Cities are notorious for being more expensive than their suburban neighbors. But there's a lot you can do for $20 or less in Baltimore. Check out some of my ideas for things to do in Baltimore on a budget, and add your own favorites in the comments.
Try your hand at duckpin bowling - $12
Do you love bowling but wish it was smaller? Then try Duckpin Bowling!
I'm kidding, but Duckpin Bowling is quintessentially Baltimore and a really fun time. Try a game at Patterson Bowling Center, the oldest duckpin bowling alley in the nation, and one of just a few duckpin bowling alleys left in Maryland. Patterson Bowling Center gets bonus points for being BYOB (beer and wine only)! Games are $12 an hour including shoes.
Explore Baltimore's Inner Harbor on paddle boats - $11 per half hour rental
This is one of the more "touristy" things you can do in the city, but it's fun and provides a view of Baltimore that you can only get from the water. That being said, paddle boats are always more of a workout than I'm expecting, you might want to check out the paddle boats before the hot and humid Baltimore summer hits.
Brunch at Little Havana - $18
Let me describe my perfect date: It is sunny and 80 degrees with a light breeze. I get picked up by my dashing boyfriend and taken to brunch at Little Havana for unlimited mimosas and a delicious breakfast. Then we go to an Oriole's game where they win in an exciting, extra innings game against the Yankees. Unfortunately, you can't do all of that for less than $20, but you can get unlimited mimosas and/or bloody marys and a delicious brunch at Little Havana in Federal Hill for $18.
Try your luck at Pimlico Race Track - $3 and up
You might not be able to afford a ticket to Preakness for $20, but there are races almost every day at Pimlico. Admission to the Grandstand and Clubhouse is just $3, you can then bet almost any amount on the horse of your choice. The track has several dining options and events that occur throughout the year.
View Baltimore from the World Trade Center observation deck - $5
Get 360 degree views of the Inner Harbor from the Baltimore World Trade Center Observation Deck. Admission is $5 a person.
Behold the sights at the American Visionary Arts Museum - $16
The American Visionary Arts Museum is home to some of the most creative pieces of art in Baltimore. At the museum you can find everyday items reworked into unique works of art, including an entire ship made from toothpicks and electrical wires sculpted into the shape of a human body. In many cases, what's more interesting than the art itself is the story behind the art. Be sure to pay attention to the plaques of information explaining what inspired the artist, it makes the experience even more fun.
Take a tour of Fort McHenry - $7
The Battle of Baltimore was fought at Fort McHenry and inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star Spangled Banner. The fort is rich with history on the War of 1812, Maryland and early America. Admission to the park is $7 for adults, and free for children 15 and under.
Check out the exhibits at the Science Center - $19
The Baltimore Aquarium gets a lot of tourist attention, but in my opinion, the real touristy gem of Baltimore is the Science Center. The Maryland Science Center features tons of exhibits focused on science, history, medicine and space exploration, among other topics. New exhibits are always being added, so even if you've made it to the Science Center before, there's probably a ton of new things to see since your last visit. Adult tickets are $18.95 and for an extra fee you can also check out the series of interesting documentaries on the Science Center's enormous IMAX screen.
Drink out of a hubcap at Nacho Mama's - $14 and up
Nacho Mama's in Canton is famous for their hubcap margaritas. The margaritas are literally served in hubcaps (obviously they're meant for sharing, but if you can drink the entire thing solo more power to you). Nacho Mama's is a great place for happy hour with friends, plus their menu is full of great dishes to help curb your impending hangover.