As a teen living in a small town outside Baltimore, I went to DC for appointments and field trips, but Baltimore was where my friends and I went to let our hair down and experience a one-of-a-kind local flavor. From its crab cake sandwiches to its out-of-the-box art museums, the vibrant and down-to-earth multicultural community of Baltimore merits at least a few days’ exploration. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself planning your next trip while you're visiting.
Baltimore has hot, muggy summers and freezing winters, while spring and fall are temperate.
If you only have time for one thing, make it Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
Next, take a boat cruise for waterfront views along one of America’s oldest sea ports. See historic neighborhoods such as Federal Hill and Fells Point, where you’ll want to explore on foot. The port was a central transportation point in the trade of enslaved people. Learn more history on a walking tour.
On your second day, head to the Walters Art Museum for mid-19th-century artworks. The museum is housed in a restored mansion in Baltimore’s elegant Mount Vernon neighborhood. Its sprawling collection—which spans Ethiopian religious paintings, Greek sculptures, and ancient Egyptian relics—once belonged to father-and-son collectors. Plus, admission is free.
From there, take a short walk to Lexington Market, an 18th-century food marketplace famous for its crab cakes and as the grave site of Edgar Allan Poe. Head the other direction to find Baltimore’s historic North Charles Street to see shops, restaurants, and beloved movie theater, the Charles Theater.
On your last day, head to the unmissable American Visionary Art Museum, dedicated to weird and wonderful regional outsider art. This isn’t your standard art museum. Think a painstakingly constructed matchstick model of the Titanic or a 15-foot (4.7-meter) fluffy pink poodle sculpture. The gift shop is stocked with equally out-of-the-box wares.
From there, you could head to the Baltimore Museum of Industry, housed in an old oyster cannery, to learn about the city’s factory days. Or, take a 10-minute cab ride (35-minute walk) to Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” after garrison troops defended Baltimore from British forces in 1814.