Baltimore contains numerous public parks that provide both residents and visitors alike with an escape from the busy city life. These parks provide plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation activities and relaxation, whether people are looking to go hiking, enjoy a picnic, swim, play sports, explore historic buildings, or just relax. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Canton Waterfront Park
3.Chinquapin Run Park
6.Druid Hill Park
7.Farring Baybrook Park
9.Gwynns Falls Leakin Park
10.Gwynns Falls Trail
11.Herring Run Park
12.Inner Harbor Parks
13.Jones Falls Trail
15.Middle Branch Park
16.Mount Vernon Place
20.St. Mary’s Park
20 Best Baltimore Parks
- Canton Waterfront Park, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- Carroll Park, Photo: tadeas/stock.adobe.com
- Chinquapin Run Park, Photo: ablokhin/stock.adobe.com
- Clifton Park, Photo: squirlgirl/stock.adobe.com
- Cylburn Arboretum, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- Druid Hill Park, Photo: Christian Hinkle/stock.adobe.com
- Farring Baybrook Park, Photo: slonme/stock.adobe.com
- Federal Hill, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- Gwynns Falls Leakin Park, Photo: K Stocker/stock.adobe.com
- Gwynns Falls Trail, Photo: Michael Kachalov/stock.adobe.com
- Herring Run Park, Photo: Mexrix/stock.adobe.com
- Inner Harbor Parks, Photo: Tierney/stock.adobe.com
- Jones Falls Trail, Photo: ant/stock.adobe.com
- Latrobe Park, Photo: sarenac77/stock.adobe.com
- Middle Branch Park, Photo: corepics/stock.adobe.com
- Mount Vernon Place, Photo: Christian Hinkle/stock.adobe.com
- Patterson Park, Photo: Sergey Novikov/stock.adobe.com
- Riverside Park, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- Roosevelt Park, Photo: Bric/stock.adobe.com
- St. Mary’s Park, Photo: funkenzauber/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Ekasak/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum
The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum is funded, maintained, and interpreted by Poe Baltimore, a not-for-profit organization. The museum, open to visitors Thursdays through Sundays on a seasonal schedule, is the National Historic Landmark of the location where Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) lived with his aunt and two of his cousins from 1833 to 1835.
Poe is an American writer best known for his macabre short stories and poems. He is said to have invented the genres of science fiction and detective fiction and is perhaps the first well-known American writer to have made his living solely through writing. He supplemented his income from creative writing by working as an editor and literary critic. Although the home is unfurnished, the plasterwork and woodwork remains original to the time Poe lived there. It is said that Poe wrote at least 10 of the short stories and poems for which he is well known while living in the small room on the third floor of this house. In addition, approximately eight of his literary reviews were published during this time. His portable writing desk and chair are on display as well as artifacts from when he lived with the Allan family in Richmond, Virginia, foster parents who had taken in the orphaned Poe at the age of 2. These items include a telescope, china, and glassware.
History: The unassuming brick row home at 3 Amity Street (now 203) was built in 1830. Poe’s aunt, Maria Clemm, rented the home in 1832 and lived there with her mother and her daughter, Poe’s cousin (and future wife) Virginia Clemm. Then 23-year-old Poe moved in with the Clemm family in 1833 and lived there until 1835. He is said to have occupied the top floor room, a small space with a sharply pitched ceiling that reached just 6 feet high at its highest point. In the 1930s, the house was scheduled to be demolished, but was saved and donated to the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, which opened the home as a museum in 1949. The museum displayed a small number of artifacts, including a painted portrait Poe made of his wife after her death, a lock of Poe’s hair, and a small piece of his coffin. The museum was known for its well-attended events, including an annual Poe birthday party held at his gravesite each January and a third funeral for Poe held on the bicentennial of his death in 2009. The celebration was attended by over 1,200 guests. The museum closed in 2012 after the City of Baltimore reduced its funding in 2011. In 2013, Poe Baltimore, a new nonprofit organization, was formed and the house and museum reopened. Poe Baltimore is an affiliate of the American Writer’s Museum, in good company with the Louisa May Alcott Orchard house, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, the Emily Dickinson Museum, the Pearl S. Buck birthplace and home, and the Truman Capote and Harper Lee Old Courthouse Museum, among others.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Tours of the museum are hosted by Visit Baltimore, Baltimore’s tourism organization. The tour takes visitors to the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Poe Room, which houses a collection of Poe’s work, to the house and museum, and also to the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground, where Poe was laid to rest. Tours should be booked directly with Visit Baltimore. Special events at the house and museum are scheduled from time to time and include readings of Poe’s work or readings from authors and poets inspired by Poe. The Poe & Poets live poetry reading series takes place on the second Sunday of each month and offers a poetry reading as well as an open mic. The annual Pints for Poe event raises money each spring for the upkeep of the house and educational programming.
Past and Future Exhibits: Exhibits at the home and museum are temporary. Poe and Print featured reproductions of rare books and magazines from the Susan Jaffe Tane Collection. The works showcased Poe’s savvy in the world of publishing in the 1830s and ‘40s as he diversified his contributions to periodicals and books to earn a living as a writer. The museum frequently hosts specially themed tours of the home. Tours have been led by historians or authors and in one case the museum hosted an actor who led special tours of the home as Edgar Allan Poe himself.
203 N. Amity Street, Baltimore, MD 21223, Phone: 410-462-1763
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Attraction Spotlight: Geppi's Entertainment Museum
Geppi’s Entertainment Museum in Baltimore, MD offers a look at over 250 years of American pop culture memorabilia. The collection of over 6,000 artifacts includes games, toys, comic books, dolls, and more. The museum is housed in the historic Camden Station in Baltimore, Maryland. The permanent collection is exhibited in 7 different rooms and takes visitors through a timeline of American pop culture, from the earliest days of the United States to the present. The Story in Four Colors exhibit features comic books and their role in the development of pop culture’s most influential characters. The Extra! Extra! exhibit features the development of newspaper comics from 1776 to 1927, and the characters’ role in entertaining families and pitching products and ideas. The years 1928 through 1945 are represented in the exhibit When Heroes Unite, which introduces flying superheroes, from Mickey Mouse to Superman, who were inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s historic trans-Atlantic flight. America Tunes In chronicles the period from 1946 to 1960. With the introduction of television in the post-war era, superheroes entered American homes along with news of world events. Rock ‘n roll was also taking America by storm, and pop culture characters reflected this fascination. The Revolution exhibit reflects the period from 1961 to 1970, in which comic book characters espoused current events from rock ‘n roll culture to Cold War villains. The Expanding Universe exhibit shows visitors how new technologies allowed for an increased focus on home entertainment between 1971 and 1990, when video games rose to popularity. Going Global chronicles the rise of multimedia, pop culture on the internet, and the resurgence of old “vintage” favorites.
History: Stephen A. Geppi, the CEO of Diamond Comic Distributers, founded the Entertainment Museum in 2006. Mr. Geppi owned several comic book stores in Baltimore in the 1970s, and subsequently founded the largest comic book direct distribution service in 1982. Diamond Comic Distributers is still in operation today. Geppi’s privately owned museum consists of over 16,000 square feet of exhibition space. A passionate collector himself, Geppi has donated most of the artifacts from his own private collection. The permanent collection was organized by the museum’s founding curator, Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg, founder of Gemstone Publishing, a publisher of comic books and collector’s guides. The family-run museum is helmed by Geppi’s daughter, Melissa Geppi-Bowersox, who was promoted to the role of president in 2012. The museum is accompanied by Geppi’s Comic World, the museum store, which offers a variety of comic books and collectibles and is named in honor of Geppi’s original comic store chain.
Ongoing Programs and Education: School groups and others are welcome at the Entertainment Museum for group tours. Tours may be arranged to align with a particular theme or area of study. Educational talks are held occasionally on the museum’s 3rd floor. The museum is host to a number of public events and may be rented for private events. Zombie Gras is an annual Mardi Gras party in which guests meet at the museum, get outfitted as zombies, then zombie-walk the streets for meals at participating restaurants. The Pirates and Princess Party is an annual costume event for children. Kids participate in games and activities in the museum dressed as their favorite princess or pirate.
Past and Future Exhibits: Pioneer Spirit: Baltimore Heroes showcases the hometown heroes of Baltimore who have influenced the growth and character of the city since its founding in 1729. This special exhibit opened in 2011 and includes personal items belonging to the museum’s founder as well as donated items that reflect the cultural contributions of Baltimore, nicknamed “Charm City” in 1975. Visitors can nominate a Baltimore leader or entertainer to be included in the Pioneer Spirit exhibit. Voting takes place online three times per year. Other rotating exhibits have included Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond as well as a special exhibit on Star Wars. An exhibit on the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide explored the history of the annually published guide. Since 1970 it has been considered the foremost authority for collectors on standardized comic book pricing.
What’s Nearby: Also located in the historic Camden Station at Camden Yards is the Sports Legends Museum. This museum is on the first floor directly underneath Geppi’s Entertainment Museum and is a nonprofit museum managed by the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum.
301 W. Camden Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, Phone: 410-625-7060
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Attraction Spotlight: Baltimore Cylburn Arboretum
The Cylburn Arboretum of Baltimore is centered around the Clyburn mansion and offers 207 acres of gardens, woodlands, and trails. There are over 20 gardens, which are themed as memorials, traditional gardens, or specific habitats. Each garden features both annuals and perennials to offer a variety of colors and textures throughout the year.
The South Gardens in front of the mansion include several memorial gardens as well as an azalea garden. The West Gardens include a master gardener’s vegetable garden demonstration and composting site. The North Gardens behind the mansion offer examples of small city backyard gardens as well as a shady garden. There are also a dahlia garden, heritage rose garden and day lily garden. The East Gardens contain the Garden of the Senses as well as a formal garden and tree peony collection. The tree and shrub collections include some trees that were planted in the 1800s, when the mansion was first built. Among these originals is a grove of Japanese maple trees. There is a conifer collection and a collection of flowering trees including magnolias, weeping cherry trees, hollies, and flowering shrubs. Over 3.5 miles of trails and woodlands makes Clyburn one of the largest wooded areas in Baltimore, and therefore an important habitat for wildlife and wildflowers. The arboretum is home to the Baltimore Bird Club, and the trails are open for hiking and dog walking; bikes are allowed on paved paths only. The first floor of the Clyburn mansion is accessible by the public during limited hours. Many of the original architectural fixtures and details can be seen. A display case in the front hall holds period photos of the original building and grounds as well as photos of Jesse and Edyth Tyson, the home’s original owners.
History: The Clyburn mansion was built in 1868 by Jesse Tyson, President of Baltimore Chrome Works and son of Isaac Tyson. Isaac Tyson had amassed a fortune in chromium mining and both his sons followed in the family business. The second son, James, ran mining operations throughout Pennsylvania, Vermont, California, and Georgia, and built the Ruscombe mansion next door. The Clyburn mansion was built in the Victorian Renaissance Revival style and is noted for its use of local gneiss stone and its inlaid floors, leaded glass, and marble baths. The home, with its tall windows and wide porches, was used as a summer residence for the Tyson family. The architect, George A. Frederick, would go on to build Baltimore’s City Hall. The Clyburn mansion remained a home for Jesse Tyson and his wife Edyth through his death in 1906, and through her second marriage until her death in 1942. The home was then auctioned and briefly used as a residence for orphaned children. In 1954, the city founded the Cylburn Wildflower Preserve and Garden Center to make use of the home and grounds as a park, fulfilling a 1903 study completed by the famed landscape architects, the Olmstead Brothers. The formal gardens were restored and the mansion was used as office space for the park. In 1982, the park was renamed as an arboretum to reflect its history of stewardship of the gardens, lawns, natural wooded areas, and planted trees. Today’s arboretum reflects the history of the site by offering education, events, and continued care of the land and home. Two new buildings were constructed between 2008 and 2010, a visitor center and education center, to further serve the arboretum’s mission.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Visitors to the trails may participate in documenting the wildlife at the arboretum by sending photos via email and including the day, time, and place the animal was spotted. The trail system is popular with birders, who can spot a variety of species, which come to enjoy the wildflowers and trees. Visitors may also download scavenger hunt lists prior to their visit. Other programs include yoga, gardening workshops, and educational talks. Summer Nature Camps for children aged 5-11 teach kids about science, nature, and the environment. The Food Systems Lab is a teaching farm operating on the grounds of the arboretum, which offers a weekly open house where visitors can learn about sustainable food growing practices. The lab, which is operated in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, teaches about sustainable practices in food production, including aquaponics, the process of growing plants in water using fish to process waste and re-circulate nutrients.
Past and Future Exhibits: The Vollmer Visitor center is host to a variety of exhibits. Currently, artist Kathleen Kotarba, an award-winning painter from Baltimore, has several paintings on display. Admission to the exhibits and grounds is free, and the arboretum is open all year round except on major holidays.
4915 Greenspring Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21209, Phone: 410-367-2217
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