|Baltimore is a popular tourist destination in Maryland on the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America, near Washington (D.C.). It is perhaps most famously known as the city where Frances Scott Key wrote the lyrics for the Star Spangled Banner, and today has become a major center for tourism and travel. It lies a the juncture of the Chesapeake Bay and the U.S. capitol of Washington, DC. With a mild four season climate, continuous nightlife, and plenty of southern hospitality, any time of the year is a great time to visit "Charm City"! Downtown Baltimore on a beautiful October day. |
Some of Baltimore's neighborhoods are Canton, Federal Hill, Fell's Point, Little Italy, and Mount Vernon.
Public transportation in Baltimore is much better than other major cities in the United States, and there are several options.
There is an excellent light rail, metro and bus system throughout Baltimore, $3.50 will buy you a day pass valid on all public transport flavors. You may consider parking outside the center of the city and getting the light rail or the Metro system into the harbor area. But parking is plentiful near all major sights. Parking rates are consistent with most major cities. The harbor area and the public transportation systems are safe and patrolled.
One of the most popular (and unique!) modes of transportation in Baltimore is the water taxi system . The water taxi is an especially nice way to get around during the warmer months, and offers unique views of the Baltimore skyline. $8.00 buys you unlimited rides all day long, and you can hop on and off at any of the stops throughout the harbor area (which covers areas like Fort McHenry, Fells Point, Little Italy, the Science Center and Aquarium). Hours of operation vary throughout the year; check the schedule for details.
Do not be overly concerned about claims that Baltimore has a high murder rate. While all large urban areas have crime problems, in B-More, most of the murders are related to the illegal drug market and occur in areas of town you will never encounter. As a visitor, you will be safe, but be prudent and know where you are going and how you are getting there. As when visiting anywhere, common sense precautions should be taken when walking around at night: walk in groups; do not carry large amounts of money; and avoid poorly lit and seedy neighborhoods.
Cabs can be expensive, but are safe.
• Harbor. The harbor area is the busy center to the city, a major tourist attraction, a must-see, often featuring live music by jazz groups and crooners.
• National Cryptologic Museum at Fort Meade in Maryland, between Washington DC and Baltimore.
• American Visionary Art Museum, Inner Harbor. Tu-Su. The most eclectic and interesting collection of contemporary art from professional and amateur artists alike. Adults $9 / Concessions $6.
• U.S.S. Constellation. The last all-sail warship built by the U.S. Navy and the only Civil War-era vessel still afloat.
• Fort McHenry Birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner
• Port Discovery - The Children's Museum, Voted one of the top 5 childrens' museum in the US - directly off of the Inner Harbor.
• Baltimore Maritime Museum.
• Maryland Science Center.
• National Aquarium.
• Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.
• Baltimore Museum of Art, north of the harbor. W-Su. Fantastic. $5-$7.
• The Walters Art Museum in mid-town
• Johns Hopkins University. The Homewood campus was a property purchased in 1800 by Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence, as a wedding present for his son, who designed and oversaw the building of the outstanding federal style country house. The Johns Hopkins University was the first research university in the United States.
The Johns Hopkins University at the Homewood campus
• Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture 830 E. Pratt Street. (410) 333-1130. Tu-Su 10 A.M.-5 P.M., closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day and Easter Sunday. This new facility is the largest museum on the East Coast that is devoted to African American history and culture. Admission $8, seniors and college students $6, 6 and under free.
• Harbor ferry. Circumnavigates the harbor.
• Baltimore Orioles. The local baseball team plays at the Camden Yards.
• Baltimore Ravens. Football.
• Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
• Morris A Mechanic Theatre
• Hippodrome Theatre
The excellent market place, near the harbor, is full of fresh seafood and great food bars to eat with the locals. (Although, obviously, locals do not frequent the Inner Harbor, preferring the neighborhoods surrounding it) Little Italy and Fell's Point, Federal Hill, etc. all feature local and international cuisine. Maryland is known for its steamed crabs, which used to come from the Chesapeake Bay, but due to over-fishing, the catches are diminished each year, so crabs are frequently brought in from Louisiana and Texas.
• Lexington Market is an especially popular lunchtime destination, with countless vendors selling all kinds of food imaginable. There are standing tables in an open area on the ground floor, as well as a large seating area on the upper level above that.
• Fine dining can be had at "windows" the restaurant in the Renaissance Harbor Side Hotel. Get a window table for a view of the U.S.S. Constellation docked at the inner harbor. It looks down on the pavilions at the harbor.
• If you enjoy Mexican food, Nacho Mama's (2907 O'Donnell St) is a great place to check out. Fun atmosphere, surrounded many "priceless artifacts" representing everything Baltimore. More information
Fells Point, Canton, Federal Hill, and mid-town all have numerous eating and drinking establishments. Brewer's Art on Charles Street specializes in Belgian ales. Cross Street Market in Federal Hill has a sushi and raw bar, and an excellent happy hour on Friday.
• Clarion Hotel - Peabody Court, 612 Cathedral St, 410 727-7101. Located in the historic Mt Vernon Arts and Cultural District. Cultural and historic venues such as Meyeroff Symphony Hall, The Lyric, the Engineers Society of Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, Peabody Conservatory, John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore Opera, Center Stage, Maryland Historical Society and Antique Row are just steps from the front door.
• Marriott - Waterfront, 700 Aliceanna St, 410 385-3000. Located on the water beside the pier six pavilion, within walking distance of Little Italy, The National Aquarium, The Hardrock Cafe, and other places of interest.
• Marriott - Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, 410 962-0202. Located near the Oriols Stadium and the Ravens Stadium, within walking distance to the Baltimore Convention Center.
• , 410 865-7510. Enjoy consistency, quality, reasonable prices and great service each time you stay with Microtel Inns & Suites. Free local and long-distance calling in the continental US, wireless internet access and more amenities available.
• The Inn at 2920, 2920 Elliott St, (about 1/2 hour from the Harbor). Although the price might be a bit steep for a bed and breakfast, it is definitely worth it. The place makes you feel pampered, the food is cooked by an excellent chef and the B&B is located in a cool, hip neighborhood (if somewhat yuppy-like), named Canton.
• Wyndham, 101 W Fayette St, 410 752-1100, fax 410 752-0832. Directly across from the Baltimore Arena and only minutes away from the Baltimore Inner Harbor Convention Center. The elegance, history and fun of Baltimore's beautiful harbor are only three blocks away from this hotel.
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Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore
Greyhound serves most major cities, and the stop in Baltimore's downtown is a few blocks south of the Inner Harbor
Car parking is expensive in the inner city, roughly $5/hr around the harbor area. The 395 turn off from the I95 will take you right into the harbor area, but traffic can be slow in the center of the city at rush hour and on game days.
Amtrak offers frequent services into Baltimore, the station is on Charles Street in the center of the city, but a considerable distance from the harbor area.
The Baltimore-Washington International Airport is located a few miles outside of the city and is accessible by car or light rail.
BWI has a somewhat unique car rental system. Car rental facilities are located in a centralized facility located away from the airport. Airport shuttle buses must take travelers to and from the facility and it is advisable to plan an extra 10 to 15 minutes in time to get out of the airport. Also, if heading to Washington DC, the signage from the airport's car rental facility is very poor and confusing, especially to Route 495. However, all roads ultimately lead to highway access in either direction (North or South).
Baltimore lies an arm of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the world. The eastern two-thirds of the area lie on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, between 15 and 50 feet above sea level, and contain many peninsulas jutting out into the bay. The western third of the city slowly rises into rolling hills, and leads to the piedmont region. It is located about 40 miles from Washington, DC, and approximately 100 miles from Philadelphia. The Atlantic Ocean lies about 2 hours to the southeast.
Baltimore's climate is primarily affected by three factors: its proximity to a warm marine estuary, its low elevation, and the wall of mountains to the northwest. These factor's make the area's climate milder and less extreme than other U.S. cities at this latitude. Summers are humid and hot, but not extremely so, with highs reaching the 80s-90s and lows in the 60s-70s. Winters are cool and moist, with highs in the 30-50s and lows in the 20s. Temperatures in the winter can occasionally wander into the 10s, but it is rarely ever below 10 in the city proper. Snow can fall in winter, although some years there is no significant accumulation and some years a coastal storm can and dump 6-10 inches on the city. Spring and fall bring pleasant temperatures in the 50s-70s, and breezy southern winds.