This time last year the Chop was, to put it bluntly, dead broke. After spending an entire Summer loafing leisurely we were suddenly and unexpectedly prevented from going back to sea for a few months more for reasons we won’t go into here. So all of our entertainment at that point had to be cheap. Like really cheap. Like Free. Fortunately FreeFall Baltimore came through for us, and we were able to get out and see fun stuff and do interesting things without paying a dime.
This year we find ourselves at home for all of October as well, and we’ll definitely be hitting up at least a few of the FreeFall events coming up this month. We’ve got to say though, after reviewing the offerings on tap this year we’re a little disappointed. The events list seems a little light this year. The handful of theater events and most of the ship tours are already booked up solid and some favorite institutions which have participated in the past like the AVAM and the B&O Railroad Museum are conspicuously absent from this year’s list. All in all the month is kind of lackluster.
But there are still a few interesting opportunities to enjoy special events and see some things for free that usually cost money. Below is our own personal to-do list. There’s plenty of other things like yoga classes and family events for people who don’t have the exact same very narrow and specialized interests as the Chop so check out the FreeFall website for more.
The Baltimore Museum of Art is always free, but in months that aren’t October they charge admission to view the current exhibition, which at the moment is a collection of prints called On Paper: Alternate Realities which can be seen Wednesday through Sunday all month long. Register here.
The USS Torsk submarine docked adjacent to the Aquarium is offering free tours with an explanation and discussion of WWII era sub attack tactics at 6 pm on October 1 and October 29. Register here for both dates.
The Baltimore Museum of Industry offers free admission days on October 5th and 14th. If you’ve never seen the museum you should really make a point of getting down there one of those days. The BMI is one of the best attractions in Baltimore and is something of a hidden gem that too many tourists and locals alike pass over. Its regular $12 price of admission makes it a bargain any day of the year when compared to attractions like the Aquarium or Science Center. No registration required.
Pints Fest is an outdoor happy hour in Downtown’s Center Plaza from 5-8 pm Friday, October 10. Only the samples are free but at $2 a pint for local craft options like Union, Public Works, Full Tilt and more this is one of the few happy hours around charging actual Happy Hour prices. There’s also games, live music, food and buck-a-shuck oysters. no registration required.
Open Studio Tours are a favorite annual event taking place the weekend of October 11 & 12 from 10-6. Artists all over the city open their studios to visitors, who can make the event as big or small as they like by visiting only one or trying to see them all (good luck with that). Click on school33.org for more information and maps. No registration required.
Doors Open Baltimore is another self-tour/open house event on October 25 focusing on the city’s industrial architecture. We wish we could tell you more but the event page is sublimely vague. Register here and figure it out if you can. Let us know if you do.
The 7th Annual Canton Oktoberfest Celebration has been going on for 7 years, apparently, and has completely flown under our radar that whole time. This year it’s Sunday October 26 from noon to five. It’s a block party where you daydrink German beer with Canton Yuppies on Dillon Street. Ok. Sure. Why not? No registration required.
The Jewish Museum of Maryland is on the way to Canton (unless, you know, you live in a different part of town that we do) and is also holding their free admission day on Sunday the 26th. At 1:00 pm they’re going to give a presentation on The Golem. How much do you know about Golem? Not enough, we’d bet. Register here.
Geo-Poe is a literary urban geocaching adventure that looks to be cooked up by the brains behind the Smile Hon, You’re in Baltimore zine. Writers (some very good ones) write Poe-esque stories and stash them around town for you to find and read in an event that looks to be tailor made fun for bicyclists. Like the Open Doors tour above it’s short on specifics. We’re not sure if you’ve got all month to find them or if you’re meant to do it in a day but the event does culminate with a reading at the site of Poe’s grave at 7 pm October 29. Register here.