Baltimore

Baltimore in the largest city in the state of Maryland, and it is located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America, near Washington, D.C. It is distinctively known as the city where Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics for the Star Spangled Banner during the Battle of Baltimore of the War of 1812. Today, Baltimore has become a major hub for tourism due to its excellent seafood and Camden Yards (the first "retro" major league ball park and where the Baltimore Orioles play). The city also is home to a vibrant arts scene with Artscape, the largest free arts festival in the US which takes place every year in July; there is also well-known arts museums like American Visionary Arts Museum that is dedicated to outsider art, and the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins. Although there is much to see and do in the city, there are also warnings to heed and dangers to avoid in order to stay safe. Below, you will find what you need to know when visiting Baltimore.

SAFETY INDEX

During the day, Baltimore is safe especially in the tourist areas, so it is best to stick to the areas around the harbor. Fells Point, and the inner harbor are the best places to walk around and explore. If you are looking for the best view, head to the Federal Hill; Ft. McHenry Park is a good spot for a history lesson. Baltimore, like any other big city, is only dangerous in certain areas.  At night, the main thing to remember is not to use any outside ATMs unless they are well lit. Likewise, stay in well-lit areas unless you know you are in a good part of town. Various crimes are committed in the downtown area, including muggings and drug use.

Inner Harbor

This is where you can feel really safe while visiting Baltimore. The Inner Harbor is a hotspot for tourists thanks to the major attractions like the National Aquarium, Babe Ruth's museum, and the Museum of Art or you can also catch a Ravens game and dine at the Hard Rock Café.

Upper Fells Point

This historic district is mainly populated by millionaires in Baltimore. There is nearly a 0% crime rate, so visitors can feel safe while admiring the 19th century rowhouses on the tree-lined streets.

Mount Vernon

Located just north of downtown, you’ll find Mount Vernon which is a National Landmark Historic District. This beautiful and safe neighborhood is home to the Basilica of the Assumption, theatres, museums, shops, historic 19th century architecture and many parks.

Cedonia & Harford Road

These two neighborhoods are best to be avoided due to their isolation. Since they are hard to get in and out, drug dealing and crime related activity is high. They are relatively safe during the day, but it is best to avoid after dark.

Edmondson Heights

This area is not recommended to tourists due to its high violent crime rate and gang activity. It records an average of 19 murders and 44 violent crimes per year.

North Avenue/Belair Road

This is another area to avoid as there is a chance of 1 in 7 of becoming a victim of a violent crime. There is also drug dealing activity and drug addicts that have assaulted people walking by.

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

There are some areas that should be avoided, but there are many safe tourist-friendly spots as well. We recommend you take normal safety precautions and exercise common sense as you would in any other major city. Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas and protect your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

There are some reports of muggings in certain areas. Though most victims are not physically injured, criminals usually do not hesitate to use force if the target does not cooperate; in case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : HIGH

As in any touristic place, there may be people trying to scam you in Baltimore. Homeless people can be aggressive towards you if you don’t hand them money. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you; and people offering help with your luggage. Credit card scams are also common. Never leave your card out of sight, and withdraw money from reputable banks or hotels.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

The public transit system is not always safe, so make sure you don’t travel alone when getting around the city, especially at night.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Baltimore is subject to various weather-related emergencies like hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes and severe winter storms.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

Terrorist attacks are unlikely in Baltimore. However, they cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Many women travel safely without any issues.

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Useful Information

The US has one of the harshest entry policy, sometimes asking for an interview even for a tourist visa. Prepare to pay fees up to USD 160 for your application. Some countries like the ones from the EU or Australia have a visa waiver program (ESTA) which can be filled online. See https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html for more information. Strong custom regulations also apply (see the CPB website for more details), and the Travel Safety Administration can open your luggage without your presence. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The currency in the United States is the US Dollar. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted countrywide, and ATMs are found nearly in every city. The costs can vary widely between the states, but it is fair to assume a $100 budget per day on average, $150 if you rent a car and around $300 for top end accomodation. A 10% service tipping is customary in many sectors such as airport and hotel bag porters, bartenders , hotel maids, restaurant servers and taxi drivers.
The weather in the US varies greatly between the states : from the mediterranean weather of California to the Glaciers of Alaska or the subtropical Florida, each region has its best time to visit; although major cities can be visited all year round. This graph can be useful for finding the best time to travel.
The main international airports are in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Denver and San Francisco. If you’re looking fore cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page