03 October 2010

Coming to Baltimore for Baltimore Beer Week 2010? Here's How!

First of all, the Baltimore Beer Week Committee encourages you to travel responsibly while partaking of Baltimore Beer Week.  Do not drink and drive.  Take a designated driver (many events have discounts for designated drivers), pool together to take a taxi, 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!

First things first: a SERIOUS Traffic Warning.  There is massive reconstruction of Baltimore city streets under way as I type, primarily Pratt Street and Lombard Street, the main downtown eastbound and westbound traffic arteries respectively, and Light Street, the main north-south street adjacent to the Inner Harbor's west side.  Traffic on Pratt Street has been reduced from a normally crowded four lanes to a parking lot masquerading as two lanes of traffic in the heart of downtown, the vicinity of the Baltimore Convention Center, Camden Yards, and--unfortunately--the Pratt Street Ale House, site of the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival.  Traffic has also, on occasion, backed up all the way to I-95 on I-395, the main exit from I-95 to downtown, and on Russell Street, the transition from the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to downtown.  Buses are also stuck in these nightmarish traffic jams.  Therefore, RAIL transit (Metro and Light Rail) use for downtown events, especially at the Pratt Street Ale House, is strongly encouraged whenever possible.  You are also encouraged to seek routes to other neighborhoods, such as Fells Point, Federal Hill, and Mount Vernon, that completely bypass downtown.

NOTE ALSO that the #10 MTA bus lines, mentioned below as a primary bus connection between downtown and Fells Point, is currently operating eastbound via Baltimore Street, NOT via Pratt Street, because of this construction and the related traffic jams   Buses will continue on Baltimore Street rather than turn on Light Street; the buses will turn right on President Street and resume regular route. 

ALSO: On Saturday, October 16, 2010 between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., the Baltimore Marathon will cause major bus diversions.  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.  See the MTA's official page for the Baltimore Marathon  for exact route diversions and other details.

Downtown Baltimore has a new, and 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.  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 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 Baltimore Beer Festival on the last days of Beer Week!

Baltimore MTA in general: http://www.mtamaryland.com 
MTA's Transit Trip Planner:  http://www.mtamaryland.com/transit/
Google Maps http://maps.google.com
MTA City Buses: http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/bus/ 
MTA Light Railhttp://www.mtamaryland.com/services/lightrail/  
MTA Metro Subway:  http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/subway/
MARC Commuter Rail: http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/marc/
Baltimore Super Shuttle: http://www.supershuttle.com/bal.htm
BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport: http://www.bwiairport.com
DC Airports: http://www.metwashairports.com
Amtrak: http://www.amtrak.com
Greyhound: http://www.greyhound.com

BoltBus 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/


 Days Inn Inner Harbor
100 Hopkins Place
Baltimore, MD 21201 USA
(410) 576-1000
For Group Rate mention Baltimore Beer Week. Special low rates for BBW Attendees available 10/10 – 10/17

Celies' Waterfront Inn
Historic Fell's Point
1714 Thames Street
Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 522-2323
Baltimore Beer Week guests will receive a complimentary breakfast for two at Slainte Irish Pub and Restaurant.

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 little more than the cost of two bus trips, or any round trip on the subway or Light Rail, so best to get said pass if you anticipate any use other than a simple round trip.  Baltimore has just 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!

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.  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 getting you to Locust Point.  Light Rail can get you from downtown or Glen Burnie to the Timonium Fairgrounds on Saturday the 9th for the Oktoberfest; it will get you from the north and south to Pratt Street Ale House for the Real Ale Fest on the 16th.   

Try the MTA Trip Planner at: http://www.mtamaryland.com/transit/

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. 17th 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 Pickles Pub.


JohnM. said...

Great post Alex. Very, very helpful.

Volker @ Brewer's Art said...

Hey Sandy, great guide but I think the 11 gets you even closer than the 10 (Fleet rather than Eastern).