Baltimore is Bursting with Free Things to Do
Check out our list of Free Things to Do in Baltimore. From parks and the famed Inner Harbor to museums and tours, Baltimore has a long list of great activities that are fun and, most important, free!
50 Free Things:
Recognize masterpieces at the
Baltimore Museum of Art
As a major cultural destination for the greater Baltimore region, the Baltimore Museum of Art is home to the internationally renowned Cone Collection, and it holds the largest and most significant Matisse collection of works in the world. Outside the BMA walls, experience the lavish Sculpture Garden, featuring two terraced gardens, fountains and 34 sculptures. Every Sunday the museum hosts hands-on workshops and interactive gallery tours for families from 2 – 5 p.m. Don’t miss the museum’s Family Audio Tour, which highlights 20 objects in the collection. The tour is narrated by Raoudi, Matisse’s perky schnauzer; rather than headphones, the tour offers a handheld audio device that allows families to pause and chat about a work.
Shiver me timbers! Story Time with the Urban Pirates
Join the crew of Baltimore's own pirate ship, Fearless, for swashbuckling tales of adventure on the high seas! Climb aboard the ship in historic Fell's Point, where the crew of pirates will take your family back in time without ever leaving the port! Enjoy the captivating tales of pirate history every Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m. You can then choose to purchase tickets for a family fun cruise aboard Fearless if you’re ready to hit the high seas.
Walk, wonder and create at the Walters Art Museum
The museum owns more than 25,000 pieces of art and has free general admission, except for special exhibits. Bring the whole family to enjoy special family tours and activities for all ages. Children will enjoy the displays of knights' armor, the statues, the colorful paintings, the furniture, and the many small and lovely trinkets – including Faberge eggs. The museum provides a host of free family programs, from drop-in art classes on Saturdays and Sundays to museum tours with family-friendly guides. Head to thewalters.org/programs/familyfun to learn more about the Walters’ free programs.
Amuse yourself at the American Visionary Art Museum's Sculpture Plaza and Wildflower Garden
The exterior of the American Visionary Art Museum is almost as interesting as what you'll find inside. The building is surrounded by unique and curious sculptures, which you can explore for free! (But we suggest you buy a ticket and visit the intriguing collection and special exhibition on the inside!)
Share a toast at Edgar Allan Poe's Grave
Fascinated by strange and spooky places? Visit Poe and his wife, Virginia Clemm, in the Westminster Hall cemetery and keep a look out for the gravestones of some other prominent Maryland citizens. The cemetery is located at 519 West Fayette, on the corner of Fayette and Greene.
Become an urban explorer on the free Charm City Circulator
The Charm City Circulator is your fast, friendly, and free shortcut to Baltimore's hotspots seven days a week. With connections to the Light Rail, MARC train, Metro, and the Water Taxi Harbor Connector, the Circulator is your first step in exploring the many local events and attractions Baltimore has to offer.
Sing and dance at the Harborplace Amphitheater
Located between the Harborplace Pavilions, the amphitheater hosts free performances from singers, dancers, magicians and more. Street performers entertain by day while bands ranging from Motown and funk to R&B and country perform live, free concerts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
Rock out to live music
Stop by Power Plant Live! on Friday evenings for the return of the Friday Night Live! concert series. Watch local artists and national headlining bands perform on the newest permanent outdoor stage. Or head over to Hard Rock Café Baltimore at the Inner Harbor for free outdoor concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from May through September.
Free outdoor movies during the summer
Films on the Pier in Fell's Point features free movies on Wednesday nights beginning at 8:45 p.m. on the Broadway Pier.
On Thursdays at 9 p.m., grab a blanket or a folding chair and catch a free film after dusk on Federal Hill. Flicks from the Hill is sponsored by the American Visionary Art Museum, and admission into the museum is free between 5 and 9 p.m. before the film.
Bring your lawn chair or blanket to the intersection of High and Stiles streets in Little Italy on Friday nights for free Italian-themed movies at 9 p.m. Live music begins at 7 p.m.
Johns Hopkins University is another great spot for Friday outdoor films. Feature films are played on the green in front of Shriver Hall. Live music begins at 7:30 p.m., with movies starting after sunset. 3400 N Charles Street.
Bring your imagination to Artscape
Held annually in July, the nation's largest, free arts festival celebrates with continuous musical performances by local, regional and national talent on multiple outdoor stages, plus indoor and outdoor visual arts exhibitions, sculptures, art cars, film and theater, crafts opera, dance, street theater and children's activities.
Celebrate life, music and culture at the African American Festival
Held annually in July, the African American Festival is a free family celebration of life, music and culture. Attendees enjoy live music, educational and historical exhibits, an interactive children's area, and crafts.
Hop across the Inner Harbor on the scenic Water Taxi
This free connector service operates daily along the city's Inner Harbor from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free routes depart from thein Fell's Point to the Tide Point Pier in Locust Point, just a short walk away from Ft. McHenry. You can also connect from Tide Point Pier to the Canton Waterfront Park.
Dive into literature at the Enoch Pratt Free Library
More than 60 years old, the Enoch Pratt Library continues to enchant book lovers of all ages with its immensity – it's just so darned BIG – an entire block in length. It’s one of the first to be built with an accessible street level entrance. The library’s branches feature free classes, musical performances and children’s story times throughout the year.
Uncover the beauty of the Basilica
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was the first metropolitan cathedral in the United States. This historic site contains neoclassical architecture, a 17th-century organ, stunning artwork and more.
Browse the Galleries at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower
The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower has been transformed into studio spaces for visual and literary artists. Take part in Open Studio Day and view impressive artwork from talented artists. During this free event, guests can visit artists' studios, view or purchase works of art, and enjoy refreshments and light fare.
Party the first Friday of the month in Hampden
A frequent setting in John Waters' films, here is a neighborhood that still celebrates the bouffant and grilled-cheese charms of Charm City. Stop "down Hampden, hon" for First Fridays when participating merchants stay open late to host events, parties and special sales.
Cruise the Fell's Point Art Loop
Spend an evening mingling with artists, sampling cheese and wine, and soaking up the arts in Fell's Point. On the first Friday of every month, the Fell's Point Development Corporation works with 13 local galleries to display pieces from local artists. The types of art may include woodworking, photography, sculpture and oil paintings. Restaurants offer specials and stay open late to accommodate visitors.
Pedal your way through the Gwynns Falls trails
Get off the road and enjoy a leisurely (or rigorous) bike ride along the recently expanded 15 miles of trails.
Challenge locals in a match of bocce ball in Little Italy
Located on Stiles Street, get a real flavor of the "old country" where residents and visitors are welcome to participate on the two well-lit sandy courts in the evenings.
Bump, Set and Spike 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. This is a great place where locals and visitors – from beginners to experts – can meet and play organized games.
Take in the enticing sights, sounds and scents at Baltimore's public markets
For absolutely no money, you can enter Baltimore's Cross Street Market in Federal Hill, Lexington Market near the Hippodrome Theatre and the Broadway Market in Fell's Point. Get a feel for what doing the food shopping used to be like as you watch butchers and fishmongers at work and smell wonderful food cooking.
Sample local flavors at the farmer's markets
The annual Baltimore Farmers' Market offers the best deals on produce, herbs, flowers, fruit and more. The market, located underneath the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga streets, is open daily from April 7 to December 22 between 7 a.m. and noon. and is the largest producers-only market in Maryland. If you're lucky, you might just get some free samples! And while you’re at it, check out the Fell’s Point Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from June through November, located right on the waterfront at Fell’s Point’s Broadway Square. Or head to the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays starting in May at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, where you can find anything from ice cream to fresh-cut flowers plus free parking!
Take a self-guided tour of Baltimore's outdoor monuments
- Kaytn Memorial in Harbor East - stands in honor of Polish military officers, policemen and civilian prisoners of war executed by Soviet authorities on March 1940
- Washington Monument in Mount Vernon - the first monument built in honor of George Washington (currently closed for renovations.)
- Babe Ruth statue - Camden Street outside the Eutaw Street Oriole Park entrance
- Johnny Unitas statue - front of M&T Bank Stadium
- Battle Monument - commemorates the Battle of Baltimore and honors those who died during the month of September 1814 during the War of 1812; Calvert and Fayette streets
- Baltimore Holocaust Memorial - Corner of Water, Gay, and Lombard streets
Check out the ink at the Baltimore Tattoo Museum
Because the museum focuses on electric tattooing in America, you'll find traditional American to traditional Japanese tattoo artwork, black and grey work, portraits, photo-realism, flash designs, and complete custom-drawn designs. And if you like something you see, the museum is also a fully functioning tattoo studio.
Brush up on history exploring the New Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail
Take a self-guided stroll through historic West Baltimore's premier historic African American neighborhood. Uncover the stories of civil rights leaders, artists and musicians; visit historic African American churches; and relive the glory days of Pennsylvania Avenue. A free map and guide of the Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail is available at the Baltimore Visitor Center located at 401 Light Street at the Inner Harbor or for download at pennsylvaniaavenuebaltimore.com.
Discover nature's beauty at the Cylburn Arboretum
The Cylburn Arboretum is a nature preserve and city park spanning about 207 acres. Experience the feel of a grand estate in a rolling countryside, all within city limits. Collections of Japanese maples, hollies, conifers, Maryland oaks, tree peonies, maples and magnolias stand on spacious lawns and luscious gardens surrounding the Victorian mansion. Explore trails that wind through the woodlands where you can discover rare trees, native plants and wildflowers.
Be an art critic for a day at Maryland Institute College of Art
Enjoy the free exhibits in all of the galleries on the campus at MICA.
Find your next great read at The Book Thing
The book store’s mission is to find new homes for books no longer wanted by owners; and although you can donate your own books, you don’t have to in order to browse the offerings and stock up on free reads. Located in Baltimore’s Waverly neighborhood, the store is open only on weekends. 3001 Vineyard Lane.
Get away at Patterson Park
A small oasis within the city, Patterson Park will give you a reason to sit back and relax. Enjoy the water at Boat Lake or visit the famed Pagoda (open from April to October) for great views of the city. You can even take Fido to the newly opened Dog Park.
Druid Hill Park
Leave the city behind and lose yourself in nearly 750 acres of one of America’s oldest landscaped public parks. Featured on the National Register of Historic Places, Druid Hill Park boasts miles of trails and green expanses and is home to the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens, where you can enjoy the scenery inside, too.
Get a panoramic view from Federal Hill Park
Park yourself on a bench atop Federal Hill Park and drink in the sprawling vista of the Inner Harbor. Whether you’re enjoying your lunch on the green expanse or taking your kids to the park’s playground, you’re sure to have a great view. Once a well-known lookout point during the War of 1812 and the Civil War, the historic park lies on the south side of Baltimore.
Enjoy a Kinetic Sculpture Race for the Ages
Who will be crowned the Grand East Coast National Mediocre Champion? Each May, join the American Visionary Art Museum for its Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race, where you’ll cheer on racers piloting custom-built kinetic sculptures over land, mud and water. Arrive between 9 and 9:30 a.m. for the opening ceremony and the “Blessing of De Feet,” then follow the race over its 15-mile course or camp out at any number of checkpoints, such as the uphill mud pit or not-so-quick sand pit in Patterson Park.
Where can you find an open-air, rooftop observatory in the middle of the city? Just head to the Maryland Science Center, where every Friday from 5:30-9 p.m. you can stargaze like an astronomer with the help of the center’s 10-foot telescope. Fun fact: The refurbished telescope was built in 1927!
Orioles Legends and Statue Garden
Now you can “meet” your favorite Orioles Hall of Famer. Last year, Oriole Park unveiled six larger-than-life bronze statues that capture the likenesses of Frank Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr. and Brooks Robinson. You’ll find the statues in the centerfield picnic area, and don’t forget to take a stroll down Eutaw Street and get a look inside the stadium.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
You don’t need to enter Fort McHenry to understand how it inspired our national anthem. Visit the surrounding park to take in the grandeur of the fort, and check out the Visitor’s Center for a look at the history behind its walls. (It’s worth the entrance fee to stand atop the ramparts and check out the other exhibits in the star fort.)
Beat the heat at the Walter Sondheim Fountain
It’s a fountain you can actually play in! Just stand on its massive, flat surface and cool off with any of its 53 interactive water jets. Or just enjoy some great views of the Inner Harbor while your kids play.
The Baltimore Book Festival
It’s a non-stop, three-day literary explosion held every year in September that brings together hundreds of authors, exhibitors and booksellers. Get your favorite book signed. Listen to one of the nonstop readings on CenterStage (or any of the other four stages for that matter). Join a workshop or a panel discussion. Or do all three – and so much more! Head to Mount Vernon Place for the festival, a crowd-pleaser for adults and kids alike.
Visiting Ship Tours
Climb aboard, tour and learn the fascinating history of any one of the massive ships that visits Baltimore’s Inner Harbor each year. As host to about 24 ships annually, the harbor provides a port for tall ships (large, traditionally-rigged ships) and naval vessels from all over the world, as well as Baltimore’s very own Pride of Baltimore II. Visit www.sailbaltimore.org for the schedule of incoming ships.
Drop by the Creative Alliance for drop-in art classes
Create your next masterpiece at one of the Creative Alliance’s drop-in art classes. Held at the repurposed landmark Patterson Movie Theater, the classes feature kid-friendly art projects every Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.
Hundreds of “hons.” That’s what you’ll find at Baltimore’s very own Honfest, a four-block wide festival in Hampden where you can get your own beehive hairdo, enter a mashed-potato contest and see who’s crowned Baltimore’s “Best Hon.” Celebrating the Baltimorean word “hon,” a term of endearment short for “honey,” Honfest is held every year in June.
Dedicated to Baltimore businessman Pierce John Flannigan III and located near Pier 5 Hotel, Pierce’s Park is much more than just a park. It’s an imaginative space of discovery, where children can enjoy locally created sculptures intended for climbing, homonyms engraved along the sidewalk, and even a musical fence. Let the kids play at this sustainable park while you enjoy free wireless Internet access courtesy of nearby Pier 5 Hotel.
Free Salsa Lessons
Feel the rhythm every Monday night at Talara Restaurant in Harbor East, where free salsa lessons begin at 9 p.m.
Free exhibitions at 33 Art Center
Get in touch with your inner artist with a free exhibition at Baltimore’s 33 Art Center. The exhibitions showcase the work of artists from the mid-Atlantic region. Go to www.school33.org for information on the latest exhibitions.
Carroll Park Bike & Skate Park
Get geared up to throw down on ramps, rails and stairs at the Carroll Park Bike & Skate Park, located just behind the Carroll Park Recreation Center on Bayard Street. The park is open year-round from dawn until dusk.
Free Fall Baltimore
Join Baltimore in October for its city-wide arts extravaganza. Celebrating creativity, Free Fall presents visitors with a full month of special events highlighting art, dance and music while providing lectures, readings and workshops – all for free! Enjoy organized events at museums, theaters, city landmarks, parks and trails, and much more.
4th of July
Enjoy nearly 20 minutes of fireworks bliss at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor during the Ports America Chesapeake 4th of July Celebration! Enjoy musical performances at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater and enjoy free public docking until 11 p.m.
New Year’s Eve
Start the evening with the sweet sounds of live music at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater during Baltimore’s New Year’s Eve Spectacular! Then turn your head to the heavens at the stroke of midnight for the region’s largest fireworks display! And you don’t have to be at the Inner Harbor to enjoy the show, you can watch the display from any downtown attraction, from Harbor East and Fell’s Point to Federal Hill.
Light up the Holidays
Baltimore is full of free things to do during the holiday season. Harbor East’s Window Wonderland kicks off the holidays as local artists dress up the windows of shops and restaurants. Then take a stroll down 34th Street in Hampden, famous for its annual Miracle on 34th Street lights show, with every house on the block of rowhouses displaying amazing Christmas lights. Head to Power Plant for its Power Plant Light Show Spectacular, complete with a laser show!
Fell’s Point Fun Festival
Enjoy carnival rides, live music and the Fun Fest Flea Market at the Fell’s Point Fun Festival in October. With an Arts & Craft Row, Fun Fest Flea Market, six music stages, countless food vendors, and carnival rides, the festival annually provides two days of nonstop fun for all ages!
Martin Luther King Jr. Parade
Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Baltimore’s parade, featuring floats, high school and community marching bands, and much more. The parade kicks off at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Eutaw Street.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Featuring Irish dancing, a mummer’s band, bagpipes, floats and, of course, St. Patrick himself, Baltimore’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins its 2.5-mile route at the Washington Monument and ends at Market Street.
The Mayor’s Christmas Parade
Join the mayor, local TV and radio personalities, and thousands of celebrators as the Mayor’s Christmas Parade works its way through North Baltimore’s Hampden and Medfield neighborhoods. With holiday floats, marching bands and the big man himself making an appearance, the parade is sure to delight the whole family!
Baltimore’s Civil War Museum
Step back in time at one of the nation’s oldest surviving big-city railroad terminals. President Street Station, once an important rail connection during the Civil War, now houses the Civil War Museum and its permanent exhibition focused on Baltimore during the Civil War. The museum also features exhibits focused on Maryland’s railroad history and President Street Station’s own role in the transportation of slaves escaping to the north.
Plan your trip!
- The War Came By Train: American Civil War 150th Anniversary April 30, 2011 - December 31, 2015 | All Day
- Black Box: Raqs Media Collective February 27, 2013 - June 16, 2013 | All Day
- Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War April 16, 2011 - December 31, 2015 | All Day
- Family Fun Night - 2nd Thursday of each Month! January 10, 2013 - December 12, 2013 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm
- In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland during the War of 1812 June 10, 2012 - December 31, 2014 | All Day