At Hopkins, there are tons of free and affordable things to do both on and off campus. I’ve rounded up three of my favorites and three I can’t wait to experience. Let’s get into it! 

1. National Aquarium

Every Friday, the National Aquarium’s admission is half-off, so one of my friends suggested we go. We got a little group together and planned to take a city bus to the aquarium in the Inner Harbor. Unfortunately, the bus broke down, delaying us nearly an hour. After requesting a free Blue Jay Shuttle ride, however, we were taken directly to the Inner Harbor. We got to the aquarium about an hour before closing, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because there were no crowds or lines to wait in. We saw dolphins, sharks, and stingrays, but my favorite exhibit was easily the one that allowed guests to touch jellyfish! We ended the night drinking milkshakes at Chick-fil-A. 

2. Tailgates  

Throughout my time at Hopkins, I’ve gone to numerous tailgates that promote school spirit for our sports teams. Thanks to organizations like Hopkins Athletics and the Alumni Association, these tailgates are completely free for students to attend. There’s music, food, games, and giveaways. So far I’ve snagged a shirt, hat, scarf, bag, stickers, pom poms, and buttons. There was even a catered spread of barbeque at one of the tailgates, and it reminded me of being back home in Texas. Aside from watching a lacrosse, baseball, or basketball game, the tailgates are also a great chance to get a picture with our mascot, Jay. 

3. Washington, dc class trip

As a part of my American Sign Language (ASL) class, we took a free trip to Washington, DC. I was initially nervous I’d get lost on the way because I’m not used to taking public transport. Our class navigated together and getting to DC was much easier than I expected. All we had to do was take a campus bus to the train station, then board for our one-hour train ride. Once in DC, we met our teacher and headed over to the famous signing Starbucks. This was my favorite part of the trip because we got to order using ASL and meet some of our teacher’s deaf friends. As I was ordering, I was embarrassed to realize I forgot the sign for “cup.” Thankfully, the man taking my order was very patient and showed me the sign for it. I definitely won’t forget that again! Afterward, we toured Gallaudet University, an institution for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, then stopped at Union Market for lunch. I’ve been lucky to go on several free class field trips during my time at Hopkins. Each one has been a fun way of exploring new places in the Baltimore area and beyond.  

4. edgar allan poe house & museum

I was surprised to learn that Baltimore has many ties to Poe, with the Baltimore Ravens even being named after his famous poem, “The Raven.” For just $10, visitors can tour the house he lived in with his aunt, grandmother, and two cousins. The exhibits on display tell the story of his life and death in Baltimore. Although I haven’t visited Poe’s house yet, I hope to go during my time at Hopkins. Other free Poe things include visiting his gravesite and the annual International Edgar Allan Poe Festival, which has vendors, live performances, and a candlelight vigil at his grave.  

5. the baltimore arts scene

With organizations like HopArt and Museum Club, students can explore the Baltimore arts scene free of cost. Funded by the Parents Fund, HopArt allows students to attend various performing arts events in the area. Transportation and tickets are provided, along with faculty/staff chaperones. Some of these performances include the Baltimore Symphony, Mexodous, and Eugene Onegin at Opera Baltimore. In addition to this, Museum Club is another opportunity for students to explore museums in Baltimore and neighboring areas. I haven’t attended any of these trips yet because I keep forgetting to check their schedules. Once I set a reminder in my phone, I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to write about.  

6. 32nd Street Farmers Market 

I’ve had so many opportunities to go to the farmers market, but because I’m incapable of waking up early on weekends, this trip just hasn’t happened yet. The market is only a quick walk from campus and has everything from fresh produce to baked goods, smoothies, and culturally diverse foods. It’s common for RAs to host trips here, and many of my friends have given glowing reviews of it. Hopefully, I’ll stop hitting snooze on my alarm so I can see for myself what all the hype is about.