Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 2, 2022

The ultimate guide for when your family visits Hopkins

By EMMA ANDERSSON | April 6, 2022

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COURTESY OF GRETA MARAS

Andersson breaks down the best spots in Baltimore to bring your family, including restaurants, museums and Hopkins events.

As the academic year nears its end and on-campus events pick up, Mom and Dad might be hinting at their next trip to Baltimore. While a visit from family comes with the benefit of free meals at real restaurants, you might find yourself worrying about how to fill the time in between. If that’s the case, keep reading for family-friendly activities that will please you, your parents and any siblings along for the ride. 

Museums and Culture

Introduce your family to the Baltimore art scene by taking them to the Walters Art Museum in historic Mount Vernon. The Walters boasts an extensive collection, spanning more than seven millennia and ranging a variety of traditions. Admission to the museum is free for all and does not require a reservation. However, if getting the whole family to Mount Vernon is too much of a hassle, opt instead for a visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). Showcasing mainly contemporary art, the BMA resides adjacent to Homewood Campus and likewise offers free admission to its multiple exhibitions. 

Any guide to Baltimore would be incomplete without mentioning the National Aquarium. While tickets are on the pricier side, this Inner Harbor attraction receives rave reviews from all ages. At the aquarium, you can pet stingrays, see sharks and dolphins and learn more about oceanography. It is open until late on Fridays and tickets can be purchased online for convenience. 

Local Shopping

The 32nd Street Farmers Market runs from 7 p.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday in nearby Waverly. I recommend grabbing a coffee from Zeke’s Coffee and a pastry from Bramble Baking Co. to enjoy as you catch up with family and explore the local goods together. On sunny days, seating on the far side of the market offers a pleasant ambience for chatting, sunning and listening to live music. 

In addition to checking out the farmers market, I suggest a stroll down the Avenue in Hampden, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Baltimore. Here, you can expect to stumble upon antique art sellers, locally owned clothing boutiques and quirky bookstores, hopefully to the satisfaction of all. Plus, you’ll find plenty of quaint places along the way to stop for food or drink if needs be. 

Sports

Check out the sports calendar to see if this upcoming visit coincides with any sporting events; if so, bring your family members along to cheer on our Blue Jays! Men’s and women’s Lacrosse, men’s and women’s Tennis and Baseball are all in-season and welcome the support — the more the better!

For an off-campus excursion, watch the Baltimore Orioles play at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Even if baseball isn’t your passion, the atmosphere at live sporting events is always thrilling. You can find their schedule here

Food

The best part about a visit from family? A reason to skip the dining hall! While finding a meal that pleases all diets and tastes can be stressful — trust me, I speak from experience — here are a few family-friendly recommendations around the city. 

I love R. House for a casual group dinner; it’s a cool food-hall just a short walk away from Homewood Campus. Everyone can order from their vendor of choice — there are 10 in total with an 11th pop-up, specializing in burritos, poké and everything in between — then sit all together, inside or outside on the comfortable patio. The turnaround for food is fast, the offerings are diverse and because there is no wait service, you and your family can linger as long as you please. 

For a more formal meal, I recommend taking a short walk or drive over to Wicked Sisters in Hampden. The modern American menu puts a twist on classic dishes and accommodates all diets, offering several vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. If you’re thinking about dining here on the weekend, I advise making a reservation because the restaurant tends to get busy (for good reason!). 

Though I hope that at least one of these activities sounds appealing, I encourage you to keep an eye out for other events as they pop up at Hopkins and around Baltimore. Every week, our Leisure Editor spotlights upcoming events of the weekend to look forward to; I recommend checking that out right before your family arrives for additional ideas. A lively city, Baltimore offers plenty of fun activities to partake in with your family on their next visit. 

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