Baltimore, Maryland

Location:

Baltimore has a new dedicated passenger cruise terminal at South Locust Point. The new Baltimore cruise terminal is located just minutes from the famous Inner Harbor and just off of I-95.

 

The port is 3 miles from downtown. Taxis are at the terminal.

Sightseeing:

With something around every corner to either see or do, Baltimore is certainly an exciting place to visit. While here you may want to explore a few of our famous Baltimore Museums such as the Baltimore Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, or The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History. Baltimore also has a very rich cultural history and by touring a historic site like Fort McHenry – home of the National Anthem – you will gain a new perspective of Baltimore. Celebrate black history by picking up a copy of our African American Heritage and Attractions Guide and we’ll introduce you to places that you may not have heard of and others that you’ve wanted to see.

 

Inner Harbor is home to many tasty restaurants, unique shopping, famous museums, live entertainment and local pubs and taverns.

Tours/Excursions/Transportation:

When you’re in Baltimore, you’re two feet away from almost everything. Many of Baltimore’s hotels, attractions, restaurants and nightlife are located within comfortable walking distance of each other. You can see just what’s in walking distance from where you’re staying by checking the walking radius feature on our Baltimore Map.

The Baltimore Water Taxi is an excursion on its own, stopping at places like Harborplace, the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, Little Italy, Fell’s Point, Canton Waterfront Park and Fort McHenry.

Nearby Places:

Just 45 minutes from Baltimore, the charming, historic city of Annapolis once served as America’s capital. Just off the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is steeped in colonial history and ambience; the Annapolis State House, built in 1772, is the oldest state capitol in continuous operation in the U.S. At the U.S. Naval Academy, established in 1845, visit the chapel to view the elaborate stained glass windows, including one designed by Tiffany, and see the crypt of naval hero John Paul Jones. And we don’t mind admitting it’s a fabulous place for noshing (in everything from seedy taverns to chic cafes) and boutique shopping. Note: You’ll need a car to make this trip.

Visit the nation’s capital. Washington D.C. is about an hour away by train (Amtrak and MARC, Maryland’s regional railroad, both offer service between the cities) or by car. The obvious attractions, of course, are the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian Institution, the White House, Georgetown and the U.S. Capitol.

Shopping and Food:

You can spend an entire day and then some at the Inner Harbor. Start with Harborplace, a waterfront complex of two buildings, connected by a public plaza where performers can be found plying their trade on weekends. There are some 101 shops, 16 restaurants and 40 food stands.

Currency:

The official U.S. currency is the United States dollar (symbol: $). ATM’s everywhere.

 

Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely used and accepted, even for transactions worth only a few dollars. In fact, in some cases, it may be the only way to make a transaction. Note to overseas visitors: Prices of goods and services always seem lower than they really are, as taxes and gratuities are seldom included.

 

Most states have a sales tax, ranging from 2.9% to nearly 10% of the retail price; 4-6% is typical. Sales tax is almost never included in posted prices (except for gasoline, and in most states, alcoholic beverages consumed on-premises), but instead will be calculated and added to the total when you pay.

 

Tipping in America is widely used and expected. While Americans themselves often debate correct levels and exactly who deserves to be tipped, generally accepted standard rates are:

 

  • Full-service restaurants: 15-20% (Often this is the only income of the wait(ress). Tips are either left in cash or you can add it to the credit card slip) Note: Few restaurants add an automatic service charge, in which case it is up to you how much you tip extra. Check your bill!
  • Taxi drivers, hairdressers, other personal services: 10-15%
  • Bartenders: $1 per drink if inexpensive or 15% of total
  • Bellhops: $1-2 per bag ($3-5 minimum regardless)
  • Hotel doorman: $1 per bag (if they assist), $1 for calling a cab
  • Shuttle bus drivers: $2-5 (optional)
  • Private car & limousine drivers: 15-20%
  • Housekeeping in hotels: $1-2 per day for long stays or $5 minimum for very short stays (optional)
  • Food delivery (pizza, etc.): $2-5, possibly more for very large orders.

Communication:

The U.S. has no official language at the federal level, but English is by far the standard for everyday use. Several states have declared their official state language as English. Spanish is also official in the state of New Mexico, where it is widely spoken; French is official in Louisiana and the Hawaiian language is official in Hawaii, but neither approaches the use of English and are official for primarily historical reasons.

 

Emergency 911

Opening Hours and Holidays:

In major metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, many drugstores and supermarkets are routinely open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, while department stores, shopping centers and most other large retailers are typically open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and often with shorter hours on Sundays – generally 11 a.m. or noon to 5 or 6 p.m. On holidays, the tendency is to remain open (with the exception of the most important holidays like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day where stores are generally closed)

  • New Years Day (January 1) – most businesses closed; hangovers from parties the previous night, football parties. Primarily a secular holiday, and the major celebration occurs the previous night.
  • Martin Luther King Day (third Monday in January) – many government offices and banks closed; diversity-awareness programs.
  • St. Valentine’s Day (February 14) – no significant closures; romantic evenings out.
  • Presidents Day (third Monday in February) – (also Washington’s Birthday) – many government offices and banks closed; few observances, many stores have sales.
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) – no significant closures; Irish-themed parades during the day, and parties in the evening. Travelers may want to be wary of the drunken revelry and associated drunk driving crackdowns.
  • Easter (a Sunday in March or April) – few significant closures; Christian religious observances.
  • Passover (timing somewhat similar to Easter; lasts a week) – Jewish religious observances.
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May) – most non-retail/tourism businesses closed; some patriotic observances; extensive travel to beaches and parks; traditional beginning of summer tourism season.
  • Independence Day / Fourth of July (July 4) – most businesses closed; patriotic parades, fireworks after dark.
  • Labor Day (first Monday in September) – most businesses closed; extensive travel to beaches and parks; traditional ending of summer tourism season.
  • Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – Jewish religious autumn holidays.
  • Columbus Day (second Monday in October) – many government offices and banks closed; few observances.
  • Halloween (October 31) – no significant closures – trick-or-treating and costume parties in the evening.
  • Veterans Day (November 11) – many government offices and banks closed; some patriotic observances.
  • Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November, unofficially the Friday and weekend after) – most non-retail businesses closed; family gatherings, on Friday major Christmas shopping begins.
  • Christmas (December 25) – most businesses and restaurants closed the evening before and all day; exchanging gifts, Christian religious observances. If you need food from a restaurant, your best bet will be hotels and Chinese or Indian restaurants. People from non-Christian religions often go to the movies and eat at Chinese restaurants on Christmas.

 

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