Weekend in Baltimore: O’s Game, Inner Harbor on the Agenda
If you’re an out-of-towner or just a tourist in your own hometown, spring is the perfect time to spend the weekend motoring around downtown Baltimore. According to tourism organization Visit Baltimore, more than 80 percent of visitors come to the city for leisure. With major league baseball in full swing, a rich seaport history, and the cultural attractions of the Inner Harbor, it’s easy to plan a weekend agenda that includes touring around the city to enjoy a little fun for everyone.
Day 1: Catch an O’s Game
The weather is getting warmer, which means baseball season is in full swing here in Baltimore. More than 2.1 million Orioles fans attended Oriole Park at Camden Yards last season, the stadium’s 20th anniversary, and more than 300,000 have already enjoyed a game this year.
The park is situated just west of the Inner Harbor. Game-day traffic and pricey parking garages can sometimes make getting to the stadium difficult.
The following options can help you plan your route to Oriole Park ahead of time.
- MTA Metro Subway: If you are coming from the west, you can take the MTA Metro Subway. The subway takes passengers from Owings Mills through downtown Baltimore. Trains run from 14 stations typically every 8 to 15 minutes, from 5 a.m. to midnight weekdays and 6 a.m. to midnight on weekends.
- Light Rail: If you are traveling from the north or the south, you can use the ight Rail system. Light Rail connects the Inner Harbor with Hunt Valley, Glen Burnie, Baltimore Penn Station, and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. On weekdays, trains usually run approximately every 10 minutes through downtown Baltimore. Travel time from BWI to Camden Station is approximately 25 minutes. Note that the Light Rail is not always known for its punctuality, so allow a little extra time in your schedule.
- MARC Commuter Train: f you are coming from Washington D.C. on a weekday, you can take a MARC Camden Line train from Union Station or the Greenbelt Metro to within one block of Camden Yards. If it’s a day game, you can take the MARC train home, as the last MARC train back to Washington leaves Camden Station at 6:33 p.m. If the game runs past 6 p.m., D.C.-area fans can catch the light rail train to BWI. From there, you can ride the B30 bus southbound to Greenbelt station.
- Charm City Circulator: The Charm City Circulator provides regular, free downtown service for residents and visitors to Baltimore. The East-West Orange Route stops one block north of the ballpark on Pratt Street. The North-South Purple Route has several stops along the InnerHarbor and Federal Hill, a few blocks east of Orioles’ Park.
- Driving: If you do decide to drive, you can find a parking garage near the stadium. Visit Baltimore recommends using parkingpanda.com to reserve and pay for parking spaces ahead of time. Another alternative is to park in Little Italy, which is a short distance from the stadium, and walk from there.
Day 2: Explore the Inner Harbor
For families visiting with children, parents and kids can enjoy a number of attractions together at the Inner Harbor. The Baltimore National Aquarium is located right in the heart of the area. The National Aquarium has more than 660 species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals living in award-winning, naturalistic habitats. It can get a little crowded on the weekends, so the website suggests buying your tickets online and trying to visit before 11 a.m. or after 3 p.m.
Another great place to take kids is the Maryland Science Center. The “Dinosaur Mysteries” exhibit showcases huge re-creations of the prehistoric creatures and also lets kids dig through sand for fossils. “Newton’s Alley” features hands-on exhibits that kids can touch and climb. A planetarium shows off the mysteries of the universe, and in the “Wetlab,” kids can put on goggles and lab coats and participate in science projects.
For history buffs, Fort McHenry might be the place to visit. The fort defended Baltimore Harbor against the British invasion in the War of 1812, and is the birthplace of the National Anthem. Water transportation is provided to Fort McHenry from various locations around the Inner Harbor through the Baltimore Water Taxi. Begin your tour of the fort at the Visitor Center, where a short 10-minute orientation film is shown two times per hour: on the hour and at half-past the hour, throughout the day. Check the Schedule of Events for dates and times of different special events at the Fort.
During your visit to the InnerHarbor, don’t miss the historic ships, which showcase four military vessels and artifacts that bring their histories to life. Located within easy walking distance of each other, the U.S. Sloop-of-War Constellation, the U.S. Submarine Torsk, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Taney, and the Lightship Chesapeake exhibit life at sea from the mid-19th century to the mid-1980s. Also included in the collection is the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, which marked the entrance to the Patapsco River and Baltimore Harbor for more than 130 years. Touring the lighthouse is free; check out the historic ships’ admission page for details on touring the ships.
Downtown and the Inner Harbor are full of attractions to enjoy a weekend in Baltimore. No matter your interests or age, you’re sure to find a lot of fun.
Joe Campanella is the EVP of business development at CARCHEX. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Md.,CARCHEX is the premier provider of Extended Auto Warranties and Mobile Vehicle Inspections. CARCHEX is the preferred partner to the most trusted names in the automotive industry, including Pat Goss of TV’s MotorWeek, Carfax and Kelley Blue Book. You can read their automotive blog here.
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