Baltimore Family Attractions – Little Italy, Trains and Hotels

Genie Davis December 11, 2010 2 Comments

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Previously we explored the well known tourist attractions of Baltimore’s inner harbor, its water taxis, and historic Fort McHenry. But there’s a lot more to explore in Baltimore for families.  

Inner Harbor Baltimore Maryland

Baltimore’s inner harbor is lovely any time of day.

 

First of all there are some unique small museums that you won’t find anywhere else. We loved the classic Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum. What kid doesn’t get excited about trains? Here you’ll find model trains, steam engines, historic train cars, and a round house filled with fascinating railroad-related objects. A national landmark, this museum contains the oldest and most comprehensive American railroad collection in the U.S.  Our kids couldn’t get enough of climbing on the varied locomotives. Playing engineer and learning some railroad history at the same time comfortably filled a rainy afternoon. From locomotives to rolling stock and small items like dining car china and signal devices and tools, this fascinating museum contains artifacts of the entire railroad industry.  

Speaking of industry, Baltimore has a museum dedicated to that, too with the Museum of Industry. There’s a recreation of an early 20th-century neighborhood that lets kids take on roles pretending to be tailors, grocers, bankers, ship builders, you name it. With a uniquely Baltimorean point of view, pointing out the geography, immigration patterns, and construction of the city, this museum offers a simple to understand view of the businesses and laborers who built this town.  

The opposite of industry is, well, relaxation. And when the weather cleared up, we found a great place to do just that outside of Baltimore itself on the city side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The bridge leads to Maryland and Delaware ocean resorts, but en route there are several enjoyable bay beaches. Here you’ll find a locals favorite, the white sands of  Sandy Point State Park. This bay side beach is great for swimming in warm weather or strolling along the bay on cooler days. The water is calm, with a long, slow drop off that’s great for little kids splashing and playing. There’s great bird and sail boat watching and a wonderful view of the long, impressive Bay Bridge. A uniquely Maryland activity here is crabbing. Recreational crabbers are known as “chicken neckers,” as the usual technique is tying a piece of chicken to a string as bait, and dangling it off rocks or over the side of a boat into the bay. Our kids were introduced to this crab catching technique by a family of locals. If you’re not squeamish, your kids will enjoy catching a crab this way – you can let it go again with its free meal.  

Ah, food. No matter where you’ve spent the day, you’re going to be hungry and in the mood for a restaurant that welcomes bambinos. You’ll have plenty to choose from in Baltimore’s Little Italy. This small neighborhood is literally jammed with tasty, inexpensive family owned restaurants. Most restaurants are located along High Street. Although it’s near to the inner harbor, the residential neighborhood feels like its in another city. While there are some shops and bakeries, the restaurants are the thing here. We liked Amicci’s, casual, affordable, with great pastas and one of the best deserts we’ve ever eaten – orange ice inside a scooped-out orange. Caeser’s Den Italian restaurant offers grilled fish, meat and veggies; Chiapparelli’s Restaurant is cozy, offering family style entrees along with Caesar salad, and excellent versions of Italian classics like ravioli and lasagna. Try the chocolate chip cannoli for a rich desert. 

After a big meal, you’ll want to find a place to sleep off all that food! We found several great places to stay for Baltimore bound families. The Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel is situated in the east Harbor, between the tourist-attractions of the Inner Harbor and the historic, residential Fell’s Point. This high rise hotel is right on the water, walking distance to most attractions, with a water taxi nearby. For the more economy minded – as we often are, these days – there’s the
Brookshire Suites. Very roomy, this small hotel is two blocks from the water and there’s a full breakfast every morning included in the rate. Our favorite area to stay however is Fells Point, an historic neighborhood with cobblestone streets, row houses, small shops and cafes.  

Fells Point Baltimore Maryland

Fells Point is a quaint, historic neighborhood and our favorite place to stay in Baltimore.

 

If you visit in October, you’ll experience the eclectic arts, crafts, rides, and kids attractions at the Fells Point Fun Festival, an event started in order to raise money to fight against the razing of the neighborhood for highway expansion. The fight was successful and this fund raising event continues and draws visitors from across the state.  

The Admiral Fell Inn is right in Market Square. Sure the location can be a little noisy if you’re in a room that faces the front on a busy weekend. But the bustling neighborhood and reasonably priced yet period decorated inn is a great deal of fun. Our kids loved the old fashioned pedestal sinks and the cushy Persian rugs.  

After a good night’s sleep, your family will be ready to tackle some unique art. And there may be nothing more unique than The American Visionary Art Museum. This Baltimore treat houses a collection of  bizarre, and outside-the-box art created by self-taught artists without any formal training. There’s no place quite like this anywhere in the country, and the vibrant colors and primitive painting styles on display when we went connected well with the kids. Show your kids first hand how awesome it is to just create – and what you can make out of odds and ends and imagination.  

For a more formal approach to artistic expression, take the kids over to the Baltimore Museum of Art. Here you’ll find a lovely collection including work by Picasso, Cézanne, and Van Gogh, as well as an extensive Matisse collection. And outside, the kids will love having the run of the museum’s three acre Sculpture Gardens.  

No matter where you go in Baltimore, you’ll find a city with a special pride in its heritage. From museums to local neighborhood cafes and the rhythm of harbor life, you’ll enjoy exploring this city by the bay.

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Genie Davis is a multi-published fiction author, screen and TV writer, and travel writer. If it was possible, she'd like to spend every day traveling. www.geniedavis.com

Tags: , Reviews, Travel Excursions
2 Comments to “Baltimore Family Attractions – Little Italy, Trains and Hotels”
  1. avatar Baltimore Maryland - Children's Museum, Inner Harbor & Fort McHenry says:

    [...] accommodations to house your brood and create a truly memorable vacation. Next I explore some of Baltimore’s dining, hotel, and off the beaten track attractions. Until then, climb in your water taxi and enjoy the view from the inner harbor! VN:F [...]

  2. avatar B&O Railroad Museum says:

    Thanks so much for the mention! If you’d like to learn more about the B&O Railroad museum, find us on Facebook!

    http://www.facebook.con/bandorailroadmuseum