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Downtown Baltimore: Things to Do in the Inner Harbor

A guide to attractions in the Inner Harbor.

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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.

1. Federal Hill Park

'Baltimore, Federal Hill Inner Harbor View'
Dwight Nadig/E+/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 dramatic view of Baltimore's cityscape from the top of the hill. The neighborhood around Federal Hill Park takes its name from the landmark.

2. National Aquarium, Baltimore

Photo courtesy of National Aquarium in Baltimore
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.

3. Historic Ships in Baltimore's Inner Harbor

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.

4. Harborplace and the Gallery

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!

5. Maryland Science Center

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.

6. Baltimore Inner Harbor Cruises and Boat Tours

Baltimore Cruises and Boat Tours - Urban Pirates
By Libby Zay
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.

7. World Trade Center: Top of the World

Scott Warren/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.

8. Port Discovery Children's Museum

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.

9. Power Plant Live!

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.

10. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Baltimore

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Baltimore
Libby Zay
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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