Baltimore, Maryland comes alive in the summer with tons of events and activities. Many of these fun-filled events and attractions are free. Throughout the Charm City, you’ll find something fun fits the bill whether it’s an invigorating walk along the Inner Harbor trail or a relaxing movie outdoors.
A bustling farmers’ market
One of the most attended free events is the Baltimore Farmers’ Market and Bazaar, known to the locals as “the under the bridge market” due to its location beneath the I-83 bridge downtown. This market is held from around Easter through November on Sundays from 7:30 a.m. to noon. The Baltimore Farmers’ Market and Bazaar features dozens of vendors selling produce, arts and crafts, and beverages. Almost any Sunday, you will find musicians playing to the crowd for tips and applause. Buying lunch here is a low-cost way to enjoy food and entertainment, but beware, there are few places to sit down and enjoy your meal. Check out their Facebook page for special events.
Speaking of live music, the local NPR radio station WTMD sponsors First Thursday concerts at Canton Waterfront Park from May through September. See recognizable national and local musicians perform free of charge at this venue overlooking the Baltimore Harbor. Choose from around 15 food vendors selling everything from the farm-to-table fare, ice cream, and Thai cuisine. Thousands of locals flock to these free concerts on the first Thursday of the month, but it’s not just for locals. Take an Uber, taxi, or Charm City Circulator if you can, as parking is limited and hundreds of concert lovers show up for these events when the weather is decent.
Dragon boat races or free movies
Want some more waterfront fun? Check out the 10th Annual Dragon Boat Challenge races near Under Armour’s campus at Locust Point. On June 23rd from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. see racers from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, DC, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland compete for top honors. Attendance is free! Later in the year, Catholic Charities will host their own dragon boat race as a fundraising event on September 8th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rash Field-Baltimore Inner Harbor.
For a quiet option, take a ride to Druid Park where free outdoor movies, botanic gardens, farmers’ market, and picnicking in the park are good summer options. The farmers’ market is held on Wednesdays from 3:30–7:00 p.m. June through October. Activities include free yoga classes, walking the park, picnicking, and shopping. Several food vendors have the fixin’s for a meal to pair with a free movie. Come early to Druid Park so you can visit the botanic gardens and find a parking place.
Another free movie option in Baltimore is by Federal Hill at the Visionary Art Museum. Held on Thursdays starting July 12 to August 30th, watch movies like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Sherlock Holmes, Casablanca, and more. Free fitness sessions are held at 6:30 p.m. if you want a bit of exercise before the movie. Bring your blanket and picnic dinner and enjoy one of the nation’s best art museums. The Visionary Art Museum has reduced rates for students, seniors, and children under 6 and active military get in free to this quirky museum.
Get a taste of history
For a dose of history and a bit of exercise, check out the Mount Vernon Cultural Walk, a tour and tower climb event. At this low-cost event, you’ll get a walking tour of Baltimore’s best historic neighborhoods where the wealthy residents from days gone by used to live in luxurious townhomes. One of the best aspects of the tour is climbing the stairs to the top of the Washington Monument for a bird’s-eye view of the city. Cost for this excellent tour is only 10 USD. The Mount Vernon Cultural Walk is thanks to Baltimore National Heritage Area, and they have a few other trips on their webpage listed below to consider for history buffs.
The centerpiece of Baltimore is the Inner Harbor. This historic harbor was renovated in the 1970s and 1980s making this one of the nation’s best urban waterfront areas. Once again this vibrant port from the 18th century shines and attracts visitors from around the world. On summer days, walk the paved trail that goes all the way to Canton or Fort McHenry. In the heart of the Inner Harbor, find buskers entertaining the crowd for free. Rent a paddle boat for a mere 12 USD per half an hour for up to four people and see the city from the water.
Patterson Park is one of Baltimore’s favorite places in the summer. This historic place once was a muster spot where troops protecting Baltimore met to repel the British in the war of 1812. Now a gorgeous park, locals can be seen walking their dogs, throwing Frisbees, picnicking, bike riding, playing tennis and basketball, and enjoying free concerts. Visit their website listed below to see a listing of musicians performing on June 19th and 30th, plus concerts in July and August.
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Keep it safe
This list is just a sampling of Baltimore’s summertime events and activities. As in any city I visit, I stay vigilant when going out at night. I recommend you travel as a group and be smart. I would take my wife and friends from out-of-town to any of these places above, and I feel they are safe for you too. Please come and enjoy Baltimore this summer and many more summers to come.
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