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Baltimore Transportation

Getting There

Airport
Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), also known as Thurgood Marshall Airport, is about 11 miles southwest of Baltimore on I-195. It takes about 30 minutes to get into town if you’re driving (depending on traffic), or you can use the extensive bus and rail  connections that link the city to the airport. Sometimes you can get cheaper deals flying into Ronald Reagan or Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C., but flying there puts you an hour out of town.
Train

Amtrak links Baltimore to the rest of the Washington-New York corridor. From New York, it’s about two hours and 40 minutes to Baltimore. Cheap MARC trains connect Baltimore to D.C. on weekdays; you’ll have to opt for the more expensive Amtrak service on weekends. All regional trains pull into gorgeous Penn Station. Then again, MARC trains have a bad habit of getting delayed and breaking down in the summer heat.

Bus
Buses: Everyone knows about Greyhound and Peter Pan, but to go really cheap, you may want to consider Gotobus, MVP Bus and Boltbus. All of these carriers can get you to New York for $20. If you’re heading to D.C., the train is your best bet—despite occasional train difficulties, it’s still easier than putting up with traffic. If you must pinch every penny, you can take the Baltimore Light Rail to BWI (the airport), and then the B30 bus to D.C. for a little over $7.

Getting Around

Public Transit

 Baltimore’s public transportation is provided by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), which operates bus and light rail service in Baltimore and to surrounding areas. The MTA has a good track record with this sort of thing. The breadth of service doesn’t really compare to Washington, D.C., or New  York but reliability is pretty solid.

 

●        For visitors, an easy, free way to get around town is the Charm City Circulator, which connects most of the major sites of tourist interest, including the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill, Fells Point and Mount Vernon, via three free bus lines. Buses run every 10 minutes from 6:30AM-9PM on weekdays, until midnight on Friday, 9AM-midnight Saturday and from 9AM-9PM on Sunday. Check the schedule page for more details.

●        The Baltimore Light Rail and Subway lines provide rail transportation links between downtown Baltimore and the outlying suburbs. Using a combination of these two services you can access plenty of what the city has to offer. The subway runs from 5AM-midnight and from 6AM-midnight on weekends. The light rail runs from 6AM-11PM daily except Sundays (11AM-7PM). One-way fares are $1.60.

●        The Baltimore bus system provides good public transportation links throughout the entire Baltimore metro area. While the circulator covers most sites of tourist interest, if you want to really dig under Baltimore’s skin, take a ride on a city bus. The system is quite extensive; a comprehensive list of schedules and maps can be found here. Fares are $1.60 one way.

Taxis

Cabbies in Baltimore can be as kind or jerky as cabbies anywhere else. Fares start around $1.80 from the flag drop and add 20 cents for waiting time or each 1/11 of a mile, with the usual little surcharges for night pickups, going out of the city limits, and so on. There are plenty of unlicensed cabs in Baltimore that we can’t recommend—some of these guys are honest, but some aren’t, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Go for cabs with light-up tops; Yellow Cab is generally reliable. Water Taxi: An excellent way of seeing the city is from the water, on one of Baltimore’s distinctive blue and white water taxis. For $10 you can take all day to be boated around the Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Canton and Fort McHenry. Sure, the water may not be clean, but when the weather is nice there’s no better means of getting around town.

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Driving
Driving is a great way of getting a feel for Baltimore, but be warned that the area around the Inner Harbor, especially Pratt Street, can be a nightmare. That said, traffic can be awful anywhere in town, so it’s always a good idea to see if there’s a link to your destination via bus, light rail or subway. Downtown parking lots abound; they’re pricey but what did you expect? Most parking meters accept credit cards, which is great. Outside of downtown, the Inner Harbor and the immediate area around Fells Point, street parking usually isn’t too much of a hassle.
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