Hi - I am visiting Baltimore for 6 nights, arriving from the UK this coming Weds evening (21st May) and flying back overnight on the 27th/28th. I am principally coming over to watch Baseball, will be staying at the Hampton Inns near Camden Yard and have tickets for the first two Orioles games already booked, with a view I will buy the rest when I get there. The dates mean the first two days I will have the daytime free, the next two days I will have the evening free and then it is Memorial Day Monday, the O's are not playing and I was thinking about going to DC to see the Nationals (just to visit their ballpark really). My flight back on the 27th doesn't leave til 21.30 so I pretty much have the full day on the Tuesday too.
So, a few questions are popping into my head, it would be helpful if anyone had any insight...
1) What is relatively cheap shopping (clothes shopping) like in B'more? I ask because the weather is a bit unpredictable, so figured I wouldn't pack too much but buy some stuff whilst over there. Are there any outlet malls or even good shopping streets within striking distance of the Inner Harbour? Every website focuses on the harbour, restaurants, bars, baseball etc, but very little mention of whether there are decent shops/malls centrally. I won't be hiring a car.
2) If I do decide to go to DC for a game on Memorial Day, I understand that there are only regular trains running. Should I be buying a ticket online before I arrive, or will it be fairly straightforward booking a train when over there? Or should I ditch the whole DC idea on that day due to the parade attracting crowds etc?
3) Everyone majors (understandably) on safety when talking about B'more. I don't intend to stay in the Inner Harbour area all the time during my stay, but am I correct in saying that getting to places via the circular bus or the light rail during the day should be fine, and if I find myself a distance from the hotel after dark, a cab will be the best option? I don't want to feel that I'm staying in some sort of closed compound whilst there, and do want to get a flavour of local life.
4) I know there are no official 'The Wire' tours, but is there a safe way of checking out a number of locations used for the show? To be clear - I'm not looking to peer at local people living in poverty, I am most interested in the locations used - if that makes sense?
5) My plane touches down in BWI at about 8pm Weds. Given it will take some time to get through the immigration/passport control, I will look to get the Light Rail to my hotel (if my calcs are right, I'm getting off on Pratt Street, and walking a block past the Hilton to the Hampton). Will the light rail be safe at this time of the evening, or am I better off getting a cab?
Sorry for so many Q's