10 Things To Do In Baltimore With Kids

We’ve only lived in Baltimore for two years, but it’s already very much home. We love the ease and charm of the city, and there’s no shortage of family friendly fun here, starting with my favorite ten spots…

1. American Visionary Art Museum. This is the only non-children’s museum we’ve found that kids actually enjoy going to as much as we do. I mean, there’s a farting bench. A farting bench! The whole thing is just visual overload in the best possible way. Plus, the gift shop has lots of cheap goodies to bribe the kids for good behavior with. Not that you’ll really need to.

2. The Farmer’s Market Under the Jones Falls Expressway. An outdoor farmer’s market under an expressway isn’t the most ideal location, but on Sunday mornings from April to December, it’s the place to be. There’s everything from produce to meats to seafood to homemade crepes, pickles, pastries… pretty much everything you can imagine. I can’t say that my kids love it there, but they survive it. Especially when they get to pick out lunch. (Just have them hold their noses as you walk through the stinky parking lot.)

3. National Pinball Museum. OK, so the museum part is a little boring for the kids, but the room upstairs, filled with nothing but pinball machines? Pure awesomeness. They even have stools so little arms can reach every button and gadget they’d need to. You can spend hours there and all be happy. {Note: The Pinball Museum is temporarily closed while they look for a new location.}

4. Fell’s Point. Cobblestone streets, restaurants and shopping don’t exactly say kid-friendly, but the balloon sellers and numerous ice cream stores help with that. The kids do love the water taxis you can take to the various waterfront areas, and there are always street performers to be found on the weekends.

5. Papermoon Diner. If there is any restaurant that says Baltimore to me, this is it. Breakfast all day, sandwiches, salads, pasta, soups… this place has it all, with enough variety for even the pickiest of children. The decor, with old toys and Pez dispensers covering every inch, is over the top kitch and a natural for never ending games of “I spy.” Oh, they have bacon milkshakes. That’s right, bacon milkshakes. Don’t miss it.

6. Port Discovery Children’s Musuem. I’m not saying this just because they threw me a book launch party. It’s a great place to go with kids (under seven; any older and they’ll lose interest pretty fast.) The kids just adore it and it’s one of the best children museums we’ve come across. Plus, Joe Squared is right across the street for lunch and has some of the yummiest pizza in the city.

7. Orioles Games. Camden Yards is a great park and seats are cheap enough that you won’t be annoyed for leaving early and available enough that you can get them last minute. Like any sporting event, you’ll pay an absolute fortune for snacks, so be sure and pack your own.

8. The Walters Art Museum. What’s better than a museum that the kids don’t hate? A museum that’s free, of course. Not only is admission free at the Walters, but every weekend from 10-3, they provide free drop-in art activities for kids. The boys love the armor, Lily is partial to the jewelry, and I think it’s all pretty cool. And if the kids end up melting down and needing to leave, it’s not the end of the world.

9. Fort McHenry is a coastal star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy in Chesapeake Bay September 13-14, 1814. It was during the bombardment of the fort that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The place is oozing with history, but even more, it’s a perfect place to let kids run around and burn off some steam. (The uniformed park rangers will keep them in line.)

10. Belvedere Square’s Market. If you’re looking for somewhere fun to eat that can please every palate, this is a great bet. They have some of the best smoked fish ever (sadly my kids would rather die than eat it, but maybe you’ll have better luck) and fabulous soups, sandwiches, desserts and more. The kids love the pasta and I love that we can all eat whatever we want. There’s also a great Tuesday Morning across the street where you can find toys for a steal.

Got any tips to share about traveling to Baltimore with kids? Leave them in the comments!

About the writer


What started as an innocent on-line baby book to chronicle Jill Smokler’s stay-at-home days with her children, quickly transformed into a vibrant community of parents, brought together by a common theme: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect. Welcome to Scary Mommy!


Enock’s Mom 11 months ago

The smoked fish at Belvedere Square is done by Neopol… I am friends with the Mother-Son team that owns Neopol, so just wanted to give them a shoutout… Also I would suggest introducing smoked and naturally strong-flavored foods to children at a very early age, to help them become appreciative later on. French preschools use this strategy!

Also… For very young children, I highly recommend Storyville at both the Rosedale and Woodlawn library! Free, fun and educational

mommy needs a timeout too! 2 years ago

I live in Baltimore. All those places are fun! Also north point state park. You can swim play in the sand and walk the trails. Fort Howard park also has trails and buildings still up from the war you can go in and look around its on the water and there are 2 playgrounds in the park! Both of those are dog friendly too which is a bigger plus. Sandy point beach is nice for swimming and to spend the day out. The Baltimore zoo. I think is a little pricy but the kids love it. The DC zoo is free to get in and it’s huge it’s the best zoo I’ve ever been too. You just pay 15 $ for parking and if you pack your own lunch and snacks 15 bucks isn’t bad for a family to spend the day at the zoo!

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Hcg Drops 3 years ago

Wonderful. Thanks for taking the time. I’ll definitely check here to find out more and recommend my coworkers about your posting.

Amy 3 years ago

What’s the most family friendly hotel in Baltimore?

Liz 3 years ago

Unfortunately, the Pinball Museum just closed. :(

shate98 4 years ago

@Vicki we have a Baltimore SM group. We’ve met once but we’ll meet up again at some point. Please feel free to PM me and we’ll add you to the list!

Vicki 4 years ago

We live in Reading PA, but my husband is working in Baltimore (well, part time there and part time at home). I’m thinking of spending some time there with him and our toddler son. I’ve been to Baltimore a few times (performing at the Baltimore Theater Project!) but it would be different with a wee one. Thanks for the list.
And…is there any Scary Mommy meet up group? The only reason I prefer Reading to Baltimore is my friends. But if I had some people in B-more…

    Scary Mommy 4 years ago

    No SM meetup yet… but that’s always something I’m thinking of. Someday!!

Sharon 4 years ago

1. Inner Harbor- you know it’s a must see. The Science Center, especially with the Kids Room, is a great place for families to visit. The National Aquarium, where you’re sure to find a Nemo or two. Discovery Zone, the Kids Museum. The USS Constellation, one of the oldest surviving ships of the US Navy is open for tours, along with the USS Torsk submarine and several other nautical vessels. Plus shopping, boat tours and lots to eat. Don’t forget to visit the very unique Pierce’s Park on Pier V, where kids can play with a musical fence, run through a willow tunnel, slide down a megaphone all right on the water.

2. Fells Point- Walking the length of Thames Street boats a little something for everyone. Fells Point has some of the oldest buildings in Baltimore, including restaurants in operation since the 1700’s. There are boutiques, unique toy stores, tapas restaurants and dive bars. Check out the local playground for the kiddies and Urban Pirates for a tour of the harbor. Check out the Square where on any given day you might run into a film crew making a movie or a new episode of HBOs the Wire, of may run into a Revolutionary Town Crier calling out the daily news from 2 centuries ago. Walk the narrow streets to uncover history at every turn, including the Fell Cemetery, tucked between two row homes. On the water, you never know what ships you’ll see. Check out Sailbaltimore.org for a list of visiting ships docked at the Square and Harbor year round.

3. The Walter’s Art Gallery- The Walter’s is one of Baltimore coolest art museums and so much more. The museum, with its interior marble collonade, was once the private residence of the Walters Family, who amassed this huge private collection of art and artifacts from around the world. The collection has everything from Renaissance paintings to Egyptian mummies. Climb down the secret spiral stair to check out some medieval armor, or head over to the annex to see samurai weapons and Pre-Columbian pottery, or stop for a game of chess in a medieval church. Best of all, it’s free admission to the main collection.

4. Fort McHenry- No visit to Baltimore is complete without a visit to this old fort. Try and take the water taxi from Fells Point or the Inner Harbor for a unique way to visit the fort. See where the Star-Spangled Banner was written and where the turning point in the War of 1812 took place. The fort has excellent waterfront views, lots of cannons, and plenty of history. 2014 will boast extra events year long for the 200th birthday of the Star-Spangled Banner.

These would be top on my list. Optional would be the B&O Railroad Museum, Shot Power, Poe House, Basilica, Lyric Opera House, Sports Legends Museum, Blacks in Wax, the Washington Monument/Mt Vernon area. The Zoo- I’ve seen better.

Coldblooded 4 years ago

I remember going to the aquarium when we were young. I’m not sure if it is still as awesome now as it was then.

Lara 4 years ago

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not – Inner Harbor, Baltimore Street Car Museum, The Fire Museum of Maryland. HON!

Catherine S 4 years ago

1 – National Aquarium
2 – Maryland Zoo
3 – Maryland Science Center

These come to mind right away.


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