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How to Spend 72 Hours in Baltimore

Check out these restaurants and attractions on your next 3-day trip to Charm City!

While it’s impossible to explore the entirety of Charm City in just three days, you can certainly check several attractions off your must-see list—and then some! Keep reading to learn how to make the most out of a 3-day trip to Baltimore.

Day 1: Say Hello to the Inner Harbor

Start your morning with a hearty breakfast from David and Dad’s Cafe, located on Charles Street in the historic former headquarters of the Baltimore Central Savings Bank. This father-son business boasts a robust menu sure to please even the pickiest eaters, and all items are made from scratch on site.

Now that you’ve carbo-loaded, let the walking commence! Wander along the Inner Harbor promenade until you reach the National Aquarium, where 20,000 sea animals reside in award-winning habitats, including a tropical rainforest and the Australian Outback. You can even feel like you’re in the middle of the ocean as sharks swim around you in the 225,000-gallon Shark Alley!

A family visits the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Did you know that not all of the aquarium’s animals live underwater? You’ll find birds, alligators and more in the Amazon River Forest exhibit!

Depending on your energy level, walk or take a Water Taxi across the harbor to Federal Hill, a picturesque neighborhood that’s lined with Belgian cobblestones, quaint 18th and 19th-century row houses and a plethora of charming antique shops and cozy restaurants. For lunch, head to Cross Street Market; it was constructed in 1846 and hosts a wide array of food vendors, from pizza and burgers to international cuisines and fresh seafood.

A woman admires a bejeweled statue at the American Visionary Art Museum

Not your typical art museum, AVAM spotlights unconventional artists such as farmers, prison inmates, mathematicians and more.

Just a few blocks away, you won’t want to miss the eclectic and wholly original American Visionary Art Museum. The exterior stuns with a mosaic of sparkling mirror fragments (itself a piece of art, created by at-risk children), and the interior is filled with original creations from exclusively self-taught artists. Still have more time to explore? Grab a scooter or a ride-share and head to Locust Point where you’ll find Fort McHenry, the birthplace of our national anthem.

You’ve probably worked up a pretty good appetite. Head back to downtown Baltimore for a meal at Sotto Sopra, a contemporary Italian restaurant located along the historic Charles Street corridor. There, you can enjoy a rotating selection of innovative dishes like honey lavender salmon and pumpkin ravioli topped with amaretti cookies.

Day 2 : Immerse Yourself in Baltimore's History

Begin your day with breakfast at Dashery Cafe, tucked inside Baltimore’s iconic boutique art hotel, Revival. Inspired by Baltimore’s bustling spirit, the Dashery’s simple yet sophisticated menu (not to mention the drip coffee) is sure to satisfy. Plus, it’s just down the street from the Washington Monument, making it the perfect place to begin a day of sightseeing in Mount Vernon.

The streets of this neighborhood are lined with grand mansions, some of which are now open to the public in other capacities—such as The Walters Art Museum. The museum’s free admission gets you access to a wide-ranging collection of contemporary and classical art, plus an inside look at the opulence of the 19th-century Hackerman House, which features a striking spiral staircase, carved wooden bookcases and a Tiffany stained glass skylight.

You could design a whole trip around Baltimore’s surprising art scene. Use our comprehensive guide to get started.

A man and woman admire pottery at the Walters Art Museum

Located just a stone’s throw from the Washington Monument, the Walters houses over 36,000 pieces that you can see for free!

Next, head to the incredible George Peabody Library—considered one of the most beautiful in the world—to ogle its five tiers of cast-iron balconies and grand skylight ceiling. Need a bite while in the neighborhood? Dooby’s is owned by a popular local restaurateur and is beloved for Korean-influenced delicious casual bites and tasty baked treats.

Later, hop over to the harborside Fell’s Point, where you can enjoy the scenic waterfront and take in the pubs, taverns and hundreds of historic buildings that line the stone streets. Frederick Douglass worked the shipyards here before escaping to freedom in 1838, an experience that highly influenced his writing and activism later in life. Learn more about his time in Baltimore at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Museum on Thames Street.

For dinner, head to Charleston, considered one of Baltimore’s best restaurants, which is helmed by James Beard Award nominee chef Cindy Wolf. Then, cap off the night with a specialty cocktail a few blocks north at the speakeasy The Elk Room, which Esquire named one of the country’s 21 best bars in recent years.

Day 3: Wander Off Baltimore's Beaten Paths

Your final day in Baltimore is all about adventure, so you’ll want to fuel up. Get your coffee fix at Artifact Coffee, located in a former mill and owned by culinary maven Spike Gjerde. There, enjoy a specialty latte and one of the cafe’s house-made seasonal pastries or tasty breakfast sandwiches—they offer plenty of vegan options as well.

Worker forms a waffle cone at the Charmery

The Charmery’s Baltimore-inspired flavors change all the time, but they’re all equally delicious.

Once you’ve had your fill, make your way to hipster haven Hampden to take in some Charm City character. The neighborhood is loaded with interesting nooks and great shops, and it was the inspiration for John Waters’ iconic film “Hairspray.” Don’t miss the expansive collection of hand-dyed yarns and fibers at Lovelyarns, the eclectic book selection at local favorite Atomic Books (where Waters gets his fan mail) or the myriad vintage shops. And if you want to cap off all that shopping with a scoop of homemade ice cream at The Charmery—well, we can’t blame you. Try the Baltimore-inspired flavors Old Bay Caramel or Berger Cookies and Cream, made from the city’s beloved black-and-white cookies.

Plant store

B. WIllow is a plant lover’s dream!

Take a quick ride over to nearby Remington, a quirky creative community known for its vibrant street art and laid-back attitude. Take a stroll in the scenic Wyman Park Dell to see the Harriet Tubman Grove. Then, do some shopping: pick up a plant from B. Willow, grab a new book at Greedy Reads or treat yourself to some new-to-you gems from Get Shredded Vintage.

Grab lunch at the trendy food hall R. House. Ten chef-driven culinary concepts reside in this restored auto body shop, so there’s something for everyone. We’re partial to the tacos at Amano and the Korean BBQ at Be.bim. And if you missed The Charmery back in Hampden, you’re in luck—swing by the Taharka Brothers stall for a scoop before you go.

Promenade post-lunch in bucolic Druid Hill Park, a 745-acre urban park that dates to the 1860s. Depending on the day and season, the park hosts farmers markets, walking and bike tours, hiking, festivals and outdoor fitness classes. It also encompasses the Maryland Zoo—which features an award-winning African penguin exhibit—and the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens, housed in a beautiful Victorian glass building and showcasing plants from around the world. Discover more ways to enjoy Baltimore’s great outdoors.

View of trees inside of The Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore.

Get lost in the lush greenery of the Rawlings Conservatory.

After refreshing at your hotel, head back out for a send-off dinner in the former manufacturing area along the Jones Falls. Once a bustling industrial setting home to cotton mills, iron foundries and sailcloth factories, the mills have since been redeveloped into mixed-use modern buildings. In Mill No. 1, try the rustic Italian spot Cosima, which is set in a former boiler room and features a beautiful terrace overlooking the stream.

If you have more time to spare, check out our must-do experiences for your first time in Baltimore!