As one of America’s most historic cities, Baltimore is filled with attractions and landmarks that keep even the locals busy for a lifetime. From a harbor filled with historic sail ships to art museums and the final resting place of Edgar Allen Poe, there’s certainly no shortage of things to do in Baltimore — and you don’t even need to spend a lot of money to enjoy what the city has to offer. Discover why they call this “Charm City” (without blowing your travel budget) by enjoying these seven free things to do in Baltimore.
Get your art appreciation on
Art lovers, rejoice: You’ll have no shortage of fine art to lay your eyes upon in Baltimore — and best of all, you can see it for free. Check out the largest collection of Matisse’s work and wander through the outdoor sculpture garden at The Baltimore Museum of Art, then gaze upon the Faberge eggs, Roman sarcophagi and medieval jewelry on display at the Walters Art Museum.
Tour the Inner Harbor
You’ll feel like an expert on the history of Baltimore’s famed Inner Harbor after a free two-hour walking tour with B’Free Tours. Towering sail ships and the bay breeze set the mood for this journey through downtown and to the top of Federal Hill, led by an entertaining tour guide who will tell you all about the tumultuous history of Charm City. While B’Free Tours don’t cost a penny, there is one caveat: tipping your tour guide is always greatly appreciated.
Walk the plank on one of the harbor’s ships
OK, so maybe you won’t actually be walking the plank, but you can walk on board and explore some of those tall sail ships that are docked in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Sail Baltimore maintains a program of visiting ships that changes throughout the year, acting as a rotating museum to Baltimore’s maritime history. Since these visiting ships also come from around the world, you’ll get to experience other cultures as you interact with the crews, too.
Get grave with Edgar Allen Poe
Whether you’re a literary nerd or not, you’ll want to check out the final resting place of famed poet and short story writer Edgar Allen Poe, who is buried with his wife at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground. Is there really any better way to pay homage to one of the most influential Gothic writers than by visiting a cemetery to see his grave? We didn’t think so.
No, really — you can go shopping without spending a single cent in Baltimore. Just head to The Baltimore Free Store’s “Free Markets,” which pop up around town throughout the year. With a motto that states, “Give what you can, take what you need,” visitors are welcome to take their pick of the donated clothes, electronics, kitchenware, toys and other items. Plus, you can make some room in your suitcase for your new finds by donating a few of your no-longer-needed items for another lucky shopper to enjoy.
See the birthplace of the National Anthem
You probably spent a good part of your elementary school career learning to sing this song, and in the years since, you’ve likely tuned in early to a Super Bowl or two to see if the celebrity singer nails it or fails when it comes to hitting the song’s notoriously high notes. While you’re in Baltimore, you can see just where the National Anthem originated with a free trip to the Fort McHenry National Monument. While there’s a small admission fee to enter the fort itself, you can meander through the grounds surrounding the fort for free.
More than 200 acres of perfectly manicured gardens, blooming trees and serene walking trails await you at Cylburn Arboretum, where you can enjoy the Baltimore outdoors for free. Wander through the Japanese maples, enjoy wildflowers along a nature trail or find the perfect photo op on the whimsical lawns.
What are your favorite free things to do in Baltimore? Let us know in the comments!
(Main image: stevehdc)