Baltimore is an awesome city with so much to see and do—and not only for adults. From amazing museums to history-rich parks and landmarks, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy, making it a great place for a family vacation. Here are a few of our recommendations for the best things to do in Baltimore with kids.
Best Museums in Baltimore for Kids
American Visionary Art Museum is fun for all ages. This is the only non-children’s museum we’ve found that kids actually enjoy going to as much as we do. Seriously, 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.
The Walters Art Museum is way more fun than it sounds. 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 a.m.-3 p.m., they provide free drop-in art activities for kids. There is historic armor, jewelry, and lots more to explore. And if the kids end up melting down and needing to leave, it’s not the end of the world.
Port Discovery Children’s Musuem is pretty much the coolest children’s museum you could imagine. This is not only a suggestion because they throw an awesome 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.
Best Activities for Kids in Baltimore
Speaking of food, the Papermoon Diner is a local comfort food restaurant you must visit. If there is any restaurant that says Baltimore, 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 kitsch and a natural for never-ending games of “I spy.” Oh, they have bacon milkshakes. That’s right, bacon milkshakes. Don’t miss it.
When in town, you should plan to check out an Orioles Game. 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.
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.
Fell’s Point is a great place to walk around and spend an afternoon. 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.
The Baltimore Farmer’s Market & Bazaar (under the Jones Falls Expressway) is really something special. 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. Kids may not love it there, but they will survive it. Especially when they get to pick out lunch. Just have them hold their noses as you walk through the stinky parking lot.
If your kids get hungry from that experience, head on over to 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, some kids would rather die than eat it, but maybe you’ll have good luck) and fabulous soups, sandwiches, desserts and more. The kids love the pasta and everyone can eat whatever they want. There’s also a great Tuesday Morning across the street where you can find toys for a steal.