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One Day in Baltimore, Maryland: Day Trip from Washington DC

Baltimore, Maryland is a fun city with beautiful water views and a top-rate aquarium. And located just an hour by car, and less by train, from Washington DC, Baltimore makes for the perfect day trip. Here’s how to make the most of one day in Baltimore, MD.

Whether you’re interested in art, history, food, or beer, there’s something for you to enjoy in Baltimore! From visiting the National Aquarium to trying Maryland’s famous crabs, there are a ton of fun things you can do on a day trip to Baltimore.

Baltimore, Maryland Sunset

One Day in Baltimore Itinerary

Walk Along the Inner Harbor

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is its sightseeing hub. Here, the city has beautiful water views, paddle boats shaped like pirate ships, numerous restaurants, and the National Aquarium.

Take in the views of the city with a walk on the waterfront walkway. This one day in Baltimore itinerary takes place all around the Inner Harbor, so you’ll get to see plenty of waterfront views!

Check out the Historic Ships in Baltimore

USS Constellation, Historic Ships in Baltimore, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland

The Historic Ships in Baltimore are floating museums docked along the edges of the Inner Harbor. It’s exactly what it sounds like — historic ships (in Baltimore) that you can tour.

This impressive collection of military vessels lets you climb aboard the USS Constellation (a Sloop-of-War built in 1854 and the only surviving ship from the Civil War), the USCG Cutter 37 (a Treasure-Class Cutter built in 1935), the LV116 Chesapeake (a Lightship built in 1930), the USS Torsk (a Submarine built in 1944), and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse (a Screw-Pile Lighthouse built in 1855).

You’ll learn all about marine experiences and seafaring life in the mid-1800s through the 1980s.

See the Pratt Street Power Plant

Pratt Street Power Plant, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland

The Pratt Street Power Plant is an imposing building located at Pratt Street and Pier 4 on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It was built with a beautiful Neo-Classical brick facade and a steel frame. It was one of only 11 buildings to survive the Baltimore Fire of 1904.

When it was built in 1900-1909, it served as the main source of power for the United Railways and Electric Company. It later served as a central steam plant for the Consolidated Gas, Electric Light and Power Company and the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company before shutting down in 1973.

The building had an unsuccessful stint as an indoor Six Flag theme park called Six Flags Power Plant from 1985-1989, which I think is hilarious. Then it was a short-lived dance club called P.T. Flagg’s from 1989-1990.

Now, it houses restaurants like a Phillips Seafood and a Hard Rock Cafe, some offices, and a contemporary art gallery. There used to be a Barnes & Noble and some gyms, but those have since closed. It’s such a beautiful old building, but it’s having trouble finding its place in the modern world.

Visit the National Aquarium

The National Aquarium was our main destination for this Baltimore day trip. The aquarium has over 20,000 animals — and that’s not just fish and sharks. They also have dolphins, birds, amphibians, and even a sloth!

The layout of the aquarium takes you on a one-way path with moving escalators that soar above the exhibits. It’s really well designed for seeing the whole aquarium without any breaks.

If you wanted to see the dolphin show at a certain time or break for food, however, this layout would make that more difficult. But it was perfect for us because we didn’t have to back-track anywhere or feel like we missed seeing anything.

On our visit, we traveled up three stories exploring the ocean and river exhibits, and then we went up another level to wander through the rain forest exhibit.

From there, we traveled down a spiraled ramp where we got to see the sharks up close before heading across the walkway to the dolphins and jellyfish building.

It took us about an hour and a half to see the whole aquarium.

Eat Maryland Crab

Philips Crab Deck, Baltimore, Maryland

After the National Aquarium, we ate dinner at Phillips Crab Deck, the outdoor seating area of Phillips Seafood. Phillips Seafood has been a Maryland family-owned restaurant for almost 100 years. They’re known for their crab cakes and fresh seafood.

Since Maryland is famous for its crabs, we figured this was the perfect place to eat. We shared a bucket of steamed blue crab, shrimp, and sausage and got a little messy. I also tried their lobster roll.

Getting to Baltimore From Washington D.C.

Baltimore is really easy to access from Washington DC, making it a great day trip!

By Car: The drive from DC to Baltimore takes just about an hour, depending on the traffic. If you hit rush hour, though, it could take more like two hours, so make sure to plan accordingly.

By Train: You can take the train from Washington DC’s Union Station to Baltimore’s Penn Station or Camden Yards Station. The train trip takes about 30-40 minutes. Find train tickets here.

One Day in Baltimore Map

Ready to spend a day exploring Baltimore, Maryland? Use the map below to plan out your day trip to Baltimore from Washington DC.

I hope you have a great day in Baltimore!

Baltimore Day Trip FAQ

How far is Baltimore, Maryland from Washington DC?

Baltimore is about 38.6 miles from Washington DC. This is about 1-2 hours by car depending on traffic.

How long does the train from DC to Baltimore take?

The train from Washington DC to Baltimore takes about 30-40 minutes.

How much does it cost to take the train from DC to Baltimore?

Train tickets from DC to Baltimore typically cost between $15-$30. You can check train prices here.

Top Baltimore Tours

Where to Stay in Baltimore

More DC Area Tips

Ready to visit Baltimore, Maryland? Plan your trip with these tips.



One Day in Baltimore, Maryland: Day Trip from Washington DC

Have you spent a day in Baltimore or taken a day trip to Baltimore from Washington DC? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Now, I want to go there. Though I don’t live far away I have not seen half of what Baltimore has to offer it seems. Thanks for the inspiration!

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