Downtown Baltimore: Things to Do in the Inner Harbor

If you're looking to explore downtown Baltimore, especially the waterfront, this guide to the Inner Harbor will help you figure out which attractions should top your list.

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    Federal Hill Park

    Sunny day view of Federal Hill Inner Harbor, Baltimore
    ••• Dwight Nadig / Getty Images

    300 Warren Ave., Inner Harbor

    On the south side of the Inner Harbor is Federal Hill Park, a former lookout during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Today, visitors can take in ​the dramatic view of Baltimore's cityscape from the top of the hill. The neighborhood around Federal Hill Park takes its name from the landmark.

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    Torsk and National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
    ••• Hisham Ibrahim / Getty Images

    501 E. Pratt St., Pier 3 and Pier 4, Inner Harbor

    With a collection of more than 16,500 specimens representing 660 species, National Aquarium, Baltimore is the city's most-visited attraction. Exhibits include a multi-story Atlantic coral reef, an open ocean shark tank, a 4-D immersion theater, a tropical rain forest, a glass pavilion with Australian wildlife, and a mammal pavilion that holds Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.

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    Return of the USS Constellation
    ••• The USS Constellation. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

    Piers 1, 3, and 5, Inner Harbor

    In lieu of a traditional maritime museum, several historic ships are permanently docked in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Visitors can climb aboard and experience four historic ships—a U.S. Navy tall ship first launched in 1854, a U.S. Coast Guard lightship from the 1930s, a submarine that took two war patrols in Japan during World War II, and the last ship floating that fought in the attack on Pearl Harbor—and a lighthouse. All of the ships are operated by Historic Ships in Baltimore, and tickets can be purchased for more than one ship at a discount. The lighthouse is free to all visitors.

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    Harborplace and the Gallery

    Performance in the Harborplace
    ••• Atlantide Phototravel / Getty Images

    Light and Pratt streets, Inner Harbor

    The two pavilions full of retail and dining options in the Inner Harbor is known as Harborplace and the Gallery. Inside is a mix of local and national restaurants and stores, plus Ripley's Believe it or Not!

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    Maryland Science Center

    Tourists in the Maryland Science Center
    ••• Atlantide Phototravel / Getty Images

    601 Light St., Inner Harbor

    Three levels of exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater draw crowds to the Maryland Science Center. Kids will love learning about physical science, space, Earth science, and the human body. There's also a special exhibit on blue crabs, giving the museum some local flavor.

  • 06 of 14
    Tour boat in the Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland
    ••• Richard Cummins / Getty Images

    Various locations

    One of the best ways to explore Baltimore's Inner Harbor and other waterfront attractions is by boat, and there is no shortage of vessels traversing the water. From dinner cruises to a pirate ship excursion, here is a breakdown of the many ships and experiences that can be had onboard ships in the harbor.

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    World Trade Center: Top of the World

    Maryland, Baltimore, World Trade Center, Top of the World, view over downtown
    ••• View of Downtown from the Baltimore World Trade Center. Jeff Greenberg/UIG / Getty Images

    401 E. Pratt St., Inner Harbor

    Get a birds-eye-view of Baltimore at the top of Baltimore's World Trade Center, a skyscraper with an observation deck on the 27th floor that provides a 360-degree view of the city. A memorial to the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks is located on the pedestrian promenade outside the building.

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    Port Discovery Children's Museum

    Exterior of Port Discovery
    ••• Tracy Brown Photography / Wikimedia Commons

    35 Market Place, Inner Harbor​

    Port Discovery is a children's museum specifically designed for kids ages 2-10. The star attraction inside the historic Fishmarket Building is a three-story jungle gym, but kids will also find attractions that stimulate their brains and creativity.

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  • 09 of 14
    Ripley's Museum in the Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
    ••• Richard Cummins / Getty Images

    301 Light St., Inner Harbor

    You can't miss Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Baltimore: a two-story green serpent with steam coming out of its nose wraps around the upper level of the museum. Inside the museum are more than 500 of Ripley's trademark "oddities" in seven different galleries, plus a mirror maze and a 4-D movie theater.

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    American Visionary Art Museum

    Exterior of American VIsionary Art Museum.
    ••• Rick Gerharter / Getty Images

    800 Key Highway, Inner Harbor

    At this mosaic-clad museum, visitors will find a collection of offbeat, innovative art. All art inside the museum is produced by self-taught individuals, and throughout the year the museum hosts lots of fun events, like free outdoor movies and the Kinetic Sculpture Race.

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    Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture

    Baltimore Cityscapes And City Views
    ••• Raymond Boyd / Getty Images

    830 E. Pratt St.

    This museum is dedicated to preserving the stories of the Maryland African American community, past and present. The museum, which is the largest of its kind on the East Coast, is located on the outer limits of the Inner Harbor.

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    Baltimore Museum of Industry

    Baltimore Museum of Industry
    ••• Baltimore Museum of Industry. Romainbehar, Wikimedia Commons

    1415 Key Hwy., Inner Harbor

    Relive the industrial revolution at this museum, which is located in an old cannery and holds exhibits on various types of manufacturing and industry from the early 20th century. Although much of it is dedicated to Baltimore history—such as showing Dr. Bunting's Pharmacy, where Noxzema was invented, or demonstrating the trials and tribulations of the food industry through Domino Sugar and McCormick—one of its star attractions is the oldest surviving steam tugboat, a National Historic Landmark called the Baltimore.

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  • 13 of 14

    Baltimore Visitor Center

    Inner Harbor and Baltimore skyline, Maryland, USA
    ••• Hisham Ibrahim / Getty Images

    401 Light St.

    If you're looking for more things to do in the Inner Harbor (and in Baltimore in general), this building just north of the Maryland Science Center is the place to start. Touch-screen kiosks tell visitors where to go, and staff can help clue you into events happening in the city. There are also public restrooms inside.

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    601 E Pratt St., Inner Harbor

    Two blocks north of the Inner Harbor is this entertainment complex with bars, clubs, and restaurants, plus some arts attractions. Although Port Discovery!, the children's museum, is located in the complex, Power Plant Live! really comes alive at night, when the young professionals come out to play.