Baltimore is an incredibly kid-friendly city. The walkable Baltimore Inner Harbor offers the impressive National Aquarium, family-friendly restaurants, museums and science centers, and more fun things to do.
Sports fans will find the pro-leagues Baltimore Ravens and Baltimore Orioles to cheer on, and if you have a transportation lover, the city is heaven with train museums and boats galore. It’s proximity to Washington, DC, doesn’t hurt either. It’s easy to visit both cities in one trip, taking advantage of all the free admission opportunities in the nation’s capital.
Here's our list of 50 fun things to do with kids in Baltimore, Maryland, from attractions to festivals, restaurants and even a few hotel suggestions for when you're ready to crash. Check out our other City Guides for more family travel ideas.
By the way, the transportation awesomeness is not just in the form of museums; from water taxis to light rail, Baltimore is easy to get around without a car. If you arrive by Amtrak right into the city center, the whole weekend could be a car-free trip.
1. Go wild for art at the three-day free Artscape street festival every July.
2. See art at its most kooky and kinetic at the American Visionary Art Museum.
3. Ride the first mile of rail laid in America at the B&O Railroad Museum, or take a twirl on a train-themed carousel.
4. Learn about Frederick Douglass and Isaac Myers at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum at Fell’s Point.
5. Visit a real submarine, frigate, lightship, cutter, and a 7-foot lighthouse at the Baltimore Maritime Museum.
Catch the free family activities at the Baltimore Museum of Art on Sundays. Photo by Erika Nizborski
6. Enjoy Free Family Sundays programs at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
7. Relive the Industrial Revolution at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.
8. Go retro with an outdoor flick at the Bengies Drive-In.
9. Crack crabs with a mallet at Bo Brooks Restaurant.
10. Tour the Inner Harbor on a sea monster shaped "Chessie" pedal boat.
11. Bug out at the Insect Zoo.
12. Steep yourself in African-American history at The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum with over 150 life-size wax figures.
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A sweet puppet show for the kids can be found at this local Baltimore theater. Photo courtesy of Black Cherry Puppet Theater
13. Catch a sweet show with the nonprofit Black Cherry Puppet Theater.
14. Ride miniature steam trains at the CALS Steam Preservation Society. (Note: No babies as kids must be able to sit on their own.)
15. Enjoy the chocolate fountain Saturday afternoons at the Pier 5 Hotel.
16. Tour the collection of authentic trolleys at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum.
17. Grove to family concerts at Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
18. Stroll the neighborhood that puts the charm in Charm City: Fell's Point.
19. Join the mobs at the Fells Point Fun Festival (October) for music, vendors, and more.
20. Visit the birthplace of the American National Anthem, Fort McHenry.
21. Treat your NFL fanatic to a game with the Baltimore Ravens right downtown.
22. Get spooked at the annual artsy Great Halloween Lantern Parade in Patterson Park.
23. Celebrate the Season of Lights with the Lighted Boat Parade at Baltimore's Inner Harbor (first Saturday of December).
24. Experience Lexington Market with nearly 100 food vendors of all types.
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Get your STEM on at the Science Center, from experiments to playtime. Photo courtesy of Maryland Science Center
25. Go nuts for science at the Maryland Science Center with its kids' room, interactive exhibits, planetarium, and more.
26. Monkey around at the Maryland Zoo and Children's Zoo where you can see lions, giraffes, penguins, and more.
27. Grab a slice at Baltimore's first pizzeria, Matthew's Pizza.
28. Savor the crab cakes at McCormick & Schmick's while enjoying the restaurant's enviable harbor location.
29. Revel in Christmastime light displays at the Miracle on 34th Street (December), in the pretty Hampden neighborhood.
30. Y’all come back for a Southern-style brunch at Miss Shirley's.
31. Swim with the sharks and stare at the giant octopus at the National Aquarium, also known as the Baltimore Aquarium.
See the Baltimore Orioles play at Camden Yards. Photo courtesy of Visit Baltimore
32. Catch a baseball game or take a tour at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
33. Little hands can explore everything at the Port Discovery Children's Museum, which just installed a number of fun new exhibits.
34. Enjoy puppets, face painting, music, and more at the Sowebo Arts Festival (Memorial Day weekend).
35. Stay and swim at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor's outdoor pool.
36. Relive the story at the Star Spangled Banner Flag House.
37. Become a "Powder Monkey" on the USS Constellation.
38. Melt for the cannoli at Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop.
39. Family Activities are a fun way to enjoy art at the FREE Walters Art Museum.
40. Take a water taxi to your next stop in Baltimore.
41. Let the kids play games and Leapster while you munch the famous tater tots and pub fare at Alexander's Tavern.
42. Feel like a regular at Amicci's in Baltimore's Little Italy.
43. Visit the birthplace of Babe Ruth.
44. Get a gift from the award-winning Indie toy store, aMuse Toys.
45. Enjoy a month of free cultural programming with Free Fall Baltimore (October).
46. Unleash your inner artist at the FREE family drop-ins, “Kerplunk!” at the Creative Alliance.
47. Explore 210 acres of wildlife at one of the Irvine Nature Center’s family-friendly classes and events.
48. Bask in a garden of more than 80,000 tulips at Sherwood Gardens (spring).
49. Explore African-American history at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.
50. View a collection of plants from around the world at the beautiful Rawlings Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
A version of this article was first published in 2012