Baltimore with Kids: 50 Best Things to Do in Baltimore, MD

Kids can take an immersion tour or have an aquarium sleepover at the National Aquarium.  Photo by Chris Mattle
Kids can take an immersion tour or have an aquarium sleepover at the National Aquarium. Photo by Chris Mattle
2/10/24 - By Anna Fader

Baltimore, Maryland is an incredibly kid-friendly and walkable city full of history, culture, and fun. The famous Inner Harbor offers the impressive National Aquarium, the fantastic Port Discovery Children's Museum, family-friendly restaurants, museums and science centers, and more. And the city is heaven for transportation lovers, with train museums and boats galore.

Baltimore's proximity to our nation's capital doesn't hurt, either. With only about 40 miles separating Washington, DC from Baltimore, it’s easy to visit both cities in one weekend.

Here is our list of 50 fun things to do in Baltimore with kids, including family-friendly Baltimore hotels and restaurants. Check out our Family Travel Guide for even more fun cities to visit across the US and beyond.


Top Things To Do in Baltimore's Inner Harbor with Kids

1. National Aquarium

The National Aquarium is home to more than 20,000 marine animals across dozens of aquatic habitats. Visitors can observe dolphins, touch horseshoe crabs and other animals in two touch pools, get up-close with sharks and jellies, and so much more. Kids 4 and under are free.

2. Port Discovery Children's Museum

Kids can explore three levels of hands-on activities and exhibits at this fantastic children's museum. They can serve parents a pretend meal in Tiny's Diner, "shop" in a make-believe grocery store, explore Ancient Egypt, and so much more. Kids ages 5-12 can get lost in the four-story SkyClimber play structure, while babies and toddlers can enjoy Chessie's Grotto and Tot Trails.

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Things To Do in Baltimore: Camden Yards
Root for the Baltimore Orioles play at the famous Camden Yards. Photo courtesy of Visit Baltimore

3. Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Take the family out to the ballgame to cheer on the Orioles at the iconic Camden Yards. With the Kids Cheer Free offer, children 9 and younger get in free with the purchase of a regularly-priced ticket. And on Sundays, kids ages 4-14 can run the bases after the game.

4. B&O Railroad Museum

Ride the first mile of rail laid in America, explore the birthplace of the American railroad, see trains from various decades, and ride a train-themed carousel at this train lover's paradise. Inside an actual roundhouse, kids can climb on trains, wander through activity stations, and pretend to pilot an engine. Junior Junction is a special hands-on area for toddlers with train tables, blocks, and books.

5. Historic Ships in Baltimore

Climb aboard and tour the historic ships of Baltimore Harbor, including the\ USS Constellation, the USSTorsk (a submarine), Lightship Chesapeake, USCG Cutter37, plus a lighthouse. Tickets are free for kids ages 5 and under. 

RELATED: Top Children's Science Museums Across the US for Families

Things To Do in Baltimore: Maryland Science Center
Get your STEM on at the Maryland Science Center, from experiments to playtime. Photo courtesy of the center

6. Maryland Science Center

Your kids will go nuts for science at the Maryland Science Center, one of the oldest science museums in the nation. It has exhibits dedicated to dinosaurs, Newton's Laws, electricity, space, and beyond. Younger children will enjoy the Kids Room, while those in 3rd grade and up can perform real experiments in the SciLab. There's also a planetarium, an IMAX theater, and more.

7. American Visionary Art Museum

From the moment you lay eyes on the glass mosaic exterior of this unique art museum, it's clear you're in for a treat. The museum showcases a diverse array of works from a wide variety of talents. Kids love the kooky gift shop, aptly named Sideshow, which offers plenty of unique trinkets and boasts a working Zoltar machine. Children 6 and under get in free.

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Travel Baltimore Chessie Dragon Paddle Boats and Electric Pirate Ships
Hit the water of the Inner Harbor in a “Chessie” paddle boat or an electric pirate ship.

8. Chessie Dragon Paddle Boats and Electric Pirate Ships

Tour the Inner Harbor on a sea monster-shaped pedal boat or on a battery-powered pirate ship. The pedal boats hold four people, while the pirate ships hold six. The boats are available daily from April through Labor Day, and then weekends through October.

9. Baltimore Water Taxi

Take a water taxi or harbor trolley to your next stop in Baltimore, enjoying breathtaking views along the way. The taxis and trolleys are in service from April through October.

10. Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum

Brush up on your knowledge of the Great Bambino, former Yankee great Babe Ruth, at this museum that's great for baseball lovers. Visit the Babe's childhood home, learn about his early years, and view plenty of artifacts from his history-making career.

11. Top of the World Observation Level

Visit the World Trade Center Baltimore and head up to its observation level on the 27th floor, which offers a 360-degree, open-air view of the city and the harbor below.

More Top Baltimore Attractions for Families

12. Fort McHenry

Visit the birthplace of the American National Anthem and learn about the War of 1812. Fort McHenry's history holds many other stories as well, from the Civil War to World War II. The site is run by the National Park Service, so kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge. Visitors 15 and under get in free.

13. Maryland Zoo

Roughly 130 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians live at the Maryland Zoo. One of them is the critically endangered white rhinoceros, Earth’s third-biggest land mammal. Kids can also groom goats, toss fish to penguins, feed giraffes, ride a train and carousel, and lots more.

14. Star Spangled Banner Flag House

Learn the story of the flag (and the woman who sewed it, Mary Young Pickersgill) that inspired our national anthem at this National Historic Landmark. Kids under 6 are free.

RELATED: Visiting Kensington, Maryland with Kids

Travel Baltimore Baltimore Museum of Art
Check out the free family activities at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Photo by Erika Nizborsk

More Great Baltimore Museums for Kids

15. Baltimore Museum of Art

Enjoy family craft events every Sunday at this FREE art museum, which also has two sculpture gardens to explore. 15. Baltimore Streetcar Museum

Tour a collection of street cars and artifacts and take a ride on an authentic streetcar at this unique museum. Kids 4 and under get in free. The museum is closed every January and February for maintenance.

16. Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum

This national heritage site celebrates the contributions of African Americans to the development of Baltimore’s maritime industry at Fell’s Point. Tickets cost $5 or less; kids under 6 are free.

17. Baltimore Museum of Industry

Step back in time and relive how the Industrial Revolution changed Baltimore and the world through hands-on exhibits. Tour a circa-1929 garment loft, step into a 1910 pharmacy, see the evolution of communication from the telegraph to the smartphone, and much more. Kids 5 and under are free.

18. The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

Steep yourself in African American history at this museum featuring over 150 life-size wax figures of prominent Black people, including Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Barack Obama.

19. Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture

Explore African American history and the impact of Black Americans in Maryland through artifacts, documents, art, and photography. The museum is located just two blocks from Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Tickets are free for ages 6 and under.

20. Maryland Center for History and Culture

Thanks to hands-on exhibits, the whole family can learn about the people and places that have shaped Maryland. Kids will especially love seeing over 2,000 toys, dolls, and games.

RELATED: The Best Children's Museums in the US

Travel Baltimore Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures
Join the family programs at Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures. Photo courtesy of the museum

21. Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures

Sankofa is the first children's museum in the nation that's focused on teaching kids about African culture and history. In its hands-on exhibits, kids can put together a huge map puzzle, play African musical instruments, do crafts, view African art, and more. Families must schedule a tour online at least 48 hours in advance.

22. Creative Alliance

This space for local artists offer loads of family activities, like FREE Saturday drop-in art activities, music and movement classes, performances, and more.

23. Walters Art Museum

This FREE art museum in the heart of the Mt. Vernon neighborhood offers drop-in art-making for families every Saturday and Sunday, as well as various kid-friendly special events.

RELATED: National Harbor with Kids: 21 Best Things To Do in National Harbor, Maryland

Travel Baltimore Artscape
Soak up the family-friendly fun at Baltimore's Artscape. Photo by Edwin Remsberg, courtesy of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts

Free Baltimore Festivals for Kids

24. Artscape

This three-day August street festival is America's largest free outdoor arts festival. Families can enjoy art exhibits, musical performances, food, kids' activities, and more.

25. Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival

At this huge, popular annual festival, attendees can make lanterns, enjoy delicious food, dance, and visit the Artist Market. There's also a costume contest for kids. The parade includes illuminated floats, stilt walkers, marching bands, and more.

26. Fell's Point Fun Festival

Join the mobs at this October festival that has it all, from live music to great food to a pet parade. Be sure to visit the Family Fun Park, which offers crafts, games, performances, and more for kids.

27. Lighted Boat Parade

Take part in one of Baltimore’s favorite Christmas traditions, a spectacular parade of over 50 boats decorated with sparkling lights, as they pass the shores of Inner Harbor and Fell's Point.

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Travel Baltimore Black Cherry Puppet Theater
See a sweet puppet show at this local Baltimore theater. Photo courtesy of Black Cherry Puppet Theater

Top Baltimore Places to See a Show with Kids

28. Black Cherry Puppet Theater

Catch a sweet show at this nonprofit theater dedicated to bringing puppetry to kids. Teens can also take part in puppet-making and performance workshops

29. Bengies Drive-In

Go retro with an outdoor flick on the largest movie screen in the country! Bengies is open early spring through October.

30. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Baltimore's premier orchestra frequently hosts family concerts throughout the year at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, including the darling Music Box Concerts for ages 6 months to 3 years.

More Things To Do in Baltimore with Kids

31. Chesapeake & Allegheny Live Steamers

This nonprofit live steam club gives FREE steam train rides every second Sunday from April through November.

32. Rawlings Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Explore a collection of plants from around the world at this FREE conservatory and botanical garden, which features both indoor rooms and outdoor gardens.

33. Carrie Murray Nature Center

Hike the trails of the 1,200-acre Gwynns Falls Leakin Park, then visit the FREE nature center to see live animals and artifacts. There are also free or low-cost family programs such as storytimes, animal feedings, and crafts.

34. Sherwood Gardens

Visit this FREE Sherwood Gardens in the spring to frolic among more than 80,000 tulips in all sorts of colors.

35. Irvine Nature Center

Explore 211 acres of trails, wetlands, gardens, and wildlife at this Owings Mills nature center, which also has an owl aviary, a butterfly way station, and a Native American site with dwellings, structures, and tools. Inside the nature center, families can meet snakes, turtles, frogs, guinea pigs, and an opossum. Nature programs and storytimes round out the fun. Admission is $5, but Fridays are free!

36. Fell's Point

Fell’s Point, one of Baltimore's oldest neighborhoods, was once a bustling shipbuilding port. It was also the home of jazz singer Billie Holiday and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Walk along the cobblestone streets and visit unique shops and delicious restaurants.

37. Our Playground at Stadium Place

This fantastic playground was built 100% by community volunteers—twice (it burned down in 2008 and was rebuilt). The colorful playground is a miniature town made of recycled plastic "lumber" and features a boat, a shopping village, a theater, jungle gyms, swings, and more.

38. Hampden

This quirky, artsy neighborhood in north Baltimore is lots of fun for families to explore. Its main street, 36th Street (also known as The Avenue), has great restaurants, fun boutiques, vintage stores, and more. If you're there during the holidays, be sure to check out the famous Miracle on 34th Street, one of our favorite neighborhood Christmas light displays.  

Top Baltimore Restaurants for Families

39. Markets and Food Halls

If your family has varying culinary tastes, the iconic indoor Lexington Market has nearly 100 food vendors of all types. Cross Street Market is a Federal Hill landmark with roughly 20 food vendors. And R. House is a noisy food hall with both indoor and outdoor seating.

40. Matthew's Pizza

Grab a pie or two at Baltimore's first pizzeria, which has been featured on the Food Network.

41. Miss Shirley's

Enjoy southern-style brunch at this favorite with several locations across the Baltimore area.

42. Phillips Seafood

Dine alfresco, right on the water, at this Inner Harbor seafood spot known for its crab cakes, which also has a kids' menu with child-friendly favorites. Enjoy live music on Friday and Saturday evenings.

43. Amicci's

Feel like a regular at this casual Italian restaurant in the heart of Baltimore's Little Italy. In fact, you can't really go wrong with any of the restaurants here.

44. Alexander's Tavern

Let the kids play games and Leapster while you munch the famous tater tots and pub fare at this Fell's Point favorite.

45. Diablo Doughnuts

This donut shop on Federal Hill is a must-visit if you want a sweet treat—and a good chuckle. It serves up irreverently named selections like Unicorn Farts (a yeast donut doused in vanilla glaze and topped with Fruity Pebbles) and Sin Crunch (a donut topped with "the most cinnamon you've ever seen.")

46. Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop

Melt for the cannolis and other sweet treats at this stellar Baltimore bakery, which was opened in 1956 by an immigrant from Palermo, Italy.

Family-Friendly Baltimore Hotels

47. Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor

Not only is this Inner Harbor hotel super convenient to a lot of local attractions, it also has an outdoor pool on the sixth floor with great views of the harbor. Both rooms and suites are available.

48. Holiday Inn Baltimore Inner Harbor

The Holiday Inn is another great Inner Harbor hotel that offers excellent value despite being so close to all the big attractions. It's got an indoor pool, a well-equipped gym, an on-site restaurant, a cafe, and both rooms and suites to choose from.

49. Staybridge Suites Baltimore Inner Harbor

Housed in a restored, historic 1907 building that has been home to a bank and the Chamber of Commerce, the Staybridge Suites features studio and one-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens. Enjoy a daily complimentary breakfast buffet and evening socials on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays with free light bites and happy hour drinks.

50. Sagamore Pendry Baltimore

If luxury is what you're after, the Sagamore Pendry is the place to stay. Set on the waterfront in Fell's Point, it features an outdoor pool with harbor views, a 24-hour fitness center, two on-site restaurants, and well-appointed rooms and suites.

A version of this article was first published in 2012 and was updated in 2024 by Hillary Moses Mohaupt.

Disclosure: We may earn a small commission if you click through our links and make a purchase. This revenue helps us maintain this site, so thank you for supporting us.

Places featured in this article:

American Visionary Art Museum

Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum

Star Spangled Banner Flag House

Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum

Baltimore Museum of Industry

The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture

Maryland Center for History and Culture

Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures

Black Cherry Puppet Theater

Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Rawlings Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Carrie Murray Nature Center