Our Baltimore Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help you plan your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Maryland, USA. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need?

    We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips. You’ll also learn about the most popular landmarks in Baltimore such as the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Inner Harbor, and Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum. It’s all compiled in this Baltimore Travel Essentials. After going through this short and easy-to-read guide, you’ll be a little more prepared to start your trip to Baltimore.

    1

    When is the best time to travel to Baltimore?

    • Baltimore has a humid subtropical climate with long, warm, and humid summers and cold winters. Average temperatures range between 35°F in winter and 81°F in summer.
    • Rain is spread evenly throughout the year with an average of 10 rainy days per month. Expect snowfall between December and February.
    • With average temperatures over 80°F, June–August is the warmest period of the year. Summer record highs have reached up to 108°F, but Baltimore rarely experiences extremely hot days. Spring and autumn are also pleasantly warm.
    • The peak season is June–August when you can expect higher hotel rates and more crowds. If you plan to visit Baltimore around this time of the year, it’s best to book far ahead.
    • The best times to visit Baltimore are April–May and September-October, just before and after the peak season. You’ll find good hotel deals, agreeable weather conditions, and lesser crowds at places of interest.
    2

    Baltimore basics

    • Plug type: A and B
    • Electricity: 120 V
    • Currency: United States Dollar (US$)
    • International dialling code: +1 410
    • Emergency telephone number: 911
    3

    How to get to my hotel in Baltimore?

    Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is the main arrival hub to the city of Baltimore.

    You can also get to Baltimore by train on no less than 9 Amtrak routes.

    If you’re on a budget or want to travel through the states as the authors from the Beat Generation did in the post-war era, you can get to Baltimore by Greyhound or other interstate coach companies.

    Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)

    Commonly called BWI Marshall, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is 9 miles south of Baltimore as the crow flies. The average driving time between BWI Marshall and the city centre is 17 minutes.

    Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the terminal building. Ground transport options for getting to downtown Baltimore are as follows:

    • Taxis can be found outside of the baggage claim area on the Lower Level of the terminal between doors 5 and 13.
    • The Uber and Lyft pick-up areas are at the terminal curb on the Upper Level/Departures.
    • BWI Courtesy, hotel, and off-airport shuttles have designated pick-up areas on the airport parking lots.
    • From Amtrak to Anne Arundel County Connector and from MTA Bus Services to MTA Light Rail, a great range of public transportation networks link the airport to anywhere in the State of Maryland. They’re the cheapest ways to get to your hotel.
    • Major car rental companies are in a rental car facility located on New Ridge Road. It’s connected from the Lower Level of the terminal by a free shuttle.

    Baltimore railway stations

    Baltimore hosts 2 main railway stations, one at BWI Marshall Airport and one in the city centre. The latter is named Penn Station, it’s located at 1500 North Charles Street, a walk away from Old East Baltimore Historic District. Baltimore is very well served by Amtrak trains. Nine Amtrak routes have a stop at least at 1 of the 2 main railway stations in the city – these range from Northeast Regional to Palmetto to Carolinian to Silver Meteor and more.

    From Penn Station, you can get to your hotel by taxi, rideshare, or public transportation systems (MTA bus, subway, or light rail).

    Baltimore Downtown Bus Station

    Baltimore Downtown Bus Station is on 2110 Haines Street, on the banks of Patapsco River. It’s served by all the major interstate bus companies such as Greyhound, Peter Pan, and Flixbus, just to name a few. From here, you can get to your hotel by the same means of transportation as from Penn railway station.

    4

    How to get around Baltimore?

    Travel tips

    Downtown Baltimore is about a square mile wide – it’s therefore easily walkable. It’s home to a good range of historical landmarks such as Edgar Allan Poe’s Grave, Rieman Block, and Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, among many others. It also hosts lively dining, shopping, and nightlife entertainment options. Riding a bicycle is also a cool way to explore the Baltimore city centre.

    For longer distances, depending on your budget and taste, you can get around by taxi, rideshare, public transport, water taxi, or rental car.

    Taking a taxi in Baltimore

    From Yellow/Checker Cab (+1 410-685-1212) to OnCabs Baltimore (+1 443-552-7097), Jimmy's Cab Co (+1 410-296-7200), and many more, taxis are easy to find in Baltimore. You can also easily find taxi lines in front of hotels and main attractions. It’s easy to hail one on the street.

    Convenient yet rather expensive, getting around Baltimore by taxicab is not your best option if you’re on a budget, although a taxi ride may be your only option to get back to your hotel if you’re a night owl. Note that tipping for taxis in the states is usually between 15% and 20% of the fare. Most taxi drivers accept credit cards, though sometimes reluctantly.

    Uber and Lyft are the 2 main ride-sharing apps used in Baltimore. Their rates are slightly cheaper than standard taxicabs.

    Travelling by public transports in Baltimore

    Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is the main public transport company operating in Baltimore. The system covers the entire city and suburbs with local buses, commuter buses, light rail, subway, Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) train service, and a paratransit system.

    MTA also runs the complimentary Charm City Circulator buses that serve the main attractions in the city via 5 routes.

    A wide range of ticketing options is available, from single-trip tickets to multiple-day passes. You can buy tickets on the bus with this exact amount in cash, while multi-day passes are available online and at specific locations.

    Renting a car in Baltimore

    In Maryland, foreigners can use their home country-issued driving license for up to 30 days. Renting a car is a good option for getting around Baltimore. The city is easily navigable, and it features plenty of free parking lots. However, heavy traffic at rush hour can be frustrating. You can find car rental agencies in the city centre, besides at the airport. 

    Baltimore Water Taxi

    Baltimore Water Taxi offers a very cool way of getting around the city Inner Harbor. It features 17 stops, many of them at points of interest such as the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, Fort McHenry, and many more. Water taxis run daily from 11 am to 6 pm but shut down their service in case of severe weather. Tickets can be purchased online, on the boat, or at the company’s counter at Harborplace.

    Cycling around Baltimore

    Hiring a bicycle is a fun way of exploring Baltimore. The city received a bronze Bicycle Friendly Community award from the League of American Bicyclists. Many cycling trails for all levels are spread throughout the city. Patapsco State Park, Lake Roland City Park, and BWI Airport Trail are just a few of the cycling routes available. Maps are available online.

    You can hire a bike, electric, or mountain bike at rental companies like Race Pace Bicycles (+1 410-986-0001), Baltimore Bicycle Works (+1 410-605-0705), and Joe's Bike Shop (+1 443-869-3435), just to name a few.

    5

    What are the main annual events in Baltimore?

    Flower Mart

    • May
    • One of the oldest festivals in Baltimore held since 1911, featuring floral exhibitions, the sale of seedlings and gardening-related products, as well as live entertainment and food.
    • Where: Mount Vernon Place around the Washington Monument

    Artscape Festival

    • August
    • One of the largest free art festivals in the USA. Live music performances have featured first-class acts such as George Clinton, Ray Charles, and Aretha Franklin.
    • Where: Mount Royal neighbourhood of Baltimore

    Light City Baltimore

    • November
    • An event that illuminates the city through installations and performances along the BGE Light Art Walk. The event also features food, live music, and a family zone, ending with fireworks over the Inner Harbor.
    • Where: Inner Harbor

    photo by Plot Spoiler (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    What are the main landmarks in Baltimore?

    Baltimore Museum of Art

    Home to a collection of over 95,000 pieces from distinguished masters such as Andy Warhol, Picasso, and Cézanne. The 1,000-piece Matisse collection housed in the Cone Wing is among its most impressive.

    Inner Harbor

    An important seaport since the 18th century, which continues to be the city’s hive of activity and is home to some of Baltimore’s biggest attractions such as the National Aquarium, and the Maryland Science Centre.

    Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum

    A site that offers a step back in time to early 19th-century America. Poe is said to have written most of his greatest works in this row house. Taking a self-guided audio tour lasts about 1 hour.

    Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

    The site of the 1814 Battle of Baltimore, one of America's finest military victories over the British fleet. It offers guided tours and several activities, such as flag talks and drill demonstrations.

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