Inner Harbor: Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore's Inner Harbor is home to the Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood and offers a variety of entertainment, shopping and sightseeing year round.
The Inner Harbor of Baltimore underwent major construction for a new look in the 1980’s. It went from a slum area with high crime to a thriving metropolis with a variety of entertainment year round. Some of the renovations to the Inner Harbor area include the conversion of an old steam power plant into the new home of the Baltimore Hard Rock Café, the ESPN Zone Restaurant, and a Barnes and Noble bookstore.
The area surrounding the harbor docks was developed by the Rouse Company and now includes two eating and shopping pavilions where such restaurants including Planet Hollywood, The Cheesecake Factory, and California Pizza are located. The pavilions are also home to an old time Maryland favorite, Phillips Restaurant, where fresh seafood and crabs are served year round. If you prefer a more exotic meal, the Bay Lady, a three level passenger ship, provides a two-hour tour of the harbor area while serving lunch or dinner.
For the history buff, the Constellation, a recently renovated revolutionary war battleship, is open for tours on a daily basis. You can also visit and tour a World War II submarine, which is docked only a short walk away from the Constellation. The third famous ship that resides in the Inner Harbor is the Pride of Baltimore II. After the original Pride of Baltimore was lost at sea in a storm, the surviving crew and volunteers rebuilt this famous clipper ship by hand. The Pride II has sailed all over the world, is used as a training vessel by the Navy, and offers limited tours when in port.
If you are more of an indoor type person, the Inner Harbor area has a number of fun and interesting places to visit. The Baltimore World Trade center provides a wonderful view of the area and of the Chesapeake Bay. The Maryland Science Center includes three floors of hands-on exhibits that are changed at intervals during the year. The planetarium offers shows related to the current season and events in outer space and a recently reopened 200 inch telescope (the telescope is only available on special occasions to Science Center members). The IMAX Theater is not included in the price of general admission. For those more interested in inner space, the Maryland Aquarium provides a live dolphin show, a tropical rainforest, and a wide variety of underwater exhibits including sharks and stingrays.
For the sports enthusiast, Baltimore’s Major League Baseball and NFL stadiums are within walking distance from the Inner Harbor. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, a reclaimed fish cannery, is the home of the Baltimore Orioles, and PCI Net Stadium is the home of the Baltimore Ravens. Just across the street from Camden Yards is one of baseball’s legends – the Babe Ruth Museum.
The Inner Harbor is only a few minutes from Fells Point where you can eat lunch or dinner in Little Italy, go shopping in many small stores, go dancing at Bohagers, or catch a serving of seafood at Bertha’s Mussels.
If you decide to visit Baltimore over the fourth of July weekend you can enjoy the many festivities that take place and cap off your day with a fireworks display which is launched from a barge in the middle of the harbor. If you plan on staying in a hotel that is at the Inner Harbor, you will need to make your arrangements at least one-year in advance.
No matter what time of year you come to the Baltimore Inner Harbor, there is always something to do.