Baltimore writer H.L. Mencken once quipped that “there is a saying in Baltimore that crabs may be prepared in 50 ways and all of them are good.” Indeed, a trip to Charm City means indulging in the famous crustaceans but the same can be said about the city itself.

There are a myriad of ways to enjoy Baltimore, whether you’re touring by boat or exploring the city on foot. Head indoors to get inspired from one of the city’s art museums in the winter and in the spring, pick up some local oysters at the city’s farmer’s market. Festivals abound in the summer, while the fall is all about getting into the Halloween spirit with a ghost tour through a neighborhood full of centuries-old buildings. Here's what we think are the best times to visit Baltimore.

Fall 

Best time for Halloween fun

Baltimore is generally a good budget destination, but you might find higher prices and busier hotels in the fall as families drop off their kids at one of Baltimore’s 15 colleges and universities. The milder temperatures make it an ideal month to enjoy a baseball game while a ghost tour will make October in Baltimore a spooky good time. 

Fireworks over the Washington Monument at Christmas Monument Lighting in Mount Vernon, Baltimore, Maryland
Winter in Baltimore means enjoying the holidays © Jon Bilous / Shutterstock

Winter

Best time for museum lovers

Winter is a great time to head indoors to enjoy Baltimore’s world-class museums and other cultural attractions. Since the temperatures rarely get below freezing, you could also spend winter enjoying a stroll around the harbor or neighborhoods with fewer crowds. 

Best free things to do in Baltimore 

Spring 

Best time for farmers market finds and racing fans 

Mild temperatures make it ideal for strolling the farmers markets and cheering on your favorite horse at the annual Preakness Stakes. You’ll find plenty of company at the horseracing event, but lots of room to stroll the grounds, so come deck out in your fancy hat or linen suit and pick your favorite horse for a fun day at the races. 

Father and son Walking along the Waterfront in Baltimore. There are a few large boats moored in the river.
When visiting Baltimore in the summer, all roads lead to the harbor © Cyndi Monaghan / Getty Images

Summer 

Best time for festival fun and baseball lovers 

Summer is the peak season for tourists visiting Baltimore as the kids are out of school. Enjoy the popular festivals, but expect high heat, humidity and crowds. Cool off with a classic Baltimore shaved ice treat: the snowball

Here’s a monthly guide on what you can expect throughout the year in Baltimore 

Top neighborhoods in Baltimore 

January 

As the temperature drops, now is a good time to head indoors to explore Baltimore’s world-class museums. Its two major museums, the Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art, offer free admission. In the Federal Hill neighborhood, the whimsical art featured in the American Visionary Art Museum will provide inspiration for years to come. 

February

While you could celebrate Black history every day in Baltimore, Black History Month is an especially opportune time to visit the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture or the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

People shop at an outdoor waterfront farmer's market in Baltimore
Baltimore ushers in spring with a slew of farmer's markets © aimintang / Getty Images

April 

After waking from their winter slumber, Baltimore’s vibrant farmers markets return with their collection of fresh produce, flowers and local food vendors. The Baltimore Farmers Market & Bazaar, held under an expressway, opens in early April and features nearly 100 farmers, food and drink makers and small retailers.

Pick up Cane Collective’s drink mixers or fresh fungi from the Mushroom Stand. Visitors can also pick up local booze from Baltimore Spirits Company, Boordy Vineyards and Sagamore Spirits. You’ll also find Maryland's only Black female oyster shucker at the Urban Oyster. Jasmine Norton’s menu includes chargrilled oysters and seafood boils. 
Key event: Baltimore Orioles opening day

May

Baltimore is home to one of horse racing’s Triple Crown events, the Preakness Stakes, held every year at Pimlico Race Course. In addition to the horse race, there are festivities leading up to the main event, including Black-Eyed Susan Day. 

June

The annual AFRAM festival, a celebration of Black fashion, food, music and culture, will be held during the Juneteenth weekend starting in 2022.
Key event: Baltimore Pride 

A large firework explodes over the Inner Harbor in Baltimore on the Fourth of July.
The Inner Harbor is the best place to celebrate the Fourth of July in Baltimore © prmoeller/Getty Images

July

It’s hot and crowded, but the country’s largest free arts festival is every bit worth it. Artscape takes over the Mount Vernon neighborhood in July and features everything from nationally known musical acts to experimental music and whimsically decorated cars. To beat the heat, find one of the water mists or an indoor performance.

August

Enjoying fresh steamed crabs dusted with Old Bay seasoning is a Baltimore ritual that can be enjoyed from April to November. Enjoy the bounty outside on the deck at Locust Point Steamers while the weather remains favorable. The summer months are also a time to enjoy the water. Try the BaltimoreWater Taxi, the Chessie dragon paddle boat, or a Hornblower sightseeing tour along the harbor.

September

If you haven’t witnessed a baseball game at Camden Yards yet, September is a good time to go before the season ends in the fall and the weather has cooled a bit from summer highs. The stadium has also been adding local food vendors, including Vida Taco Bar, Charm City Diner and Old Bay Seafood, where you can get your waffle fries smothered in crab dip. Fall is also a great time to explore Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods and waterfront

Shot of the grave of Edgar Allan Poe in Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Get into the spooky spirit with a visit to Edgar Allan Poe's grave © Walter Bibikow/ Getty Images

October 

As the former home of Edgar Allan Poe, Baltimore takes Halloween seriously. Take a Baltimore Ghost Tour that will take you through all the spirit-haunted alleyways and pubs in the historic Fells Point. Or explore some of the spots that honor the macabre writer, such as the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum and Poe’s burying place, Westminster Hall and Burying Ground.  

December

Holiday festivities abound in Baltimore and while the temperature drops, it rarely drops below freezing, making it a good time to explore the Inner Harbor (where you’ll often find a German Christmas Village) or head to the Hampden neighborhood where one block is decked out in over-the-top lights and decorations. 

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