15 Baltimore Maryland Harbor Attractions You Don’t Want To Miss
Looking for the best Baltimore Harbor Attractions?
You’ve landed on the right spot because I live in Baltimore, and I’m going to tell you about all the best harbor attractions in Baltimore, in this article.
From a major U.S. Seaport to a bustling, family-friendly attraction, there are a ton of exciting Baltimore Maryland Harbor Attractions to do and see. The Inner Harbor is bursting at the seams with history, having once produced many famous U.S. Navy ships but fell into decay over time.
But an incredible transformation has taken over the harbor, and it is now the pulse of the city. There is an endless choice of restaurants, attractions, unique shops, and ships to taste, see and experience.
These are the top 15 attractions in Baltimore‘s Harbor, but there are many more to enjoy!
15 Baltimore Maryland Harbor Attractions You Don’t Want To Miss
If you are looking for the attractions that keep locals and visitors alike coming back, or if you only have a set amount of time to see as much as possible, then you can’t go wrong with these attractions:
1. The National Aquarium
Boasting over 1.5 million visitors annually, The National Aquarium is an attraction not to be missed. After all, could one and a half million people be wrong?
The reason it attracts so many visitors becomes clear when you see that The National Aquarium has more than 20,000 fish, amphibians, birds, marine mammals, and reptiles from places as far apart as the Indo-pacific reef, Australia’s Blacktip Reef, and South America.
A highlight for many visitors is the ‘Jellies Invasion,’ an up-close experience of nine species of jellyfish. And don’t miss the 4D immersion films of marine life that give the feeling of being in the ocean with the animals.
The Aquarium is best experienced over a whole day, and it is not somewhere you will want to spend only an hour and miss so many amazing sights and experiences. Check out our experience at the National Aquarium.
2. The Maryland Science Center
If you want an interactive and exciting attraction in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, you don’t need to look further than The Maryland Science Centre. It is one of the most unique Baltimore Maryland Harbor Attractions.
There is something to do and see on all three floors of this amazing building. Each floor will surprise you with something you didn’t expect.
The demonstrations, exhibits, experiment centers, Imax theatre, Planetarium, and interactive displays will not only keep you engaged but also help you experience science like never before.
The exhibits and experiment centers are for adults and kids alike, and no one will leave the Maryland Science Center without learning something new. Grab your lab coat at the door and ensure you have lots of energy. Get ready for some interactive fun!
If you love Maryland Science Center, check out some other amazing indoor play areas in Maryland.
3. Fells Point
Found on the north shore of Baltimore Harbor and established in 1763, Fells Point is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Baltimore.
The look and feel of Fells Point hasn’t changed much since then, with over 300 buildings on the National Register. Visit the Robert Long House, the oldest standing residence in Baltimore City, for a taste of the history and longevity of this iconic neighborhood.
Because of its long history, there are over 120 pubs (including the city’s oldest bar, ‘The Horse You Rode In On Saloon), many antique stores, music stores, and restaurants for every taste. Don’t miss Broadway Market, established in 1786 for a feast of international and local goods.
This historic neighborhood was also home to famous and notable people, like jazz singer Billie Holiday and abolitionist Frederick Douglas. Fells Point also had the first African-American-owned shipyard in America.
Travel to Fells Point by water taxi barge, or walk 1.5 miles from the central business district for a historical experience like nothing else. Especially for adults, Fell’s point can be one of the best Baltimore Maryland Harbor Attractions around.
If you are a foodie and love to try out family-run restaurants, check out Fells Point Food Tour in Baltimore which is an amazing opportunity to sample specially made dishes including Polish, Baltimore-style pit beef, and Spanish tapas.
4. The Baltimore Maritime Museum
While this isn’t a museum in the traditional sense, the Baltimore Maritime Museum is the iconic ‘Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse,’ and a set of historic ships spread out on the edge of the Inner Harbor and permanently docked in the Baltimore Harbor.
You can climb aboard, explore and experience the only surviving ship from the Civil War:
- An 1854 U.S. Navy tall ship, the USS Constellation.
- A WWII submarine, the USS Torsk.
- A 1930s U.S. Coastguard lightship, the LV116 Chesapeake.
- The last floating ship that fought at Pearl Harbor.
The range of ships spans more than 200 years, and each is unique in its history. Each one holds treasures for maritime enthusiasts and casual explorers alike and will leave you with a sense of awe and history.
A single discounted ticket will give you access to all these ships at different times of the day. Entrance to the lighthouse is free.
5. The American Visionary Arts Museum
Just like the Maritime Museum isn’t a traditional museum, The American Visionary Arts Museum isn’t either. This ground-breaking Museum reflects life in many different artistic ways. It is sure to have something that will speak to your soul, delight, and fascinate you.
Often referred to as an outsider or ‘intuitive’ art museum, you will need to be prepared to look at art in a new and fresh way.
Even the history of the building is fascinating. Once housing a copper paint factory and a whisky warehouse. Its history reflects its art, where you will find everything from graffiti to embroidery and everything in between. All the pieces are created by artists from all walks of life and backgrounds, some of which may surprise you.
This Museum is a place to truly enjoy art and experience it. The American Visionary Art Museum speaks into the American culture using arts, humor, science, and philosophy. It is an attraction that is not to be missed in Baltimore.
6. The Maryland Zoo
Make unforgettable memories with the 1,500 animals and be part of the joy experienced at the zoo since 1876.
Let yourself be transported to Africa, the Arctic, and the Maryland wilderness in the different natural habitat exhibits. Don’t miss the award-winning Children’s Zoo, which is fun for children and adults alike.
As the third oldest zoo in the U.S., the Maryland Zoo has a deep sense of history and heritage. Don’t let its history make you think it is old and boring. However, to this day, The Maryland Zoo is known internationally for its research and contributions to conservation. Chat to the tour guides and park officials about these contributions and your role in conservation.
The Maryland zoo is definitely one of the best things to do in Baltimore with kids.
Kids Activity Packs
Grab the best kids activity packs! From Beach activities, Road trips, Camping, Summer fun, Family travel, the list goes on!
7. Fort McHenry National Monument
The defense of this star-shaped fort in the early 1800s inspired Francis Scott Key’s poem, ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ later used as the words for the U.S. National Anthem. He wrote the poem from his ship in September 1814 after the British had attacked the fort but hadn’t managed to capture it.
On the dawn of September 14, Francis Scott Key saw the American flag proudly flying over the fort. The sight of that flag inspired the opening lines and the rest of the poem.
The origin of the National Anthem is not the only reason to visit Fort McHenry, though, because it is located at the entrance to the city’s harbor. The fort was the scene of many other historical moments in the Civil War and World War II.
Fort McHenry takes its name from one of the signatories of the U.S. Constitution, James McHenry. Fort McHenry was named a national park in 1925. In 1939 it was named a national monument. Since then, it has been at the top of the list of attractions in Baltimore.
Fort McHenry is also one of the most fantastic national parks in Maryland to take your kids to.
8. Power Plant Live
Daytime attractions aren’t the only ones that you don’t want to miss out on in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Power Plant Live is the best place to catch live music, comedy shows, good food, and entertainment.
Power Plant Live is housed in a disused coal-burning power station, which explains the name. This repurposed building produces a different kind of electricity in Baltimore. Only one block from Inner Harbor, this is the perfect place to relax and be entertained.
Like so many other buildings in Baltimore, this one has a history. Originally built for the United Railways and Electric Company in 1905, the size and layout of this building make it a great place to explore, with many different options of things to do and see. This is the nightlife like nowhere else.
9. Camden Yards
You don’t want to miss a Baltimore Orioles game at The Oriole Park at Camden Yards in baseball season. This state-of-the-art, custom-built stadium will give you a great chance to get caught up in the ballpark atmosphere you can only get in Baltimore.
Book yourself a tour of Camden Yards, visit the dugout and get to know the history of the Baltimore Orioles, the stadium itself, the history of the Negro Leagues, Babe Ruth, The Baltimore Colts, and many other famous players.
Tradition, history, and heritage are some of the most important aspects of Camden Yards. Even out of season, the Sports Legends at Camden Yards, with interactive exhibits and thousands of artifacts, is enough to keep you entertained for hours.
10. The Baltimore Museum Of Art
At the heart of the Baltimore Museum of Art is the belief that art plays a major part in a vibrant and healthy civic life. No trip to Baltimore would be complete without a trip here. If you are planning a day trip, check out some amazing day trips from Balrimore.
The Museum offers free admission to the whole family and caters to all ages. There will be something for everyone with collections of 19th century, modern and contemporary art. The collection size and diversity will have you returning to the Museum for more than one viewing.
Not only is the size and diversity of the collection a good reason to visit the Baltimore Museum of Art, one of the main attractions is the Henri Matisse collection which is one of the largest in the world.
Even if you only don’t have a lot of time to spare, you don’t want to miss a trip to this Museum. Even though it is more than a century old, it is still innovating and interpreting art in new and exciting ways.
11. Signature Spirit Of Baltimore Dinner Cruise
This three-hour luxury dinner cruise is a favorite experience for locals and tourists alike. This cruise up the Patapsco River takes diners past attractions like the Maryland Science Center, Francis Scott Key Bridge, and Pride Mast Memorial, giving you a unique opportunity to view them at night.
The gourmet buffet will provide an experience to match the views and sights. The views of the Inner Harbor from the boat are unique to any you will see elsewhere in Baltimore, and the open-air roof gives a view like no other.
Live D.J.s and dancing under the stars will round off this experience as one never to be forgotten.
🚢 Click Here To Book Your boat cruise Today!
12. Baltimore Inner Harbor Sightseeing Tour
Take a look at the harbor from a different angle. This amazing tour of the Inner Harbor allows you to see the sights from the water and listen to onboard narration that gives a fresh insight into the landmarks and history of Baltimore.
The recordings with historical narratives of the Inner Harbor and information about the many places of interest on the harbor’s coastline is informative and entertaining.
Viewing the Baltimore Inland Harbor landmarks from indoor or outdoor observation decks provides a moving perspective of places of interest, like the harbored USS Constellation, that you can’t get from any other tour, and places like Fells Point with an unobstructed view.
The onboard bar adds that extra level of comfort to the tour through the harbor and is popular with locals and visitors to Baltimore alike
🚢 Click Here To book your sightseeing tour
13. Little Italy
In the heart of Baltimore’s downtown, sitting peacefully between the Inner Harbor and Fells Point in Baltimore, is the friendly and charming neighborhood of Little Italy. The authentic Italian restaurants, friendly people, and real sense of community are inviting.
Celebrated in Baltimore as a cultural and ethnic icon, a trip the Baltimore’s Inner Harbor will be rounded off with a trip to Little Italy.
Because so many families in the area have lived in the community for generations, Little Italy is welcoming and friendly. Not only are the people friendly, but there is also a lot to do: authentic Italian restaurants are to be found throughout the neighborhood, and outdoor movies, Italian festivals, and other cultural festivities happen throughout the year.
Some restaurants offer complimentary shuttles from other parts of the city, while others provide the magic of discovering them as you walk past. However you get to Little Italy, make sure to greet the locals and residents as you take in this gem of a Baltimore neighborhood.
14. Federal Hill Park
Undoubtedly, Federal Hill Park gives visitors to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor some of the city’s best views. On a clear and sunny day, the skyline opens before you to see the city from a new vantage point.
During the Civil War and the War of 1812, this hill was a lookout point and commanded a birds-eye view of the surrounding areas. In modern times, these dramatic views will allow you to see the city for its natural beauty and plan where to visit next.
The park is a short walk from the Inner Harbor, south of downtown. With a history stretching back as far as 1608, this is a landmark that has drawn people to it for many reasons and will hopefully draw you to it too. It is not to be missed.
In 1788, thousands of citizens gathered to celebrate Maryland’s ratification of the U.S. Constitution, which marked the first time the name Federal Hill was used for the landmark. In the 19th century, a tower was built as a lookout for overseas ships. In 1880 the city purchased the land and declared it a public park. Today, Federal Hill Park is on the National Register of Historic Places.
As time has moved around the park, different monuments and commemorations have been built. Take some time to explore these when you visit the park. You may be surprised to learn that the park also has a network of tunnels and passages underneath the surface. These were used in the 1800s to store beer kegs out of the heat. Sadly, they are not accessible to the public.
15. Port Discovery Children’s Museum
There is no better place for an amazing family-friendly outing in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor than the Port Discovery Children’s Museum. Have some family fun with activities and static and interactive displays for everyone from everyone in the family.
Recognized not only in Baltimore as a great place to visit for the whole family, the Port Discovery Children’s Museum is known across the country as a destination for fun and learning.
Get interactive in the sculpture and painting studio, become a sailor in the full-sized cargo ship and participate in the interactive theater. These, and more, are some activities that everyone from toddlers to grandparents can participate in.
My kids always have a blast at Port Discovery. Plan your trip properly as they close for about an hour or two in the afternoon so you do not want to be cause in the middle. It is easily the best Baltimore Maryland Harbor Attractions for kids.
Why Is The Inner Harbor Famous?
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is known across the country and the world because it is a testament to the revival and ingenuity of Baltimore citizens to transform an industrial port into a bustling center of culture and entertainment. It is also home to a ton of great places for couples to visit in Maryland.
The Inner Harbor is famous because it is steeped in history and celebrates this history in unique and fun ways. The harbor has such a diversity of restaurants, museums, parks, and places of interest that it keeps locals and visitors returning every year.
This historic seaport holds a collection of maritime military vessels that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
If you are visiting Baltimore from out of town, there are a ton of great places to stay in Baltimore.
What are the best hotels in Baltimore?
When staying in Baltimore, there are a couple of nice hotels that come highly recommended. You can check out this list of where to stay in Baltimore listed out by neighborhoods.
However these are my three top recommendations of hotels in Baltimore:
- Sagamore Pendry Baltimore: Very comfortable bed and room. Staff are super pleasant and helpful.
- The Ivy Hotel: Gorgeous historic hotel with excellent employees
- Hotel Indigo Baltimore Downtown, an IHG Hotel: Very comfortable hotel bed with well maintained and spacious rooms plus the staff are friendly and helpful.
Conclusion: 15 Baltimore Maryland Harbor Attractions You Don’t Want To Miss
There is something to delight everyone at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and no one will come away from a trip without something to share and a feeling that there is still more to explore. During the day, it is a family-friendly place with sights and sounds like nowhere else. At night it is an entertainment hub with literally hundreds of attractions each year.
This article has shown you just fifteen of Maryland’s Baltimore Inner Harbor attractions, but there are still so many more to explore and discover for yourself. Don’t miss out on a trip to the historic and interesting Inner Harbor when you visit Baltimore.