Whether you're in town for the Progressive Insurance Baltimore Boat Show January 25-28, or simply want to visit Baltimore City on a budget, here are some ideas:
Things That Cost Nothing
Every Sunday the Baltimore Museum of Art hosts hands-on workshops, interactive gallery tours, and activities for families. General admission is free every day.
Charm City Circulator—Five routes link critical parts of the city; the buses run every 10 minutes. The Purple Route runs from Penn Station to Federal Hill; the Orange Route runs from Hollins Market to Harbor East; the Green Route runs from City Hall to Fell’s Point to Johns Hopkins; the Banner Route connects the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry; and the Harbor Connector connects Harbor View and Harbor East.
Cylburn Arboretum is a nature preserve and city park spanning about 207 acres, all within city limits. Dogs on leashes are welcome.
Druid Hill Park, a 745-acre urban oasis, boasts miles of trails and is home to the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens ($5 per person donation encouraged) where you can escape the winter chill.
Visit the grave of Edgar Allan Poe at Westminster Burying Ground and Catacombs. The grounds are open to the public daily, 8 a.m. to dusk.
Hike to the top of Federal Hill and take in the sweeping Inner Harbor views.
Visit Mr. Trash Wheel near Pier Six Pavilion or the new Professor Trash Wheel in Canton near Harris Creek Park.
The Walters Art Museum in Mount Vernon is open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, and over the weekend and until 9 p.m. on Thursdays—take advantage of the later hours and explore the museum after dark when the crowds are down.
Things That Cost $12 or Less
Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum (Adults $10, Seniors and military $8; $5 ages 5-16).
Baltimore Museum of Industry (adults $12, seniors $9, $7 students and ages 7-18).
Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower—a 45-minute history talk presents the colorful Baltimore figure behind the iconic clock tower, followed by a climb to the 16th floor via a “ships ladder” into the clock room. $8. The 15 floors to the top are lined with work by local artists. If you’re just visiting and don’t take a tour, you may do so for free from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Carroll Mansion/Phoenix Shot Tower Tours-$5 general admission includes a guided tour at one or both sites.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine ($10 adults, ages 15 and younger free).
Winter admission to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore costs only $10 through February 28! Open Fridays through Mondays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Use online code “WINTER” for discount.
First Fridays at the Maryland Science Center—the first Friday of each month with discounted admission from 5 to 8 p.m. Admission includes the permanent exhibit halls, Planetarium, and IMAX Theater. All visitors pay just $10 for admission. The IMAX presentation is at 7 p.m. Planetarium presentations are at 6 p.m. and 7:30 pm.
The Patterson Park Ice Rink is equipped with a warm-up room, fireplace, concession stand, and skate shop. $5 admission, $3 skate rental.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture ($8 adults, $6 ages 7-17).
The Star Spangled Banner Flag House ($9 adults, $8 for military, $7 for students, free for children 6 and under).
For a truly panoramic view of the city, head to the Top of the World Observation Level, located on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center. Admission costs $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children ages 3-12.
Things That Cost $20 or less
B&O Railroad Museum (adults $20, seniors $17, $12 ages 2-12).
Historic Ships of Baltimore (adults can tour four ships and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse for $18, seniors $16, children ages 6-14 for $7).
To save some money, visit the National Aquarium on a Friday night after 5 p.m. for half price admission ($20 adults, $12 children).
On Thursday, Friday, and Sunday during the Baltimore Boat Show, you may park at Camden Yards/M & T Bank Lot C or at a garage downtown (on Saturday, January 27 Lot C is booked). See above in “Things That Are Free” about the Charm City Circulator. Water Taxi—17 landings throughout the city, from Fort McHenry to the Inner Harbor and everything in between. $14 for an all-day pass for adults, $6 for children.
Ask the Experts
If you’re in the Inner Harbor, it’s worth a visit to the Baltimore Visitor Center at 401 Light Street. Find helpful volunteers and all the maps, historical information, and guidance you need for a great Charm City visit.