Visit the National Aquarium
A must-visit attraction in Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium is an iconic landmark and a true treasure for marine enthusiasts. Home to more than 20,000 animals representing over 800 species, the aquarium offers an immersive and educational experience for visitors of all ages. Explore captivating exhibits such as the Blacktip Reef, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Jellies Invasion, where you can witness fascinating creatures up close. Take advantage of the breathtaking dolphin show at the Pier 4 Pavilion, where highly trained Atlantic bottlenose dolphins showcase their intelligence and agility. With its commitment to conservation and education, the National Aquarium provides a unique opportunity to learn about marine life and the importance of protecting our oceans.
Take a Historic Ship Tour
Step aboard historic vessels and relive Baltimore’s rich maritime history with a ship tour at Inner Harbor. The USS Constellation, a sloop-of-war built in 1854, offers visitors a glimpse into the life of a 19th-century sailor. Explore the ship’s decks and cabins, and even participate in interactive activities like firing a replica cannon. Another notable ship to visit is the USS Torsk, a World War II submarine that played a significant role in the Pacific theater. Experience the cramped quarters and learn about the submarine’s missions during the war. The USCGC Taney, the last surviving warship from the attack on Pearl Harbor, is also open for tours. These historic ships provide a unique opportunity to step back in time and appreciate the maritime heritage of Baltimore.
Explore the Maryland Science Center
For a hands-on and interactive experience, head to the Maryland Science Center. This engaging institution offers various exhibits catering to all ages and interests. Discover the wonders of space at the planetarium, where you can embark on a virtual journey through the cosmos. Engage in interactive experiments and demonstrations at the interactive exhibits, covering topics like physics, biology, and environmental science. The IMAX Theater at the Science Center screens awe-inspiring documentaries and feature films on its giant screen, providing a truly immersive cinematic experience. From dinosaur fossils to live animal encounters, the Maryland Science Center offers an exciting blend of education and entertainment that will ignite your curiosity and leave you inspired.
Stroll along the Waterfront Promenade
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One of Inner Harbor’s simplest yet most enjoyable activities is taking a leisurely stroll along the picturesque waterfront promenade. Enjoy scenic views of the harbor, the skyline, and the iconic Domino Sugars sign as you walk along the paved pathway. Take in the fresh air, people-watch, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling district. The promenade is lined with charming cafes, restaurants, and street performers, adding to the lively ambiance. If you prefer a more active experience, rent a bike or a Segway and explore the promenade at your own pace. Whether you’re out for an early morning jog, an evening sunset walk, or simply looking for a tranquil escape, the waterfront promenade offers a delightful setting to unwind and enjoy the beauty of Inner Harbor.
Visit the Historic Ships in Baltimore Museum
Immerse yourself in Baltimore’s rich maritime history by visiting the Historic Ships in Baltimore Museum. Located near Inner Harbor, this museum is home to four historic ships: USS Constellation, USS Torsk, USCGC Taney, and Lightship Chesapeake. Step aboard these vessels and explore their decks, cabins, and exhibits, which provide a fascinating glimpse into naval life and the challenges faced by sailors throughout history. Learn about the USS Constellation’s role in the Civil War and its efforts to combat piracy in the Atlantic. Discover the USS Torsk’s contributions and encounters with enemy submarines during World War II. The USCGC Taney offers insight into its service during World War II and its involvement in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Lastly, the Lightship Chesapeake showcases the important role played by these floating lighthouses in guiding ships through treacherous waters. The museum offers a captivating experience highlighting Baltimore’s maritime past and the bravery of those who served on these historic vessels.
Indulge in Culinary Delights at Harborplace
If you’re a food lover, Harborplace is a culinary paradise you won’t miss. This waterfront shopping and dining complex offers a wide array of restaurants and eateries catering to every palate. From seafood joints serving fresh Chesapeake Bay delicacies to international cuisine representing various cultures, you’ll find diverse dining options here. Sample Maryland’s famous crab cakes, enjoy a delicious bowl of clam chowder, or savor delicious sushi rolls—the choices are endless. After your meal, treat yourself to a delectable dessert or sip on a refreshing cocktail while taking in the harbor views. With its lively atmosphere and waterfront location, Harborplace provides a memorable dining experience that captures the essence of Inner Harbor.
Discover History at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Immerse yourself in the rich African American history and culture at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Located near Inner Harbor, this museum showcases African Americans’ contributions, achievements, and experiences in Maryland and beyond. Explore the diverse exhibits covering topics such as slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and contemporary African American art. Learn about prominent figures like Frederick Douglass and Thurgood Marshall, whose legacies have impacted the nation. The museum also hosts various events, performances, and educational programs that provide further insight into African American heritage. With its thought-provoking exhibits and engaging presentations, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum offers a valuable educational experience that celebrates the richness and resilience of the African American community.
Enjoy a Harbor Cruise
See Baltimore from a different perspective by embarking on a harbor cruise. Several companies offer boat tours that allow you to admire the city’s skyline, historic landmarks, and bustling harbor. Whether you choose a narrated sightseeing cruise or a themed cruise, such as a sunset cruise or a pirate adventure, you’re in for a delightful experience. Capture stunning photos of the Inner Harbor’s iconic attractions from the water, and enjoy a relaxing voyage as you listen to informative commentary about Baltimore’s history and architecture. Some cruises even offer dining options, allowing you to savor a meal while enjoying the scenic views. A harbor cruise provides a unique and memorable way to explore Baltimore’s waterfront and gain a new perspective on the city.
Explore the American Visionary Art Museum
Located just a short distance from Inner Harbor, the American Visionary Art Museum is a one-of-a-kind institution dedicated to showcasing the works of self-taught artists. This unique museum celebrates the creativity, imagination, and unconventional artistic expressions found in visionary art. Explore thought-provoking exhibits featuring sculptures, paintings, and installations that push the boundaries of traditional art. The museum’s outdoor sculpture garden is also worth a visit, featuring whimsical and awe-inspiring artworks. With its commitment to showcasing outsider art and promoting creative expression, the American Visionary Art Museum offers an unforgettable experience for art enthusiasts and those seeking unconventional artistic perspectives.
Visit the Historic Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
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Shop at the Harbor East
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For a premier shopping experience, head to Harbor East, a trendy neighborhood adjacent to Inner Harbor. This upscale retail district offers a wide range of boutiques, high-end fashion stores, specialty shops, and renowned brands. Indulge in some retail therapy as you explore the stylish streets lined with fashion-forward shops, home decor stores, and luxury retailers. Whether you’re looking for designer clothing, unique gifts, or upscale accessories, Harbor East has you covered. After a successful shopping spree, treat yourself to a gourmet meal at one of the neighborhood’s acclaimed restaurants or unwind with a drink at a trendy rooftop bar. Harbor East combines retail therapy with upscale dining and entertainment, offering a sophisticated experience for visitors with discerning tastes.
Catch a Game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Sports enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the opportunity to catch a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, one of the most beloved baseball stadiums in the United States. Known for its retro design and picturesque setting, this iconic ballpark offers an unforgettable experience for baseball fans. Cheer on the Baltimore Orioles as they play against rival teams, soak in the electric atmosphere, and indulge in classic ballpark snacks like hot dogs and peanuts. Even if you’re not a die-hard baseball fan, attending a game at Oriole Park is a quintessential Baltimore experience that immerses you in the city’s sporting culture. From the bat’s crack to the crowd’s roar, the ballpark provides an exciting and memorable outing for sports enthusiasts of all ages.
Discover Art and Culture at the Walters Art Museum
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For art lovers, a visit to the Walters Art Museum is a must-do in Inner Harbor. This world-class museum houses an extensive art collection spanning over 5,000 years of history and diverse cultures. Explore the museum’s galleries filled with ancient Egyptian artifacts, medieval armor, European paintings, Asian ceramics, and more. Marvel at masterpieces by renowned artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt. The Walters Art Museum also hosts special exhibitions and educational programs that enhance the visitor experience. With its impressive collection and commitment to showcasing art from around the world, this museum offers a cultural journey that will inspire and captivate art enthusiasts.
Enjoy Live Music at the Power Plant Live!
If you’re in the mood for live music, head to Power Plant Live!, a lively entertainment complex in Inner Harbor. This vibrant venue hosts an array of concerts, performances, and music events throughout the year. From rock and pop to jazz and blues, there’s always something for every music lover. Dance the night away to the beats of local bands or catch a high-energy performance by renowned artists. Power Plant Live! also features numerous bars, restaurants, and nightlife options, making it a popular destination for those seeking a memorable night out. With its lively atmosphere and diverse music scene, Power Plant Live! is a go-to spot for music enthusiasts and those looking to experience Baltimore’s vibrant nightlife.
Embark on a Segway Tour of Inner Harbor
Discover the sights and sounds of Inner Harbor in a unique and exciting way by embarking on a Segway tour. Join a guided tour and glide through the streets and waterfront promenade on a Segway, a self-balancing electric scooter. Learn about Inner Harbor’s history, architecture, and landmarks as your knowledgeable guide provides fascinating insights along the way. Enjoy the thrill of effortlessly navigating the area while taking in the scenic views. Segway tours offer a fun and efficient way to explore Inner Harbor, allowing you to cover more ground and see more attractions in less time. Whether you’re a first-time Segway rider or an experienced enthusiast, this tour promises an exhilarating and informative experience.
What Is Baltimore Harbor Famous for?
Baltimore Harbor, also known as Inner Harbor, is famous for its rich history, vibrant waterfront, and diverse attractions. As one of the major seaports in the United States, Baltimore Harbor has played a significant role in the city’s development and the nation’s maritime history. Here are some general aspects for which Baltimore Harbor is renowned:
- Historic Significance: Baltimore Harbor has deep historical roots, dating back to the 18th century. It served as a bustling trading hub, connecting the city to global markets and fostering economic growth. During the War of 1812, Baltimore Harbor played a significant role in pivotal events, notably the heroic defense of Fort McHenry. It was this valiant stand that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the timeless words of the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Its historical significance has made it a symbol of American resilience and patriotism.
- Iconic Landmarks: Baltimore Harbor is home to iconic landmarks that draw visitors from near and far. The National Aquarium, one of the country’s largest and most renowned aquariums, showcases a vast array of marine life and offers educational experiences for all ages. The historic ships docked in the harbor, such as the USS Constellation and USS Torsk, provide a glimpse into the city’s maritime heritage. The Harborplace shopping and dining complex, with its waterfront location and charming atmosphere, is another notable landmark.
- Cultural Attractions: Baltimore Harbor boasts a vibrant cultural scene. The Maryland Science Center offers hands-on exhibits and educational programs, while the Reginald F. Lewis Museum celebrates African American history and culture. The American Visionary Art Museum showcases visionary and outsider art, providing a unique and thought-provoking experience.
- Waterfront Promenade: The waterfront promenade is a defining feature of Baltimore Harbor. Its scenic views of the harbor, skyline, and historic ships provide a picturesque setting for leisurely strolls, jogging, biking, and people-watching. The promenade is lined with cafes, restaurants, and street performers, adding to the lively ambiance.
- Culinary Delights: Baltimore Harbor is renowned for its culinary scene, particularly seafood. Visitors can indulge in Maryland’s famous blue crabs, crab cakes, and other Chesapeake Bay delicacies. The harbor offers a diverse range of dining options, from waterfront seafood restaurants to international cuisines, ensuring that food enthusiasts will find something to suit their tastes.
- In the end, Baltimore Harbor’s fame stems from its historical significance, iconic landmarks, cultural attractions, scenic waterfront promenade, and delectable cuisine. Whether you’re interested in history, art, nature, or gastronomy, Baltimore Harbor offers a memorable experience showcasing this captivating city’s charm and vibrancy.
What Are the Most Popular Things to Do Near Inner Harbor?
Located in the heart of Baltimore, Inner Harbor offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. However, several popular things to do near Inner Harbor also provide additional opportunities to explore and experience the city. Here are some of the most popular activities in the vicinity:
- Explore the Maryland Science Center: Located near Inner Harbor, the Maryland Science Center is a hub of interactive learning and exploration. With hands-on exhibits covering topics like space, physics, biology, and more, visitors of all ages can engage in educational and entertaining activities. The IMAX Theater and planetarium shows add to the immersive experience, making it a favorite destination for families and science enthusiasts.
- Discover the Baltimore Museum of Art: Just a short distance from the Inner Harbor, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) is renowned for its extensive art collection spanning various periods and cultures. Visitors can admire works by famous artists like Matisse, Picasso, and Warhol and explore the museum’s sculpture garden. BMA also hosts rotating exhibitions and educational programs, making it a must-visit for art lovers.
- Visit the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum: This unique museum, located near Inner Harbor, showcases the history and contributions of African Americans through lifelike wax figures and immersive exhibits. Visitors can learn about prominent figures, historical events, and cultural achievements that have shaped African American history and culture.
- Enjoy the Charm City Circulator: Take advantage of the free Charm City Circulator, a shuttle service connecting various Baltimore neighborhoods, including Inner Harbor. Hop on board and explore different parts of the city, such as Fells Point, Canton, and Mount Vernon, without worrying about transportation. This convenient service allows visitors to experience the city’s diverse neighborhoods and distinct atmospheres.
- Attend a Performance at the Hippodrome Theatre: Catching a show at the Hippodrome Theatre is a must for theater enthusiasts. This historic venue hosts a variety of Broadway shows, musicals, concerts, and other performances throughout the year. With its grand architecture and top-notch productions, the Hippodrome offers a memorable entertainment experience.
- Wander through Little Italy: Located adjacent to Inner Harbor, Little Italy is a vibrant neighborhood known for its Italian heritage, charming streets, and authentic cuisine. Take a walk through the area, indulge in delicious Italian dishes at local restaurants, and experience this tight-knit community’s warm hospitality and cultural richness.
- Explore the Fell’s Point Historic District: Just a short walk from Inner Harbor, Fell’s Point is a historic neighborhood with cobblestone streets, charming shops, and a bustling waterfront. Enjoy browsing through unique boutiques, art galleries, and antique stores, or relax at one of the waterfront pubs and taverns. The neighborhood’s rich maritime history and preserved architecture make it an interesting and picturesque destination.
These are just a few examples of the many popular things to do near Inner Harbor. Whether you’re interested in art, history, science, or simply exploring the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, Baltimore offers a wealth of experiences catering to various interests.
Is It Safe to Swim in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore?
Swimming in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore is generally not recommended due to safety concerns. While efforts have been made to improve the water quality in recent years, the harbor still faces challenges in maintaining consistently safe conditions for swimming.
The Inner Harbor is a heavily trafficked area with a mix of commercial and recreational vessels, which can result in potential hazards for swimmers. Additionally, the harbor receives runoff from surrounding areas, which can introduce pollutants and bacteria into the water. Although water quality monitoring and remediation efforts have been implemented to address these issues, there are still occasional elevated bacteria levels.
To ensure public safety, the local authorities, including the Baltimore City Health Department, advise against swimming in the Inner Harbor. Instead, they promote alternative water activities, such as paddleboarding and kayaking, which allow individuals to enjoy the harbor without direct contact with the water.
It’s important to prioritize safety when considering any water-related activities. If you’re seeking a beach experience or a safe swimming environment, nearby locations such as Sandy Point State Park, Gunpowder Falls State Park, or Fort Smallwood Park offer designated swimming areas with better water quality and lifeguard supervision.
While the Inner Harbor offers a wealth of attractions and activities, swimming is best enjoyed in designated swimming areas where water quality and safety measures are consistently maintained.
Inner Harbor, Baltimore, offers a captivating blend of history, culture, entertainment, and natural beauty. From exploring fascinating museums to enjoying delicious cuisine, from stepping aboard historic ships to taking strolls along the waterfront, there are countless experiences to be had in this vibrant district. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor from afar, Inner Harbor has something for everyone. Its iconic attractions, scenic views, and lively atmosphere make it an ideal destination for families, history enthusiasts, food lovers, and anyone seeking an unforgettable experience. So, plan your visit to Inner Harbor, Baltimore, and immerse yourself in the charm and excitement that this special waterfront district has to offer.
Explore the 15 best things to do in Inner Harbor, Baltimore, in this article to ensure the best summer vacation. Click here for more details.