Sharks, Shops & Ships – Inner Harbor Favorites

One of Baltimore’s main attractions, the Inner Harbor is a must-see destination. With the National Aquarium, lots of shopping opportunities, and streets (and waters) embodied with Baltimore’s culture there is enough variety for everyone to find something to enjoy. You can’t say you’ve been to Baltimore of you’ve never experienced the harbor.

The National Aquarium
by Alena Flick

Baltimore’s aquarium isn’t called the National Aquarium for nothing. It’s a gorgeous glass building sitting right on the harbor, and it’s a really fun place to visit. With everything from sharks to dolphins to manta rays, the aquatic life contained in this building is glorious.


That’s not even getting into the birds and the bats! With a layout coming from an architect’s wet dream, the aquarium carries you up through exhibits of lionfish, seahorses, puffins, and shrimp. It shows you all the wonders of the ocean and more.

National Aquarium 1

One thing to keep in mind though is that with the aquarium’s timed-ticket system, if you didn’t make a reservation in advance, you’re unlikely to be able to get in for a couple of hours after arriving. Another reason to make a reservation is the fact that you can get a group discount with enough people. Still, whether you’re going with friends or appreciating the marine life alone, the National Aquarium is a great place to visit.

by Catherine Fleet

The Inner Harbor may be known as one of the most famous American ports beginning in the 18th century, but what most people don’t know is that there are an equal amount of activities offered indoors as there are outside. The Gallery offers a wide variety of stores from Forever 21 to Bath and Body Works, Gap, and more. The fantastic view right outside doesn’t hurt either. Barnes and Noble is centrally located at the harbor, and is a must see with its industrial interior and extensive selection.


The Harborplace is a smaller shopping attraction at the harbor – a restaurant haven lined with boutiques and gift shops. Grab a savory pizza at Uno’s grill, challenge your sweet tooth at The Fudgery, or experience Asian fusion at Edo Sushi.  You really can’t go wrong shopping at the harbor, there is a lot to see and even more to buy.

Wandering the Harbor
by Nick McAfee

More than the singular attractions of the national aquarium and shopping, the real gem of the inner harbor is the experience itself.  Although safety is always a concern on people’s minds in Baltimore, the harbor is quite safe to walk around even when the sun sets.  It is through wandering that you can truly experience all that the harbor has to offer.  The harbor offers a unique music scene, with organized concerts as well as many incredibly talented street performers.  The street performers offer a wide variety of musical traditions and instruments for your pleasure, from classically trained violinists to self taught rockers and percussionists playing on improvised instruments.  It is fascinating to walk from one performer to the next and hear how the melodies meld together. The harbor is also home to many other street performers, from jugglers to dancer to magicians. There is something for everyone, so explore and find which act is your favorite. But don’t forget to drop a dollar or two in their hat or case – having been a street performer, I cannot communicate quite how much it means to know that someone appreciates the art you are sharing.

While you are exploring the sounds and sights of the harbor’s performers, also keep your eye out for the ships.  There are several historic ships in the harbor. If you are interested in learning more about the ships, several offer tours of their interiors which are fascinating but a bit pricey.  I highly recommend that you pick your favorite ship and take a tour.  It will be an experience you won’t soon forget.

The USS Constellation

The USS Constellation


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