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While you need a few months in Washington, DC to fit everything in, sometimes you just want to get out and see more! Baltimore is a great option that offers a different city feel with some great cultural and historical options. A day trip to Baltimore from DC is easy – on public transportation or by car – and fun – from Children’s Museum to Fort McHenry and one of the oldest saloons in the country! This three part series will get you there, get you around, and get you sightseeing!
GETTING AROUND BALTIMORE
There are buses, Metro, light rail, water taxi and free shuttle options, but they are poorly connected. Personally, I think the best way to see a city is to get lost in it but with advance planning you can use any of the below options to traverse Charm City.
Your best bet is a Day Pass for $3.50 which offers unlimited rides on the light rail, bus and Metro. Insider Tip: Your DC SmarTrip card works on Baltimore transportation, too!
MTA Light Rail: The light rail runs north and south and goes pretty far out of the city center in either direction. In downtown, there are stops near Penn Station, Camden Yards, Cultural Center and Charles Street. Fare is $1.60 cash or card and can be bought at ticket kiosks at the stations. You cannot pay on board. The light rail runs 6am-11pm except Sundays/Holidays, 11am-7pm. There are now Light Rail trackers at the stations to let you know how long until the next train. As an above ground option, you’ll see much more of the city this way!
Metro in Baltimore offers one line that runs east and west. In downtown, you can access it from Lexington, Charles Street or Shot Tower Stations. Fare is $1.60 and the Metro runs 5am (6am on weekends) until midnight. Tickets can be bought using cash or card at one of the kiosks in the station. Trains operate every 10-15 minutes depending on day of the week/peak hours.
MTA Buses are like any city buses and not known for being timely. In addition, they are the main mode of transport for city schools so if you’re travelling when school gets out beware that a bus might be full and not stop. Fare is $1.60 and exact change is required when paying cash. You can let the driver know where you want to get off and (s)he can help let you know when it’s your stop. If you know where you’ll be gone, when the stop is announced, touch the yellow strip to request a stop. If no one requests the stop, the bus might keep going past. Please use back doors of the bus to get off when possible.
Despite a poor reputation, the Metro, Bus and Light Rail have never caused this writer any issues! A prepared rider can make use of the different options. The MTA website has a Trip Planner to help you get to and from your destination.
A FREE RIDE?!
The Charm City Circulator is a free hybrid bus throughout Baltimore. It operates 7 days a week, connecting parking areas, Amtrak, MARC, Light Rail, Metro Subway and buses are scheduled to run 10 minutes apart but just to be sure you can use the NextBus app to see when the next bus will arrive – just choose your route, direction and stop!
Green Route which runs from City Hall to Fells Point to Johns Hopkins
Purple Route which runs from Penn Station to Federal Hill
Orange Route which runs from Hollins Market to Harbor East
Banner Route which runs from the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry.
Harbor Connector which offers offering three free routes on the Water Taxi: Maritime Park – Tide Point, Canton Waterfront Park – Tide Point and Harbor View – Harbor East.
Summer Operating Hours (May 1 – September 30)
While it may seem like a nice way to get a free bus tour of the city, they do limit rides to one loop so you can’t just sit and ride around the city!