10 Top Things to Do in Baltimore for Free

Baltimore skyline and Inner Harbor
Greg Pease / Getty Images

Whether you are on a budget or just looking for some inexpensive ways to spend your time, there are plenty of free things to do in Baltimore, the biggest city in Maryland. Located only 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of Washington, D.C., the Charm City and its scenic harbor offer a variety of activities to experience on the cheap. Visitors can explore several museums, beautiful parks for hiking and swimming, and enjoy interesting national monuments and memorials. Shopping in the oldest antique district in the United States is another fun option in Baltimore, which offers something for everyone.

01 of 10

See the Skyline From Federal Hill Park

Green wooden benches lined up along a sidewak on a sunny autumn day Baltimore's Federal Hill Park

drnadig / Getty Images 

Address
Federal Hill Park, Baltimore, MD 21230, USA
4.2

Located on the south side of the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill Park is one of the best spots to scope out Baltimore's skyline, walk or get some other form of exercise, and have a picnic. A beloved landmark in the city, the park and its more than 10 acres of grassy hilltop is known as the place where 4,000 patriots celebrated Maryland's ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788.

Nearby is the American Visionary Art Museum, which features wacky kinetic sculptures and a glittery mosaic exterior. The museum does charge an admission fee but is definitely worth a look—even if it's just from the outside.

02 of 10

Take the Kids to Fort McHenry National Monument

Fort McHenry National Monument

Visit Baltimore

Address
2400 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230, USA
Phone
+1 410-962-4290

Known as the "birthplace of the National Anthem," Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is where Francis Scott Key was inspired to pen the "Star-Spangled Banner." A perfect place to take the kids, the site of days past has plenty of activities and storytellers. Stop by in the mornings or afternoons (confirm times before you go) to see a daily changing of the flag ceremony, depending on the weather.

Although it is free to use the park grounds, have a picnic, and park, anyone entering the historic part of the monument will have to pay a fee. Various fee-free days are held each year.

03 of 10

Stop by the Edgar Allan Poe Memorial

Edgar Allan Poe Grave Monument

Monument City/ Flickr

Address
519 W Fayette St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
Phone
+1 410-706-2072

Pay homage to one of Baltimore's most celebrated residents, 1800s U.S. writer and editor Edgar Allan Poe, by visiting his historic gravesite and memorial inside Westminster Hall and Burying Ground.

For a small fee, you can also seek out the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, a National Historic Landmark which is open to the public Thursday through Sunday. The writer lived in the home from 1833-1835 with his grandmother, aunt, and two cousins.

04 of 10

Explore The Baltimore Museum of Art

Baltimore Museum of Art

Baltimore Museum of Art BMA

Address
10 Art Museum Dr, Baltimore, MD 21218-3898, USA
Phone
+1 443-573-1700
4.2

Visitors to The Baltimore Museum of Art will be pleased to find a museum full of works from the 19th century to contemporary times. The collection of about 95,000 pieces of art includes the largest number of works by Henri Matisse in the world, as well as pieces by Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and much more. Don't forget to take a stroll through the sculpture garden, which is set on nearly three landscaped acres.

The museum, open Wednesday through Sunday, has free admission year-round, with the exception of some events and special exhibitions.

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05 of 10

View Ancient Works at The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

Courtesy of The Walters Art Museum

Address
600 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
Phone
+1 410-547-9000
4.2

The Walters Art Museum features a collection of approximately 36,000 treasures that date from from 5,000 BCE to the 21st century and includes ancient art, Asian art, Islamic art, medieval art, Renaissance and Baroque art, and beyond. 

The museum, which is free to the public, is open Wednesday through Sunday and located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood, near the Washington Monument.

06 of 10

Enjoy Creativity at Maryland Institute College of Art

Maryland Institute College of Art

aimintang / Getty Images

Address
1300 W Mt Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217-4134, USA
Phone
+1 410-669-9200

Scattered throughout the campus of the Maryland Institute College of Art are several galleries that showcase a variety of work made by up and coming student artists (and many times, established regional, national, or international artists). With a hodgepodge of buildings that runs the gamut from neoclassical to modern, the campus itself can be considered a work of art. There are around 100 exhibitions a year on the Bolton Hill campus.

07 of 10

Hike Gwynns Falls Trail

Gwynns Falls Trail @ Middle Branch Park

Eric Perlman/ Flickr/ cc

Address
Baltimore, MD 21207, USA
Phone
+1 410-396-0440

Lace up your hiking shoes or hop on a two-wheeler and head to the 15-mile Gwynns Falls Trail, which begins at the I-70 Park & Ride and meanders along the Gwynns Falls stream southeast to the Middle Branch and the Inner Harbor of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River. Along the way, you'll catch a glimpse of historic sites, water features, and bridges. In addition, you'll see more than 30 neighborhoods and many Baltimore attractions, including M&T Bank Stadium (where the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League play), Oriole Park at Camden Yards (a Major League Baseball park), and Federal Hill.

08 of 10

Get Back to Nature at Cylburn Arboretum

Tree and the Visitor Center at Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, Mar

AppalachianViews/ Getty Images

Address
Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD 21209, USA
4.4

Encompassing 207 acres, Cylburn Arboretum is a nature preserve within city limits. A Victorian mansion filled with watercolor paintings is surrounded by woodlands with trails from which native and non-native trees, plants, and flowers can be found. Some of the most favored flora among the collection includes beeches, hollies, Japanese maples, magnolias, and Maryland oaks.

The preserve is open to the public all year on Tuesday through Sunday and free to enter (for dogs on leash too).

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09 of 10

Browse at Antique Row

Antiques Row

Elvert Barnes/ Flickr

Address
800 N Howard St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
Phone
+1 410-728-6363

The oldest antique district in the U.S. is located in Baltimore, along the 800 block of N. Howard Street and the 200 block of W. Read Street. The area dating back to the 1840s has become known as Antique Row over the years. These two blocks offer shops with English, American, and other furnishings, paintings, rare books, and additional items.Taking a stroll and browsing the stores full of collectibles is free, but odds are you'll find a treasure worth spending some money on.

10 of 10

Ice Skate or Swim at Patterson Park

Pagoda Observatory in Patterson park, Baltimore

SerrNovik/ Getty Images

Address
Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD, USA

Once an encampment for Union Troops during the Civil War, Patterson Park is now a roughly 130-acre public playground with an ice-skating rink, swimming pool, lake, basketball and tennis courts. Don't miss the Victorian pagoda for catching some great views of downtown and various neighborhoods and landmarks. Activities are offered year-round at the “Best Back Yard in Baltimore,” but pick up in the summer.

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Top Free Attractions in Baltimore