20 September 2011

Coming to Baltimore for Baltimore Beer Week 2011? Here's Your Travel Guide!

First of all, the Baltimore Beer Week Committee encourages you to travel (and drink) responsibly while partaking of Baltimore Beer Week.  Do not drink and drive.  Take a designated driver (many events have discounts and/or special deals for designated drivers), pool together to take a taxi or van, or ride public transit.  If in doubt, call a cab or have one called for you--even a long taxi ride is cheaper than a car accident or arrest.  Heck, hire a limo or van if you must--several limos showed up at Baltimore Beer Week events in 2009 and 2010!

First things first: The downtown road construction traffic nightmares of last year are largely gone.  However, RAIL transit (Metro and Light Rail) use for downtown events, especially at the Pratt Street Ale House, is strongly encouraged whenever possible. 

ALSO: On Saturday, October 15, 2011 between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., the Baltimore Marathon will cause major bus diversions and street closures in Federal Hill, Fells Point, Canton, Charles Village, and downtown (PDF route map here).  Please allow extra time for your trip on this day.  MTA encourages transit riders to ride the Light Rail and Metro Subway to avoid downtown congestion.  The Baltimore Marathon will loop through many areas of Baltimore City, causing MTA to put significant diversions in place to maintain local bus service.  This may require customers to catch a bus at a designated bus stop on a street that may not be a part of the normal route. The MTA is expected to post an official website page for exact route diversions and other details.

Downtown Baltimore has a FREE "circulator" shuttle bus service, the Charm City Circulator.  Two routes are currently in service:  the north-south Purple Route which operates from Amtrak/MARC';s Penn Station south to Federal Hill, and the east-west Orange Route, which operates from Hollins Market/the B&O Museum east to Harbor East.  A third route, the Green Route connecting City Hall/Fallsway motels, Harbor East, Fells Point, and Johns Hopkins Hospital Campus, MAY be WILL NOT BE open by Baltimore Beer Week 2011.  With the Circulator, it's easy--and free--to ride from Penn Station or downtown hotels to Federal Hill, or to go from Federal Hill to Mount Vernon.  The southeasternmost stop of the Orange Route (#225 on the maps) is seven blocks from the heart of Fells Point, approximately a (relatively safe) ten-to-twelve-minute walk.
Circulator Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 6:30am-9:00pm
Friday: 6:30am-midnight
Saturday: 9:00am-midnight
Sunday: 9:00am-9:00pm

The Water Taxi: Baltimore's Inner Harbor is served by a flotilla of passenger boats called the Water Taxi.  These boats do not just stop when flagged as the name implies, but operate over designated routes between designated stops like a bus (weather permitting--strong winds or thunderstorms will suspend service).  Passengers pay  a flat $10 day pass (children $5).  Throughout Baltimore Beer Week, Water Taxi service starts at 10 A.M. every day, and ends at 8 P.M. every day except Friday and Saturday when service continues to 11 P.M.  The Water Taxi can be an ideal way to travel from downtown locations or Federal Hill to Fells Point or Canton, especially for the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival or the Downtown Beer Festival!

Baltimore MTA in general: http://www.mtamaryland.com 
MTA's Transit Trip Planner (how to get from one address to another via transit):  http://www.mtamaryland.com/transit/
Google Maps http://maps.google.com
MTA City Buses: http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/bus/ 
MTA Light Rail (BWI Airport/Glen Burnie-Downtown-Timonium/Hunt Valley):  http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/lightrail/  
MTA Metro Subway (Owings Mills-Downtown-Johns Hopkins Hospital):  http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/subway/
MARC Commuter Rail (weekday only, Perryville-Baltimore-D.C.): http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/marc/
Baltimore Super Shuttle (airport van): http://www.supershuttle.com/bal.htm
BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport: http://www.bwiairport.com
DC Airports: http://www.metwashairports.com
Amtrak (Penn Station, north of Mt. Vernon): http://www.amtrak.com
Greyhound (Terminal between M&T Stadium and I-95): http://www.greyhound.com

BoltBus (stops next to Penn Station) http://www.boltbus.com
Megabus: http://us.megabus.com (NOTE: Megabus uses White Marsh, Md., northeast of the city proper, as its stop for the city.  Riders can ride downtown on the MTA #35 bus, or they can just proceed directly to Red Brick Station, the brewpub on The Avenue at White Marsh.....)

More Transportation: http://www.baltconvstr.com/pages/transportation.htm

Baltimore City Taxi Cabs
Yellow Cab (410) 685-1212
Baltimore Taxi Company (410) 327-7777
Royal Cab (410) 327-0330
Anne Arundel County Taxi Cabs
Cab Connection (410) 766-1000
Baltimore County Taxi Cabs
County Cab (410) 339-0000
Jimmy’s Cab (410) 296-7200
Howard County Taxi Cabs
Columbia Taxi Service (240) 210-6688
Downtown Hotels: http://baltimore.org/hotels-and-accommodations/


Some more information posted by BBW at its Hospitality page.

General hints:  An MTA Day Pass, good for all modes, is $3.50--cheaper if you're a senior.  It's only thirty cents more than the cost of two bus trips, or any round trip on the subway or Light Rail, so it's best to get said pass if you anticipate any use other than a simple round trip.  Baltimore has also instituted a "smart card" electronic card reader program called the Charm Card, similar to Washington DC's SmartCard; in fact, they are interchangeable, and DC's SmartCards will work on Baltimore's MTA and even carry over cash balances between systems.  (These cards do not recognize day passes on the Baltimore system yet, so get a paper "day pass" if you intend to take the above advice.)

Routes:  If you're trying to get to Fells Point from downtown, you should seek out the #10 bus line, which drops you off at the Broadway Market at Broadway and Eastern, three short blocks from Max's and less than that for Alexander's, etc.  The #11 route also stops in Fells Point at Broadway and Aliceanna.  Bus routes 7, 11, and 13 will get you to various points around Canton, with varying success depending on your origin and exact destination.  Routes 1 and 64 will get you to Federal Hill, with the former also getting you to Locust Point.  Several routes will get you between downtown and Mount Vernon/Station North/Penn Station, including the 3, 11, and 64; simply remember that Charles Street is one-way northbound and the streets to either side east and west (St. Paul and Maryland/Cathedral/Light) are one-way southbound.  Light Rail can get you from downtown or Glen Burnie to the Timonium Fairgrounds on Saturday the 8th for the Oktoberfest; it will get you from the north and south to Pratt Street Ale House for the Real Ale Fest on the 15th.   

Try the MTA Trip Planner at: http://www.mtamaryland.com/transit/   Enter a start and destination address and time you plan to start, and the website calculates the best (or several optional) ways to get between the two points by MTA, even including walking between connecting routes if need be.

Lastly, I will shamelessly refer you over to another nonprofit's website and its "how to get to our convention" pages:    http://www.otakon.com/allroads.asp .  I harbor no qualms in doing so because I wrote approximately 90% of the content on that page in 2006-2008 (in spite of the lack of credit).  Actually, I do have one qualm in that some of the information and links are outdated, but nothing so critical that you'll get lost, gouged, or hopelessly stranded.  It's especially useful for getting downtown for the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival on Sept. 15th or any events at the Pratt Street Ale House, as that's right across the street from the Baltimore Convention Center's main entrance.  Similarly, it also works for the nearby Alewife, Leinenkugel's Beer Garden, Ram's Head Live, and other such locations.


JohnM. said...

Excellent info Alex. This is great stuff.

With your permission, I plan to forward your blog to the Beer Advocate event calendar and the mid atlantic forum... and I will be SURE you get proper credit!!!

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

Go for it.

JohnM. said...