Every year in May, fans of horse racing flock to Baltimore, Maryland for the Preakness Stakes. An aura of excitement fills the air as locals and visitors make the most of the warm spring weather at Pimlico Race Course. If you’re heading to the city for the race, create a cozy home base at one of numerous Baltimore vacation rentals in these great neighborhoods.

1. Federal Hill

Enjoy a car-free weekend in Federal Hill, one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Baltimore. Vacation rentals in this beautiful area offer views of the harbor, easy access to the city’s best restaurants, and entrance into a lively, youthful community. A variety of bars with a young-professional vibe sit near East Cross Street. This area is best for adults, as little ones may struggle with the hills. Uber is the best option for the 8-mile drive to Pimlico, though public transportation is also available.

2. Hampden

For the true Baltimore experience, head straight for Hampden. This eccentric neighborhood was once a mill town, but is now a fun, funky spot that attracts artistic types from around the city. Stay near 36th Street to be within walking distance of independent stores and fun cafes. This down-to-earth neighborhood is friendly and relaxed – a great choice for families. Several bars, including the popular The Bluebird Cocktail Room, offer evening drinks. Bus 94 brings you to the race track in about 30 minutes, and Uber is also readily available.

3. Canton

Experience one of Baltimore’s trendiest neighborhoods in Canton, a charming spot that’s packed with fun pubs that come to life at night. Here, adorable brick buildings sit just steps from the Northwest Harbor – if you’re bringing little ones, head to Canton Waterfront Park to play or ride bikes. The race track is about 10 miles northwest, and can be reached easily with Uber. If you’re on a budget, you can also use public transportation to reach Pimlico.

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4. Little Italy

Indulge your foodie dreams in Little Italy, one of the best areas for dining in Baltimore. Here, you’re never far from fantastic Italian food – don’t miss Joe Benny’s and La Tavola. A couple of wine bars and pubs make for the perfect relaxing evening after the big race. Friendly and easy to navigate, this small neighborhood is great for adults and children. Grab an Uber to the race track or hop on the subway and Bus 30 for the 8-mile ride.

5. Mount Vernon

Check out some of Baltimore’s best museums and galleries in Mount Vernon. This gorgeous neighborhood is packed with stunning historic homes, many of which now house excellent restaurants and high-end shops. Kids are welcome, though the neighborhood is best suited to culture-seeking adults. The area is relatively quiet in the evening, but a few bars offer elegant cocktails. If you’re not driving, grab an Uber for the 6-mile drive to Pimlico.

6. Otterbein

Gorgeous brick rowhouses line the streestin Otterbein, a quiet, family-friendly neighborhood that sits just west of the Inner Harbor. The lively bars and restaurants of Federal Hill are a short walk away – after an evening of fun, head back home to your peaceful vacation rental for a good night’s sleep. You can walk downtown or to the harbor, so there’s no need for a car. Pimlico is about an hour away by bus and subway, or you can make the 8-mile trip in about half that time by Uber.

7. Inner Harbor

Stay in the midst of one of Baltimore’s most historic areas in Inner Harbor. The perfect spot for families, this area is a short walk from all of the attractions and restaurants on the waterfront. Make sure to check out the USS Constellation and take in the views from the Top of the World Observation Level. You won’t find many bars, but the great nightlife in Federal Hill is a short walk away. On race day, both public transportation and Uber can take you the 8 miles to the race track.

8. Harbor East

If you’re hoping for modern, luxurious vacation rentals and the latest hot restaurant, Harbor East is a great pick. This fun, sleek neighborhood blends the best of all worlds – whether you’re after luxury shopping or funky eateries, there’s something for you. The water is just a few minutes from most local properties, so it’s easy to find a spot for your little ones to hang out. At night, the area is very quiet, but you can find fun nightlife options in the surrounding neighborhoods. Public transportation can get you to Preakness in under an hour, and Uber is another convenient option.

9. Pigtown

Pigtown, which is also called Washington Village, is one of the most exciting, up-and-coming parts of Baltimore. Friendly and great for families, this laid-back area makes you feel right at home. Bring the kids to Carroll Park, check out the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum, or enjoy a casual beer in the evening at Pigtown Ale House. If you don’t want to deal with parking, take public transportation to Pimlico or hop in an Uber.

10. Jonestown

Explore Baltimore’s fascinating Jewish heritage in Jonestown. Located close to the bars and restaurants near the harbor, this lovely area offers a peaceful spot to rest with your family. During the day, explore the excellent Jewish Museum of Maryland, and check out The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House. A bus trip to Pimlico takes about 45 minutes; for groups, Uber is a great option.

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