Top Things to Do in Baltimore

Since its founding in 1729, Maryland’s largest city has transformed from a gritty and bustling port town to a destination offering world-class art, culture and fine dining. And yet, it’s maintained its quirky personality and proud blue-collar sensibility. It is “Charm City” after all.

As a result, visitors benefit from a wide range of things to do, see and experience in Baltimore. Thankfully, the city is easy to navigate with public transportation systems (Metro, light rail, water taxi and free circulator buses) that connect riders to major points of interest.

That’s good for first-time visitors who will likely want to hit all the classics, like explore the Inner Harbor’s many restaurants and attractions, relive history at Fort McHenry, tour the storied Orioles Park at Camden Yards and go tavern-hopping in historic Fells Point, among other things.

Here, we’ve compiled our favorite must-see attractions and sights, whether it’s your first time in Baltimore or your 100th.

Washington Monument

The 178-foot-column (227 steps up), built in 1815, is the nation's first memorial for George Washington. Architect Robert Mills also designed the monument in Washington, D.C. Renovated museum (free) plus two time capsules with some items on display at Maryland Historical Society. W-Su 10 am-5 pm.

Fort McHenry

A strategic installation protecting the city during the Revolution, War of 1812 and Civil War. War of 1812 battle here inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the words of The Star-Spangled Banner. Visitors center has films and exhibits. Daily flag raising at 10 am, lowering at 4 pm.

National Aquarium

Nearly 20,000 creatures housed in rain forest, Australian river gorge and coral reef ecosystems. See jellies and animal feedings. 4-D Immersion Theater and Harbor Market Kitchen.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Home of Baltimore’s MLB franchise, the Orioles, built in 1992, offering behind-the-scenes tours with a peek at the dugout, scoreboard control room and press box. Learn about the transformation of a railroad yard into a world-class ballpark. Tickets for tours at north end box office near Gate H.

MT Bank Stadium

Home of Baltimore’s NFL franchise (and Super Bowl XLVII champions!) the Ravens since 1998. 71,000-capacity stadium (119 suites and 8,196 club seats) west of the Inner Harbor.

Baltimore Museum of Art

Housing 95,000 objects, from ancient mosaics to contemporary art, including the world's largest holding of works by Henri Matisse.

Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

More than 1,500 animals on 160 acres. Raptor Garden, Giraffe Feeding Station, Polar Bear Watch and Chimpanzee Forest. Rise and Conquer, official mascots of the NFL Ravens. "Penguin Coast," a state-of-the-art exhibit recreating the South African waterside home of these endangered birds, with up-close and underwater views.

Fells Point

William Fell, a Quaker shipbuilder from Lancaster, England, founded this maritime community in 1730. Today the 14-block area bustles with young residents who enjoy its architectural history, cafes and taverns.

Inner Harbor

An urban revitalization success story, now the city’s popular maritime zone thanks to National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, historic ships, cruises and waterfront paths for strolling.

Maryland Historical Society

A 150-plus-year-old society with more than 350,000 artifacts and a library of nearly 7 million items, including original manuscript of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the original Lady Baltimore statue from the Battle Monument, the city’s official emblem. Period furniture, silver, toys, paintings. W-Su.