Most of you know that I love Baltimore. I'm born here, lived here all my life and I love it here. I'm dedicated to seeing this city thrive and change. And if there's one thing I ADORE, it's getting people to visit this great city. There are a TON of free things to do in this city and I hope this encourages you to visit Charm City ASAP!
1. The Book Thing
To me, this is the ULTIMATE free thing to do in Baltimore. It's a completely free book store. COMPLETELY FREE. Yes. It's true. Absolutely free. The only catch is you can't resell any books. It's just a place to drop off unwanted books and take as many books as you want. It's amazing.
Visit their website HERE.
2. Visit Edgar Allan Poe's grave.
If you know anything about Baltimore, it's that we love Edgar. We claim his as our own, considering he grew up here, he wrote most of his poems here and he died here. We named our football team after him, we learn about him in our elementary schools, we visit his house, we drink at his favorite bar (which is apparently haunts...spooky!) and we are obsessed with his grave. Visit Edgar Allan Poe's grave at Westminster Cemetery.
There's a monument in the front, but his original tombstone is in the back of the church. It's kinda eery, kinda cool. (Every year around midnight on his birthday, a mysterious person called the Poe Toaster comes to his grave in a dark cape and leaves a rose and bottle of Cognac. People stay up and watch for the figure to appear. It's a huge deal here. Welcome to the quirky land of Baltimore!)
3. Tour the Bromo-Seltzer Tower
If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE the Bromo Seltzer tower- a true icon of Baltimore. It's always been the coolest thing to me. It's not a apart of the skyline, though it used to be the tallest building in Baltimore until the 1920s. I just think it's so beautiful and I love it. And what's cooler...you can go inside it. The tower is open 11 AM to 4 PM on Saturdays, where you can go tour artists' studios inside the tower. It costs a few bucks to go inside the clock tower, but I would definitely suggest it!
4. Get the best view of the city at Federal Hill
I sharing a special part of my heart with you right now, because I sharing with you my favorite place in the entire city. Federal Hill. It's amazing. It's historic. It's the perfect place to watch the sunset over the skyline. It's where my husband proposed to me. Please do yourself a favor and check out this park. This is the view from the hill, which is gorgeous at sunset, and this is also a picture of how my husband proposed to me. (all the butterflies!)
5. Stroll the cobble stones of Fells Point.
Fell's Point is a MUST visit to get a good taste of Baltimore. The streets are paved with cobble stones, it's packed full of history and there are TONS of fantastic places to shop, eat and drink. Sound Garden is an awesome record store to check out. If you're looking for coffee, The Daily Grind is awesome and if you want a good bite, grab some famous tots at Alexander's Tavern.
6. Hang out in Canton.
Canton is where all the yuppies live, and it has ton of shops, coffee shops and bars. Visit O'Donnell Square in Canton for the hub of activities in Canton. It's fun to just stroll around and look at the cute houses. Also, check out Canton Waterfront Park a little down the road to sit by the water and enjoy a different view of the city and ports.
7. Celebrate Baltimore culture on the Avenue in Hampden.
If you want to get a good taste of Baltimore, you have to go to Hampden. It's the home of all things quirky and weird, that make Baltimore so wonderful. It celebrates the Baltimore hon in all of us, and has tons of cool bars, restaurants and shops. 36th Street is also known as the Avenue, so make sure you check it out. There is a ton of parking on the side streets. Also, if you go in December, you HAVE HAVE HAVE to go to 34th street for the most magical (FREE) display of Christmas lights. It's so fantastic.
8. Visit the Walter's Art Museum.
This museum is FREE to get in to and was founded in the 1800s by two guys from Baltimore who loved art. It's fantastic and absolutely gorgeous inside. If you love art, you'll love this and the Baltimore Art Museum.
9. Stroll the Inner Harbor
This is the most popular area in the city and is the hub of all activity. There's SO much to do.
There's TONS of restaurants, a mall, the National Aquarium (pricey but worth it...you get to touch jelly fish and sting rays!), the World Trade Center has the best view of the city (cheap to get up there, worth it!), the Maryland Science Center (great for younger kids!) and Baltimore Beach (great place to play volleyball!). It's a great place to people watch, run, ride bikes, hear street performers, watch the ships come in (you can almost always see the pirate ship!), rent a dragon paddle boat and ice skate in the colder months!
But if you're looking for something free, pop yourself down on a bench and people watch. Listen to the street performers and enjoy the sights of ships sailing in at sunset.
10. Walk through Patterson Park.
Patterson Park is an over-looked gem. It's a great place to go for a run, walk the dog or bike ride. There's two lakes to watch wildlife and there's Patterson Pagoda which is open Sundays 12 AM - 6 PM (April-October). There's a gorgeous marble fountain, playgrounds, an indoor ice skating rink and a swimming pool. There's almost always a free concert or festival going on, so make sure you check the internet to see if anything is going on while you're here!
11. Play at Pierce's Park.
Again, I'm giving you a little secret. Not many people know about this but Pierce's park is probably the coolest park in the city. I love it. I call it an adult playground. It basically looks like something out of a Dr. Suess book. There's a tunnel of trees, word play in the pavement, fun things to climb on and spin on. Seriously, this is one of my MUST DOS.
12. Walk around the Visionary Art Museum.
This is one of the coolest things in Baltimore. It's literally unlike any other museum I've ever been in. It costs money to get inside (and it is absolutely 100% worth it), but the outside is super cool to walk around too. There's tons of sculptures and the front of the building is entirely made out of broken glasses and dishes. Please do yourself a fave, and check it out. And if you can spare any money and want to get the full Baltimore experience, GO TO THIS MUSEUM!
13. Go to a festival
Honfest, Hampdenfest, Pigtown Festival, Best of Baltimore, Privateer Day, Defender's Day, Mayor's Christmas Parade, Fells Point Fun Festival, Artscape, SoWeBo Arts Festival, Baltimore Book Fest... Baltimore loves it's festivals. Definitely check out if there is anything going on while you're here to get a good taste of Baltimore!
14. Picnic at Sherwood Gardens
Sherwood Gardens is AMAZING in spring. They take so much care to bloom the most beautiful flowers. It's basically just an adorable grounds to have picnics, paint, walk the dog, and explore. If you're looking for something chill to do, or a nice place to sit, check out Sherwood Gardens.
15. Go to the Baltimore Free Store.
That's right. We have a store where everything is free. It's a part of a way to help recycle things! They actually don't have a permanent building anymore, but they do have Saturday markets and they ALWAYS want more people to come get stuff! So check out where they'll be on a Saturday and then go find some treasures!
16. Run through the Soundheim Fountain.
Located in the Inner Harbor, there's a fountain you can run and play in during the warmer months. If you're looking to feel like a kid in a city in the summer, make sure you run through and play from 10 AM to 10 PM!
17. Visit the Peabody Library.
I know what you're thinking..."How lame. I don't want to visit a library on my visit." But seriously trust me. This library will take your breath away. It looks like something from Europe. It was also rated on "49 Breathtaking Libraries From All Over the World" on Buzzfeed.
18. Drive around and look at street art.
Baltimore is full of amazing artists. And their work can be seen all over on buildings. Street murals are a huge thing here and you can always drive around and find some. Though you probably won't be visiting West Baltimore on your visit, here's a beautiful mural they just finished in honor of Freddie Gray. I told you we have talent here.
19. Hike to King + Queen Seat
Okay, okay. So technically this isn't in Baltimore. But I would literally hate if you were visiting Baltimore and didn't know about this gem. It's located in Rock State Park outside of Baltimore by a half hour, maybe. There's a gorgeous view and everyone in this area LOVES hiking there when it's nice out. It's also where they filmed Tuck Everlasting. So yeah, it's pretty awesome. It's also where we took our anniversary photos!
20. Take a pic with Natty Boh.
You'll notice pretty early on that Natty Boh is the face of Baltimore and he's everywhere! If you looking for an (almost) free beer, Natty is your way to go. It tastes like it's free, I'm told (#glutenfreeproblems), but it's a must do.
21. Follow the Baltimore LOVE Project.
A local artist started this project as a way to connect positivity throughout the whole city. So he painted the same mural on 20 different walls all over Baltimore. If you want an Instagram picture that is totally Baltimore, find one of these walls and gram to your heart's content!
22. Stand in the narrowest alley in Baltimore.
Rowhouses are a total Baltimore thing and we love it here. We also embrace the grimey alleys that come with rowhouses. If you're looking for some silly, free fun, go stand in the narrowest alley in the city and see if you can fit!
23. Visit the original Washington Monument.
That's right. We have the Original Gangsta Washington Monument. They just finished restoring it, so it's all pretty and ready to go for ya! It's a beautiful area! It's a small price to walk all the way to the top (but worth it!). However if you're looking to keep it free, just hang out in the surrounding area, sit near the gardens, eat lunch...it's nice!
24. Take Instagram pics in Graffiti Alley.
Located in Midtown, you'll find an L shaped alley full of vandalism...or is it art? Either way, it's beautiful. And you're going to want to check this place out before you leave.