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The Best Parks in Baltimore

Picture of Jonaki Mehta
Jonaki Mehta
Updated: 9 February 2017
Baltimore is one of America’s oldest cities, with a rich history and beautiful neighborhoods. Much of its colonial history is preserved in its public parks, some of which were founded during the mid-1800s during a major effort to introduce green areas to urban cities. This history and picturesque sights of nature as well as the city can be enjoyed at Baltimore’s many beautiful parks and recreation areas – read ahead for some of Baltimore’s must-see parks.

Federal Hill Park

One of Baltimore’s landmark sites, Federal Hill Park is located just south of the downtown area, offering a brilliant view of the city. This is one of the most historic spots in the city, with its history dating back to far before the American Revolution when it was used as a space for public gatherings. This is also where Maryland’s ratification of the U.S. Constitution was celebrated by building a ship called “The Federalist,” which is the namesake of the park. Today, you can visit this park to bike, hike, or take a pleasant stroll while enjoying a view of the Inner Harbor. Along with the prime location, beautiful scenery, and rich history of this park, there are recreation areas that are conducive to both sports and playing for children. This is truly one of Baltimore’s gems.

Carroll Park

Located in southwest Baltimore, Carroll Park is a large park that includes one of the oldest Federal-style mansions in the city of Baltimore. Baltimore’s residents use the park for its large variety of athletic grounds, and it includes an outdoor skating facility and a nine-hole golf-course. Carroll Park was originally a private recreation area that was used by the German immigrant population that lived in Baltimore with scenic carriageways surrounded by green, rolling hills and fields and pedestrian walkways. Today, there is a German festival held here annually with music and other performing arts as well as food and activities, to celebrate the German influence and population here.

Druid Hill Park

Purchased and developed in the mid 19th century, Druid Hill Park is Baltimore’s first major municipal park. It was developed as part of a nationwide movement in the 1800s to provide green areas in urban cities that were becoming quickly populated (shortly after Central Park was developed), and the rolling hills, sparkling lake, picnic groves and botanic gardens make this a perfect spot for any outdoor lover. There are even hiking trails and athletic grounds for basketball, volleyball, baseball tennis, golf, and playgrounds for children. Located in the northern part of Baltimore, Druid Hill is one of the most scenic, relaxing spots in the city to enjoy year round, whether for a quick stroll or an active day trip. Be sure not to miss farmer’s markets and concerts here!

Canton Waterfront Park

Positioned on the eastern portion of the Baltimore Harbor, Canton Waterfront Park is a prime location for outdoor recreation like boating and fishing. This park also has nearly eight miles of walking trails that are especially picturesque during the fall and summer. The park is integrated well into the city with restaurants nearby, and street performers show up to busk every now and then. There are several events that are held at Canton every year, such as the Blue Angels air show, and you can even bring along your four-legged friend to an off-leash play area for dogs. If you’re visiting the city for a short time, one of the best ways to see beautiful views and get around town is by using the water-taxi service at Canton. Be sure to check out the Korean War Memorial while here as well.

Clifton Park

Clifton Park was once a farm and estate belonging to Johns Hopkins, which was eventually converted to an Italian Villa – the top of the villa is a tower that offers a view of the harbor and the city. Today, Clifton Park still maintains its gorgeous landscape with a garden and hills, plus an 18-hole gold course. The mansion is used as offices for the golf-course, today but it still has its original antique look that is reminiscent of its 19th century character. Be sure to take a look at the larger than life bronze sculpture made by Edward Berge, called “On the Trail.”

Chinquapin Run Park

Named after the 76-acre stream that runs through this park, Chinquapin Run Park is surrounded by natural green space and the calming sounds of flowing water. There are several recreation areas appropriate for family activities and sports that are often used by the elementary school that is located right by the souther portion of the park. The Chinquapin Run serves as a major tributary to one Baltimore’s three major stream arterie – you can follow the stream and take a leisurely hike or picnic along the water. This is a picturesque spot to visit, especially during the fall, when leaves change colors visibly and beautifully in this densely forested park.

Roosevelt Park

One of the relatively smaller parks in Baltimore, Roosevelt Park offers something for all ages. The Roosevelt Recreation Center was the first of its kind in Baltimore, offering extensive programs and events for children and adults today, as well as serving as a community center for the city. At this time, the skate park is being redesigned, so look out for the new ramps and rails. The community garden also offers plots of land to residents, where locals can cultivate vegetables and fruits together. It also has an outdoor pool, field and court sports, and an award-winning, notable design. Roosevelt Park is a contributing portion to Hampden’s art and retail sector as it meets with “The Avenue,” where residents and visitors go to appreciate local galleries and shops.

By Jonaki Mehta