If you have ever watched the acclaimed TV series The Wire, you probably don’t think of Baltimore first when somebody mentions a vacation or a fun trip. However, it’s been more than a decade since the series stopped airing and a lot of things have changed in the city. It is actually a place that has a lot to offer, both in terms of fun and culture, so you won’t be disappointed if you decide to visit it. Quite the contrary! You will be amazed by how important this place is for the United States and how much history it contains. So stay with this itinerary to learn about the best things to do in Baltimore, Maryland!
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Plan your trip
1. What’s the best time to visit Baltimore?
2. A few facts about Baltimore
3. One Day in Baltimore Itinerary
3.1. Start your day with an incredible breakfast
3.2. Visit the aquarium
3.3. Check out the historic ships
3.4. Go on a pirate cruise!
3.5. Eat at one of Baltimore Inner Harbor restaurants
3.6. Head to Maryland Science Center
3.7. Climb to the top of the world
3.8. Free things to do in Baltimore
4. Where to stay in Baltimore?
5. Day trips from Baltimore
6. Extra tips for visiting Baltimore
What’s the best time to visit Baltimore?
Given the climate of the city, the best time to visit Baltimore would be mid-September or that month’s second half. The summers are pretty hot and humid, which is not always easy to bear but this can also cause some spectacular lightning storms. Winters can get pretty cold and snowy, although that tends to range wildly from mild winters to real blizzards. Spring is also a nice time to visit, but expect more rain than in autumn.
However, the weather is not the only thing you should consider. There are plenty of interesting events, too. Artscape, the biggest festival of free arts in the country, takes place every July, food festivals are also very common, especially in the last six months of the year, plus there are festivals celebrating each of the various cultures living in this great city. You’ll love it all!
A few facts about Baltimore
There are so many fascinating facts about Baltimore that it’s really a challenge to select a few of them for this paragraph. For example, this is the city in which Francis Scott Key wrote the American anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. It also has the highest average of monuments and statues per person in the whole country and about 30% of the buildings have had the status “historic” awarded to them.
In that respect, Baltimore is the best in the country. The city has also been home to many famous people, including Babe Ruth, Edgar Allan Poe, Billie Holiday and many others. Of course, as previously mentioned, this is where The Wire takes place here too, and the series was actually shot in the eastern part of the city which has now become one of primary Baltimore attractions.
One Day in Baltimore Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Baltimore.
Start your day with an incredible breakfast
Wondering what to do in Baltimore? Well, given that you only have one day here, the best choice is to start your day in and then explore the Inner Harbor. This is the very heart of the city, the part where a huge number of attractions is located and from where you can easily get to other notable areas of the city.
But first, you need to get some energy for the day ahead of you. Past the eastern part of the harbor (Little Italy) and along Aliceanna Street, you’ll find Baltimore’s Blue Moon Cafe. With only the freshest ingredients, Blue Moon serves a heavenly breakfast, along with great coffee (or other beverages), of course. Pancakes, omelets, sandwiches… they are all prepared in a huge variety of ways, so you really shouldn’t miss out on eating here.
Visit the aquarium
OK, so now you’re ready. There are many places to visit and things to see here, but the number one Baltimore attraction is the fantastic National Aquarium. It has a huge shark tank, a 4-D theatre, a huge coral reef and quite literally thousands and thousands of animals. Set aside a couple of hours for this and you really won’t regret it. This is the place that attracts the most tourists in the whole state, for a very good reason.
Check out the historic ships
One of the reasons Baltimore Inner Harbor is such a hit among tourists is the fact that it’s home to four historic ships. Well, three ships and a submarine. And yes, you can climb aboard and inspect each of them! Buying tickets for more than one ship will give you a discount, while the visit to the lighthouse is free.
Go on a pirate cruise!
If you still haven’t had enough ships, you will want to book a Baltimore pirate cruise. Yes, a pirate cruise! It’s a kid-friendly attraction too, but if you’re in adult-only company you can book a tour where you bring your own grog. You get your pirate costume, a pirate beard will be drawn on your face and it’s all really fantastic fun. After a bit of sailing around the harbor, you’ll be able to continue your tour of Baltimore.
Eat at one of Baltimore Inner Harbor restaurants
Yes, there are plenty of things to do in Baltimore Inner Harbor, but there are many great restaurants you should try, as well. Pratt Street Ale House is just west of the harbor and it offers juicy burgers and other types of sandwiches which are all complemented beautifully by some mighty fine beer (local craft products included).
If you want something more elegant, Watertable is in the heart of the harbor with a spectacular view. They serve American cuisine along with some very delicious seafood. Bistro 300 is very close by, and it’s a great place for a quick but delicious bite. In any case, the selection of Baltimore Inner Harbor restaurants will not disappoint you because there is something for everyone here.
Head to Maryland Science Center
What to do in Baltimore after lunch? Well, stick around Inner Harbor (told you there was plenty to do here) and go visit Maryland Science Centre. It is a truly remarkable place covering everything from human anatomy to astronomy. Oh, and don’t forget that you can touch a real dinosaur skull, a find more than 100 million years old. And not only do they have fascinating and interactive exhibits, but there is also a Kids Room here, too.
Climb to the top of the world
For a spectacular view of the city and its skyline, head to the World Trade Centre and climb to its 27th floor. There you will find Top of the World, an observation deck from which you can view the harbor and beyond. It is particularly impressive if you come here in the evening when the sun sets and the city lights up below you. For just a few dollars, it seems well worth it.
Free things to do in Baltimore
Don’t worry if you don’t have that much to spend when you visit Baltimore because there are some great free things to do here, too. You can attend various events, guided tours and even get free transportation if you know where and when to look. Here are some examples that can make your Baltimore sightseeing much more affordable:
- Canton Waterfront Park hosts free concerts every first Thursday of the month, from May to September. Good music is accompanied by snacks and various beverages, so this is a great way to spend some time soaking in the city’s vibe
- The Walters Art Museum charges no entrance fees! Simply go in and take a look at their special exhibitions or standard exhibits, some of which go back to 5000 B.C.
- Want to learn more about the Inner Harbor? Free guided tours are readily available there.
- If you’re looking for a way to get around town, hop on the Charm City Circulator. It’s an environmentally friendly, hybrid bus whose task is to take tourists to all major Baltimore attractions. For free, of course.
- The Harborplace Amphitheater will provide you with free shows of various street performers, plus you can hear some free concerts here every weekend.
Where to stay in Baltimore?
If you decide to spend a night in Baltimore, here are some of the hotels we definitely recommend checking!
Hotel Revival, A Joie de Vivre Hotel
101 W Monument Street, Mount Vernon, Baltimore, MD 21201
If you’re looking for some quality Mt. Vernon hotels, Hotel Revival, A Joie de Vivre Hotel is hands-down the best one you can find. This is the only art hotel in the city, and its bathrooms that surround you with white marble, its library, its classical furniture and its French-influenced restaurant will captivate you immediately. Great location and a great stay, no matter how you slice it.
Admiral Fell Inn
888 South Broadway, Fells Point, Baltimore, MD 21231
To really get a sense of the history of this city, head to Admiral Fell Inn in the neighborhood of Fells Point. The location of this hotel is absolutely beautiful – cobblestone streets, historic shops and lots of pubs and restaurants. The furniture from the 18th century perfectly complements the overall vibe, and modern features make sure you are always comfortable.
Sagamore Pendry Baltimore
1715 Thames Street, Fells Point, Baltimore, MD 21231
For a truly luxurious experience, Sagamore Pendry Baltimore is the best choice. It has two fantastic on-site restaurants, provides cars for hire and has a seasonal outdoor pool. The hotel is located in a beautiful building, with the rooms being nothing short of spectacular and with a mesmerizing view. The outdoor lounging areas are really beautiful too, so all in all the offer here is really hard to beat.
Day trips from Baltimore
A little more than an hour away, Chesapeake Bay is a great destination for your day trip from Baltimore. It has great sandy beaches, the town called Chesapeake Beach is a great little resort with everything you need for a relaxing day out, and you can even rent out a sailboat from Baltimore and enjoy an incredible ride here. If you’re looking for some thorough relaxation, you will enjoy yourself immensely.
Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, is just an hour away by train! Sure, you can also hop on a bus or get a car, but the point is – it’s very close and it’s a great choice for your day trip from Baltimore. Explore another great US city, soak in its culture and learn about its amazing history. The White House, the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument… that’s just a fraction of what awaits you.
Just 30 minutes away, Annapolis is by far the prettiest town in the state of Maryland, quite possibly and beyond. It is actually the state’s capital, but it only has about 40,000 people. Still, the history in this place is quite amazing, and if you want a slow and relaxing day of walking through cobblestone streets or tasting great food and drinks in charming restaurants and bars, Annapolis is simply perfect.
Are you a wine lover? Then Frederick is an absolute must! Think of it as the Napa Valley of the Eastern Coast, with some truly exquisite wines you need to taste. Of course, with that also comes great food in local restaurants, so combining those two things with beautiful scenery really sounds like a great way to spend a day.
Extra tips for visiting Baltimore
-Purchasing a Harbor Pass can save you almost 30% on tickets of some of the most important Baltimore attractions.
-You can get around town by using a water taxi! You can get a daily ticket for up to 16$, but discounts are quite common, so this can easily become a really good deal.
-Car is recommended, although you can easily get an Uber or a taxi if you don’t plan on renting one.
If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Baltimore Itinerary, feel free to share it in the comments below!
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).