The city of Baltimore is full of history, beauty, and charm. While there is a plethora of things to do in Baltimore, MD, those aren’t your only options for your visit. So, in between all the culture, food, and architecture, make sure you take a couple detours to the nearby cities. Yes, this includes Washington DC and all the things there are to do in our nation’s capital. You should never wonder what to do in Baltimore, Maryland, because there are so many options.
Where is Baltimore, Maryland?
Baltimore is within the central part of the state of Maryland. You will find it on the Patapsco River, which is an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. This city is only approximately forty miles from Washington DC. Despite the short distance between the two cities, it will most likely take you a little more than an hour to get there due to traffic.
Best Time to Visit Baltimore, Maryland
The summer months bring the crowds to Baltimore, Maryland. However, June, July, and August are the best times to visit the city. While it is quite hot in Baltimore that time of the year, there are many wonderful events and other festivities you can attend during your visit.
Weather in Baltimore, Maryland
The spring and fall offer cooler temperatures in Baltimore, Maryland. The weather in Baltimore, Maryland changes during the summer and that is when the extreme heat arrives. The winter months bring cold temperatures, as well as lots of precipitation.
20 Free (or Nearly Free!) Things to Do in Baltimore, Maryland
1. Visit Patterson Park
There are a couple parks in Baltimore, but Patterson Park is one of the best. The one hundred thirty-acre park is comprised of open spaces, a lake, basketball courts, tennis courts, pool, and ice-skating rink. One of the best things to do at Patterson Park is checking out the views from the Victorian pagoda.
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2. Wander Around the Maryland Institute College of Art
There are multiple galleries inside the Maryland Institute College of Art. Inside each one are works of art that were created by students. If you time your visit right, you will be there for one of the one hundred exhibits on display each year.
3. Explore Nature at Cylburn Arboretum
Cylburn Arboretum is comprised of more than two hundred acres, yet it is in the middle of the city. This is one of the best free things to do in Baltimore, because you can be outside. After a quick visit in the Victorian mansion, you can wander along the wooded trails. This area is only open on Tuesdays through Sundays, so you must plan your visit accordingly.
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4. Check Out the Antiques on Antique Row
Unless you know that you won’t be able to resist everything you see on Antique Row, this is a wonderful thing to do in Baltimore. Antique Row is on N. Howard St and W Read St. The shops on those two streets offer everything from rare books, antique furniture, and paintings. You can easily spend a few hours wandering around during your visit.
5. Visit the Walters Art Museum
There are more than thirty-six thousand items within the Walters Art Museum. Some of those items date all the way to 5000 BC, while others are from the present day. A few things you will see during your visit include Himalayan bronzes, ritual objects, and medieval works of art.
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6. Wander Around the Baltimore Museum of Art
Spending time at the Baltimore Museum of Art is considered one of the best things to do in Baltimore, Maryland for couples. It is not really the highlight for many kids, so you may want to have something else for your kids to do. There are ninety-five thousand works of art in this museum. A few of the favorites are pieces by Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse. Once you have finished seeing the inside of the museum, you should walk through the sculpture garden.
7. Go Hiking on the Gwynns Falls Trail
The Gywnns Fall Trail goes from the Park and Ride at I-70 all the way to the harbor of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River. The trail is fifteen miles long and has many historic sites along the way. This is an easy trail to hike, but you may want to do different sections each day if you are vacationing with smaller kids. However, the ease of the trail makes it one of the best things to do with kids in Baltimore, MD.
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8. Visit the Edgar Allan Poe Memorial
One of the many Baltimore, MD attractions is the Edgar Allan Poe Memorial. You will find this memorial inside the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground. If you are a fan of the works by Poe, you may want to pay the small admission fee to tour the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum.
9. Explore the Fort McHenry National Monument
The Fort McHenry National Monument is one of the fun things to do in Baltimore with kids. This may be where Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem, but there is much more history to be found there. Kids will love the story times and activities.
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10. Escape the City for a Day and Drive One of the Scenic Byways
There are eighteen scenic byways in the state of Maryland, and you can drive any of them when you are vacationing in Baltimore. This is one of the best things to do near Baltimore, Maryland. You can make multiple stops during your drive or simply keep driving until it is time to return to your hotel room. The byways that are the closest to Baltimore include Falls Road, Star Spangled Banner, Baltimore’s Historic Charles Street, and Historic National Road.
11. See the Views from Federal Hill Park
Capturing views of the skyline in Baltimore isn’t as easy as it seems. However, you can easily find what you are looking for during a visit to Federal Hill Park. The views will change according to the time of day you are visiting. Therefore, we recommend stopping at this park at a couple different times during your visit.
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12. Discover the Beauty Inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
This metropolitan cathedral was the very first one in the US. This is one of the top Baltimore attractions. Inside this cathedral, you will see many pieces of stunning artwork. However, you may miss some of it, because you are more focused on the neoclassical architecture. Don’t forget to admire the 17th century organ before you leave.
13. Stop at the Washington Monument
While there is a charge to go to the top of the Washington Monument, there is no fee for learning about the history of it at the bottom. During a visit to this Baltimore attraction, you can take a virtual tour via a touchscreen at the base.
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14. Have a Little Water Fun at the Walter Sondheim Fountain
The Walter Sondheim Fountain is located in the Inner Harbor. There are fifty-three interactive water jets in this fountain, and you are allowed to play in the water. This is one of the best things to do with a toddler in Baltimore. Of course, older kids will love this option as well. Therefore, you can put it on your fun things to do in Baltimore with kids list.
15. Take a Ride on the Charm City Circulator
One of the best things to do in Baltimore with kids is riding on the Charm City Circulator. There are four different routes to choose from and they will each take you to the major Baltimore attractions. When you tire of the bus, you can hop on the Harbor Connector. That is a free ferry that will take you between the historic ships and the waterfront parks.
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16. Attend All the Free Events During the Month of October
The month of October is a busy month in Baltimore. This is when there are more than three hundred free things to do in the city. We know we said the summer months were the best time to visit above. But honestly, if you do not care about cooler temperatures and the chance of rain, choose October for a budget-friendly visit. A few of the free events include music, dance, and theatrical performances. You can also find free admission days to the National Aquarium and the Maryland Zoo.
17. Explore the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens
Exploring the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Garden is one of the cheap things to do in Baltimore. While there is no admission fee to this Baltimore attraction, they do accept donations. There are quite a few outdoor gardens, as well as three greenhouses, and two pavilions filled with displays. A personal favorite of ours is the Orchid Room, but the Tropical House is amazing too.
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18. Tackle the Heritage Walk
The Heritage Walk area of Baltimore is like an open-air museum. During the spring, summer, and fall, you can take a guided walking tour for free. This tour begins at the Visitor Center and goes to hidden gems inside Little Italy, Jonestown, and the downtown area. While this is one of the best things to do in Baltimore, it is best for older children.
19. Tour the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower
The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower is one of the most notable, and recognizable, of all the Baltimore attractions. The tower is fifteen stories tall. Inside the tower are displays of works of art by local and regional artists. Guided tours of the clock room are offered on Saturdays and donations are welcomed.
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20. Tour a Massive Ship
Approximately twenty-four ships arrive in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor each year and if you happen to be there when one arrives, you can tour it. You can easily view the schedule in advance, so you can add a tour to your list of cool things to do in Baltimore.
Expert Tips for Traveling to Baltimore, Maryland
There are so many things you must be aware of before you travel to Baltimore, Maryland. Since we know you want to have an amazing time during your visit, we thought it would be best to share a couple of our expert tips for visiting this gorgeous city.
Venture Outside Inner Harbor – So many people choose to spend a lot of time in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore. While this isn’t surprising since there are so many things to do in Baltimore in that section, we want you to remember that there are so many other things to see in the city. Branch out a little and see the rest of what Baltimore has to offer.
Take Advantage of the Free Transportation – Considering the transportation is free in Baltimore, it is quite excellent for getting you where you want to go. Take advantage of this free transportation as often as you can. These options will save you quite a bit of money and allow you to splurge in other areas during your trip.
Embrace the History You are Learning About – Seeing historical sites can become boring and repetitive over time, especially if you are not a fan of history! However, you should really embrace all the history you learn about during your time in Baltimore. If you find yourself getting leery of all things historical, take a break and find something else to see for a while. You will appreciate the break and discover one of the many things Baltimore is known for!
These are the twenty free, or nearly free, things to do in Baltimore, Maryland. When you take that and all the other information we shared on the location, best time to visit, and the weather, you can say that you know most of what you need to in order to plan a vacation there. Start by making a list of all the fun things you want to do in Baltimore this weekend. You can then add in the rest of the top things to do in Baltimore, so you don’t leave the area without checking all your must-see destinations off your list.