Baltimore is still car-focused. Though we have both a subway and a light rail, they don’t have the coverage you’d see in other cities.
See a current list of homes around the waterfront that include private parking
(Canton, Fells Point, Federal Hill, Locust Point)
If you’re buying a home in Baltimore, try to get private, off-street parking. Most condos here will have a secure, private parking garage for their residents. Recently-built townhomes (2000s) often include an attached garage as their ground floor, and some larger old rowhomes will have a “parking pad” or a detached garage behind them through an alley.
Even low-crime areas can pose risks to your parallel-parked car just from passing traffic, and the frustration of finding a spot every day can really add up.
Most streets offer a maximum of 2 hours; some offer four. Most of the neighborhoods near downtown require a residential permit for overnight parking beyond the 2 hours. Here is the city’s map of permit areas.
Like any city, if you’re parking near retail, you’ll be paying for the privilege. Most of the streets now uses “EZ Park” kiosks instead of individual coin-operated meters. You park, walk to the nearest kiosk, add some coins or slide your credit card, and it prints a receipt that you put on your dashboard.
Pay hours are different from street to street, depending on how crowded the retail is. Many are Mon-Sat 8-6, but some are 24 x 7. You don’t have to pay for public parking on these days: New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas
In 2014, Baltimore removed free disability parking because of too much abuse. If your car has a disabled tag or plate, the city now allows you to park for double the maximum meter time. So if you pay for the two hour max, they won’t ticket for four hours.
Surrounding counties have different regulations. Howard County uses its own parking kiosk system in downtown Ellicott City.
Since 2012, Baltimore’s transportation options have really grown. If you still insist on a cab, get the Taxi Magic app for your smartphone to help you schedule a pickup.
Uber | The Uber black car service has been a hit with my friends. It’s easily the most stylish, seamless way to travel downtown. Open an account with a credit card, use the smartphone app to request a ride, and a clean black premium sedan arrives within minutes. No tipping, no cash, charges are automatic. Courteous drivers and a quiet ride. It’s clearly more money than a cab, but if you skip a drink or two, the cost of the night evens out.
Uber X | This is Uber’s lower-cost service, with smaller cars that are still cleaner and more modern that Baltimore’s cab fleet. In most cases, Uber X is cheaper than a cab too.
Lyft | Seen a car with a fuzzy pink mustache on the front? That’s a Lyft driver. This ride-sharing service is more casual than Uber X. Local amateurs give you a ride like a friend would, and they pick up some extra income for it. Like Uber, it’s an automatic credit-card system. Lyft drivers run Mon-Thurs 7am-1am, and weekends until 3am.
Zipcar | Zipcar’s hourly rental car service provides cars in all the areas I cover on my site, for around $7-8/hour.
Charm City Circulator (FREE) | Set aside your images of a city bus. These tourist-friendly buses are free to riders; they’re paid for by a city parking tax. The “CCC” is focused around the Inner Harbor and offers stops in all of Baltimore’s prime condo neighborhoods. The buses run every 10-15 minutes, all week, at decent hours: Mon-Thurs 6:30am-8pm (9pm Summer), and weekends until midnight.
Charm City Circulator – Harbor Connector / Water Taxi (FREE) | This fun service supplies three free ferries across the harbor, Mon-Fri 7am-7pm. Sadly, no nights or weekends yet.
-Harborview Tower <> Harbor East
-Locust Point <> Canton Waterfront
-Locust Point <> Maritime Park (between Harbor East and Fells Point)
REGIONAL RAIL: DC, PHILADELPHIA, NEW YORK, BOSTON, etc.
Penn Station is just north of Mt Vernon, and the Station North neighborhood is named for it. If you plan a few weeks ahead, Amtrak trains will take you to New York for as low as $100 roundtrip. Get spontaneous, and it’s more like $200-290. Yes, interestate buses like BoltBus are cheaper at about $60 roundtrip, but the train is much faster and more pleasant. It can even be worth it to take the train to Philadelphia instead of driving and parking. Amtrak’s Northeast route also gives you a direct line to DC, Boston, and several smaller cities in NJ, CT, DE, and VA.