit: The Walters Museum of Art
Visit the Enoch Pratt Free Library!
One of the oldest free public library systems in the world, the Enoch Pratt Free Library isn't just a place to enjoy some quiet time wiht a good book. In fact, it has 22 neighborhood branches, all which feature a host of fun activities (free!) for the family and kids.
You might want to enjoy one of the free classes, or sit back and enjoy their host of musical performances. Maybe it's the children’s story times that you'll love! The library also feature special guest speakers and more throughout the year.
Image Credit: Enoch Pratt Free Library
Learn about the Washington Monument
Yes, you read correct, but we're not in D.C! In Baltimore, you can visit the city's own Washington Monument. Arguably the first major architectural monument to honor George Washington, this monument was actually designed in 1815 by architect Robert Mills, who went on to design D.C.’s Washington Monument!
The monument is free to visit, and there are touch screens at the base of the monument where you can enjoy your own free virtual tour through the history of the monument, which is a great exprience! There is a small fee to actually climb the monument.
Image Credit: Visit Baltimore
Visit a Farmer's Market!
Visiting a farmer's market in any city is a great way to really get to know the local cultures and foods, and even feel like a local yourself! Baltimore is no different, and there are a number of farmer's markets on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and the weeknd that you can enjoy.
It's not just walking around the markets which are great fun, but some of the markets offer free samples (LOVE free samples!), with some even offering free live music and fee children's entertainment too! Of course, it's worth taking a little pocket money as you'll inevitably find something fun.
Image Credit: Visit Baltimore
Most Unique Eats - Best of Baltimore!
Only a 40 minute drive from Baltimore are the cobblestoned-streets of Annapolis, a charming town that really will take you back in time. Annapolis also happens to be the capital of Maryland (we bet you thought it was Baltimore, didn't you!?), so without the Skycrapers and grid lock traffic, this might just be the prettiest capital city in the country.
Annapolis really is a "museum without walls", where 400 years of architecture is celebrated within a 21st century way of life, with a strong nautical heritage linked to the beautiful Chesapeake Bay.
In the 17th century, Annapolis wasn't really any more than a simple village, and it was in the 18th century when it grew rapidly, up until the American Revolutionary War. Then. industry declined slightly after Baltimore was made the main port of entry to the region in 1780.
In 1783, after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, Annapolis actually began the temporary capital to the entire USA!
Today, Annapolis is still home to some very significant institutions, including the United State Naval Academy, and Maryland State House where George Washington famously resigned his commission before the Continental Congess in 1783!
With so much history, and so much charm, it's the perfect day trip from the hustle and bustle of Baltimore!
Image Credit: Visit Annapolis
Here’s our top 4 Annapolis things to do:
- US Naval Academy Museum
- Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake!
- Annapolis Maritime Museum
- Eat at Chick and Ruth's!
We hope you found this content useful! Please share with your friends, and if you have any comments, or want to let us know what we can do to further help you find fun days out with the family, then just email our team at [email protected]!
Let's get the family adventure started!