A Guide to Having Fun in Baltimore!

We frequently travel from Boston to Washington, D.C for work. Recently we spent a great weekend in Baltimore, just 38 miles north of D.C. Living in Boston, we’re spoiled for American history, but we still left Baltimore extremely impressed. Baltimore was founded in 1729 and is packed with areas of historical interest and delicious food (wonderful crab cakes are just one highlight). And “Charm City” lives up to its reputation with friendly locals and great hangouts. So here’s some recommendations for having fun in Baltimore!

Alex & Bell - USS Constellation

Inner Harbor and the USS Constellation

On the footsteps of downtown, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is likely the first area of town you’ll explore. Especially on a sunny day, it’s very picturesque and wonderful for a stroll. Highlights of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor include several old ships, including the USS Constellation. We toured the Constellation, which offers great views of Baltimore from the top deck. And in the lower decks, you’ll learn a lot about naval history and life on an old battle ship. At 5pm daily, they fire a cannon and our water taxi happened to be coming in that moment, so an attendant shouted down to our boat so we wouldn’t be scared.

USS Constellation - Baltimore skyline

Baltimore is the second largest seaport in the mid-Atlantic and convenient water taxis serve the area. The Baltimore Water Taxi  serves the harbor, Fell’s Point, Canton and Fort McHenry. The hop on, hop off service means you can travel around Baltimore all day on the water. We caught the water taxi from the harbor to the historic Fell’s Point neighborhood. The water taxi is a relaxing way to tour the city, offering picturesque views, and a reprieve from the heat on a hot summer’s day. You may enjoy the day so much you decide to search for homes in Baltimore!

National Aquarium

Baltimore’s massive National Aquarium is one of the best in the world. We spent 2 and 1/2 hours touring it, and didn’t see everything. For marine life lovers, this is a must while visiting Baltimore. You’ll find 20,000 animal residents and rehabilitation patients there.

Baltimore Aquriam

We especially enjoyed watching huge tortoises, sharks and lots of colorful fish in the reef habitat. The dolphin exhibition itself is huge and somewhere you could spend a long time watching the dolphins play from indoor stadium seating. The jellyfish exhibition was like watching something from another planet. And the Australian exhibition will transport you to a far corner of the globe. The top floor of the National Aquarium features a rainforest where you can view birds and even monkeys.

Fell’s Point is Perfect for Having Fun in Baltimore

Fell’s Point dates back to 1726 and is a celebration of Baltimore’s British nautical history. Many of the buildings in this neighborhood date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. So there’s some serious history in many of the stores, restaurants, pubs and cafes there.

Fell’s Point is the place to be for nightlife, good Chesapeake Bay cuisine or just an afternoon stroll. Many buildings date to the 1700’s, offering vintage dining and drinking opportunities.

Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum

Babe Ruth is most famous for playing for the Yankees and cursing the Boston Red Sox. But he was born in Baltimore and began his baseball career with the Orioles. Ruth was a rambunctious kid and his parents had a hard time dealing with him, so he spent much of his youth in a Xaverian reform school.

Babe Ruth's house, fun in Baltimore

Ruth was one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century and was the first player to make money off endorsements. The candy bar Baby Ruth was named after him, but Nestle avoided paying him royalties during his playing days. The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum is a must for baseball fans, and even Bell, who isn’t a baseball fan, thought it was fun and interesting.

Ripley’s Believe it Or Not

Update: Ripley’s has closed their Baltimore Inner Harbor location. But you can find Ripley’s attractions in 100+ other locations around the world. Check out Ripley’s locations as there might be another you can visit on a road trip. 

This was our first ever visit to a Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. Bell was especially keen to go as she mentioned wanting to go as a kid, on a family trip to the Gold Coast, in Australia. Robert Ripley was a world traveler and used to host a show called Believe it Or Not. Today, Ripley’s museums are all over the world, featuring an eclectic mix of artifacts and art.

Maze of mirrors & art from a date stamp
Maze of mirrors & art from a date stamp

Among their collection, highlights of Baltimore Ripley’s Believe it Or Not features miniature city skylines, a castle made of match sticks, indigenous antiques and paintings of the Clintons made entirely from hamburger grease. There is also an optional 2,000 sq. feet mirror maze and a simulator ride. If you’re into oddities, interactive exhibitions and learning about different cultures, Ripley’s is good fun in Baltimore. Even the bathroom features a wild spectacle of varying noises and tidbits of history.

What to Eat in Baltimore

Update: Canton Dockside is now closed. 

Maryland is famous for crab cakes, so if you like shellfish, don’t leave Baltimore without ordering them. We enjoyed a nice seafood dinner at Canton Dockside, in the Canton neighborhood. Maryland crab chowder is also really popular and delicious, so this should be on your radar too. It’s similar to Manhattan clam chowder, as it’s tomato based, rather than creamy like New England chowders.

Canton Dockside Baltimore

Among other eats, Baltimore also takes hot dogs seriously. We generally don’t eat hot dogs, but enjoyed a ridiculously loaded quality hot dog across the street from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Its as one of the best we’ve eaten. And for baseball fans, Oriole Park is a fantastic throwback venue to catch a game. While we didn’t watch a game this visit, it was one of my favorite stadiums as a kid, while visiting ten east coast ballparks on a family road trip.

Baltimore Hotels

We stayed at the Radisson Hotel Baltimore Downtown-Inner Harbor, formerly known as the Baltimore Harbor Hotel. We had a deluxe corner guest room with a great view of the city and outdoor pool below. Breakfast was included and served in their comfortable Balto Tavern & Tap dining room.

Radisson

Baltimore has a wide variety of hotel options to suit various tastes and budgets. For those looking to hit the town for fun in Baltimore, a stay in historic Fell’s Point is also be an excellent choice.

Families and groups of friends will find the best value booking short term apartment rentals. Be sure to book apartments and homes with consistently good reviews for the best experience.

Ferry Ride to Fells Point, Baltimore
Baltimore Inner Harbor

Disclosure: We were hosted by Visit Baltimore and the Baltimore Radisson. We thank them for their wonderful assistance in helping us cover their beautiful and historic city. All photos and opinions are our own. Also, this article contains some affiliate links. 

Author

  • Alex&Bell

    Alex and Bell originally met while solo traveling after finishing university in 2002, in Brugge, Belgium. Alex grew up in the USA and Bell hails from Australia. During our nearly 20 year marriage we've lived around the world, including spending six years living in the Netherlands and Ireland. We have traveled to nearly 70 countries and enjoy giving readers authentic and quality travel tips. Alex is an award winning travel journalist and travel planner, who also freelances for other outlets. Bell is an award winning PhD scientist who currently works for a non-profit lung cancer advocacy research organization called Lungevity. Happy travels and if you have any questions leave a comment or drop an email!

    View all posts

12 thoughts on “A Guide to Having Fun in Baltimore!

  1. This looks so fun. I’ve just passed through Baltimore, but I’ve never had time to stop and look around. I really need to change that.

    1. Hopefully we’ve inspired you to stop and enjoy Baltimore next time you’re passing by, Mags. Happy travels!

  2. Thanks a lot for sharing – I wonder if there’s any unqiue places that are different from any other US cities though 🙂
    @ knycxjourneying

    1. Good question, knycx. The little differences add up to make Baltimore a unique city, in the same way cities like New York, Boston and DC are all quite different. The people in each city are a little different, not to mention the accents! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.