After dealing with TSA and the passenger next to you hogging the armrest, why would you want to complicate getting from BWI to Baltimore City?
For those of you traveling into Baltimore City, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all of the different ways of getting there. Rail, bus, rideshare – the options are endless based on how quickly you need to get there and how much you want to spend.
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Which airport is most convenient when going to Baltimore City? How far is Baltimore City from the airport?
Baltimore/ Washington International (BWI) is the most convenient airport for travelers headed to Baltimore and it’s only a 15-minute drive (13 miles) from the airport to the city center. Even with traffic, it will take you 30 to 40 minutes at most. There are two other airports in the DC Metro area: Ronald Reagan National (1-hour drive) and Dulles International (1½ hour drive).
When is the best time to travel to Baltimore?
Weekdays are better than weekends, though that doesn’t count on Ravens or Orioles game days. Thursday through Saturday see a hike in traffic, especially with people coming into the city for the weekend.
On weekdays, you’ll see I-95 or I-295 come to a standstill between 7 AM and 9 AM and again between 4 PM and 6 PM due to commuters. If you can travel midday and avoid the rush, then go for it.
How can I get to Baltimore City from BWI?
By renting a car
Baltimore City is only a twenty-minute drive from BWI, and driving is the quickest way to get there out of all of the options listed. You can rent a car and drive yourself. There’s a one-stop rental car station nearby; a free airport shuttle from the lower-level terminal will get you there in ten minutes.
The Car Rental Facility, which is located at 7432 New Ridge Road, Hanover, MD 21076, has offices for Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, NextCar, and Thrifty.
If you do decide to drive yourself, the route is pretty easy to follow. Take I-195 North when you leave the airport and then take Exit 53 to I-395 North. Follow the road signs into Downtown/ Inner Harbor.
*Bonus Tip: If you’re using some sort of GPS on your smartphone, it might tell you to take the Baltimore Tunnel. Avoid the toll and stick to Exit 53 to I-395 North.
By private limousine
There are several private companies from which you can book limousine service from BWI to your destination within Baltimore City. You’ll get a chauffeured experience in a luxurious executive vehicle, from the meet and greet at the airport to the luggage drop off at your destination. One of the most highly rated services is BWI Limo Service, where a standard sedan such as a Lincoln Continental averages $90 and an executive SUV like a Cadillac Escalade averages $220.
You can use an app-based rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft; the average cost is around $30 depending on the type of vehicle and surge prices. UberX is the cheapest option and UberXL averages around $45. Keep in mind that there is a specific pick-up/ drop-off point for rideshares at the terminal curbs on the upper level (Departures).
If you’re in a rush, you’ll probably get a taxi quicker than waiting for a rideshare driver to arrive. There is a stand dedicated to BWI Marshall Airport taxi cabs just outside of the baggage claim area. This is on the lower level of the airport near terminal doors 5 and 13.
Taking the bus from BWI to downtown Baltimore is one of the cheaper, yet longer ways, to get between the two places. It won’t cost you more than a couple of dollars, $1.90 to be exact, but it will take you on a long, nearly two-hour loop before you eventually get there.
Head to BWI Business District Light Rail Station Bay 1 and take the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) 75 bus from BWI to the Patapsco Light Rail Station. You’ll then have to take the CityLink Yellow 71 to Pratt St & Calvert St. The route stops at several other points along the way, and taking the bus is only feasible if it’s convenient to where you’re going.
By hotel shuttle
If you’re staying at a hotel in downtown Baltimore, there’s a chance that they have a dedicated shuttle to and from the airport. Since shuttles can only pick up passengers from specific zones, be sure to ask them which zone they’re assigned before arriving. Zones 1 and 3 are usually assigned to hotel shuttles while zone 2 is for off-airport parking lot shuttles; zone 4 can be used for both.
By light rail
Light rail is one of the easiest, cheapest, and quickest ways via public transportation to get from BWI Airport to Baltimore City. It has several stops along the way, which is also great for people who are trying to get to Timonium or other surrounding areas, and will only cost you $1.90 for the trip.
There’s a designated BWI Marshall Light Rail Station adjacent to Concourse E, on the lower level of the terminal building. You’ll want to take the 200 towards Camden Yard and get down at the Camden Station Light Rail Station. It’s a ten-minute walk from there to the Inner Harbor.
Keep in mind that a one-day pass is only $4.40 and a week-long pass is $21.00. The light rail is a wonderful way to get around the city if you’re planning on staying for a couple of days and you might be better off purchasing more than a one-way ticket.
You can take Amtrak to get to downtown Baltimore from BWI. There’s a free shuttle every 10 to 25 minutes from the BWI Airport terminal to the Amtrak station. You can find the shuttle pick ups outside of the baggage claim on the lower level. You’ll be dropped off directly across the rail station, from which you can take the Amtrak all the way to Baltimore’s Penn Station.
There is an Amtrak train from BWI to Penn Station every half an hour to an hour. The ride itself only lasts about 15 minutes and can cost anywhere from $11 to $43 for coach, business, or first-class seats.