Conveniently placed between the bustling cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., is the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, better known as BWI. While nearly an hour's drive from the nation's capital, the airport is a quick 20-minute taxi ride to Charm City, Maryland's seaside gem. Many people, however, take the more cost-effective light rail into Baltimore's city center, even though it takes almost twice as long. Other options for getting to the downtown area include buses, sedan shuttles, and rideshares like Uber and Lyft.
One of the most popular options for getting from BWI to Baltimore, likely due to how cheap it is, is the light rail, which departs directly from the airport. It travels all the way to Timonium and Hunt Valley, with stops at Camden Yards, the Convention Center in the Inner Harbor, and other parts of the city. There's also a shuttle that takes passengers to Penn Station. The BWI Marshall Light Rail Station is located immediately outside the lower level of the terminal building, adjacent to Concourse E, and costs only a couple dollars for a ride into the CBD.
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) operates two buses from BWI: the No. 75, which connects to Parkway Center, Arundel Mills Mall, Airport 100 Park, and the Patapsco Light Rail Station, and No. 107, which connects to the University of Maryland Baltimore County and Community College Baltimore County-Catonsville during weekday peak hours only.
The MARC train, a commuter train that runs between Baltimore and Washington, has a station at the BWI Marshall Rail Station. Free shuttles go from the airport to the station 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The MARC train takes passengers to Baltimore's Penn Station. Amtrak service is available at both the BWI Marshall Rail Station and Penn Station.
There's a taxi stand located outside the lower level of the BWI terminal near baggage claim. Drivers are prohibited from charging flat rates, so prices will vary depending on your destination. Beware of the traffic during peak travel times.
Uber and Lyft
Rideshares like Uber and Lyft can be called into BWI and often offer cheaper rates than the standard taxi. You would book your ride through the app, per usual, then meet your driver on the departures and ticketing level, between doors 9 and 11.
Many hotels in Baltimore offer courtesy shuttles to and from BWI, conveniently saving guests quite a bit of time and money. There are designated areas where these hotel shuttles wait, which are Zones 1 and 3 on either side of the hourly parking garage. Zone 4 outside International Arrivals is shared by both hotel and off-airport parking companies. Check with your accommodation to find out where your shuttle will be.
There are also shuttle companies that are not affiliated with hotels, such as the Supreme Airport Shuttle and Bayrunner Shuttle. These van services can take you to your hotel, your Airbnb, or smack dab in the middle of the city, if that's what you prefer. Counters are located in the lower level of the airport, but you can usually book them in advance.
Most of the familiar national car rental companies—Avis, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty—operate out of BWI, so if you're looking to drive yourself around Baltimore, book one of these in advance and your vehicle will be waiting for you outside of baggage claim, where each company has a kiosk.