American Express -- The office is at 100 E. Pratt St. (tel. 410/837-3100).
Area Code -- The area codes in Baltimore are 410 and 443.
Car Rentals -- Two companies have locations at the Inner Harbor: Avis, at the Sheraton, 101 W. Fayette St. (tel. 410/685-6405), and Enterprise, at the Sheraton, 300 S. Charles St. (tel. 410/547-1855).
Emergencies -- Dial tel. 911 for fire, police, or ambulance.
Eyeglass Repair -- Try For Eyes, 330 N. Charles St. (tel. 410/727-2027).
Hospitals -- Downtown options include Johns Hopkins Hospital, 600 S. Wolfe St. (tel. 410/955-5000); University of Maryland Medical Center, 22 S. Greene St. (tel. 410/328-8667); and Mercy Medical Center, 301 St. Paul Place (tel. 410/332-9000).
Liquor Laws -- Restaurants, bars, hotels, and other places serving alcohol may stay open from 6am to 2am. Some opt to close on Sundays and election days. The legal age to buy or consume alcohol is 21.
Newspapers & Magazines -- The Baltimore Sun (www.baltimoresun.com) is the city's daily. City Paper, Baltimore's free weekly, is published Wednesdays and has excellent listings. Baltimore magazine is published monthly.
Pharmacies -- Two downtown options are Rite Aid, 125 E. Baltimore St. (tel. 410/685-4340), and Walgreens, 19 E. Fayette St. (tel. 410/625-1179).
Police -- Dial tel. 911 for emergencies, or tel. 311 for nonemergencies requiring police attention.
Post Office -- The main post office is at 900 E. Fayette St. (tel. 410/347-4202). It's open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 7pm. Other area post offices are at 111 N. Calvert (tel. 410/539-2335), and 130 N. Greene St. (tel. 410/244-1981). Both are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.
Safety -- Baltimore has a nagging problem with both property and violent crime. The Inner Harbor and Mount Vernon areas are fairly safe, thanks to a greater number of police officers, along with the Downtown Partnership's safety guides. Still, be alert and follow some common-sense precautions.
Taxes -- The state sales tax is 6%. The hotel tax is an additional 7.5%.
Transit Information -- For bus, Light Rail, and Metro info, call the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) at tel. 866/RIDE-MTA (743-3682) or 410/539-5000; or go to www.mtamaryland.com.
Weather -- Call tel. 410/936-1212.
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.