A visit to Charm City doesn’t have to break the bank. Here’s a sampler of wonderful free attractions in Baltimore, so you can save your money for necessities like food and shelter.
The Baltimore Museum of Art contains more than 90,000 works of 15th- to 19th-century contemporary and modern art, including the world’s largest collection (500 paintings) of works by Henri Matisse. During the summer, visitors can enjoy the Wurtzburger and Levi Sculpture Gardens.
You simply have to see the 55-foot-tall wind-powered Whirligig” in the American Visionary Art Museum’s sculpture plaza and wildflower gardens for free before delving into the main museum and sculpture barn, home to equally unusual exhibits (there is an admission fee to see the exhibits inside the museum).
Baltimore’s Holocaust Memorial at Lombard and Gay Streets near the Inner Harbor is a stirring reminder of the atrocities that took place while the world did nothing. In the East Harbor is the Katyn Memorial, which honors the 22,000 Polish citizens killed by the Soviet Union during WWII in the Katyn Forest Massacre in 1940.
Baltimore’s Washington Monument in the Mount Vernon neighborhood dates back to 1815, when it was the first architectural monument dedicated to George Washington. Explore the museum for free. There is a fee to climb the monument’s 228 steps for a great view of the city. Learn how you can obtain discount tickets here. While you’re near, stop by rooftop bar & restaurant Topside for some fantastic views or take a quick stroll to Mount Vernon Marketplace for lots of food & drink options.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a National Historic Landmark, is America’s first cathedral. Built between 1806 and 1821, the cathedral museum is home to several 17th-century artifacts and letters from former presidents to archbishops. Be sure to see the Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel.
Take a walk along the Inner Harbor to the colonial-era Fell’s Point district, pausing in Baltimore’s Little Italy for a street festival or cannoli in one of the many restaurants.
Explore Fort McHenry, site of the 1814 Battle of Baltimore which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star-Spangled Banner.” There’s a flag change every day at 9:30 a.m. and 4:20 p.m., plus living history interpreters. Visiting the grounds is free, but there’s an admission charge to enter the fort.
Patterson Park, once an encampment for Union Troops during the Civil War, is now home to a cool 1890 pagoda with a great view from the top, as well as playgrounds, a boat lake and a marble fountain. There is also a dog park, swimming pool and ice rink. It’s a great place to relax while the kids play.
Discover the next great American artist at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where students’ works are showcased all year long or stop by The Baltimore School for the Arts to catch a show or pop into the gallery.