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Low key day in Inner Harbour

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AZ
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Low key day in Inner Harbour

As a smaller town person, finding planning my first visit to downtown Baltimore expensive and complicated. I'm thinking parking at Fells Point (more reasonable??), riding the water taxi to historic ships / aquarium and, if time allows, Ft. McHenry. I'm actually planning on staying at BWI, so theoretically could take public transportation to get downtown...but when the area you are visiting is new, it gets confusing. Any suggestions?

Thanks.

maryland
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1. Re: Low key day in Inner Harbour

How long are you going to be in Baltimore? If it is just for a day you may want to pick only big activity like the aquarium ( where you can spend several hours). If you want to do the harbor and ships that again could be a couple hours as well as a water taxi and fort. If you let us know how long and what kinf=d of things you are interested in we can help a little more.

AZ
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2. Re: Low key day in Inner Harbour

thanks for a quick reply. I have one day to enjoy Baltimore. I had thought of focusing on the aquarium, but when some of the other attractions in the Inner Harbour got higher rankings on Trip Advisor, I waffled and thought I should maybe broaden my sights. The trip will be my husband and myself - no kids. We like scenery, history, museums, learning new things. We don't care about nightlife, shopping, fancy meals. I think we would rather do a couple of things and enjoy them, than try to see too much and rush around.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Low key day in Inner Harbour

When you say "one-day" does that mean one-night and two days or just a few hours? It makes a big difference.

We go to Baltimore twice a year (from California) for a week or so, mostly to see family but also to spend a day or two in the city. Many times, we have just devoted "one-day" but we get started early and spend all day wandering. There is so much to see and do.

Also, it sounds like you will have a car. Any reason? Also, you're staying at BWI? Where? As you probably know, many of the hotels there have a shuttle which will take you to Light Rail and you wouldn't have to find a place to park.

Without knowing all the particulars of timing and dates, etc ---- if I'd never been to Baltimore ever and wanted to spend the day, what I would do is have my hotel drop me at Light Rail (driving and parking in Baltimore might be a challenge, since you've never done it before ---- I've done it and don't like it) early in the morning and take that into town and get off at the Convention Center stop. Then I would wander around the Inner Harbor (maybe even to the Visitor Center ---- loads of information) and study the map of the FREE Charm City Circulator buses:

www.charmcitycirculator.com

Then I would take those buses to Fells Point (and get off and wander through the old seacoast village) and Federal Hill (and get off and wander) and Mount Vernon (and get off and wander --- up around the original Washington Monument). The Charm City Circulator would take you through many of the neighborhoods in Baltimore nearby the Inner Harbor. Little Italy. Harbor East. Fells Point. Federal Hill. Others.

An alternative would be to take the Water Taxi all day and get off and wander at various stops. If the weather is good, going back-and-forth across the harbor is a wonderful day on its own.

With only one day, it's tough to do everything. I've been going to Baltimore as a tourist regularly for many years and still have missed a lot.

You could also take the Baltimore Trolley, for an historic tour. It picks up near the aquarium.

Depends on what you think is important as you will have to shrink your expectations and sightseeing to just one day. You could spend 10 days there and not even scratch the surface. We love Baltimore.

Maryland
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4. Re: Low key day in Inner Harbour

marlySF gave you a ton of ideas (all good). She's all but a local.

I would say no trip to Baltimore would be complete without a trip to Fort McHenry, the view of the city from Federal Hill, a crab cake, a walk along the Promenade (by Fells or Canton), and anyone of three pretty good museums (AVAM, BMA or the Walters). The aquaruim is very nice but will take up some time and cash - you won't be sorry you went though.

I'd get a good map and just look for parking but I'm comfortable with that (just think it is a better use of time).

I'll add a walk down the Avenue in Hampden which could be coupled with a trip to the BMA but you'll need the car for that.

Stay another day - lots to see here.

Oh and your original thought of parking in Fells and grabbing the water taxi is a good one - just try to not miss Fort McHenry - don't need to go in the fort if you don't have time or feel like paying but you must visit the visitor's center and watch the video. Goosebumps at the very least...

Edited: 31 May 2013, 13:52
Baltimore, Maryland
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5. Re: Low key day in Inner Harbour

don't need a car in Baltimore, but it isn't the worst city in terms of finding parking spaces or lots. However between the water taxi and the free circulator bus, you can get just about anywhere. You can easily spend a day just around the IH with tours of historic ships, aquarium, walk over to Fells' Point, Want a special lunch head over to Kali's Court or any of the pubs along Thames Street in FP and on a nice day there are tables outside.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Low key day in Inner Harbour

What a nice shout-out, mdboy! Thanks.

Also, I totally agree with your last paragraph. Our problem with Fort McHenry is that we spend half the day and it makes it difficult to get a lot of other sights in but it's "must do" if our OP is historically inclined. The scenery from there is stunning also. We love the aquarium also "but" it is costly so it tends to make one (us) feel like we should spend the whole day, to make it a good value. At that point, our OP wouldn't have a lot of extra time to do much other than wander around the closeby area of the harbor.

Given a choice, I'd put Fort McHenry above the aquarium, for sure.

Maybe she'll have such a great time that she and hubby will return?!? "One-day" is certainly a frustration on this one.

Also, cactus, let us know which hotel you're staying in ---- I've stayed at around 10 different hotels nearby BWI (it's closer to my family than downtown) so might be able to give you some tips. The last few years have been a learning-experience, BWI-hotel-wise. Glad to help.

AZ
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7. Re: Low key day in Inner Harbour

Thank you everyone. I HAVE underestimated the time I need. I will pull out my map and talk your ideas through with my husband. And why I have a car: well, if from less urban areas, you don't even think about it. If you want to get from point A to Point B, you need a car. But it does sound like the train / bus might work for me as well.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Low key day in Inner Harbour

cactus ---- In addition to traveling to Baltimore twice a year for a week for many years, we also go to Arizona (both Phoenix and Tucson/Green Valley areas) regularly. I used to have to go to Phoenix regularly for business and obviously we always have a car in Arizona to visit our friends in the Tucson/Green Valley area.

I do rent a car in Baltimore because my family lives between Baltimore and DC thus a car is the only way to see them (no public transport to their town) BUT ---- if I only had "One Day in Baltimore" and I'd never been there before, a car would be an unnecessary nuisance. For one thing, every time I rent a car at BWI (twice a year), it takes time to take the shuttle and go to the big rental facility and then check-out the car. An hour or more every time.

Also, when you return the car to BWI, you'll have to go gas up the car and find the circuitous route taking you back to the big garage in the middle of nowhere (that's a joke but it seems like that as I still am amazed at all the turns you have to go through, to get there ----- not so easy on your first time).

If you are staying at a BWI hotel which has a shuttle (hopefully), you can get them to pick you up and drop you off and it is SO much less hassle. Just as an example ---- I ALWAYS return my car the day before I fly out of BWI as using the hotel shuttle flying out is SO much less grief. Keep in mind ---- I've been doing this regularly for 9 years so I hope my experience will help you.

If we had more info, like times you are coming in and going out, we could help you more. Also, PLEASE feel free to send me a Private Message. I've done this so many times and would be happy to help you get in and out of BWI and to the hotels.

As far as what you want to see while in Baltimore, I personally think 10 days just scratches the surface in a great city so it would be up to you and hubby to decide how your one day would be spent.

Do you know where you are staying, at this point? If not, I've found that the hotels north of the airport are closer to public transit than the ones south. Also, some hotels have better (more responsive) shuttles than others, so that is also an issue.

9. Re: Low key day in Inner Harbour

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