Inner Harbor and Harborplace
Baltimore, United States
Sun: 12 PM to 6 PM
Like most American cities following World War II, Baltimore began a slow decline followed by urban decay. Many of the city’s residents moved from urban neighborhoods to green lawns and the surrounding suburbs. Businesses and restaurants soon followed. To add insult to injury, Baltimore’s biggest industry, shipping, was declining as new and larger cargo ships were too big to enter Inner Harbor, preferring the deep water ports of Canton and East Baltimore. The Inner Harbor became a land of abandoned, dilapidated warehouses and shipyards. By the 1970s, Baltimore was on life support and all but abandoned.
The city took an ambitious and, at the time, unheard of route. They decided to renovate the area and turn it into a destination. If renovating Inner Harbor was not crazy enough, the city created an urban renewal plan for the surrounding neighborhood. The city condemned most of the residential area, offering to sell homes for $1 to anyone promising to make $100,000 in improvements. Their plan created a destination and enticed people to invest in the area.
Inner Harbor became a prototype for how to stop urban decay. The derelict wharves were replaced with Harborplace, a shiny new shopping, eating and entertainment complex that, despite being over 30 years old, looks as good today as it did when it opened. The area is anchored with prime destinations as the National Aquarium and Maryland Science Museum.
Locals and visitors enjoys strolls along the waterfront. During the day, sailboats dance on the waves. In the evening, the cool summer breezes make the Maryland heat and humidity more bearable.
Today, Inner Harbor and Harborplace remains the city’s most popular destination. Most nights, alfresco dining destinations draw a lively crowd. Most weekends there are concerts and events to keep visitors entertained.
Drivers on I-95 north or south bound should take exit 53 for I-395 towards Downtown / Inner Harbor. Take the Conway Street / Inner Harbor exit. A right turn on Conway will bring you directly into Inner Harbor.
Parking in the area is extremely limited. The best place for free parking is to head south towards Federal Hill. There is usually a spot along the residential streets, but they may be metered or reserved for residents only. Check the signs before leaving your car. If you can't find street parking, there are several pay parking garages within a few blocks of Inner Harbor.
Baltimore's light rail stops at Camden Yards, just a few blocks west of Inner Harbor. The commuter rail MARC brings passengers from BWI Airport to Camden Yards as well.
There are many MTA buses that travel to or very close to Inner Harbor.