If you ever experience an unwelcome and unexpected extended layover in Thurgood Marshall/ Baltimore-Washington International Airport, surprisingly there are plenty of things you can do locally to make the time fly by (no pun intended). These suggestions are for travelers with a layover of 2.5 hours or more. If you’re stuck for less time than that, you might want to stay put within the confines of your terminal, less you risk losing your ticket out. In addition, you’ll have to take the day of the week and time of day into consideration when you entertain any of these suggestions – attempting to make it to downtown Baltimore in 20 minutes during rush hours (7:30am – 9:30am and 3:30pm-6:30pm) or the day before a holiday would be a very poor decision.
Layovers of 5 hours or more: Venture out of the airport to the Inner Harbor via taxi where you can accomplish many things in a small radius. If there was one quintessential Baltimore thing to do, it would be to go here. You can check out one of the world’s largest aquariums and Maryland’s biggest attraction for a couple of hours then head over to a host of restaurants in the Harbor or mosey over to Harborplace for a bit of shopping.
If you’re looking for a glimpse into naval history, visit the U.S.S. Constellation for a look into America’s maritime past and the life of swabbys on 19th century warships. If you’re interested in seeing something a bit more cerebral, ask the cab driver to drop you off at the Science Center instead for an enjoyable tour of scientific exhibits, many of which are hands-on. At the Science Center you can learn fun facts about Maryland geography and blue crabs. Phillip’s Seafood Restaurant on Light Street will introduce you to good old fashioned Maryland eating, complete with steamed crabs, crab cakes, crab soup and several other seafood options.
Layovers of 2.5-4.5 hours: This is not as much time as you think when you factor in getting a cab, driving to and from your destination, and waiting for just about anything you want to see. It’s best to play it safe and stick to the Linthicum/Hanover area for relaxation and a change of scenery. Eat, shop, or watch a movie at Arundel Mills in Hanover, just one exit up from the airport on Route 100. In Linthicum, the Marriott has a cozy bar and a restaurant that may be of interest. You also won’t go wrong at Los Portales, a popular and delicious Mexican spot, only 7 minutes from the airport located on Aviation Boulevard.
Layovers up to 2.5 hours: In between Terminal B and Terminal C, on the upper level, prior to going through security, you will find BWI’s enclosed observation deck complete with WiFi, rocking chairs, a cockpit replica, art exhibits, and a children’s play area. Just below the observation deck is a small historical exhibit dedicated to Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court judge, and the man from whom the airport is named. If you want to experience typical Maryland dishes, head over to Terminal B for dining at Phillip’s Seafood or Obrycki’s Restaurant & Bar. You can unwind at Vino Volo, also in Terminal B or at Ram’s Head Tavern in Terminal C.
There are several options before you if layover nightmare should come your way while traveling through the area. If you’re going to be stranded for a minute, you might as well make the most out of it.