Getting Around Baltimore
The best way to get around in Baltimore is via car, whether it be your own or a rental; most visitors use the agencies at the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). A range of taxis and shuttles are also available to drive you the 10 miles north from the airport to the city's downtown area. Once you get there, you can use the public transit systems, run by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), which offer a convenient and cost-effective way to navigate the city. The MTA offers bus, Metro Subway, Light Rail and MARC train services, along with the Charm City Circulator, a free bus service introduced in 2010 that connects visitors to a variety of popular attractions.
You'll find that Baltimore's public transportation system, run by the Maryland Transit Administration, offers an easy and affordable way to get around town. Single one-way fare tickets for use on local buses and 90-minute rides on the Light Rail cost $1.80; one-way fare tickets for the Express Bus cost $2.30; and fare for commuter buses and MARC train service depends on destination and route. A day pass is also available for $4.20. (If you plan to take the bus, keep in mind only exact change is accepted.) If you're planning to visit for longer than a day or two, you can also purchase a weekly pass for $20 that allows for unlimited travel from 12 a.m. Sunday to 3 a.m. the next Sunday.
Purchasing a $10 CharmCard – a plastic, rechargeable public transportation ticket – affords you the convenience of not having to worry about supplying exact change. Plus, it's easy to add extra fare to the card at all MTA ticket vending machines.
The free Charm City Circulator buses run every 10 to 15 minutes and offer service to top city attractions. Five color-coded circulator routes weave through top destinations, such as Penn Station, Federal Hill, The Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry. Buses run from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with extended hours on Fridays until midnight; from 9 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays; and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Hours change according to season.
Water taxis are plentiful in Baltimore. The easily identifiable blue-and-white colored Baltimore Water Taxis transport passengers to more than 15 stops, including the National Aquarium, Maritime Park and Fell's Point. One-way adult tickets cost $9, and an all-day adult ticket costs $16. Taxis run daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., though severe weather can shut down service. You can pick up water taxi tickets online, on the boat or at the taxi kiosk at Haborplace.
Though taxis can be hard to come by across Baltimore, you'll likely be able to hail one of the more than 600 reputable Yellow or Checker cabs navigating the city streets. The fare starts at $1.80 for the first 1/11 mile, plus an extra $0.20 for each additional 1/11 mile and each 30 seconds of wait time. You may also be charged a $0.50 surcharge for evening trips between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. You can expect to pay $35 for rides from BWI airport to the Inner Harbor.
Uber and Lyft ride-hailing services both operate in Baltimore as well, and are another convenient option for getting around the city.
The parking situation downtown can get a little hairy, and the congestion during rush hour is brutal, but still – driving in Baltimore is relatively easy and convenient. There's plenty of parking on private hotel lots, and the road's grid pattern makes navigation easy, even with the many one-way streets. If you're coming downtown you will want to avoid Orioles or Ravens game days; street parking is nearly impossible, and the traffic is horrendous.
Relying on your own two feet is another convenient way to get around town, but wear some good walking shoes. The promenade that runs along the water at the Inner Harbor will take you past several attractions and even up to the neighborhoods of Federal Hill, Fells Point and Canton. This is a bit of a hike however, and walking outside of the Inner Harbor isn't really feasible.
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