A Charming Escape in Historic Baltimore
Less than 50 years ago, Baltimore was a little-known city sitting in the shadow of Washington D.C. Today, this destination is packed with affordable hotels like the Econo Lodge Baltimore and Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham BWI Airport Baltimore. Combined with cheap transportation, this makes Baltimore an ideal stop for budget vacationers who want an unforgettable escape. Learn how to score a great hotel and navigate "Charm City" on the cheap with this handy guide.
Find Historic Hotels in Fell's Point and Federal Hill
Baltimore is comprised of many little neighborhoods, each with its own personality and distinct appeal. Getting to know the most popular options will help visitors choose the best destination for a Baltimore vacation.
Inner Harbor is the best-known of Baltimore’s neighborhoods. With the National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, and Port Discovery Children’s Museum nearby, tourists here are never lacking in things to do. Travelers looking for cheap hotels in the Baltimore Inner Harbor should consider the Fairfield Inn & Suites Baltimore Downtown/Inner Harbor or Days Inn Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel.
Harbor East is a small up-and-coming neighborhood along the eastern end of Inner Harbor. This hip little spot is the place to be for indie films and local boutiques. Though resorts here lean toward the luxurious, the Hilton Garden Inn Baltimore Inner Harbor gets visitors into this trendy neighborhood for a reasonable price.
Fell’s Point is a historic waterfront spot with stunning 18th and 19th century architecture that transports travelers back in time. Accommodations here are as unique as the neighborhood itself. The Inn at Henderson’s Wharf features luxurious rooms with 600-thread-count linens, fresh flowers, plantation shutters, and exposed brick walls. Coffee and tea are delivered to the room each morning, a European continental breakfast is served downstairs, and a chamomile tea turndown service brings the day to a close.
For more historic hot spots, check out Federal Hill with its cobblestone streets and alluring public markets. Though short on chain hotels, this neighborhood does offer the Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast*, housed in its own historic building circa 1801.
Home to the Contemporary Museum, Walters Art Museum, and Peabody Library, Mount Vernon is the cultural center of Baltimore. The Mount Vernon Hotel puts visitors in the center of it all. Free WiFi and a complimentary breakfast make this one of the best values in the area.
Downtown Baltimore is the heart and soul of this metropolis, with the Washington Monument and Museum, the Baltimore Basilica, Baltimore Arena, and Westminster Hall to draw visitors in. The Best Western Plus Envy Hotel and Quality Inn Downtown are affordable picks in the center of the city.
Save Money with a Baltimore Hostel
Baltimore has only one hostel, but the affordable HI-Baltimore has everything a young traveler could want. Sheets, towels, blankets, free WiFi, and a complimentary pancake breakfast are included at a price that’s about a third of what budget hotels charge for a room. Organized weekly events such as pub crawls, city tours, and movie nights give travelers a wealth of options for local activities. Visitors with an artistic flair will enjoy the monthly poetry events and local writer series.
Baltimore Room Shares Blanket the City
Visitors who want accommodations with a more personal touch will find over a hundred options through Airbnb. Rates for a private room are typically much less expensive than a hotel, though slightly more than a hostel bed.
The nightly rates for many private homes are comparable to Baltimore hotel rooms as well, making these a steal for budget travelers. With the addition of a fully equipped kitchen, visitors can slash their travel budgets dramatically by preparing simple meals in the home rather than eating out.
Promotional Deals Make the Hotel Monaco Affordable
Baltimore’s luxury accommodations truly go beyond the ordinary. Guests at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore enjoy down duvets and pillows, marble bathrooms, deep soaking tubs, and even a mirror with integrated television. Awash in soothing earth tones, these rooms present a sleek, sophisticated, and timeless appeal. An outdoor infinity pool, heated whirlpool, and shallow reflecting pool offer varied options for relaxation and rejuvenation. Best of all, this hotel regularly features special offers that will slash the cost of a visit for diligent travelers who shop around often.
The Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel is another luxury option with frequent promotions. Each room features a mini fridge, wet bar, and soft bathrobe. Three on-site dining options, an indoor pool, and a fitness center can keep guests busy without ever leaving the hotel. Those who venture out can enjoy hiking, biking, and bowling less than a mile away.
Promotional deals at the Hotel Monaco are fun and frequent with packages that conveniently bundle popular attractions with luxury accommodations. This historic hotel, constructed in 1906, is nearly an attraction all its own. Some of the hotel’s more unusual amenities include animal-print bath robes, yoga mats, a complimentary overnight shoe shine, and a companion goldfish delivered to your room upon request. Hotel bikes make it easy to get around. This downtown hotel is located near the National Aquarium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and Mercy Medical Center.
Score Cheap Rates in Winter
Choosing the ideal time to visit Baltimore is tricky because each season has its own distinct pros and cons. Spring visitors who plan a vacation in March, April, or May will enjoy mild weather with highs ranging from the mid-50s to mid-70s and lows from the mid-30s to low 50s. This season is just at the edge of the eventful summer, so getting a good reservation is still manageable, though you shouldn’t wait till the last minute if you have certain accommodations in mind.
Popular spring events include Lunch with the Elephants, the Maryland Home & Garden Show, and the Antique Bottle Show and Sale in March. In April, look for the Transmodern Age Festival and Baltimore Jewish Film Festival. May’s main event is The Preakness, a Triple Crown horse race.
The summer months are the absolute peak of tourist season for Baltimore, but with good reason. HonFest, the Baltimore Pride Festival, the Great Grapes Wine, Arts & Food Festival, and Capital Jazz Fest take place in June. The Harborplace’s Birthday Celebration and Little Italy Open-Air Film Festival happen in July, along with Artscape, which transforms the city into a vibrantly creative landscape for one weekend. August brings the German Festival. Add the fact that most children are out of school during these months and the result is a massive crowd of sweltering tourists angling for the best spots in the city.
Hotel rates begin their decline in September and continue to steadily plummet through February, right along with the temperatures. This is the best time to score cheap hotels in Baltimore Harbor, like the Homewood Suites by Hilton Baltimore. The Irish Festival is in September. Maryland Oktoberfest and the Taste of Baltimore take place in October. Holiday events begin in November with the Festival of Trees followed by the Lighted Boat Parade in December. The Baltimore Boat Show takes place in January, and the International Auto Show and East Coast Jazz Festival happen in February.
Enjoy a Free Airport Shuttle from the Sleep Inn & Suites
The Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) services more than 62,000 passengers a day on average. While some hotels offer free airport shuttles, like the Sleep Inn & Suites BWI Airport, those that are closer to downtown Baltimore generally do not.
Several rental car companies are located at BWI, including Avis, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty. Visitors can also get a taxi outside the baggage claim area on the lower level of the BWI Marshall terminal. MARC Train transportation is available from Baltimore’s Penn Station.
Skip the Rental Car and Save Money Walking
Once you’re in Baltimore, getting around is much easier. Most of the attractions around the Inner Harbor are within walking distance of one another. Convenient water taxis are at hand for travelers who need to give tired legs a break. Baltimore also features a metro subway and 57 bus routes. The popularity of walking is what makes some hotels so coveted in Baltimore.
Prime locations, like that of the Pier 5 Hotel, put guests in reach of dozens of vacation highlights. Visitors looking for cheap hotels in Baltimore near the aquarium can’t get any closer than this, which sits right next door. Purchasing in advance will significantly lower the rate at this location, so plan ahead to enjoy prime spots at an affordable rate.
Free parking is difficult to come by, but with inflated daily parking rates, it’s worth shopping around to find a hotel that offers it for travelers who plan to drive. Self-parking is complimentary at the Inn at Henderson’s Wharf as well as a few locations just outside Baltimore like the Hampton Inn & Suites Baltimore/Woodlawn and Hilton Garden Inn Baltimore/White Marsh.
Travelers who are itching to experience all that Baltimore has to offer can put together a memorable vacation in just a few clicks with the simple, streamlined services available from Hipmunk.
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Hipmunk's most popular hotels in Baltimore
Points of Interest
Though it puts on a tough act for gimmicky tours inspired by crime-drama TV series <em>The Wire</em>, Baltimore is upbeat and laid-back: families are drawn to the revitalized Inner Harbor by the National Aquarium and Baltimore Orioles games. Arty types find inspiration in Fells Point galleries, and hungry hordes join Johns Hopkins University students for Indian eats and beer by the gallon in Charles Village.Book a flight to Baltimore.
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