How to Travel From BWI Airport to Baltimore by Rail, Bus, and Taxi

Baltimore's Fort McHenry Celebrates 200th Anniversary Of Star-Spangled Banner
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Conveniently built between two bustling cities, the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, better known as BWI, is 40 miles north of Washington, D.C. and just 11 miles south of Baltimore. As one of three airports that service the D.C. metro area, BWI is the most convenient airport for travelers headed to Baltimore. The airport is only a 20 minute drive to the city center and it's easy to rent a car or hail a cab at the taxi stand near baggage claim. However if you prefer not to drive or pay for a cab, you can take also take the light rail, bus, or commuter train.

  Time Cost Best For
Light Rail 40 minutes $1.90 Convenience and price
Commuter Train 1 hour $5 Connecting to Amtrak
Bus 1 hour, 30 minutes $1.90 A suburban destination
Car 20 minutes 11 miles Saving time

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From BWI to Baltimore?

For price, speed, and convenience, the light rail is the most popular way to get into Baltimore via public transportation. It leaves directly from the airport and travels all the way to Timonium and Hunt Valley, while stopping at Camden Yards, the Convention Center in the Inner Harbor, and other parts of the city. The BWI Marshall Light Rail Station is located immediately outside the lower level of the terminal building, adjacent to Concourse E, and it only costs $1.90 to ride all the way to the city center. Day passes are also available if you plan to make a lot of use of the city's public transportation system during your trip.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From BWI to Baltimore?

If you take a cab or drive, you can be in downtown Baltimore in as little as 20 minutes. The route is fairly straightforward: when leaving the airport, you'll simply travel north on I-195 and take Exit 53 to switch to I-395 North which will take you straight into central Baltimore. Keep an eye out for the road signs, which can help guide you into the city center.

If you can't park at your accommodation, you may be able to find parking around the Inner Harbor either on the street or in a parking garage, but you will have to pay. While driving is the fastest way to get into the city, the rental fees, tolls, and parking costs do add up quickly. Unless you're really going use the car every day, it's probably wiser to take a cab or use the light rail.

Is There a Train That Goes From BWI to Baltimore?

In addition to the light rail, the MARC is a commuter train that runs between Baltimore and Washington. You can hop on at the same station you'd travel to to take the light rail, the BWI Marshall Rail Station. The main difference between the MARC and the light rail is that you can also take the MARC to Washington, D.C. If you plan to do some traveling between these two cities, buying a weekly pass would be a good way to save money.

Is There a Bus That Goes From BWI to Baltimore?

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) operates two buses from BWI. Both can take you into the city center, but the way is a bit roundabout and there are many stops so it's not the quickest route. To get downtown, you'll likely have to spend nearly two hours on the bus. However, if your final destination is not in the city center, but somewhere in the suburbs or the city outskirts, the bus might be your best option if you're not driving. You can check the route of the 75 bus, which connects to Parkway Center, Arundel Mills Mall, Airport 100 Park, and the Patapsco Light Rail Station. Taking the bus is only advisable if it's more convenient to your final destination.

Are There Shuttles From BWI to Baltimore?

Many hotels in Baltimore offer courtesy shuttles to and from BWI, which can save 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 see if they do offer a shuttle and if so, find out which zone that shuttle will pick up you up from.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Baltimore?

In Baltimore, you can experience the best weather in either the spring or fall. Generally, travelers should avoid visiting Baltimore in January, which is the coldest month, and July, which is the hottest. However, if you do visit in the summer—perhaps if you happen to be in the area exploring Maryland's beaches—the city plays hosts to a variety of summer festivals. The most iconic to Baltimore is the Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival, where Maryland Blue Crabs are all-you-can-eat. There is also a wide array of summer events where Baltimore's diverse population can celebrate their heritage, such as LatinoFest, the Baltimorean Carnival, Baltimore Pride, the Baltimore African American Festival, and the Feast of St. Gabriel Italian Festival.

What Is There to Do in Baltimore?

While exploring the city, be sure to take time to check out the boutiques and restaurants in fashionable neighborhoods like Little Italy and Fells Point. You can spend your week enjoying the many educational attractions of Baltimore like the National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, and the B & O Railroad Museum. However, you'd be remiss to pass up a visit to Fort McHenry, which is the site of the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem. If that visit inspires you to seek out more patriotic activities, you can also tour the historic military ships docked in the Inner Harbor. Or, for a fun day trip, there are many beaches and state parks nearby, but Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of the Civil War's deadliest battle, is also only 1 hour, 30 minutes away by car.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What buses run from BWI Airport to Baltimore?

    You can take the 75 bus, which makes stops at Parkway Center, Arundel Mills Mall, Airport 100 Park, and the Patapsco Light Rail Station.

  • How do I get from BWI Airport to Baltimore on light rail?

    The light rail station is directly outside the terminal lower level by Concourse E. The train goes all the way to Hunt Valley with stops at Camden Yards, and the Convention Center, among others. 

  • How much is a taxi from the airport to Baltimore Inner Harbor?

    The estimated fare for an airport taxi to Inner Harbor is $35. As a note, airport taxis are not allowed to charge flat rates.

Article Sources
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  1. National Constitution Center. "Separating Fact from Fiction About 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'" September 14, 2016.