Free Things To Do in Baltimore
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Situated in Charles Village, just north of the downtown area, the Baltimore Museum of Art claims the title of largest art museum in Maryland. Filled with more 95,000 art pieces, including an impressive Matisse collection, donated by Baltimore natives Claribel and Etta Cone, the museum draws art enthusiasts from across the globe. An entire Cone Wing of the museum is devoted to the sisters' spectacular repertoire of paintings from distinguished artists like Matisse, Picasso and Cézanne. Recent visitors praised the extensive collection, citing free admission to the world-class museum as a major perk.
The museum is also home to one of the largest Andy Warhol collections in the world and features European sculptures, African and Asian arts, and decorative arts. The Contemporary Wing, which showcases works by women and artists of color, among others, and the sculpture garden, which hosts jazz sessions during the summer, are two main museum highlights. If you're interested in discovering what else is on display, check out its official website.
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Although not as famous as the Baltimore Museum of Art, this free Mount Vernon museum displays art dating back to 5000 B.C. Since it opened in 1934, the museum has expanded into a total of three distinctive buildings. Featuring Renaissance paintings, Asian art, Byzantine and Ethiopian art, and an extensive Egyptian collection, among other works, the exhibitions offer a diverse selection of art styles. The Walters is also known for its medieval galleries, which include artifacts like suits of armor from the Middle Ages. The Walters Art Museum also offers a variety of family-focused programs, as well as free drop-in art activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, which allows little ones to participate in arts and crafts projects. Recent visitors praised the museum's comprehensive collection and stunning interior design.
Free walk-in tours are available for those who want a more in-depth look at the galleries. While the museum itself is free to the public, keep in mind special events and lectures may require an admission fee for non-members. For further details on current exhibitions, consult the Walters Art Museum's official website. The museum welcomes visitors Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on Thursdays, visiting hours are extended to 9 p.m.
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For some of the best views of the Inner Harbor and Baltimore skyline, head to Federal Hill just south of downtown. The massive hill was once used during the Civil War and the War of 1812 as a major lookout spot. Until recently, it was also known as Signal Hill, where flags of local companies were raised as their ships arrived into the harbor. Past visitors said Federal Hill offers the best view in the city.
You have two options for getting to Federal Hill's summit: stairs or rolling hill. If you prefer the stairs, head up the 100 stairs on the Battery Avenue side. Warren Avenue, on the other hand, doesn't offer any stairs, but boasts scenic hillside views. If you're in the city for the Fourth of July, this makes for a great spot to watch the fireworks.
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Many of the attractions in Baltimore – including the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, the USS Constellation and the major sports stadiums – are centered in the Inner Harbor. Since the 18th century, the Harbor has been one of the most important seaports in the country, with a prime position alongside the Chesapeake Bay. Apart from the surrounding sites, you can also spend the day walking around the area, taking in a street performance or exploring the shops and restaurants.
While some travelers cite the area as somewhat of a tourist trap, most agree that the scenic strolls and convenient location make it a must-see for any first-time visitor. The neighborhood serves as a great place to catch a water taxi, have a meal, and shop around. Plus, there are many summer concerts and events in the area.
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A marble fountain, swimming pool, lake, pagoda and dog park can be found in this 300-year-old park, where locals and visitors congregate for seasonal events and concerts. The Pagoda atop Hampstead Hill – formerly called the Observatory – was built in 1890 and crowns the park, affording unobstructed city views. Recent visitors called this pagoda unique and worth a visit.
When you're not soaking up the scenery from the Pagoda, people-watching or joining other revelers for outdoor concerts, you can also take part of the activities held by the Friends of Patterson Park and volunteers, including bird-watching tours and gardening classes. On a clear day, rare bird types, such as the great blue heron and American goldfinch, have been spotted throughout the park.
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