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Jan 18, 2023

Baltimore on a Budget

View of Inner Harbor area in downtown Baltimore Maryland USA

When you think of the East Coast of the United States, you probably think of New York City, Miami, and Washington D.C. However, Baltimore is an excellent destination on the East Coast that’s more affordable than many other U.S. cities. 


Baltimore is the birthplace of the U.S. national anthem, home to the Ravens and Orioles, a leading National Aquarium, Baltimore crab cakes, and Mount Vernon Place. In addition, pop culture classics—including The Wire and Hairspray—took place in Baltimore. 


Here’s how you explore Baltimore on a budget:

1. Walk Around Mount Vernon Place

There’s no doubt about it, Mount Vernon Place is the number one landmark in Baltimore. Better still, it’s completely free to walk around. The iconic monument is the centerpiece of Baltimore’s urban square. As a result, there’s always an excellent vibe around the landmark—especially in the summer. 


Mount Vernon Place also houses many events, including art classes, walking tours, live performances, movie screenings, and walking tours. You’ll find various coffee shops, bars, and restaurants surrounding the monument, offering the perfect spot to relax during the cooler months. 



Address: Mount Vernon, Baltimore, MD, USA

2. Explore The Notorious Lexington Market

Baltimore is one of the most historic cities in the United States, and the Lexington Market is one of the top historical attractions. The fascinating landmark is within two building blocks in the heart of Lexington and Paca street. It’s a stunning venue that showcases the vibrant and historic trade culture of Maryland. 


The market began trading in 1782; it’s now one of the longest-running and most futuristic markets worldwide. If you're hungry, the market is home to delicious eateries offering authentic Baltimore cuisines. 



Address: 112 N Eutaw St, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

3. Wander Around Baltimore Inner Harbor

If you’re looking for free attractions, look no further than the quaint inner harbor in Baltimore. The harbor offers some of the top attractions in Baltimore, including the Maryland Science Center, the National Aquarium, and the Port Discovery Children’s Museum. 


The inner harbor is a marvelous mixture of maritime history. You’ll find a mixture of historic ships spread around the harbor—including the U.S.S. Constellation, built in 1854 by the U.S. Navy. There are also excellent water activities on the harbor, including the Baltimore water taxi, kayaking, and paddle boating. 


Address: Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD, USA

4. Learn at The Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

The Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is a prominent historic symbol in Baltimore. Dating back to the War of 1812, the monument is where the city successfully defended itself from the British navy from the Chesapeake Bay. You can self-guide yourself around the fort while learning about its history. 


What’s more, the entry fee is only $15. A self-guided tour of the monument requires around two hours. Special events include Defenders' Day, military twilight ceremonies, seasonal living history programs, and special ranger programs on certain holidays. 



Address: 2400 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230, United States

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5. Visit the Baltimore National Aquarium

Located in the heart of Baltimore’s iconic harbor, you’ll find the incredible Baltimore National Aquarium. The Baltimore National Aquarium is one of the top three aquariums in the United States. It includes thousands of species in award-winning habitats, including crocodiles, dolphins, sharks, and other exotic fish. 


In addition, the National Aquarium offers interactive animal encounters, expert talks, and 4d immersion films for people of all ages. Ensure you check out the aquarium’s calendar for experiences and tours. The aquarium also offers two eateries for snacks. Better still, the Baltimore National Aquarium is only $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for children. 



Address: 501 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202, United States

National Aquarium and historic submarine Torsk at Inner Harbor

6. Browse Through the Reginald F. Lewis Museum

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum is the perfect place to learn about the history and culture of African American Marylanders, with admission fees under $12. You can celebrate the accomplishments of various famous Marylanders—including Frederick Douglass. 


The museum has art and objects dating back to 1784, and the museum is only two blocks from the inner harbor, featuring more than 11,000 square feet of exhibition space, an outdoor terrace, classrooms, and a two-story theater. Past exhibitions include Jacob Lawrence’s works and a superb presentation of African American women.



Address: 830 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA

7. Relax at the Federal Hill Park

Baltimore has warm summers, and the best spot to enjoy the summer sunshine is Federal Hill Park. The park was a critical overwatch during the Civil War of 1812. As a result, the park has remarkable views of the city and harbor; it provides the dream spot for a picnic in Baltimore without any entry fees. 


After you’ve finished relaxing at Federal Hill Park, you can walk across the street to Cross Street Market for tasty seafood. It quickly becomes an excellent spot for nightlife once the sun goes down. 



Address: Federal Hill Park, 300 Warren Ave, Baltimore

8. Enjoy City Views from the Top of the World Observation Level

There’s no better way to observe a city than from 27 stories up, and the Top of the World Observation Level offers precisely that. The building is the world’s tallest pentagonal building and the only attraction that offers unobstructed views of Baltimore. 


The observation deck includes a touching tribute display to the Maryland residents who died on 9/11. You can also enjoy information detailing the history of Baltimore and the various movies and TV shows filmed there. Here’s the best news: tickets only cost $8 for adults and $5 for children aged 3-12. 



Address: 401 E Pratt St 27th floor, Baltimore, MD 21202, United States

9. Check Out the American Visionary Art Museum

Situated in the heart of Downtown Baltimore, the American Visionary Art Museum offers an incredible insight into numerous visionary American artists, including Ho Baron, Leonard Knight, William Kurelek, Leo Sewell, Judith Scott, Ben Wilson, Nek Chand, Howard Finster, Vanessa German, and Mr. Imagination (aka Gregory Warmack). 


The art museum also includes three floors of exhibition space with large display spaces in the Jim Rouse Visionary center. Check their website for their current exhibitions. The museum has 4,000 pieces of artwork, making it one of the leading art museums on the East Coast of the U.S. 



Address: 800 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230, USA

The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Baltimore: An Excellent Budget-Friendly Option on the East Coast

If you’re looking for a budget destination on the East Coast of the United States, it’s difficult to look past Baltimore. Of course, it doesn’t have the glitz, glamor, or appeal of NYC and Washington D.C., but it’s home to incredible history, cheap attractions, and an eclectic array of things to do. 


All in all, that’s why any budget traveler should consider a trip to Baltimore. 

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