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Is the Baltimore Inner Harbor Worth Visiting?

Baltimore Skyline
Credit: JJSPhoto Baltimore Skyline

Baltimore Inner Harbor is a historic seaport located in Baltimore. The harbor, surrounded by downtown Baltimore, was an important center for shipping and commerce in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, it is a significant tourist destination and a popular location for events and entertainment.

The Inner Harbor has a long and rich history, dating back to the 1600s when the first European settlers arrived. The harbor was an important center for trade and commerce, and it quickly grew into a bustling seaport. During the 19th century, the harbor was the busiest port of entry for immigrants to the United States.

In the 1960s, the Inner Harbor had become a neglected area, largely ignored by the city. However, in the early 1970s, a massive redevelopment project was undertaken to revitalize the area.

The project involved the construction of several new buildings and attractions, including the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, and the Harborplace shopping and entertainment complex. Today, the Inner Harbor is a thriving center of tourism and commerce and an easy destination for those living in the Washington, DC, area. 

Baltimore Inner Harbor

What is the Baltimore Inner Harbor Known For?

The Baltimore Inner Harbor is known for its beauty, events, and attractions, and thousands of visitors from around the nation come to Baltimore every year to enjoy themselves. 

Events Held in the Inner Harbor

The Inner Harbor is also a popular location for events and festivals, including:

  1. The Baltimore Book Festival: This annual event celebrates the written word with author readings, book signings, and panel discussions.
  2. The Baltimore Waterfront Festival is held every summer and features live music, food vendors, and various water-related activities.
  3. The Baltimore Seafood Festival: This annual event celebrates Baltimore’s seafood heritage with food tastings, cooking demonstrations, and live music.
  4. The Light City Festival: This annual festival features light installations, performances, and music throughout the Inner Harbor area.

Things to Do at the Baltimore Inner Harbor

There are many attractions located around the Inner Harbor, including:

The National Aquarium

The National Aquarium in Baltimore is a non-profit public aquarium located in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore, Maryland, United States. It is one of the largest and most renowned aquariums in the United States, attracting more than 1.3 million visitors annually. 

The aquarium is dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life and ecosystems, as well as to education and research.

The National Aquarium was opened in 1981 and was built as part of the Inner Harbor redevelopment project. The original aquarium building was designed by architect Peter Chermayeff and was constructed in a modernist style, with a distinctive sloping roof meant to resemble a wave. Since then, the aquarium has undergone renovations and expansions, adding exhibits and educational programs.

The National Aquarium has more than 20,000 animals from 800 species, with exhibits that showcase animals from different aquatic habitats worldwide, including the Amazon River, the Pacific Ocean, and the Chesapeake Bay. Some of the most popular exhibits include:

  1. Blacktip Reef: This exhibit features a replica of an Indo-Pacific coral reef, complete with tropical fish, rays, and sharks.
  2. Jellies Invasion: This exhibit features a variety of jellyfish species, including the popular moon jelly.
  3. Atlantic Coral Reef: This exhibit showcases the biodiversity of the coral reefs in the Atlantic Ocean, featuring fish, turtles, and other animals.
  4. Shark Alley: This exhibit features several species of sharks, including sand tiger sharks and blacktip sharks.
  5. Amazon River Forest: This exhibit recreates the ecosystem of the Amazon River, featuring fish, birds, and mammals.

In addition to the exhibits, the aquarium also has several interactive and educational programs for visitors, including behind-the-scenes tours, animal encounters, and a 4D immersion theater.

The National Aquarium is dedicated to the conservation of aquatic ecosystems and animals. It has several programs and initiatives to reduce plastic pollution, promote sustainable seafood practices, and conserve threatened and endangered species. The aquarium researches marine life and ecosystems and partners with other organizations to promote conservation.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore is a world-class facility that provides visitors with an immersive and educational experience about the beauty and importance of aquatic life. Its innovative exhibits, interactive programs, and commitment to conservation and research make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the ocean and its inhabitants!

The Maryland Science Center

The museum is dedicated to providing visitors with interactive and educational experiences related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It is a popular attraction in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore and is visited by over 250,000 people every year.

The Maryland Science Center has a variety of exhibits that explore different aspects of science and technology. Some of the most popular presentations include:

  1. Dinosaur Mysteries: This exhibit features life-size models of dinosaurs and interactive displays that explore the science behind dinosaur biology.
  2. Newton’s Alley: This exhibit explores the laws of physics and motion with hands-on activities such as a giant lever and a water table.
  3. SpaceLink: This exhibit explores the science of space travel with interactive displays about rockets, satellites, and the solar system.
  4. The Shed: This exhibit is an outdoor space that features hands-on experiments related to engineering and technology.

In addition to the exhibits, the Maryland Science Center also has a planetarium, a 3D theater, and a hands-on engineering lab. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages, including workshops, summer camps, and outreach programs to schools.

The Maryland Science Center hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including:

  1. Science Sleepovers: These overnight events allow visitors to explore the museum after hours, participate in hands-on activities, and sleep among the exhibits.
  2. Science Festivals: These events celebrate different areas of science and technology with hands-on activities, demonstrations, and presentations by scientists and experts.
  3. Adult Events: The museum also hosts events geared towards adults, such as science-themed happy hours, lectures, and workshops.


The complex consists of two buildings, Harborplace East and Harborplace West, connected by a pedestrian bridge over the harbor. The complex features a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, making it a popular destination for visitors to Baltimore.

Harborplace has various features that make it a unique and popular destination. Some of the most notable features include:

  1. Shopping: The marketplace has over 100 shops, ranging from local boutiques to national retailers. Visitors can find many items, including clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, and gifts.
  2. Dining: Harborplace has over 20 restaurants offering various cuisine options, from seafood to burgers to pizza. Many of the restaurants offer outdoor seating with views of the harbor.
  3. Entertainment: The marketplace has various entertainment options, including street performers, live music, and seasonal events.
  4. Waterfront: Harborplace is located on the waterfront, providing visitors with scenic views of the harbor and easy access to boat tours and water activities.

Harborplace has undergone several renovations and updates over the years, including adding new shops and restaurants, renovating the pavilions, and constructing a new outdoor seating area.

The Baltimore Museum of Industry

The Baltimore Museum of Industry celebrates the city’s industrial heritage and the contributions of its workers. The museum features exhibits and interactive displays that showcase the history and impact of various industries in Baltimore, including manufacturing, transportation, and technology.

The museum has a variety of exhibits that explore different aspects of industry and technology. Some of the most popular exhibits include:

  1. The Machine Shop: This exhibit features working machines and tools from Baltimore’s manufacturing history, including lathes, drills, and saws.
  2. Print Shop: This exhibit showcases the history of printing and graphic design, with examples of printing presses, typesetting tools, and vintage advertisements.
  3. Made in Baltimore: This exhibit highlights products and companies that originated in Baltimore, from Old Bay seasoning to Under Armour athletic wear.
  4. Oyster Tonging: This exhibit explores the history of oyster harvesting in the Chesapeake Bay, with interactive displays about the tools and techniques used by oyster tongers.

In addition to the exhibits, the Baltimore Museum of Industry also offers educational programs for visitors of all ages, including workshops, tours, and outreach programs to schools.

The museum hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including:

  1. Baltimore Floatilla: This annual event celebrates the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore’s maritime heritage with a flotilla of boats that parade down the harbor.
  2. Maryland STEM Festival: The museum hosts events as part of this statewide festival that promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.
  3. Happy Hour at the BMI: This event features live music, food and drink, and after-hours access to the museum’s exhibits.

The Top of the World Observation Level

The Top of the World Observation Level is an observation deck located in the Inner Harbor. Here is the information you need:

  • Location: The Top of the World Observation Level is located on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center in Baltimore. The address is 401 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202.
  • Hours: The observation deck is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. The last tickets are sold at 5:30 pm.
  • Admission: Admission to the Top of the World Observation Level is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and military, and $6 for children aged 3-12. Children under 3 are free.
  • Views: Visitors can enjoy 360-degree views of Baltimore and the surrounding area from the observation deck. The deck is 27 stories high, so the views are impressive.
  • Exhibits: In addition to the views, the Top of the World Observation Level also features exhibits about Baltimore’s history and culture. These exhibits include displays about famous Baltimore residents, the city’s role in the War of 1812, and more.
  • Events: The Top of the World Observation Level can also be rented out for private events, such as weddings and corporate functions.
  • Accessibility: The observation deck is wheelchair accessible, and service animals are allowed.

If you’re visiting Baltimore and want to see the city from above, the Top of the World Observation Level is worth checking out!

Can You Walk Around the Baltimore Inner Harbor?

File:Rainy weather at the Baltimore, Harbor, Maryland, U.S.A.jpg
You can walk around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Yes, you can walk around the Baltimore Inner Harbor, a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. Here is some information about parking in the area:

  • Parking: There are several parking options available around the Inner Harbor, including street parking, parking garages, and surface lots. Street parking is limited and often metered, so finding a spot close to the harbor may be challenging. There are many parking garages and lots nearby, however. Some popular options include the Harbor Park Garage, the Pier V Garage, and the LAZ Inner Harbor Garage. Prices and availability vary depending on the time and day of the week.
  • Public Transportation: Public transportation is another option for getting to the Inner Harbor. The Charm City Circulator is a free bus service that runs through the harbor area and surrounding neighborhoods. The Baltimore Water Taxi, with several regional stops, is also popular for getting around the harbor.
  • Walking: If you are staying in a hotel near the Inner Harbor, it may be easiest to walk to the area simply. The Inner Harbor is a compact area; many major attractions are within walking distance of each other.

It’s important to note that parking in Baltimore can be challenging, especially during peak tourist season or during special events. It’s always a good idea to plan and allow extra time for finding parking or taking public transportation.

The Baltimore Inner Harbor is a vibrant and exciting destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, science, shopping, or entertainment, you will indeed find something to enjoy at this unique and historic location.

So if you’re looking for an exciting weekend getaway from DC, check out Baltimore’s Inner Harbor!

And if you’re looking for a home in Washington DC–and surrounding areas–let the experienced realtors at Eng Garcia Properties help you today!

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