Forty-eight hours is not a lot of time to conquer a city's treasures and even less time when you have kids in tow. However, with a good action plan (and a lot of energy), you can get a gist of what the city has to offer visiting families.
A fun two-day itinerary is below, but first . . .
WHERE TO STAY
When traveling with younger kids, it's best to set realistic goals about how many and which attractions the family will see in a day. A general rule: Less is always more. Choosing a hotel should be contingent on where you decide to spend most of your touring. And if you only have 48 hours in Baltimore, the best place to do that is right in the center of the Inner Harbor. Hotels like the InterContinental Harbor Court or Renaissance Harborplace make ideal choices. If you don't mind driving, then you have more properties to choose from, however, if you only have a day, you don't want to spend much of that time behind a wheel, sitting in traffic or looking for parking.
The Inner Harbor — Photo courtesy of T. B. Smith
WHERE TO EAT
The most efficient way to maximize your time, but not necessarily your savings, is to grab a bite to eat at your hotel. Both of our suggested hotels have on-site dining options and will save you the effort of driving around looking for a bite to eat. However, if you want to experience some of Baltimore's best breakfast spots, you'll have to ditch the slippers and venture out to places like Piedigrotta and Blue Moon Cafe. They two make excellent choices for families because of their large portions and reasonable prices.
For lunch, keep things simple and grab a bite at one of the eateries at whatever attraction you're visiting or scoot over to Harborplace for quick and tasty dining options. There's a food court inside with a variety of things to grab on the go. Be sure to grab the family a treat at Ooh la la Cupcakery on Light Street before you start out again conquering the city.
WHAT TO DO
National Pinball Machine Museum - The museum is a piece of American nostalgia that parents can share with their kids. It provides a hands-on experience and features interactive exhibits. Kids, and parents, can indulge in over 50 machines located inside the museum's pay-to-play area.
Port Discovery — Photo courtesy of yelp.com
Port Discovery - Port Discovery is a great hands-on experience for kids to run around, learn and explore on their own. It's interactive and requires very little adult inclusion, a potential plus for mom and dad.
National Aquarium - The Aquarium is by far, the number one attraction in Baltimore. Millions of visitors flock to its doors each year to experience dolphins and other sea creatures.
Federal Hill Park - Sometimes all a kid really needs is open space to run, be free, and play. Federal Hill Park offers a great view of the Inner Harbor, some history for parents to take in, and a playground for kids to be free.
Maryland Science Center — Photo courtesy of T. B. Smith
Maryland Science Center - Like several other Baltimore attractions, the Science Center is a great way to mix education and fun for kids. Just a short walk from the Inner Harbor, the Science Center houses everything from large fabricated exhibitions of dinosaurs to explorations of the galaxy.
B & O Railroad Museum - The B & O museum is a pleasant 20 minute walk away from the Inner Harbor and is home to over 12o full-sized locomotives. Kids can climb aboard stationary antique locomotives or even take a ride on the original tracks of the B & O Railroad.
Here's a sample itinerary laid out for you to pack in as much as you can with the kids (if they're willing) in 2 days.
8:00AM - 9:30AM BREAKFAST
10:00AM - 12:30PM NATIONAL AQUARIUM
12:30PM - 1:30PM LUNCH
2:00PM - 4:00 PM NATIONAL AQUARIUM (DOLPHIN OR IMAX SHOW)
4:15PM - SNACK BREAK
4:30PM - 6:00PM THE MARYLAND SCIENCE CENTER
6:00 PM - DINNER
7:30PM - FEDERAL HILL PARK
8:00AM - 9:30AM BREAKFAST
10:00AM - 12:30PM PORT DISCOVERY
12:30PM - 1:30PM LUNCH AT HARBORPLACE
2:00PM - 4:30PM THE NATIONAL PINBALL MACHINE MUSEUM
4:30PM - SNACK BREAK
4:45PM - 6:30PM B & O RAILROAD MUSEUM
6:30PM - DINNER