If you plan to stay near the harbor, it is easier to walk or take a water taxi than to drive and park. That having been said, driving in downtown Baltimore is fairly easy. The streets are on a straight grid; many are one-way. The major northbound streets are Howard, Charles, and Calvert. Cathedral and St. Paul are southbound. Lombard and Pratt are the major east and west streets. On the west side, Martin Luther King Boulevard connects the harbor with the cultural district; it runs both north and south.
Need to find an address? Buildings are numbered east and west from Charles Street; 100 East Lombard is in the first block to the east of Charles. Baltimore Street is the dividing line for north-south addresses; 100 South Charles is a block below Baltimore.
Car-rental agencies at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport include Alamo (tel. 410/859-8092), Avis (tel. 410/859-1680), Budget (tel. 410/859-0850), Dollar (tel. 800/800-4000), Enterprise (tel. 800/325-8007), Hertz (tel. 410/850-7400), National (tel. 410/859-8860), and Thrifty (tel. 410/850-7139).
By Light Rail, Subway & Bus
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) operates the Light Rail, a 27-mile system of aboveground rail lines reminiscent of the city's old streetcars. It travels on one north-south line, from the northern suburb of Timonium to Glen Burnie in the south, with a spur to Penn Station. The key stop within the city is Camden Station, next to the Orioles' ballpark. The Light Rail is the ideal way to get to a game or to travel between Camden Yards and the Inner Harbor, and the train station, the performing-arts district, or Mount Washington. Trains run every 15 to 30 minutes daily between 6am and midnight and Sunday between 11am and 7pm. Tickets, which cost $1.60 one-way, are dispensed from machines at each stop. Better yet, get a day pass for $3.50 -- it's good on all MTA transportation.
The MTA also operates the Metro, a subway system that connects downtown with the northwestern suburbs. Trains run from Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore through Charles Center and north to the suburb of Owings Mills. Service is available Monday through Friday from 5am to midnight, Saturday and Sunday from 6am to midnight. The fare is $1.60; you can also purchase the aforementioned day pass, which allows unlimited trips on the Light Rail, the Metro, and city buses for $3.50.
A network of buses, also operated by the MTA, connects all sections of the city. Service is daily, but hours vary. The base fare is $1.60; exact change is necessary.
The Charm City Circulator (www.charmcitycirculator.com), a free shuttle with three routes, was due to begin operations in early 2010.
To get information and schedules for all MTA services, call tel. 410/539-5000 or visit www.mtamaryland.com.
All taxis in the city are metered; two reputable companies are Yellow Cab (tel. 410/685-1212) and Arrow Cab (tel. 410/358-9697). For airport trips, call SuperShuttle (tel. 800/258-3826; www.supershuttle.com).
By Water Taxi
The water taxi makes for a pleasant way to visit Baltimore's attractions. Baltimore Water Taxis (tel. 800/658-8947 or 410/563-3901; www.thewatertaxi.com) runs between about a dozen Inner Harbor locations, including Harborplace, Fell's Point, Little Italy, Canton, and Fort McHenry; the main stop at Harborplace is on the corner between the two pavilions. Just tell the mate where you want to go. The cost is $9 for adults and $4 for children 10 and under for a full day's unlimited use of the water taxi and trolley to Fort McHenry. Tickets include a "Letter of Marque," a set of discount coupons for area restaurants, museums, and shops.
From May through Labor Day weekend, the 13 water taxis generally run about every 15 to 18 minutes, from 10am to 11pm Sunday through Thursday and until midnight Friday and Saturday. From November through March, taxis run from 11am to 6pm, sometimes later. In April, May, and October, Friday and Saturday service runs until 11pm. Service to Fort McHenry runs only April through September. Service is always weather permitting; you can pick up a schedule at the main stop at Harborplace.
Note: A free Water Taxi Harbor Connector runs between Tide Point, about a mile from Fort McHenry, and Maritime Park in Fell's Point. Water taxis run every 12 minutes 7am to 7pm daily, except in inclement weather.
You'll need to know only a few streets to get around. The easiest is the promenade around the Inner Harbor, which runs along the water from Federal Hill to Harbor East to Fell's Point and Canton. You can take it to the American Visionary Art Museum, Maryland Science Center, Harborplace, National Aquarium, USS Constellation, and Maritime Museum, as well as to shops and restaurants. Biking is permitted from 6 to 10am every day on the promenade.
Pratt and Lombard streets are the two major east-west arteries just above the Inner Harbor. Pratt heads east to Little Italy, while Lombard extends west to the stadiums. Charles Street is Baltimore's main route north and home to some good restaurants, Baltimore's Washington Monument, and the Walters Art Museum, all within walking distance of the Inner Harbor. St. Paul Street is the major route south.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.