The Charm City Circulator runs four bus routes and a water taxi route. Rides are free and run very near the Convention Center and conference hotels. Useful for trips from downtown/Inner Harbor to Federal Hill, Mount Vernon, Charles Village (purple line), Hollins Market, Little Italy, Harbor East (green line), Harbor East, Fells Point (orange line), Federal Hill, Locust Point, Fort McHenry (banner line). http://www.charmcitycirculator.com/
The MTA Light Rail runs from BWI airport to the Conference Center and north through the city into the far suburbs. In addition to the airport, it is useful to get to Penn Station, and the Mount Vernon, Woodberry/Hampden, and Mount Washington neighborhoods. The MTA buses and subway line run various places around the city. Google Maps integrates schedules and schedule times or take a look at their website: http://mta.maryland.gov/. The fare is $1.70 or $4.00 for a day pass that gives you access to buses, light rail and subway.
Uber car service has many drivers and usually quick, reliable and inexpensive service around Baltimore. Especially useful for harder to reach destinations like the Hampden neighborhood. https://www.uber.com/cities/baltimore/
Taxis are available from many hotels, the BWI airport, and Penn Station or can be hailed in the downtown areas.
MTA MARC commuter trains several times a day to BWI airport as well as to Washington DC. Fares vary. http://mta.maryland.gov/marc-train
Driving? There are lots of parking options around the Baltimore Convention Center.
Neighborhoods & Shopping
Baltimore has over 250 neighborhoods, each with their own unique quirks and personalities.
The Baltimore Convention Center is located in the Inner Harbor, a tourist attraction in itself. The Harbor is always full of people visiting the National Aquarium, the historic ships, and the Gallery Mall. The closest shopping district to the Convention Center is Harbor East, a chic neighborhood with popular stores, such as J. Crew and Anthropologie. Also, be sure to check out, Fell’s Point. Only a few blocks further east along the waterfront, Fell’s is known for being one of Baltimore’s oldest neighborhoods, complete with cobblestone streets, harbor views, and locally owned shops. Both can easily be reached using the free Charm City Circulator. A visit to Hampden requires a short taxi/Uber ride, but it’s worth the trip! Among Baltimore’s quirkiest neighborhoods, Hampden’s main drag, The Avenue (36th Street), is lined with many unique shopping opportunities.
Arts, Culture, & Sports
A visit to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor might include a visit to the Historic Ships, selfies with the colorful crab sculptures, or a picturesque walk about the Harbor for views atop Federal Hill Park. At the bottom of the park along Key Highway is the American Visionary Art Museum. You can’t miss the mirrored mosaic exterior, and inside the collections change each year around a different theme. For something a little more traditional (and free!) take the Circulator Purple Route to the Walters Art Museum. Further north on the Circulator, the Baltimore Museum of Art has the Cone Sisters’ collection that includes works by Matisse and Picasso, originally displayed in their Baltimore apartments.
Baltimore’s history is told through museums like the Great Blacks in Wax, Baltimore Museum of Industry, Eubie Blake House, and the B&O Railroad Museum. If you’re interested in pop culture, don’t miss Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. Explore the War of 1812 at Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key famously penned the poem that would become our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Although it won’t be baseball season, the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards — routinely ranked one of the best stadiums in the country — is in walking distance of the Convention Center and offers off-season tours.
If you’re in the mood for a performance, Baltimore boasts several theaters including the historic Hippodrome and Senator theatres, as well as Everyman Theatre and Center Stage. Enjoy a variety of concerts offered by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerhoff.
Check out the Baltimore ArtsGuide, created by the ACRL Arts Section! It is a Google map accessible via both mobile devices and desktops, so you can have the info on the go. Each genre of art has its own icon, so you can easily identify whichever landmarks you’re most interested in seeing. Conference hotels and the conference center are also included on the map, for convenient navigation. Plan on taking pictures of the arts/performances you attend during the conference? Share your photos via the Arts Section Facebook page or tweet about it using the #ArtsSection hashtag. Special thanks to contributors: Sarah Burns Gilchrist, Annie Sollinger, and Jacalyn Bryan!
Restaurants, Breweries & Bars
Baltimore is well-known for its steamed crabs and crabcakes. We’re also not shy about putting Old Bay on everything, even in our ice cream. We’re not just about crabs anymore though. We have restaurants that foodies should not miss by James Beard finalists and award winners Spike Gjerde, Cindy Wolff, and Bryan Voltaggio. Baltimore is also home to a wide array of ethnic cuisine including Afghan, Greek, Indian, Lebanese, Turkish, and even vegetarian soul food. For those a little less adventurous you can still get a good burger or enjoy some delicious Italian food in our Little Italy neighborhood (don’t forget the amazing Italian desserts). Open since 1782, Baltimore also boasts one of the longest running food markets in the country.
Baltimore has no shortage of places to grab a drink including the longest continuously operating saloon in the country, which also happens to be the last place Edgar Allan Poe was seen alive. Baltimore has several bars that are a beer lover’s dream boasting extensive beer lists even one entirely devoted to Belgian beers. For people more into cocktails than beers we’ve also got you covered.
Social Justice in Baltimore
Baltimore is a thriving and complex urban city with many of the same challenges and opportunities as other major cities nationwide. There are plenty of opportunities to lend a hand and contribute in many ways to the local community.