Top 19 Best Museums in Baltimore You Shouldn't Miss

Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Nikki Jain

While this famous Maryland port city has a lot to offer, some of the city's greatest attractions are the Baltimore museums.

There are a plethora of remarkable and world-famous museums in Baltimore, testifying to this vibrant city's rich culture.

From the bold and thought-provoking art installations at the Baltimore Museum of Art to the fun and interactive exhibits at the Maryland Science Center that fosters the love of science in children of all ages, you are sure to find something to love at one or more of the 19 best museums in Baltimore.

Read on to learn more about each of these museums, what makes them unique, and what makes each of them an unforgettable experience for visitors and locals alike.

The Best Baltimore Museums

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1: Baltimore Museum of Art

Baltimore Museum of Art
Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

The Baltimore Museum of Art has both stationary and seasonal exhibitions that include ancient and modern artists from around the globe.

Admission to BMA is always free, making it a wonderful option for visitors on a budget. When planning your visit, remember that the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, open 10 am - 5 pm, except for Thursday, when the museum is open until 9 pm.

No visit to BMA is complete without a walk through the Wurtzburger; Levi Sculpture Garden, a 17,000-square-foot garden featuring contemporary and modern art sculptures from the past 100 years.

The sculpture garden opens at 10 am on days the museum is open and closes at dusk, though it is closed for visitors' safety during extreme weather.

Address: 10 Art Museum Dr, Baltimore, MD 21218

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2: The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

Widely considered one of the best art museums in the US, the Walters Art Museum features historical fine art paintings from all over the world, including prominent pieces from throughout Asia, North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. 

Explore Victorian ceramic sculptures on your way to catch a glimpse of Hindu tapestries from central Asia.

Enter a room dedicated to Baroque art, complete with gilded furniture and bold wallpaper celebrating the incredible era in European art.

Admission is free, making the Walters Art Museum a great option for experiencing Baltimore's art and culture without breaking the bank.

Hours are 10 am - 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday, except for Thursday, when the museum's hours are 1 - 8 pm. The Walters Art Museum is closed on all major holidays.

Address: 600 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

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3: B&O Railroad Museum

B&O Railroad Museum

At 901 W. Pratt St. is the Mount Clare Station, the location of both the first regular railroad passenger service in America and the site of the first telegraph message dispatched on May 24, 1844.

In this station is the B&O (Baltimore & Ohio) Railroad Museum, which celebrates the achievements of the B&O Railroad with the largest collection of early American locomotives and rolling stock.

This museum also houses more than 6,000 small railroading objects, including pocket watches, dining car China, Pullman porter objects, and signals.

You can also enjoy the Mount Clare shops, the world's oldest currently operating railroad stores.

Address: 901 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21223

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Also Read: 30 Best Train Museums in the US

4: Baltimore Museum of Industry

Baltimore Museum of Industry

The history of the city's manufacturing and industry is examined in this museum.

The Baltimore Museum of Industry's exhibits (both permanent and temporary) display the tangible results of the efforts of laborers to make Baltimore an important manufacturing center.

The permanent galleries recreate the environments of various industries, including an 1865 oyster cannery, a 1910 pharmacy (where the famous Noxzema skin cream was invented), and a 1929 garment loft.

You can also study a variety of displayed artifacts- products utilized to contribute to Baltimore's industrial prosperity.

Children can enjoy hands-on activities, learning what it was like to toil in a factory more than a hundred years ago.

All in all, this is one of the best Baltimore museums for a day full of family fun and learning.

Address: 1415 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230

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5: Maryland Science Center

Maryland Science Center
Flickr/Maryland GovPics

This remarkable museum is dedicated to nurturing children's natural curiosity about the world around them with fun, interactive exhibits that both children and adults will enjoy.

The large museum includes three floors of science exhibits, including a planetarium. Live science shows and pop-up science activities encourage guests to participate.

Admission for adults is $25.95, and tickets for children aged 3 - 12 cost $19.95. Admission includes the museum, the planetarium, and the demo stage, where scientists perform live experiments before an audience. The IMAX experience is available to add to your visit for an additional $5.00.

The museum is open Wednesday - Sunday, with opportunities available for after-hours exploration of the museum.

Membership packages are available to locals.

Address: 601 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230

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Also Read: Best Science Museums in the US

6: Jewish Museum of Maryland

Jewish Museum of Maryland
Flickr/Baltimore Heritage

If you’re interested in the history of the Jewish community in Maryland, particularly in Baltimore, you will enjoy this museum.

You can visit next door to the museum Maryland's oldest standing synagogue, the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Erected in 1845, it is now owned by the Jewish Museum.

The museum also has rotating exhibits that are always informative and fascinating.

Among the notable past exhibits have been the Jews' contribution to astronomy called Jews in "Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit" and their role in the scrapping industry called "Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling."

With so much learning, this is definitely among the best museums in Baltimore.

Address: 15 Lloyd St, Baltimore, MD 21202

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Planning a trip to Maryland? Check out our lists of top attractions in Maryland & attractions in Baltimore!

7: American Visionary Art Museum

American Visionary Art Museum
Dreamstime/James Kirkikis

No visit to Baltimore, Maryland, is complete without a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum.

Hailed for its unique content and fantastic exhibits, this Baltimore museum features sculptures, painting, embroidery, and more - as well as kinetic art.

The annual kinetic sculpture race occurs every spring and features unusual and unforgettable contraptions engineered by talented teams, easily making this museum the most unforgettable of Baltimore attractions.

If you were looking for the best time to plan your trip to Baltimore, make sure to come when you can see this incredible spectacle of science and art.

Address: 800 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230

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8: Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum

Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum
Flickr/Jim, the Photographer

A must-see for baseball enthusiasts and casual viewers alike, the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum celebrates the life and legacy of the Colossus of Clout.

From coveted pieces, including autographed posters and cards, to lesser-known hidden gems from Babe Ruth's childhood.

For locals, school field trips are available, helping each new generation develop an appreciation for their city's proud sports legend.

Tickets are $13.00 for adults and $7.00 for kids aged 5 - 17. Admission is free for children under 5. The museum is open Monday through Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm, and is closed on major holidays.

Address: 216 Emory St, Baltimore, MD 21230

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9: Port Discovery Children’s Museum

Port Discovery Children’s Museum
Dreamstime/Ritu Jethani

Ranked one of the top 5 children's museums in the US, Port Discovery Children's Museum is a non-profit organization that offers hands-on art and science exhibits that have excited and delighted adults and children of all ages for years.

Offering three floors full of activities for children of all ages, visitors have the convenient option of searching for activities per age group, tailoring each experience to each child's individual needs and interests.

Take your kids to the sky climber, an enormous indoor playground, before taking them to dive into the pages of Eric Carle's classic stories through Very Eric Carle, an interactive exhibit featuring some of the children's book author's most famous works.

Admission is $21.95 per adult, and children 1 - 13 are $19.95, with children under 1 being free. Special discounts are available for military members with valid ID, and special community days offer general admission for just $5.00 each. Membership is also available for locals.

Address: 35 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202

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10: Baltimore Tattoo Museum

Baltimore Tattoo Museum
Flickr/Fuzzy Gerdes

Opened in 1999, the Baltimore Tattoo Museum offers a riveting experience following the unique history of electric tattoo art.

The collection of books, posters, display racks, and other archives feature both classic tattoo art and contemporary pieces.

Displayed tattoo machines and tools throughout the ages offer a unique glimpse into the lesser-known history of tattoo art.

Come explore the collection and leave with a souvenir, with walk-ins welcome. Choose a design from the extensive archives, or let one of the seven talented tattoo artists who work at the museum design a unique tattoo just for you.

The museum is open 7 days a week. Call ahead for hours of operation, as they are subject to change.

Address: 1534 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21231

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11: Historic Ships in Baltimore

Historic Ships in Baltimore
Dreamstime/Jacqueline Nix

The Historic Ships in Baltimore is a must-see for maritime enthusiasts. Tour the historic military boats in Baltimore's harbor and learn all about life at sea for 18th-century sailors and soldiers.

The exhibits celebrate over 200 years of Baltimore's maritime history. Several historic ships are on display, including the famous US Coast Guard Cutter 37, which was the only ship still afloat after the WWII bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

General admission for adults is $19.95, with special discounts available for seniors and students. Admission for children aged 6 - 14 is $7.95, with children 5 or under are free.

Self-guided tours are available at lower prices and include the option to tour either 2 or 4 of the historic ships.

The hours and days of operation are seasonal and subject to change, so make sure to call ahead or visit the museum's website for more information.

Address: 301 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202

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12: Baltimore Immigration Museum

Baltimore Immigration Museum

As the name indicates, this museum explores the history of immigrants who settled in Baltimore.

It is housed in the Immigrant House, where newly arrived settlers temporarily resided before finding permanent lodgings.

From 1830 to 1914, Baltimore was the third-largest port of entry for immigrants. The city welcomed various people, including Irish, Germans, Italians, Poles, and Jews.

The Baltimore Immigration Museum documents the travelers' struggles with displayed artifacts like household items the people brought along from their native lands.

It also has panels on recent settlements in Baltimore and Maryland, particularly by Asians and Latinos, and panels on the migration of African Americans from the South to the area during the 1920s-1960s.

Address: 1308 Beason St, Baltimore, MD 21230

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13: Baltimore Streetcar Museum

Baltimore Streetcar Museum

Founded in 1966 and run entirely by volunteers, the Baltimore Streetcar Museum offers a unique glimpse into a lesser-known facet of the city's rich history.

This permanent installation features authentic streetcars from various periods in Baltimore's history, alongside videos, tours, and photographs.

If you're lucky, you can even catch a glimpse of volunteers restoring some of the older models. Anyone can donate to the museum, which is always looking for funds to contribute to the restoration efforts of some of the older streetcars.

And no visit to the Baltimore Streetcar Museum is complete without a ride on one of the historic streetcars! Go back in time with a leisurely ride down the tracks, with streetcar operators dressed in historic uniforms, and imagine how the city used to look back in the day.

BSM is open Sundays from 12 pm - 5 pm except for in the months of January and February when the museum is closed for restoration and general repair work. The museum is open both Saturdays and Sundays from June to October.

Admission prices are $10.00 for adults and $8.00 for children 4 - 11. Admission is free for children under 4. Don't miss this lesser-known but unforgettable Baltimore attraction!

Address: 1901 Falls Rd, Baltimore, MD 21211

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14: Mount Clare Museum House

Mount Clare Museum House
Dreamstime/Joseph Skompski

Go back in time to the early days of Baltimore, with Mount Clare Museum House being one of the best and oldest examples of classic Georgian architecture in the city.

Built in 1760 by Charles Carroll Barrister, one of Maryland's first senators, the Mount Clare Museum House explores the lives of all those who lived and worked at the historic house.

Mount Clare sits prominently at the center of Carroll Park; it was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1971.

Learn all about life in the 18th century with historical artifacts, tools, clothing, and art, as well as bios of the people who worked and lived in the house throughout the ages.

Admission is $8.00 per adult, $7.00 for seniors and students, and $6.00 for children aged 2 - 12. Children under 2 and members are free. Annual passes are also available for both individuals and families.

The museum is open 11 am - 4 pm Friday through Sunday, mid-March through late December. The museum closes seasonally from January to mid-March.

Address: 1500 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

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15: Homewood Museum

Homewood Museum
Dreamstime/Sandra Foyt

This surviving example of Federal-period Palladian architecture stands on the Johns Hopkins University campus.

It was erected in the early 19th century for members of a prominent Maryland family, the Carrolls. Living with these prestigious individuals in this house were at least twenty-five enslaved people.

During your visit to this eleven-room domicile, you can check out the period furnishings and learn about the history of the Carrolls as well as their slaves, the Ross and Conner families.

Address: 3400 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21218

16: Baltimore Civil War Museum

Baltimore Civil War Museum
Flickr/Reading Tom

This museum is housed in the oldest standing city railroad station, opening in 1850.

It is one of the most visited museums in Baltimore, where you can learn about the role of Baltimore's railroads in the American Civil War (1861-65) and the utilization of the Underground Railroad to transport runaway slaves to freedom in the northern states and Canada (slavery was legal in the State of Maryland).

You also get to learn about the travels of President Abraham Lincoln throughout the city (his trips were carefully concealed to protect Lincoln from assassination attempts) and the perilous rides of Massachusetts soldiers to battle in the Baltimore area.

You can examine a gallery of artifacts related to the city's role in the Civil War and the Underground Railroad.

Address: 601 President St Inner Harbor East, Baltimore, MD 21202

17: Maryland Center for History and Culture

Maryland Center for History and Culture

This museum consists of 23,000 square feet of permanent and revolving exhibitions of historical and cultural artifacts pertaining to Maryland's past and present.

Among the fascinating artifacts is Francis Scott Key's original manuscript for America's official anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner" (he was inspired by witnessing an American flag at a fort withstanding enemy gunfire at the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812) and the letters and journals of Baltimore resident Benjamin Banneker, a notable African-American mathematician, astronomer, and compiler of almanacs.

Address: 610 Park Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201

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18: Reginald F. Lewis Museum

Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Dreamstime/Ritu Jethani

This is another historical Baltimore museum where you can get educated and inspired about African-American history in Maryland as you view displayed materials, both permanent and revolving.

Among the museum's permanent exhibits are "Building Maryland, Building America," which examines the dark period of slavery, and "The Strength of the Mind" which celebrates the artistic and cultural accomplishments of Maryland's African-Americans, including abolitionist Harriet Tubman and the first black Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall.

But who was Reginald F. Lewis? This individual rose from inauspicious beginnings in Baltimore to become the first African American to create a billion-dollar company, TLC Beatrice International Holdings, thus making his own mark in Maryland's African-American history.

Address: 830 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202

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19: Star-Spangled Banner Flag House

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House
Dreamstime/Joe Sohm

As already mentioned, "The Star-Spangled Banner" was written by Francis Scott Key when he observed an American flag at a war-torn Baltimore fort.

The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House is where the flag's designer, Mary Pickersgill, lived in the early 19th century.

She purchased the house with her own earnings from flag designing, quite an accomplishment at a time when American women had few options.

During your visit to the museum, you can not only view period furniture and antiques but also exhibits on the War of 1812 and the Battle of Baltimore.

Address: 844 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202

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The Final Words about Amazing Baltimore Museums

Whether you're into art, history, science, or all of it, you're sure to find something you love among our list of Baltimore museums.

While most of our entries include info on hours and admission, it's always advised to call ahead or visit their website for up-to-date information.

If you are a Baltimore local or a visitor to this incredible city, consider visiting one or more of the best museums in Baltimore!

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