Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Baltimore's Charm
- 12. Free Fall Baltimore
- 13. Free Movies Federal Hill, Fells Point, Charles Village, and Little Italy
- 14. Take in an Outdoor Performance at the Harborplace Amphitheater
- 15. Burn off your lunch exploring the Heritage Walk
- 16. Spend the Weekend at the Baltimore Book Festival
- 17. Play Volleyball at Rash Field
- 18. Museum and a Movie at the American Visionary Art Museum
- 19. Artscape
- 20. See a concert at the National Harbor
Travel to big cities doesn’t have to cost big money. These free things to do in Baltimore are appropriate for a variety of ages and include a mix of historical, educational and fun. If you’re visiting Maryland and looking for family friendly free things to do in Baltimore, check out this list before your visit.
Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore has played an important historical role. Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner here, and Babe Ruth got his start in baseball. Whether I hear the national anthem at Oriole Park Camden Yards, home of the major league Baltimore Orioles, or at another ball game, I always think of Charm City.
From its vibrant Inner Harbor seaport, National Aquarium and fresh seafood, there is something in Baltimore for everyone. When our kids were little, we headed to the Port Discovery Children’s Museum and the B&O Railroad Museum on every trip. Alas, they outgrew these places.
Baltimore also has more public monuments per capita than any other city in the United States. Some have made this list of free things to do in Baltimore.
In fact, President John Quincy Adams nicknamed it “Monument City.” But Charm City is an appropriate moniker, too. Baltimore retains a small town feel, despite its big city attractions.
Note: During the current Covid-19 crisis, these attractions are closed, though you can walk to the harbor and see the historic ships. Once the threat of coronavirus has passed, put Baltimore on your list of places to visit. And if, like me, you have always been worried about medical crises on vacation, Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins is one of the top hospitals in the United States.
Free Things to Do in Baltimore Year Round
1. Charm City Circulator
This free bus can take you to attractions like the Maryland Science Center Baltimore Museum of Industry. The bus has routes from the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry National Monument, Federal Hill, and Fell’s Point. There is even a Harbor Connector, a free ferry to waterfront parks and historic ships. For transit obsessed children, this is heaven. (There also are water taxis, but you have to pay for those.)
2. Picnic in Federal Hill Park
A well-known lookout during the Civil War and the War of 1812, Federal Hill lies on the south side of the Inner Harbor. Now a historic park, it features fantastic views of the entire Baltimore Inner Harbor area. Get here for free on the Charm City Circulator. Plus, there is a playground for children. All ages.
3. Climb the Washington Monument in Baltimore
Climbing the 228 steps to the top of the first monument to George Washington provides an excellent view of the city from historic Mount Vernon where it is located. The Washington Monument in Washington, DC, may be taller, but you have to use the elevator to get to the top. Best for ages 7 and up, and a good way to tire out kids.
Note: $1 donation is suggested, but not mandatory.
4. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, aka the Baltimore Basilica, was America’s First Cathedral. Built from 1806-1821, the Basilica is still a working church.
There are guided tours Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday – Sunday, with a requested donation of $5 per person. You can also explore the cathedral on your own, except during Mass.
5. Enoch Pratt Free Library
The main branch of the Baltimore library system has frequent storytimes, readings and other free events. The grand 1930s building has a rare street-level entrance, instead of the more typical stately staircase, offering access to all well before the days of accessibility requirements.
6. Edgar Allan Poe’s Grave at Westminster Hall & Burying Ground
The cemetery is open daily, during daylight hours. There is a paid guided tour, but you can go through the burying ground on your own. Be sure to see the stained glass in the 1852 church, which is on the National Register of Historic Sites.
Free Art in Baltimore
7. The Walters Art Museum
This major art museum offers free general admission except for special exhibits. Exhibits aimed at kids include the displays of knights’ armor, the statues, the colorful paintings, the furniture and the many small and lovely trinkets, including Faberge eggs. The museum owns more than 25,000 pieces of art. Best for ages 7 and up.
8. Visit the Baltimore Museum of Art
As a major cultural destination for the greater Baltimore region, The Baltimore Museum of Art organizes and presents a variety of exhibitions and innovative programs throughout the year. It also frequently hosts special events with cultural and educational partners. The museum boasts more than 1,000 works by Henri Matisse, as well as large collections of African art, ancient mosaics, and European and American paintings. Don’t miss BMA’s Sculpture Gardens.
The BMA is free for everyone, every day, so that great art is accessible to all. Best for ages 7 and up.
9. Maryland Institute College of Art
The art school welcomes visitors to its campus. The main building is on on the National Register of Historic Places. Look for Greek and Roman statues, the large marble staircase and stained-glass skylight. Galleries around campus showcase local, national and international artists.
10. Free Fridays at Fell’s Point
11. School 33 Art Center
Seasonal Free Things to Do in Baltimore
12. Free Fall Baltimore
Every October, Baltimore has more than 300 free things to do, including music, dance, film, tours, and theater. Some events require reservations, but everything is completely free.
There are rare free admission days at The Maryland Zoo and the National Aquarium, along with many other family-friendly venues. All ages.
13. Free Movies Federal Hill, Fells Point, Charles Village, and Little Italy
14. Take in an Outdoor Performance at the Harborplace Amphitheater
15. Burn off your lunch exploring the Heritage Walk
Beginning in the Inner Harbor, this free, guided walking tour takes visitors off the beaten path and deep into Baltimore’s history. Walkers visit little known but fascinating sites in the nearby neighborhoods of Little Italy, Jonestown and downtown. It is like an open air history museum. The tour begins at the Visitor Center in the Inner Harbor. There are no tours in winter. Best for ages 10 and up.
16. Spend the Weekend at the Baltimore Book Festival
The mid-Atlantic’s premier celebration of the literary arts, held in September, offers well-known authors, local bookstores, publishers, children’s writers, storytellers, author signings, crafts, refreshments, and entertainment. Best for ages 5 and up.
17. Play Volleyball at Rash Field
Check out “Baltimore Beach” and its seven volleyball courts made up of 1,000 tons of sand located at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. A place where local and visitor, beginner to expert can meet and play organized games. The beach is open spring and summer. Best for ages 8 and up.
18. Museum and a Movie at the American Visionary Art Museum
This annual free festival in July is the largest free outdoor arts festival in the United States. The three-day festival includes visual and performing arts, from decorative arts to concerts, dance, opera, and theater. All ages.
20. See a concert at the National Harbor
Live music Friday nights at the National Harbor Marina from May through September. All ages.
TravelingMom Tip: Get into the Reginald F. Lewis Museum free on first full weekend of every month. With a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card, you can tour this Maryland African American History & Culture museum.
TravelingMom Tip: Although many attractions will reopen soon, some will not run due to COVID-19. Check Visit Baltimore for the latest updates.