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Exploring Baltimore Inner Harbor

Baltimore Inner Harbor

We love to travel as a family. A few weeks ago, we received an offer to travel to Baltimore, which included an overnight stay along with tickets to nearby attractions and a gift card to explore all that Baltimore has to offer.  We were thrilled, of course, and jumped at the offer. 

Baltimore Inner Harbor is a popular family friendly destination for both local and international visitors. Located at the mouth of Jones Falls, Inner Harbor is a former seaport dating back to the 18th century. It boasts of both historical and modern attractions including a U.S. Navy ship from the Civil War and one of the world’s largest aquarium. More importantly, Baltimore Inner Harbor offers a wide range of family-friendly amenities as well as family-friendly activities. Here is a detailed look at some of the top attractions found in this historic seaport, from hotel and accommodation options to some of the most popular attractions:

Where to Stay

Inner Harbor has accommodation facilities to suit virtually every conceivable budget. We stayed at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards.  We are very picky when it comes to hotels and this one did not disappoint.  The hotel was centrally located to many of the attractions.  The hotel had a parking garage attached to it which had ample parking spots available. Our room was spotless and very cozy.  Our room at Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor

 Bedroom with King Bed at Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor There is a restaurant at the hotel called the Yard.  They are open for breakfast, lunch and diner.  We ate there for breakfast and opted for the breakfast buffet.  The food there was delicious.  Because of all the above, I would highly recommend this hotel to other families planning on visiting the Baltimore Inner Harbor area. 

Where to Eat

Although Baltimore Inner Harbor is within US borders, it offers visitors unique delicacies found nowhere else. A good example is crab cakes prepared using steamed blue crab backfin meat, mayonnaise, mustard, egg, cracker crumbs, and Old Bay seafood seasoning. Other local delicacies to try include pit beef, Berger cookies, blue crabs, soft crab sandwiches, lemon peppermint sticks, sauerkraut, bull & oyster roasts, lake trout, and Rheb’s homemade candies.Besides local treats, restaurants in Inner Harbor serve American, Japanese, Mexican, Mediterranean, Asian, and Italian cuisine.

Popular eateries and restaurants include Lebanese Taverna, AzumiRoy’s, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, and Rusty Scupper. You can also book and board cruise ships that offer a mixture of lunch, dinner, and dance¬-themed cruises. In general, you can spend your entire holiday visiting local restaurants and sample no more than a third of what is on offer.

One restaurant worth mentioning is Phillips Seafood. Some may say it’s a tourist trap, but we had a great experience and enjoyed it.  If you visit, you should try it out. You will never regret trying classics like stuffed flounder, curbside crabs, Carolina fresh shrimp, crab/shrimp/scallop-rich seafood platters, and Hoopers Island crab cakes.

Phillips Seafood at Baltimore Inner Harbor Salmon and Lobster at Phillips Seafood - Baltimore

Getting Around

The first night we were there, we made the mistake of driving to the Harbor.  I say mistake only because we didn’t realize how close everything was from our hotel.  For the remainder of our time there we just walked everywhere.  We got in some good exercise that weekend!  There is also a free bus called the Circulator that will transport you to  to many popular attractions within the city.

Popular Attractions

Given Baltimore Inner Harbor’s rich historical and cultural interplay, it is impossible to visit all attractions open to the public in just a short weekend. Nevertheless, the attractions below are worth including in your holiday itinerary. If you are looking for things to do in Baltimore Inner Harbor, consider some of these place we visited:

• Baltimore Inner Harbor

There is no doubt that the crown jewel of Baltimore is its harbor. The best way to explore it is by hiring a boat or booking a spot on any of the numerous cruise tours. Sightseeing cruises take visitors to attractions like the Domino Sugar Sign, Key Bridge, USS Constellation, National Aquarium, Fells Point, Fort McHenry, and John W. Brown Liberty ship.

Baltimore Inner Harbor

• Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum

If you are a fan of early train and railroad technology, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum is the place to turn your fantasies and dreams into reality. According to the museum’s website, it has the most comprehensive and oldest collection of American railroad artifacts. This includes about 200 locomotive pieces, hundreds of thousands of small early railroad technology artifacts, fine silver and china dining sets, signals, communication devices, uniforms, fine art, personal memorabilia, and extensive collection of toy and scale model trains. We were able to actually walk onto a few of the trains in the exhibit which was super cool. They also offer a short a 20 minute round trip train ride along the first commercial mile of railroad track laid in America.  

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Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum

 Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum

• Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

For enthusiasts of bizarre and macabre items or events, a trip to Baltimore would not be complete without visiting Ripley’s Believe It or Not.To date, Ripley’s museums have amassed more than 100,000 cartoon panels, 30,000 artifacts, and 20,000 photographs. The Baltimore chapter of Ripley’s houses more than 350 exhibits from all over the world in a two-story building. Some of the oddities on display include a 12-foot tall Transformer sculpture fashioned using car parts and the Fiji Island Mermaid. There was so much to see here.  Our favorite thing at Ripley’s was the mirror maze.  We had so much fun in there!  We also saw two 4D movies while were were there that were quite amusing. 

Ripley's Believe It or Not Baltimore

 Ripley's Believe It or Not Baltimore

• Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History

This museum is named in honor of Reginald F. Lewis, a corporate lawyer. In 1987, Lewis executed the largest leveraged buyout at the time worth $985 million. Although Lewis’s glittering career was cut short by premature death at 50 years, this museum is a continuation of his philanthropy. Its aim and vision is to exhibit the rich cultural heritage of Maryland’s African Americans. It has three galleries that house permanent exhibitions, galleries that host special and changing exhibitions, and a wide range of collections. We learned a lot about the the lives of African American Marylanders.  We also got to take in a great exhibit entitled “Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts.” As the name indicates, this exhibit was all about the Dance Theatre of Harlem and showcased many beautiful costumes.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History

Exhibit seen at Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History

• National Aquarium

For lovers of aquatic habitats, the National Aquarium is the perfect playground thanks to more than 20,000 animals ranging from jellyfish to sharks. This is one huge aquarium! Visitors can experience or go on Insider’s Tour, Veterinarian Tours, Dolphin Sleepover, Dolphin encounter, Sleepover with the sharks, Dolphin explorations, Custom Immersion tours, and Guest Diver Program. Other points of interest in this museum include a Tropical Rain Forest, multi-storied Atlantic Coral Reef, open ocean shark tank, and Animal Planet Australia with more than 1,800 animals unique to the Australian continent. There is also a 4D Immersion Theater.  We saw a short 4D SpongeBob movie featuring real bubbles and splashes of water. It was fun!  Because there are many escalators and moving walkways at the Aquarium, strollers can’t be used inside.

National Aquarium - Baltimore National Aquarium - Baltimore

 National Aquarium - Baltimore

• Baltimore Water Taxi

The Baltimore Water Taxi transport system is one of the oldest in the US continuing a maritime tradition that spans more than 200 years. Routes covered by these taxis include Harbor East, Canton Waterfront Park, Tide Point, Harbor Point, and Maritime Park. You can buy tickets on board and they offer all day tickets which allow you hop on and off all day.

• Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards

Although the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum owns and operates the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, it houses sports memorabilia and artifacts related specifically to Maryland sports stars and teams. The exhibits are mostly baseball related, but they do have a few other sports exhibits on display. They also have a locker room where you can try on various sports uniforms and gear. 

Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards

Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards  Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards

Where to Shop

If you feel the urge to shop while holidaying in Baltimore, you will be pleased to learn shopping outlets dot almost every street. Broadway Market is the shopping center to visit if you want to buy clothes, grab a bite, pick a few local souvenir crafts, or purchase a bouquet of flowers without traversing an entire city. For high-end and stylish items, Towson Town Center will not disappoint thanks to boutique outlets bearing brand names like Burberry, Swarovski, Macy’s, and Nordstrom.

For fresh foods, head to the Baltimore Farmers Market and Bazaar. The best place to buy kids apparel, books, jewelry, bath and beauty products, or takeaway food is Harborplace & The Gallery. Other shopping outlets worth visiting include Arundel Mills, White Marsh Mall, Village Of Cross Keys, Columbia Town Center, Broadway Market, Lexington Market, Owings Mill Mall, Cross Street Market, Ten Thousand Villages, Loring Cornish Gallery, Fleet Street Market, and Fell’s Point Farmers Market.

We really enjoyed our stay at Baltimore Inner Harbor and think it is the perfect destination for a family friendly getaway this summer. We only scratched the surface in terms of activities so we can’t wait to come back and explore some more! We visited on July 4th weekend, so I leave you with a tiny peek at the wonderful fireworks show we saw at the Harbor.

 

 

A video posted by Diane Nassy (@dianenassy) on

Fireworks at Baltimore Inner Harbor #StayBaltimore

Exploring Baltimore Inner Harbor

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the author

Diane Nassy

Diane is a New Jersey-based writer and blogger. She is a wife and the mom of a 9-year-old little boy. Through her blog, she wants to inspire moms to find Zen in their lives while offering practical tips and other valuable information to help families deal with everyday issues. Check out Diane's Google+ profile "

8 Comments

  • As someone who used to live in Baltimore, it is nice to hear that you had a wonderful visit. You picked some great activities to experience!

  • I’m actually not all that far from Baltimore but have never spent any time there. I’d like to go for an overnight or weekend sometime.

  • I visited Baltimore last month and loved it. In addition to the attractions, my kids enjoyed exploring parts of the city on the free public buses. I’m actually considering moving there with my family in the future. New Jersey is also on the list. I’m exploring my options 🙂

  • Glad I came across your blog. I’ll be in the DC/VA/MD area this summer and my father in law loves trains. I think it’ll be a nice surprise to take him there.