Once a thriving shipyard, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is now a visit-worthy destination with scenic waterfront views and historic attractions.
As soon as you walk onto the Inner Harbor, there’s a moment where your breath catches ever so slightly at how truly beautiful the heart of Baltimore City is.
The waterfront is postcard-perfect with the National Aquarium building on one side, historic ships anchored to the dock, and the iconic Domino Sugar sign off in the distance.
With so much to see and do, use this Inner Harbor neighborhood guide to pack in as much as you can while you’re there.
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Tips for Visiting the Inner Harbor
- Wear sensible shoes; almost everything is within walking distance and you’re not going to want your feet to hurt halfway through.
- Don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen. The Inner Harbor is an open space with very few shaded rest areas meaning you’ll be out in the sun a lot.
Parking in Baltimore
While there are streetside parking spaces surrounding the Inner Harbor, it could prove difficult finding a slot – especially on the weekends!
A bit of a pricier, but more convenient, option would be to park in one of the many garages in the area. They often have all-day deals and early-bird specials you can take advantage of.
Inner Harbor Park Garage
- Address: 751 E Lombard St, Baltimore, MD 21202
- Rates range from $3 to $24, with hourly and daily rates.
Pier V Parking
- Address: 711 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202
- Rates range from $5 to $30, with hourly and daily rates.
Things to do in the Inner Harbor
To make the most of your time in the Inner Harbor, start your visit at the Baltimore Visitor Center. Here, you’ll find everything you need to plan your perfect itinerary such as one-on-one visitor services from professional staff to tickets and reservations to most of what’s on offer at the Inner Harbor.
You’ll also find over 200 brochures, guides, and maps, as well as interactive touchscreens full of information on all of the attractions, restaurants, and hotels you’ll find there.
The Baltimore Visitor Center has free public Wi-Fi, mobile device charging stations, an event rental space, a makeshift post office, and a gift shop filled with Baltimore-related souvenirs and specialty items.
The National Aquarium in Baltimore is one of the city’s best attractions. It is home to over 20,000 different animals from all over the world and has won numerous awards for its habitats including an Indo-Pacific reef and a South American tropical rainforest.
It’s no wonder that the aquarium has over 1.5 million visitors every year and is the largest tourist attraction in the entire state.
Other than all of the interesting exhibits, you can also enjoy 4D immersion films about marine life, watch dolphins play, pet a stingray, or go on a behind-the-scenes tour with an informative expert.
Baltimore’s floating maritime museums will take you back in time as you walk the narrow halls of the historic ships docked on the edge of the Inner Harbor.
The highlight is the USS Constellation which was built by the U.S. Navy in 1854 and is now the only surviving ship from the Civil War. The well-preserved museum ship is now a National Historic Landmark that offers tours that excite visitors of any age.
You’ll find additional historic ships docked at the harbor, each of which played its part in our nation’s history, as well as the gorgeous Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse which was built in 1855.
World Trade Center
Get 360-degree views of Baltimore City and the Inner Harbor from the World Trade Center’s Top of the World Observation Level.
Before you go into the building designed by the renowned I. M. Pei, you’ll find a sculpture made from the remnants of the NYC World Trade Center tragedy out front.
The observation deck is located on the WTC’s 27th floor and it provides you with a bird’s eye view of your surroundings that you just won’t get from the ground. The panoramic vistas are quite stunning and you’ll be sure to get some Insta-worthy shots to post of your trip.
Maryland Science Center
Thrilling for visitors of all ages, the Maryland Science Center will bring out your inner kid no matter how old you are. The center is spread over three floors and is filled with hands-on exhibits, demonstrations, laboratories, and interactive displays that all focus on different branches of science.
You can spend the entire day exploring the human body, better understanding the solar system, or excavating dinosaur bones. There’s even an entire exhibit dedicated to electricity, letting little minds work out everything from how to generate electricity to building circuits and wiring outlets.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
The Baltimore Inner Harbor is very family and kid friendly, meaning that everyone from toddlers to grandparents will have a good time while they’re there. The Port Discovery Children’s Museum is an especially good attraction for younger visitors and is recognized as one of the best in the nation.
Kids can go on an adventure in a life-sized cargo ship, paint and sculpt at the studio workshop, put on a musical performance in the theater, or run amuck in their four-story SkyClimber.
Get Out on the Water
There’s no better way than spending a nice summer day out on the Inner Harbor and Patapsco River – right out there on the water!
There are so many ways you can do this; take the Baltimore Water Taxi if you’re looking for a short ride around the harbor. You could also opt for a Chessie Dragon paddleboat to get out on your own.
Go on a more detailed tour with one of the many companies such as Watermark’s Cruises on the Bay where informative professionals will delve into the history of the city and the sights you see. There are tons of lunch and dinner cruises where you can spend hours drinking and dancing the night away.
And don’t forget about the many fishing boats and private yachts that are available for rent!
Go to Live Concert/ Show
The Inner Harbor houses so many venues where you can experience live music and entertainment.
- Rams Head Live is a concert venue and bar that often headlines big-name bands.
- Power Plant Live is a hub of music venues, comedy clubs, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and more.
During the summer months, lay a blanket out in the MECU Pavilion and enjoy outdoor concerts right by the water. In fact, many of the waterfront restaurants often schedule live musical entertainment during dinner.
Annual Events in Inner Harbor
There are numerous annual events held at the Inner Harbor. Here are a couple you shouldn’t miss:
4th of July Fireworks (July)
Celebrate the nation’s independence with food, fireworks, and fun over Baltimore’s waterfront.
Wine & Food Festival (August)
An annual culinary event that brings together Baltimore’s best chefs and culinary craftsmen.
Fleet Week (October)
The main highlight is the USAF Thunderbirds’ jets air show but there are also tours of vessels docked at the Inner Harbor.
Free Fall Baltimore (October)
A showcase of free concerts, theater performances, dance performances, art exhibitions, workshops, and lectures.
BGE Light Art Walk (November)
Though it includes concerts and performances, the BGE Light Art Walk’s main attraction are the stunning electricity/ light-focused art installations.
Christmas Village (December)
Held on the Inner Harbor promenade every year, Christmas Village is the city’s very own German Christmas market complete with vendors, beer garden, food stalls, and more.
Baltimore’s New Year’s Eve Spectacular (December)
Count down into the new year on the famed Inner Harbor waterfront. Choose to celebrate picnic-style on the promenade, from one of the many surrounding restaurants, or out on the water with a NYE dinner cruise.
Baltimore Inner Harbor Restaurants
Speaking of dinner, you’re not going to want to leave the Inner Harbor without grabbing a bite to eat. There are tons of great choices right by the water and here are a few of my faves:
The Cheesecake Factory
You can’t go wrong with the cheesecake factory. It’s dependable and you know what you’re getting before you even walk in.
Maryland-based, Phillips Seafood has been around for over 100 years and is renowned for its fresh seafood and mouth-watering crab cakes.
Tír na nÓg Irish Bar & Grill
An authentic Irish pub that infuses the flavors of Charm City, this bustling bar and grill comes complete with live music.
Miss Shirley’s Cafe, Inner Harbor
While we love Miss Shirley’s Cafe in Roland Park for breakfast in Baltimore, the Inner Harbor location is great for visitors who are in town for business (or fun), but don’t have a car to get out into the Baltimore neighborhoods.
Chow down on decadent breakfast items, like chicken and waffles and fried green tomatoes, or indulge your sweet tooth with the cinnamon danish pancakes or Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake stuffed French toast.
Azumi in the Four Seasons
While pricey, you will be glad you stopped in for cocktails appetizers and sushi when you slip into this modern Japanese restaurant.
Inner Harbor Hotels And Vacation Rentals
Sometimes, you just want to be pampered at a hotel or have more space in rental. Check out the best rates on hotels and vacation rentals in Baltimore, MD and the Inner Harbor.