We're visiting the B & O Railroad museum soon.  My children gave us admission to the museum and some other perks, as a gift.  We will be staying in a hotel near the Inner Harbor.  We will have our car.  

What other things should we be looking to see ?   Any suggestions will be appreciated.  

Original Post

To me the best thing to do is what you're already doing which is visiting the museum. You have all those restaurants at the Inner Harbor. One other thing to do is take a ride to Ellicott City which is a 15 minute ride from the city. They have a train museum there at the station and the town has a old look to it. Right next to the museum is the old B&O mainline. I think a couple of trains run through there in a day. Many shops and restaurants in the town there. 

Our ticket includes the Mount Clare museum and Elliott City.  That's a good thing.  

We'll be sure to catch babe Ruth's birthplace.

The National Aquarium brings back a funny memory.  We took the kids there in the late '80s, I think it was.  My youngest daughter wasn't impressed.  She said, "We came all the way down here to see a fish".  

If you happen to be going after Thanksgiving, you can visit any number of holiday train gardens, an old Baltimore tradition that is largely unique to the area and is slowly dying out.  Most of the ones my wife and I used to visit when we lived there were hosted by fire companies, usually with a free-will offering of a few dollars.  They are truly worth seeing.  The ones that come to mind the quickest are Glen Ave. on the north side, Arbutus VFD on the west side, Ellicott City company #2 a few miles to the west of that, and Wise Ave. in Dundalk.  The Shops at Kenilworth on the north side has had a large display for years that was featured in the PBS special Clickety Clack Christmas Trains (sp?); also worth a trip.  A good website that will help you learn more about these displays is http://www.wvmgrs.org/TrainGardens.htm#Baltimore, which has been updated for 2017.

Historic Ellicott City is worth a visit.  It was the original western terminus of the B&O.  The original station has been made into a museum and there are several train layouts.  There's good antiquing there as well, and good restaurants.  From the west edge of Baltimore City, where we lived, Ellicott City isn't much more than 10 minutes away.



Johnstown, PA


Last edited by RETINPA

In Ellicott City I here the food is good at the Trolley Stop  and if you want a good beer go up the hill in town and stop at the Ellicott Mills brewery. 

If you’re looking for a good crabcake; try G&M Restaurant while you’re in town. Cross Street Market is a good place to go for some big beers and fresh oysters. Thames Street Oyster House is a good more upscale dinner spot. 

Ah yes, the Trolley Stop.  We used to eat there regularly, and for years (even before we lived in Baltimore) we went to old Ellicott City for antiquing on the weekend before Christmas, ending with lunch at the Trolley Stop.  They offer a nice variety of sandwiches and entrees.  If you go there and happen to get something that comes with French fries, ask for a side of beef gravy to dip them in.  We hadn't heard of "gravy fries" until we first went there, but from then on we always got them that way.  Now, 3 years after leaving the area, we still miss that place.

If still open, their is a Tall Ship in Inner Harbor, a World war II submarine nearby, and don't forget MTH in Columbia, MD about 45 minutes away.

Paradise & Pacific Railroad

I will second G&M Seafood near Linthicum.  Great crab cakes with minimal filler, or fried clams the size of your little finger.  Check out the dessert selection too.   

Dan -  Great you are coming to Bmore!  You will love the B&O Museum!

Yes G&M crab cakes are tops for sure!  You might also check out Fells Point which is the oldest part of the Baltimore harbor ( cobble stone streets etc ).  There is a seafood restaurant in Fells Point named Berthas which has great muscles!  Fells Point has a charm all its own, however, parking your car is not so easy.  Fells point streets still have some of the old railroad tracks with tight curves where Docksiders were used at one time. 

There are many nice restaurants on N. Charles Street just south and north of Mt. Vernon Circle ( which hosts Baltimore's Washington Monument ). Lots of beautiful architecture in this area.   While you are on Charles you can visit Penn Station, Amtraks own.  A few blocks away,  in the Mt. Royal neighborhood why not visit Mt. Royal Station of B&O fame.  This station is now part of the Maryland Institute of Art, however, the outside architecture is as beautiful as the day it opened.  The train sheds are still there as this is the entrance to the famous Howard Street Tunnel built by the B&O and now owned by CSX.  

Also take a ride on the Baltimore Light Rail.  You can ride it from end to end if you wish and see lots of cool stuff.  Part of it traverses the old Northern Central Railroad line which ran from Baltimore to Harrisburg. 

If you want to check out the Thomas Viaduct you may do so.  It's located in Elkridge, Md. just off Rt. 1on Patapsco Ave. ( about 20 - 25 minutes outside Balto give or take a few traffic lights )  which you can pick up in Baltimore, somewhat close to the inner harbor.   This bridge, built by the B&O in the 1830's?, is still in use and carries the CSX - MARC Camden line across the Patapsco River.  

If you are a concert goer check out the Baltimore Symphony at the Meyerhoff Concert Hall located in the Mt. Royal neighborhood.   Great acoustics!  Other artists ( not just classical ) play there as well.  There is also the Rams Head Live which brings in national and local artists.  

Ellicott City is about 35 - 45 minutes away, depending on traffic.  It has the first terminus of the B&O.  The old stone station still stands and is part of the B&O museum, however, not for long .... Howard County Parks  is taking it over from the museum soon.... so check with the B&O museum to see how long you ticket is good.  

Oh yes - by all mean check out Camden Station which is now a sports museum and part of the Orioles Camden Yards complex.  Camden Station is still in use by Baltimore Light Rail and MARC.  Of course the interior of the actual station is not used for railroad purposes.  All ticket transactions etc. are out of a baggage car and automatic machines. 

As for train stores: MB Klien in Cockeysville ( about 25 minutes from downtown ) is really the only game in town ( or in this case out of town ).  There is not much of a retail show room any longer as they are using what used to be retail space for their surging internet business: modeltrainstuff.com   At least they seem to be doing well financially.  There is a small retail area within the store.  

I hope this helps in some way.

Do enjoy your stay! 



Cheers and Happy Railroading,

Patrick W  

CEO - The Free State Junction Railway 

" Where the music is sweet and the trains always run on time"

Home Office - Patsburg, Maryland 

trumptrain posted:


As for train stores: MB Klien in Cockeysville ( about 25 minutes from downtown ) is really the only game in town ( or in this case out of town ).  There is not much of a retail show room any longer as they are using what used to be retail space for their surging internet business: modeltrainstuff.com   At least they seem to be doing well financially.  There is a small retail area



Can't emphasize this enough. I swung by there yesterday to pick up a few items and Klein's is a shadow of its former self. They downsized when they originally moved out from the city and this latest remodel reduced the "retail space" even more.  

Don't get me wrong. It's still one of my go-to train dealers. Fantastic inventory and pricing. I just don't recommend driving out there (Cockeysville) as you have lots of other great suggestions for things to do in and around Baltimore.


Last edited by johnstrains

Pretty much everyone has mentioned the big ones.

The Baltimore Streetcar Museum is also an option. I've never been but have heard many good things.

If you have a weekday available, and are willing to drive a bit, call up MTH and make an appointment to see their showroom and layout. I do not believe it is open on regular hours for drop in and one must call to make an appointment.

Depending on when you plan to visit, the museum may be closed to the public because of their "Polar Express" program.

Check before you go


November 17-19, 24-26 - ALL DATES - SOLD OUT!

Event hours: 8am - 5pm

Showtimes: 9am, 10:15am, 11:30am, 12:45pm, & 2:00pm

Jim B&O, Ma & Pa., Canton, and WM

TCA '04, WB&A '05, MDOG '11

"Be happy. You never know how much time you have left"

Jim M Sr posted:

Depending on when you plan to visit, the museum may be closed to the public because of their "Polar Express" program.

Check before you go


November 17-19, 24-26 - ALL DATES - SOLD OUT!

Event hours: 8am - 5pm

Showtimes: 9am, 10:15am, 11:30am, 12:45pm, & 2:00pm

Good point. The B&O Museum has been known to completely close to the public during, prior, and after large events and only be open to ticket holders. This includes the Polar Express, Thomas event, etc. Check the website and call to confirm.

The waterfront is nice if you like boat tours. The retail stores are not all that great.

A nice clean town. Cons being there are people at every major traffic light asking for money, don't look at them or they will come to your car. The other, be ready to move when the light turns green a split second hesitation and horns will blow. I'm not knocking Baltimore, we had a good time there. Just telling you what to expect.




Little different this one.  But I've done it -- and enjoyed it.  Requires some up and down on steep-ish steps. http://www.historicships.org/historic-ships.html

The immediate area around the b&o seems a bit sketchy to me at least -- i believe it's called pigtown, or was called it.  Any train rides go out maybe 1 mile, then back.

They are not allowed to connect into the rail network.

In addition to what's already been mentioned, we visited Lexington Market and had crab cakes at Faidley's Seafood inside the market when we there many years ago and also took a "duck tour" of the city on both land and sea. Enjoyed both.

Dan no trip to Baltimore is complete without visiting Fort McHenry National Monument.  It's just few minutes away from the B&O Museum.



Wild Mary (AKA Nick) Retired & "Riding The Wild Mary"



Forum Member Since 24 Sept. 2004



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As a Maryland resident, I say...watch your back in Baltimore.  There have been several high profile incidents in which swarms of inner city people attacked visitors.  Search the news sites for details

George Bailey: You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles!

It's a Wonderful Life, 1946


Check out my Lionel and MTH auto trains


Wow, lots of good suggestions.  A couple of details to add.  The tall ship in the Inner Harbor is the former USS Constellation, a mid-19th century "Sloop of war" that looks like a traditional man-of-war frigate. 

Often over looked is the US Coast Guard Cutter Taney.  Last remaining ship that was present at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th.

The Ellicott station is said to be the national's oldest.  Examine it closely, and you'll notice the back section was in the past an engine house, with the remains of a small one/half turn table pit in the front.  While I haven't been there in a number of years, if you look at the roof line, you'll see the smoke stack from the stalls are near towards the center of the building, not the ends; perhaps to support the B&O famous vertical boilered "Grasshopper" locomotives.

The Thomas Viaduct at Relay, MD, if you enjoy the 1:1 models, is an excellent location to railfan.

At the B&O museum if you take the 1st mile ride, you can't help to notice the hulk of PRR GG1 4876 in the deadline.  This GG1 is famous for crashing into Washington Union Station in 1952, ending up in the basement of the station and being removed later in pieces where it was put back together and back into operation.

In the roundhouse, you might notice the lower parts of the walls are painted black to about the height of a person.  This was done to hide the grime stains from when workers would lean against the walls during breaks working on the cars that were built and maintained in the round house.

Finally, a bit south of Ellicott city is the Bollman Truss Railroad bridge in Savage Mill, MD.  Built in the 1850's the bridge is perhaps the oldest iron bridge in the US and represents the earliest design of an all metal bridge.  Today, it carries a trail, but is a neat comparison to the massive stone Thomas.





There's a science museum in the inner harbor but it may be more kid oriented -- gets good marks.   Farther afield but not too far, the national cryptologic museum always seems to get good comments, not been myself:  https://www.nsa.gov/about/cryp...gic-heritage/museum/

Now out well of baltimore -- but I have been to this one, and I think it's well worth it --  the "dulles annex" to the national air and space museum:



I can add yet another.  The Baltimore Museum of Industry:


Actually, a very neat place.  Best visited on a weekend morning when volunteers operate the late 20th century machine shop with machines operated by pulley, as well as a blacksmith demonstration.

Some very interesting old electrical equipment. If you are into steam, there is a amazing steam road roller machine that apparently is fired up now and then.

Neat display on early automobile - pre-Henry Ford - manufacturing; where cars were made one-off, not in a production line; fabric and clothing production, excellent printing shop with working linotype (hot metal) typesetting machine as well as hand set, single print machines.  You can try your hand in writing backwards and setting type.

The museum is in a former industrial building.  Weekdays it is a popular elementary and middle school field trip destination.  Depending time of day, perhaps 20 minute drive from B&O.  Free parking. 



Farmer_Bill posted:

Don, you better extend your stay to two weeks to take it all in.  


Yep,  that would be a full two weeks and being retired I'd be happy to be your tour guide.

Wild Mary (AKA Nick) Retired & "Riding The Wild Mary"



Forum Member Since 24 Sept. 2004


We had a very nice time in Baltimore, this past weekend.  We arrived on Thursday and checked into the Hyatt at the Inner Harbor.  A room with a view, which took some arm twisting to get, was exactly that, a room with a great view of the Inner harbor.  After a short rest we took a walk about the harbor and wound up in Little Italy for dinner.  

Friday was train day.  The B & O museum was first on the list.  The restoration work done after the snow storm damage was excellent.  Fortunately there were no crowds and we were able to move about in a relaxed manner.  We opted for the train ride which took us a few miles down the track in 1940s coaches.  The ticket price of $6.00 for the two of us was a surprise.  You can just about buy a sandwich for that amount.  

It was a windy and cold day so SWMBO toured some of the other indoor exhibits while I walked through the outdoor displays.    It's sad to see the condition of some of the equipment.  Even some of the locomotives like the Reading T1 that pulled the Freedom train, it's paint peeling and sitting there looking forlorn.  Most of us remember it well in action.  

Elliott City was next to see.  Besides the station, there are nice shops and eateries.  It reminded me of Manayunk in Philly.

On Saturday we were the guests of friends who have a boat.  They took us down the river for a tour and lunch on board.  Later we all went to Little Italy for dinner and Vacarros for dessert.  

Here are a few shots from the museum.







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And still more.  Note the drop light hanging neatly in it's place.




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