Visit Like A Local with Jen Hausner
Read on for more of Jen's favorite family-friendly things to do and for where she likes to go on a kid-free day.
Describe Baltimore to someone who has never been here.
Baltimore is the type of city where, at the least likely of places, you will make a friend. Baltimore has culture and art, beyond the popular attractions. We offer some of the best dining, beautiful outdoor spaces and we are full of thoughtful people. I can’t say enough good things about the people. There is a lot of love here.
What recommendations would you give to a visitor to experience Baltimore like a local?
Get outside and walk. There is a restaurant, store, museum on every block here. There is something for everyone to do. It’s easy to come here without a set plan and just walk around and find things to do.
What’s the most underrated thing about Baltimore?
The restaurants – we have amazing restaurants everywhere. There is every kind of food and they’re all locally-owned, not big chains. On any given night there are specials to try, and family places. You can stop on any block and find an incredible place to eat. I take my kids to Sticky Rice every Monday because they have half price sushi and a kids menu and fun music. That’s what I love about Baltimore – there are no people staring at you because you brought your children. It’s very family-oriented.
What’s your go-to thing to do on a rainy day? On a sunny day?
On a rainy day I would go to the Senator Theater and find a movie – a lot of times they play old movies. Or Landmark Theater in Harbor East is fun. If I don’t have the kids I’ll treat myself to a glass of wine. It’s newer, they have a great bar and food and reclining seats. For me it’s a great place to escape as a mother and have an adult experience instead of taking my kids to the movies.
On a sunny day I would definitely get outside. If I’m without my children, I’m all about the Four Seasons Hotel. You can splurge and get a hotel room for a night, spend a day at the pool and eat there and it’s the dreamiest thing ever. But with the kids, I’m definitely outside at the parks. I love Druid Hill Park, I love Fort McHenry. There are nice hiking trails you can walk, we will bring picnics, a soccer ball or football, ride bikes. And it’s all free. At Fort McHenry it’s nice as a parent because I can just sit in the middle and watch the kids run around and feel ok about that. It’s a great spot too because the Water Taxi is right there so you can take it to Fell’s Point, or the Charm City Circulator runs right there so I’ll often park in Locust Point, load our bikes on the bus and head to Fort McHenry and spend the day there, or take it into Federal Hill to grab something to eat.
What are your favorite neighborhoods to hang out in?
One of my favorite neighborhoods is definitely Locust Point. I raised my children there. It’s really small and everyone knows each other. That’s what I really love about Baltimore – you get to know your neighbors in a week.
I also love Hampden. The restaurants are amazing, you can sit outside. The shopping is amazing in Harbor East. My favorite store is Sassanova for shoes and jewelry, and then I pop into one of the restaurants. I eat lunch at Lebanese Taverna quite often. There are a lot of little stores and boutiques and it’s nice to shop local.
Quick tips: What are the best things to do with kids in Baltimore?
1. The National Aquarium – it’s one of the best resources we have. People come from far and wide to see it. We’re members so we probably go at least six times a year. It’s so big so you can focus on one area one day and then go back and see an IMAX movie. It’s great for boys and girls and kids of all ages – even I enjoy going.
2. Fort McHenry – if it’s a nice day it’s great to pack a lunch, load my car up with soccer balls and just hang out, and ride bikes or scooters.
3. I love taking my kids to the Senator Theatre. We discovered you can get Clark Burger and sit in the back and the kids think that’s great to sit and eat a cheeseburger and fries and watch a movie.
4. The Baltimore Museum of Art – I think some parents are scared to take their smaller children to some exhibits but it’s actually really family-friendly. They have these headsets you can use to teach kids about what they’re looking at in a more simplified way for them. I like to quiz my kids and ask them to tell me one thing they learned about this painting or what does this mean. They also have a great outdoor sculpture garden and you can take the kids to Gertrude’s for brunch.
5. Maryland Science Center – There is something about hands-on learning and turning science into something fun that I think is lost on children in elementary and middle school education. I wish we could go more often. Each time we go they have an area for children to make something.