Put on Your Best Hat

On May 21, 2016, the Pimlico Race Course will hold the 141st running of one of the most famous horse racing events in the world. The Preakness Stakes is the critical second leg of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing. This second leg establishes whether a horse will have a chance at the Triple Crown three weeks later, at the Belmont Stakes.

Whether you’re a diehard fan of the sport of kings or simply someone who wants to show off your new hat, the Preakness Stakes is the ultimate May event in Baltimore. You’ll have the opportunity to rub elbows with celebrities and dignitaries from across the world. Plus, if you place a smart wager, you might pay for your entire trip.

Come for the Horses, Stay for the Celebrities

In recent years, Instagram has featured thousands of pictures of Preakness attendees such as Olympic champion Lindsay Vonn, Super Bowl hero Tom Brady, and former presidential candidate Chris Christie. Brady has sometimes brought several of his teammates with him, which makes the event a potential dream come true for New England Patriots fans. But if you’re only into horse racing, you’re still likely to witness dozens of recognizable faces at the event. The thrill of seeing a potential Triple Crown winner always entices celebrities to attend.

A Weekend Full of Activity

The horse race itself lasts only a couple of minutes, but the Preakness Stakes as an event is much more than just this race. Budweiser sponsors a concert each year, and the 2016 event will feature Fetty Wap and other performers. You’ll have plenty of other entertainment in the infield as well; you might even consider joining the MUG Club.

While you’re in Baltimore, you’ll have plenty of entertainment options. The vaunted Inner Harbor offers some of the finest shopping and dining in the state. You can also visit the Walters Art Gallery, the Fort McHenry National Monument, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. If you’re a fan of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, you should also check out the Shipley–Lydecker House, which was the inspiration for the attraction’s design. Finally, Washington, D.C., is only 40 miles away if you want to see the White House.

Where to Stay

If you’re willing to pay between $200 and $300 a night, you’ll have plenty of options in the greater Baltimore area. Some of the highest-rated hotels in this price range are Monaco Baltimore, a Kimpton Hotel, Hyatt Place Baltimore/Inner Harbor, and Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.

If you prefer less expensive accommodations, you’ll still have your pick of high-quality hotels. The Sleep Inn & Suites Downtown Inner Harbor, Holiday Inn Baltimore–Inner Harbor, and Hampton Inn Baltimore–Downtown–Convention Center all feature solid online reviews.

To reach the Pimlico Race Course, you’ll want to take MD-26 E or MD-129 N to reach the general area, then drive through the area of N Rogers Ave, N Paca St, McCulloh St, and W Belvedere Ave — Check Google Maps for specifics. Once you’re at the facility, simply follow the mass of people through the entry gates!

Image via Flickr by Fisherga