Best Culture On A Budget In Baltimore

April 9, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

Art and culture seem to be available at every turn in every corner of Baltimore. However, in today’s economy, finding venues for the entire family that are both interesting and affordable is important, and Baltimore has the best of both worlds. Throughout the year there are annual events such as cultural expos, Artscape events and even a wonderful Stone Soul picnic that is held in Druid Hill Park with concerts, food and art. Finding everyday events that are available during other times is simple, too. Some of Baltimore’s best kept secrets are free art museums scattered around the city. They are not a tourist trap, but rather a quiet, quality place for culture and art-goers. These museums are tucked way in eclectic corners of the city, but are open to all.
The Walters

waltersmuseum Best Culture On A Budget In Baltimore


600 North Charles St.
Baltimore, Md. 21201
(410) 547-9000

Hours: Wed to Sun – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
General Admission is free.

The Walters Art Museum is commonly referred to as simply “The Walters” or WAM and it’s akin to a mini-Smithsonian in Baltimore. The Walters is a legacy that Henry Walters left for this city and has gained international attention over the years as the museum’s collection has grown tremendously. Works of art in this museum touch upon every era of civilization ranging from ancient Egyptian art to contemporary. Many exhibits display huge paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries. There is also a section of the museum that shows off magnificent jewelry of the past.

The museum is easily accessible by public transportation and often families, students and tourists are seen piling in. The best thing about the Walters Art Museum is that the admission is free, so if patrons don’t have time to see all the works in one visit, they can come back time and time again.

The Baltimore Museum of Art

baltimore museum of art Best Culture On A Budget In Baltimore

(credit: Stephen Jaffe/AFP/Getty Images)

10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, Md. 21218
(443) 573-1700

Hours: Wed to Fri – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat to Sun – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon to Tues – Closed
General Admission is free.

Great works of art are held behind the marbled pillars of this grand museum. Great artists such as van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, Cezanne and even Andy Warhol live here on Art Museum Drive, which is off the shoulder of the historical Charles Street in the heart of Baltimore. The museum houses some of the largest contemporary art exhibits in the world. Other pieces date to the 15th century and one of the museum’s prize exhibits is the outdoor/indoor sculpture garden. Each exhibit is displayed ostentatiously in “grand” rooms, with magnificent design and architecture. Audio tours are available and there is a fabulous restaurant and museum store on the premises.

Related: Best Children’s Museums In Maryland

The American Visionary Art Museum

avam1 Best Culture On A Budget In Baltimore

(credit: Staci Wolfson)

800 Key Highway
Baltimore, Md. 21230
(410) 244-1900

Price: Adult: $15.95, Senior (60 and up): $13.95, Student/Child: $9.95, Children 6 and under: free, Members: free
Admission to the museum is free on Thursdays between 5 and 9 p.m as the AVAM sponsors a free film at 9 p.m on Federal Hill “Flicks from the Hill”

The American Visionary Art Museum’s Sculpture Plaza and Wildflower Garden is outdoors and does not cost a thing to experience. Spanning from now until September 2012 is a special exhibit themed “All Things Round: Galaxies, Eyeballs and Karma.” It acknowledges the robust, circular, and voluptuousness in the universe. The museum is ideal for people of all ages and has lots of interactive art for the entire family. Go during the middle of week after work to save money for more costly weekend events. Invest in a membership for extra savings.

Related: Art Review: ‘All Things Round: Galaxies, Eyeballs And Karma’

Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum

edgarallanpoe Best Culture On A Budget In Baltimore

(credit: Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

203 North Amity St.
Baltimore, Md. 21223
(410) 396-7932

Hours: Wed – Sat 12 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Call to confirm as hours of operation are limited and are subject to change as well as admission fees.

To experience a bit of history and explore the humble beginnings of a famous poet, a trip to the Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum is in order. Though the location is not in the middle of tourist central, it still is convenient to access. Whether using the shuttle, driving, or walking, the quaint residential Baltimore neighborhood where Poe lived is a perfect outing for the family, as well as literature lovers, historians, Poe fans, educators and those simply seeking to peek into the famed writer’s past. The expert staff is on hand to provide insightful tours as well as to give direction to the author’s final resting place and monument, which is a few short blocks away at Westminster Hall.

Westminster Hall

westminsterhall Best Culture On A Budget In Baltimore


519 W. Fayette St.
Baltimore, Md. 21201
(410) 706-2072

Burying Grounds are outside and open to the public 8 a.m. to dusk, and are free to view/tour. Catacombs are available for a tour with a tour guide and include a film on the history and a scheduled tour of Westminster Hall (lasts approx. 1 hour.)
Tours can be scheduled between 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Catacomb and Hall tours range in costs: $3 – $5

A few short blocks away from the Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum rests Westminster Hall and Burying Grounds. Originally, the site was a cemetery where notable people were buried. Some of those interred include General Sam Smith, Edgar Allan Poe and General James Henry. The enormous Gothic church itself was built approximately 60 years later and was erected on top of the cemetery. Large piers were created to build the church above the tombs and graves, thus creating the famous Westminster Hall Catacombs that thousands each year come to see and experience. The magnificent stained glass windows alone are worth the trip. Years later, the Westminster Preservation Trust organization raised funds to renovate and creatively restore the church building and it is now used for events and tours.

Related: Best Museums In Maryland

Sherri Weaver, an avid reader of classical literature, with a passion for writing, finds herself not only intrigued with history, but with the literary greats. A Baltimore County native, she finds her comfort zone in museums, libraries and historical grave sites. Her work can be found at

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