Florida Man on the Run

Your Guide to the Best Weekend in Baltimore

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Of all the trips I’ve taken across America, my weekend in Baltimore might have been my most “spontaneous”. Not that I didn’t plan it or took it at the last minute, but mostly because I got a super-duper cheap flight through Southwest Airlines. The flights were direct from JAX, so how could I pass it up. If there is one thing I have learned about traveling over all these years, it’s that you can’t let a good deal get past you.

We had an amazing time on our weekend in Baltimore, and thanks to those cheap flights I also made it one of the cheaper trips I’ve planned. Now that I’ve finally had an opportunity to compile all my thoughts and do a bit of additional research after my trip, I figured I could actually sit down and write this post. With the following itinerary, I promise that three days in Baltimore are going to be an excellent time!

Day 1: How to Have a Fun Friday in Baltimore

There is an absolute plethora of ways you can start your weekend in Baltimore. For our purposes, we will assume you’ve got all of Friday to kick off three days in Baltimore. On our trip back in 2021, we started our weekend with spending some of Friday at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. The zoo is one of the oldest in America (either third or eighth depending on your definition of zoo). While it has faced financial and other difficulties in the past, today it is a shining example of how a dedication to conservation and public support can restore older zoos. We really enjoyed our visit and I found it to be one of my favorite Zoos. Although, I might be a bit biased in that remark because it does have my favorite animal, Penguins!

Penguins being fed by zookeepers during a weekend in Baltimore
It was feeding time for the penguins!

Later on in the afternoon, we wandered over to “The Avenue” aka West 36th Street in the Hampden neighborhood. This stretch has a wonderful collection of shops and restaurants that we were told was a must visit by my sister-in-law who lived nearby for a couple of months. For lunch, we made a stop at Golden West Cafe. The food was delicious and they had a big vegan menu as well. After lunch we wandered down the street and did a bit of window shopping (and actual shopping). By the time we reached the end of the street, we had worked up enough room for desert so we grabbed a couple of cones from The Charmery!

Our plans for Friday night involved catching a show being held at Creative Alliance. This community theater/creative space, is a fantastic way to experience the culture of Charm city during your weekend in Baltimore. We attended a burlesque show which featured a number of first time performers, which was super fun! After that, we walked down to The Pig & Rooster Smokehouse for a night cap and some late night pizza. It was an awesome way to spend a Friday and kick off a stellar weekend in Baltimore.

Day 2: Saturday Adventures Around Town

So many places to see, with what feels like so little time! The Saturday portion of your weekend in Baltimore is going to be all about options. There isn’t one “perfect” Saturday in the city, because everyone is going to have their own way to enjoy a city. With that in mind, I’ve got two different ways you can focus on experiencing what Charm City has to offer you on your weekend. If you’re feeling real ambitious, you could try to do everything or use this plan to extend your trip beyond three days in Baltimore.

I’m a big fan of museums, especially ones which are tied to the local culture or have local influence (for example the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem). In Baltimore, you can find quite a few museums like this within a few blocks of the University of Maryland-Baltimore. You can start with one of the city’s most famous residents, Edgar Allan Poe and the Poe House and Museum. If you want to pay your respects to the man himself, you can walk down Fayette Street and visit his grave as well. Baseball fans will want to make a trip to the Babe Ruth Museum. Located just a block from Camden Yards, it would be a nice stop before seeing the Orioles play! Finally, head down Pratt Street to the excellent B&O Railroad Museum. Paying tribute and homage to the famous B&O Railroad you can learn all about the history of the railroad and see over 200 preserved locomotives!

A photo of the warehouse outside Camden Yards on a weekend in Baltimore
If you’re there during baseball season, try to catch an Orioles game!

Baltimore is also home to a number of parks, many of which can be a great way to spend some of your weekend in Baltimore. Leakin Park is the second-largest woodland park in the entire United States! Much of the site occupies the former country home of Thomas Winans and is a wonderful example of how to preserve history and wilderness in a growing city. Another excellent park to visit is Patterson Park. It is the oldest park in the city and features one of East Baltimore’s most iconic structures in the Patterson Park Pagoda.

Day 3: A Causal Sunday in Charm City

After you’ve spent two pretty packed days during your weekend in Baltimore, it’s not a bad idea to make your Sunday a bit more casual. For me, that definitely starts with a visit to the sights and sounds of the Inner Harbor. The Inner Harbor of Baltimore is home to a lot of the city’s maritime history, as well as two great museums.

The biggest cultural attraction that still remains to be seen on this trip is the National Aquarium. Built in 1981, the National Aquarium is widely regarded as one of the best aquariums in North America. I’m a huge fan of aquariums, and it is definitely one of my personal favorites. The National Aquarium covers more than 250,000 square feet of space, and a massive 2.2 million gallons of tanks. The design is similar to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, except the second major building at the National Aquarium houses bottlenose dolphins. While the dolphins are one of the main attractions at the aquarium, plans are underway to move them to an ocean based sanctuary in the near future. No matter when you make your visit, the National Aquarium is a fantastic way to spend a quiet one of your three days in Baltimore.

Three jellyfish float in front of an azure background at the National Aquarium during a weekend in Baltimore
You’ll be as care free as these jellies when you visit the National Aquarium during your weekend in Baltimore

After you’ve made your stop at the Aquarium, you can spend the rest of your chill Sunday exploring the rest of the Inner Harbor. The way I’d recommend doing that is taking a walk on all the amazing historic ships docked in the harbor. The amazingly preserved USS Constellation is the only Civil War-era ship that is fully preserved. In fact, the Constellation is the last sail driven ship ever commissioned for the US Navy! Another excellent ship to visit in the harbor is the USS Torsk. She began service late in 1944, and saw limited action during the Second World War. However, that just means we get a chance to see what choices Navy designers were making as they prepared a ship built specifically for the war effort. I think that’s pretty cool!

For a way to wind down your evening, I recommend checking out the Clock Restoration Restaurant & Bar. It was one of the best surprises on my weekend in Baltimore. It can be a bit hard to find, so make sure to look it up on Google maps. The short walk from the harbor makes it super convenient. They serve absolutely delicious prohibition-era cocktails, as well as a simple menu of fantastic food. I think it’s a great cap on your trip to Baltimore!

Ideas for Getting Beyond the City Limits

Now that I’ve outlined how to spend three days in Baltimore, let’s look at some ways you can take your trip beyond the city. Baltimore is a great location to setup a home base for a weekend exploring Maryland or even further afield. The trip we took back in 2021, started with a trip to Gettysburg. It’s about 75 minutes northwest of the city. Baltimore is the nearest major city, making it a great way to spend a day at Gettysburg and then the rest of your weekend in Baltimore. Antietam is only 90 minutes away as well, meaning you can visit two of America’s best national battlefields in one trip.

Sunsetting behind a tree at Gettysburg
Gettysburg is an excellent place to spend a day if you’ve got a few extra before or after a weekend in Baltimore

The rich military history of the area also extends to the south of Baltimore. Annapolis, which is Maryland’s capital, also is home to the US Naval Academy. Founded in 1845, the Naval Academy is a major tourist desitnation in Maryland. Visitors can take a guided tour of the grounds and see where the Navy’s brightest minds are trained and educated. The history throughout Annapolis is also extremely rich. If you’ve got the time during your weekend in Baltimore, a trip down to Annapolis is definitely worth it.

If, for some reason, you don’t think there is enough to do in Baltimore, you could also head down to Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital is worth spending multiple days exploring on it’s own. However, it is possible to use one of your days on a weekend in Baltimore to see a couple of the major sites in DC. If you do decide to take this route, make sure you plan it well since the time of year can play a huge part in how easy it is to park and get around town.

Seasonal Considerations for a Weekend in Baltimore

Like many Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern cities, Baltimore’s best weather days occur between April and October. Since a lot of this trip may be spent outdoors, or walking around the city, this is a consideration you definitely need to make when spending a weekend in Baltimore. When we took our trip, I planned it for September in order to avoid the heat of summer, but also get in before any chance of the chill requiring a sweater most days.

September was also a prime time to visit the city because of the Maryland Renaissance Festival. It will be going on all month long and is just a short drive away. August and September are also fantastic months to spend three days in Baltimore, especially if you’re looking to catch an Orioles game while in town. Baltimore and the surrounding area also have a number of excellent festivals you can plan to take in during your trip. For the foodies among you, I’d highly recommend planning a trip in July or August for Baltimore Magazine’s Crab Fest or the Maryland Crab Festival. June features HONfest, a celebration of Baltimore and to celebrating the working women of the city. If spring is more your speed, then the beginning of May features Flower Mart at the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy.

Actors on stage during a play at the Maryland Renaissance Festival during a weekend in Baltimore
Top notch acting from the King and his court at the Ren Fest!

If you do choose to visit in the winter, just be mindful that the weather will very likely not be in your favor. However, you can typically find cheaper hotels or vacation rentals which can make your three days in Baltimore far more economical.

Extending Your Trip Beyond Three Days in Baltimore

While I’ve included quite a bit of our 2021 trip to Baltimore in this guide to a weekend in Baltimore, the truth is we spent a couple of days doing other things not on this list. We spent the day before our weekend travelling up to Gettysburg. Plus, our Sunday was actually spent attending the amazing Maryland Renaissance Festival. If you’re planning on spending more than just three days in Baltimore, then your trip will resemble ours a bit closer. It’ll also give you plenty of time to squeeze in that game at Camden Yard if the Orioles aren’t in town on the weekend. Or maybe even spend some more time exploring the wonderful Chesapeake Bay. Whatever you choose to do, you really can’t have a bad weekend in Baltimore, I promise!

Florida Man on the Run standing next to the Visit Baltimore sign during a weekend in Baltimore
Is there even a more iconic Baltimore selfie spot?

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