Free Things to Do With Kids in Baltimore
Over the years I have taken my kids to Baltimore many times, mostly to visit the National Aquarium or Maryland Science Center. But, like most other cities, there is an abundance of free activities to enjoy throughout the year. Take a look at 20 of my favorite free things to do with kids in Baltimore:
1. Shop at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar. Open every Sunday through December, the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar allows you to challenge your kids to try something they have never eaten before. Pick up fresh fruits for a picnic or browse the open-air bazaar.
2. Hike to Federal Hill Park. For amazing views of the Inner Harbor and the city of Baltimore, enjoy a short hike to Federal Hill Park. Pretend you are living during the Civil War and looking out for the enemy, just like the soldiers did many years ago.
3. Run Through a Living Willow Tunnel. Head to Pierce’s Park near Pier 5 and the National Aquarium. Kids can check out sculptures along with a musical fence. As a bonus, there is plenty of room to play on the large grassy area.
4. Attend a Cultural Event During Free Fall Baltimore. In October, make a point to celebrate Free Fall Baltimore. With more than 300 events in the Baltimore City area alone, there is something for everyone, including music, theater, art and puppet shows.
5. Explore Vast Art Collections. Pay a visit to the Walters Art Museum where admission is always free. Enjoy art programs, including Walk, Wonder & Create Tours, which are ideal for kids 6- 8 years old. Little ones will also like the hands-on ArtCarts and Discovery Quilts.
6. Stargaze on Friday Evenings. Head to the Observatory at the Maryland Science Center on Fridays from 7-10:30 p.m. when it is free and open to the public. Kids will love searching for constellations and planets from the rooftop. Paid science center admission is not required to enter the Observatory.
7. Check Out the Historic Ships. While there is a fee to climb aboard, it’s free to view the historic ships and submarine dockside at the Inner Harbor. Listen for daily cannon firings. Also, visit the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse at Pier 5.
8. Listen to Pirate Stories. During the summer months, Urban Pirates offers free Pirate Story Times on Wednesday and Friday mornings. Step aboard a pirate ship for stories, songs, and games. Look for discounted pirate cruise tickets on story time days, too.
9. Enjoy Family Art Programs. Participate in one of the many family programs at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Admission is free and they recently added free audio tours. Listen along as your special tour guide (Matisse’s dog Raoudi) takes you on a special trip around the collection.
10. Explore Art Works in One of Baltimore’s Tallest Buildings. Once the tallest building in Baltimore, the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower is now home to 12 floors of art studio space. Visit with the artists during Open House Days on Fridays and Saturdays when the studios are open to the public.
11. Bike the Druid Park Lake Trail Loop. Hop on your bike or take a stroll along the easy 1.5 miles Druid Park Lake Trail Loop. This easy trail around a reservoir is especially scenic in the spring when all the trees are blooming.
12. Enjoy Free Outdoor Entertainment. You and your kids will love the live music and entertainment to be found in the HarborPlace Amphitheatre. Street performers perform daily, and regional and local bands play on Saturday and Sunday nights in the summer.
13. Tour Nearby Botanical Gardens. Less than five miles from the Inner Harbor, the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens is a must-visit. Open Wednesday through Saturday, kids will love walking through the Desert and Palm Houses to see exotic plants and flowers.
14. Meet Favorite Book Authors. The annual Baltimore Book Festival takes place in late-September. Kids can visit with favorite authors, as well as learn to draw superheroes and create book characters. The Enoch Pratt Children’s Stage will offer interactive activities for kids all weekend.
15. Hop on the Bus. Take a free ride on the Charm City Circulator, which will take you just about anywhere you need to go, including all the touristy hot spots. It’s also a great way to take a seat and relax after a busy day of exploring.
16. Find a Unique Treasure. Wander about the historic neighborhood of Fell’s Point and pop in antique shops, like The Antique Man. Kids will especially love the 12-foot mummy, the two-headed mummy and the giant ball of string.
17. Feed the Ducks. Just outside the National Aquarium, you’ll find Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Waterfront Park. Bring a bag of bread crumbs and relax at this beautiful, urban retreat.
18. Walk Amongst the Sculptures. Head to the American Visionary Art Museum and enjoy the free sculpture plaza and wildflower gardens. Head to the Tall Sculpture Barn to see a life-size, interactive chess set. Or enjoy the wildflowers that surround the Meditation Chapel.
19. Take a Walking Tour. At the Inner Harbor Visitor Center, pick up a guided tour along Heritage Walk April through October. Heritage Walk is an easy three-mile walking trail that connects 20 historic sites and museums in an area that spans four city neighborhoods.
20. Watch a Game of Bocce. Head to Baltimore’s Little Italy to watch a traditional game of bocce. Leagues play in the streets Tuesday through Thursday. Peek into Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop and with all the money you have saved from all these free activities, buy one of their famous cannolis!
Which of these free things to do with kids in Baltimore have you done?
About the Author: Kath Race and her husband, Rick, live in Northern Virginia with their three teenage children. She shares her road trip adventures at familyTravelsUSA. Kath and her family have visited many national parks, big cities and small towns over the years. She hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Photo Credit: kymagirl