The Geekiary is headed to Baltimore Comic Con! There’s less than a month until the convention opens, and things are a little extra hectic because the Baltimore Marathon is the same weekend. It’s time to nail down hotel and parking arrangements if you haven’t already. Don’t panic! We’ve put together a reference guide to help you get sorted.
Baltimore Comic Con, held October 18-20, 2019, at the Baltimore Convention Center, has really grown into itself. It started as a one-day show in the Baltimore suburbs and is now an event many East Coast geeks put on their convention calendar. BCC is big enough to draw A-list names like comics titan Jim Lee, but small enough that you don’t have to order tickets a year in advance (like the much-loved but crowded San Diego Comic Con).
You do still need to make some preparations. This isn’t a convention where you can expect to get a room on a walk-up – at least not anywhere in walking distance to the convention. Hotels are selling out fast. Plus, with the Baltimore Marathon on the 19th, parking is going to be at a premium. Check these links to finalize your travel arrangements – because you’re not going to want to drive in and out of the city every day if you can help it.
Baltimore Comic Con Hotels and Lodging
You have two main options when it comes to lodging: hotels or Airbnb. The advantage of a hotel is that BCC has some special rates for attendees. Here are the best best, along with a link to access the BCC rate.
- Days Inn Inner Harbor (starts at $119/night)
- Hilton Baltimore (starts at $179/night)
- Holiday Inn Baltimore- Inner Harbor (starts at $119/night)
- Lord Baltimore Hotel (starts at $159, but they also have a Friday-night deal for Maryland residents that drops it to $99 if you’re local but want to skip Marathon traffic)
- Marriott Inner Harbor (starts at $179)
- Renaissance Hotel (starts at $179)
- Sheraton Inner Harbor (starts at $179)
If you’d rather try your luck with Airbnb, get on that fast. They have more availability than hotels right now, but with marathoners coming in, demand is rising. That makes Airbnb’s algorithm raise prices. Right now rooms can be found as low as $35/night for single rooms or $65/night for full apartments. A few pieces of advice:
- Get a stay downtown or otherwise very close to Inner Harbor if you plan on walking to the convention center. Those blocks are deceptively small on the map, and you don’t want a long trek facing you at the end of a day on your feet.
- Watch out for cleaning fees. This is the big drawback of Airbnb – places might look much cheaper than a hotel, but hosts can charge what they like for a cleaning fee as long as they list it. $15 is reasonable; $100 is not. Read the rate breakdown carefully before booking, and be sure you know the cancellation policy.
- Message your host ahead of time to establish a line of communication in case of issues. I’ve had some great stays, but when there was a problem I noticed a distinct difference in response time when I’ve already talked to the host in advance. You don’t have to get chatty – just send a “thanks for accepting my booking, excited to see the con!” message and call it good.
Parking around the Baltimore Comic Con
The best bet for a stress-free trip is buying your parking before you go. You can always show up and take your chances on finding a local parking spot, but as someone who’s driven around Baltimore, this is going to cost you in both time and money. Free spots run out early in the day, and walk-up rates on parking are higher than advance reservations.
Baltimore Comic Con has a deal with Parking Panda, so you might find some good deals through this link. Mine was $8/day. ParkWhiz is the competitor. Their rates are a little higher since they’re not the BCC partner, but they do have a lot of availability close to the con.
Reminder: if you’re staying in a nearby hotel, chances are good you’re already paying for parking there. See if there’s a hotel shuttle or bus that goes nearby. Baltimore’s bus system is notoriously shaky, so take that into account.
You can still buy tickets online for all days of the show. If you have kids, ages 10 and under get in free with a paid adult. See you at the convention!
Have you been to BCC or live near Baltimore? Help your fellow geeks and share your travel tips in the comments!
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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