Baltimore, Maryland is known as “Charm City”. As a lifelong Maryland resident I have to agree that our city is indeed charming and filled with an abundance of family friendly activities. What you probably didn’t know is many of these activities are free. With the weather warming up it’s time to head outside and explore Baltimore.
Baltimore is amazing in so many ways. It offers a variety of experiences and countless ways to make memories, have fun, learn something new and genuinely enjoy your trip. There are certainly plenty of options that will help keep your budget low whether you are visiting for a day or here for a week. Welcome to Charm City, we are glad you came!
One of my families top free places is Fort McHenry National Monument.
Built on a peninsula, the star-shaped Fort McHenry played a large role in American history. It served as a prison in the Civil War and a hospital during World War I. However, it is most notable for the crucial role it played in the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814, defending the Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British Navy during the War of 1812. It was following the Battle of Baltimore that Francis Scott Key, inspired by the sight of the Star-Spangled Banner still flying about the Fort, penned the poem that would become the National Anthem. The Fort is part of the National Park service and the interior houses displays that mark different aspects of life there for commanding officers, troops, and prisoners. The Visitor Center offer an exhibit that tells the history of the Fort, as well as a gift shop. My oldest daughter loves to take in all of the historic value of the Fort while my little one climbs on cannons and plays in tunnels. If you are a home-school family this is a fantastic day trip and won’t cost more than gas and lunch.
When thinking of the city you don’t often think of parks and open spaces. Pierce’s Park is located on Pier 5 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The park has a “Seussian” quality with a musical fence and whimsical sculptures, It’s a wonderful spot to take a breather from Inner Harbor fun..The Park is maintained by the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, which is focused on developing a “Healthy Harbor.” In line with Waterfront Partnership’s ‘Healthy Harbor’ Sustainability features in the park’s design include indigenous trees, native plantings and rain gardens, that provide opportunity to educate children about the benefits of capturing water runoff. Pack a picnic for the day and spend time in the most magical park in Baltimore.
Open to the public since 1934, the Walters Art Museum houses works from the third millennium BC to the present. Within the walls of this world-class art museum, visitors can view works in many mediums, including ceramics and sculpture, in addition to unique pieces such as medieval armor and jeweled Faberge eggs. The Byzantine, Ethiopian, and Egyptian sections are particularly striking. The museum and other historic buildings are lined up along Mount Vernon Place, a beautiful public square. We adore the art museum, it’s in a very eclectic part of the city so you can explore the surrounding shops and dining locations when you are done at the museum. My seven year old has a hard time keeping quiet and staying focused, this is a great museum for travel with teens.
You cannot visit Baltimore without a visit to the Inner Harbor, just steps away from more than a dozen Baltimore hotels and even more attractions. Harborplace offers visitors a one-stop shopping experience. This indoor mall is right in the center of the action and is home to popular national retailers as well as some local shops. You’ll find common items here as well as things unique to Baltimore. Have you ever seen a McCormick Spice store? This is a fun place to visit for free samples of the latest sweet treats.
Be sure to take in the sights and sounds of the Inner Harbor. In the summer months especially, you’ll stumble upon lively entertainment of some sort in the outdoor amphitheater. We have a had a great time enjoying ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s and watching the magician shows.
Baltimore can get pretty darn hot in the summer, add in the humidity and it’s miserable. Beat the Heat at the Walter Sondheim Fountain
It’s a fountain you can actually play in. Let the kids cool off on those warm summer days, all they have to do is stand on the fountain’s large, flat surface to catch the spray from its 53 interactive water jets. Don’t forget to pack a change of clothes if you aren’t staying at a downtown hotel, the kids will get completely soaked!
Do you love outdoor movies? Hosted throughout the summer are free movies in Federal Hill and the Little Italy sections of Baltimore. Bring a blanket and a bag of treats or a picnic dinner for a fun family night.
While not completely free if you want to see an actual baseball game, you cannot come to Baltimore without a visit to Camden Yards. I may be partial but it is a stunning ballpark. We spend many summer days here.
Did you know Camden Yards is located just a couple blocks away from the birthplace of baseball’s most famous player, George Herman “Babe” Ruth. Today center field sits on top of what was once Ruth’s Café, owned by Ruth’s father. If you aren’t going inside for a game there are some really great free photo ops outside the gates on Russell and Camden Streets.
Baltimore is a very walkable city, be sure to get a map from your hotel concierge and have fun exploring all of the exciting and fun free attractions in Baltimore.
What are your favorite free activities in Baltimore?