If you stay well on the beaten path, there should be no problems...however common sense precautions are always, well, common sense.
Some rules of thumb:
-don't leave anything where people can see it in your car. I'm not even talking about hiding valuables, I mean, don't leave anything in sight. (We had a window smashed where all whoever got from it was a pack of stale cigarettes.)
-if you're in an area where there are a pair of sneakers tied together by their laces and thrown over an electrical wire, be aware that means that there's drug dealing in the neighborhood. you can either get out of there...or make your purchase....
-if you get REALLY, REALLY lost, I mean, really lost, people may follow your car. this doesn't mean they want to rob you...if it seems as though you don't belong, sometimes people assume that you're in the area to buy drugs. (which is what a lot of people do.)
These aren't posted to scare you off...and the chances of anything happening to you are exceedingly rare, but you should just know what is potentially out there....
If you're driving in Baltimore, be careful when stopped at a red light, when your light turns green. At least a few people will generally sail right on through their red light, and just seem to know that everyone will wait for them.
Just give it a few seconds, if you're the first one at the light, before you proceed....
The Downtown/Inner Harbor area of the city is safe, but of course one needs to use common sense when walking the streets at night in ANY big city. The "touristy" areas are all very well lit, and people can be seen walking around these areas well into the night. Of course, there are dimly-lit side streets and shady areas of town, but those dangers can be found in any city across the U.S. When visiting ANY big city, you need to keep in mind that indeed common sense and awareness of your surroundings are essential.
It upsets me when I read reviews that make it sound as if Baltimore is a horrific, crime-ridden city. That simply is not true. When you focus on the negatives, certainly your experience will be a negative one. Baltimore is a beautiful city, and we welcome tourists with open arms. Baltimoreans love sharing our city with visitors, and I am certain that you will find most of us, (if not ALL of us), greet visitors with our kind spirit and willingness to help guide you throughout our many wonderful neighborhoods.
Many large cities are dealt a harder blow with higher rates in crime, homelessness, and other unfortunate circumstances that do not plague smaller, more rural areas in the U.S. Those circumstances, however, should not serve as a deterrent to visit our beautiful Charm City, nor should it be used to judge the quality of character of the many locals who are proud to call Baltimore home.
Please come and visit our wonderful city and see for yourself the countless attributes that make our city a fantastic one.
The main thing I did experience was the pan handling. I had been approached at least three to fours times each day I was there. Yet, I kept a pocket full of change ready when approached. It's not fun being poor.
Yet, at one time I was getting a salad from the local Burger King just down from my hotel and I was approached inside the door as I was leaving. I didn't have any change and the man had the nerve to say "Then what the hell is that!" I was taken back from the comment, but chose to ignore him.
They reminded me that crime is high there and should use caution whenever I venture out into the city. Their were good areas to walk in one block and then you were not in such a great area the very next block. So, use caution wherever your go!
Baltimore is not nearly as dangerous as many on this site are making it out to be. It is not Japan or Sweden, and you will need to keep your eyes open just as you would in any large american city. Anyone with common sense will be just fine. Remember, "You'll know if you belong." For example, don't walk around drunk in impoverished areas at 3 am asking where the ATMS are or asking for change. (duuuh)
Some other things to keep in mind:
-Baltimore does not have a lot of room for buffer zones. Walking across a street can make a world of difference.
--Panhandlers are often not starving. Ignore them unless you absolutely cannot resist.
-I would invite those visiting baltimore to venture
outside the soulless, corporate inner harbor to the many other safe neighborhoods which make this city so eclectic and interesting:
Neighborhoods such as Bolton Hill, Otterbein,Hampden, Charles Village, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Canton, Guilford, Roland Park, and Mt Vernon offer a lot of fun times and beautiful scenery. Dont be afraid!
Although Baltimore is below the Mason Dixon Line and thus considered 'South' it is really only 100 miles south of Philadelphia and has much the same weather. In the winter it snows. Or sometimes there is ice.
If you intend to fly in or out of Baltimore in the winter, you should be prepared for snow. If you leave on a cruise out of Baltimore in the winter, you should come a day early just in case there is a snow delay (either at your originating destination or in Baltimore).
Over the last 53 years the average number of inches of snowfall in Baltimore annually (according to the weather service) is 20.8
In the summer, the main hazard is thunderstorms. You can be delayed for quite a while due to thunderstorms over the airport. The last time I flew into BWI, we were delayed three hours because of storms over Baltimore
Baltimore is a big, urban city and has it's share of problems with crime, at one time being the murder capital of the US. Be aware of your surroundings, neighborhoods change very quickly and you may find yourself, like I did, walking through a housing project. Chances are that I would have been fine if I had continued on but it just wasn't worth the risk to me so I turned around and headed back towards the Inner Harbor.
My advice is to ask at your hotel if the neighborhood you are heading to is safe and if it is safe to walk to. And then still keep your eyes open, one of the staff at the Baltimore Visitors Center was the one who told me it was OK to walk through a housing project. Or better yet, just take a cab if money is not an object.
Maryland had the very first aeromedical evacuation service in the United States back in the early 1970's.
You'll be happy to know that this service is available if you really need it. Provided by the Maryland State Police.
Here, a patient is loaded into the medivac helicopter on the front lawn of Towson State University, after a nearby accident.
If you see these "Golden Eggs", hold your nose. You're near the Back River Sewage Processing Plant. It is located along Eastern Avenue near Dundalk...
Actually, they've made huge improvements about the smell in the past few years.... But every so often, you get a whiff in the air....
i've been living in baltimore for about 6months now and i have been all around the city , and for the most part baltimore is a nice city . there is police downtown, so u can feel safe ..and the harbor is nice (a little dirty though but nice) you will have a fun time here , just as long as you don't go wondering off to far, it's rather easy to find the bad areas of baltimore.so just be careful...try going to the powerplant area , there's some nice places to eat and to go clubbin.. or if all else fells go to felis point i assure you that you will have fun there.....
Most of the people on here are right, Baltimore is not as bad as some people make it out to be. Some people have been telling others to stay away b/c Baltimore is terrible...this is entirely not true and probably is a review coming from someone who had one bad stay or experience here. It's true; many Baltimorians [or Balti-morons, as I like to call them :^) ] are very proud of the city, it's restaurants, different areas, and SPORTS TEAMS. Federal Hill is, hands down, my favorite place to go in the entire DC/Bmore area...never had a bad time there. You can get specialty beers, hang out with friends, and hang out, all while feeling safe. I've walked the streets of Federal Hill both with friends and alone, and chances are, you will be fine pretty much anywhere...it's mostly college kids and twenty-somethings out on the weekends, having a good time. I've walked by myself all throughout Fells Point as well...as long as you aren't flashing valuables about and are careful, you should be fine. I've walked through project housing developments as well...it's true, as long as you keep to yourself and don't start any trouble, in most cases the locals will leave you alone. In short, don't fear coming here...there is so much to do and see, it'd be a shame to miss out on it b/c of some bad reviews and opinions...
As many of us still need to be reminded. Many of the older cities still have ONE WAY streets so please pay attention to stay safe. Plus, you may comes accross some very colorful hand gestures if you don't;-)
Imagine our surprise when we were challenged at the gate. We brought a half-full, "Rick Steves approved," carry-on sized backpack for our raincoats and sweaters. Apparently, even this is too big. The attendant asked us to put our pack in this tiny box, then started to turn us away when it appeared too big. Only after some sweet-talking (and the disassembling of the internal frame) were we allowed to enter.
Be warned: don't bring any big bags to the park!
I don't think Baltimore is usually quite as windy as when we visited, but I guess it still is sort of dangerous. While we were around Canton, windspeeds were still gusting up to 30 mph, making it very cold and uncomfortable. It was still cold about half an hour later when we were in the Inner Harbor. So on cold days, wear lots of clothes, keep yourself warm. You still can't really tell how windy it is through this photo.
This whole city is a virtual dangerous stinkhole. There is Harbourplace, and the rest of the city. Cameras watch you on practically every corner. Red Light Cameras watch you in your car at virtually every intersection($75 fine if caught running light). Blinking blue light cameras watch you in the more dangerous areas of the city (which is practically everywhere except downtown). The place is overwhelmed by panhandlers, and everything seems to be top dollar. Crime is so bad here that the police will question just about anybody if you stand or sit too long in one place, and tell you to get moving. The city is a virtual police state, and there have been several horrible incidents of scandalous police officer behaviour against citizens. One must wonder who to fear most: the thugs/criminals, or the police. Stick to the main central north-south streets: Charles, St. Paul and Calvert--and the downtown area. Everything east or west is dangerous, unchartered territory. It is claimed this city has lost 500,000 residents in the past 50 years, and is still losing them. I wonder why.