Baltimore’s Inner Harbor – Plan a Day or More

Baltimore, Maryland.

Note: As this is being written, it’s mid-March (St. Patrick’s Day, to be exact.) Travel is in short supply and not recommended until we get past this COVID-19 pandemic. There is no doubt that the travel plans of spring vacationers have been upset. That’s probably the least of our worries right now. My wife, Lynn, and I have cut our travel plans for the time being, and we’ve even decided to stay in Arizona a bit longer before heading back to our home in Fargo. Stay safe and follow the guidelines from the CDC.

In 2019, my last Civil Air Patrol National Conference as North Dakota Wing Commander found me in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore. Downtown Baltimore is much like any major city downtown with skyscrapers and business offices. The city, however, has a connection to the Atlantic Ocean via the Patapsco River. The river, 39 miles (63 km) in length, is born in central Maryland and flows through Baltimore into Chesapeake Bay. That pathway to the Atlantic brought international trade to the area. Since the early days, shipbuilding was a major industry in the harbor.

From my hotel room, I could see views of the Patapsco looking toward downtown as in the opening photo, and toward the Atlantic (except for that giant hotel blocking my easterly view.) For years, the port was idle, but in the late 1950’s, city planners began to transform the area into a tourist center that became a model for urban renewal, planning, and development.

Three major attractions are visible in the image above. The ship Lightship Chesapeake and submarine USS Torsk are two of the ships that are part of the Maritime Museum. You can read more and see images I captured on that museum tour here. Immediately behind those ships is the National Aquarium. To the left of the National Aquarium building, just above the Chesapeake is an original city power plant that is now a collection of restaurants and shops.

The converted industrial building still sports the old smoke stacks needed in its day as a power generator for the city. Barnes and Noble and the Hard Rock Cafe are only two of the building’s occupants.

Everywhere you go, there are scooters that you rent by the hour. Pick one up and scan its barcode from your smartphone app. The electric powered scooter will come to life and you’ll have instant transportation around the Inner Harbor area. When you get to where you are going, just leave it where you are for the next rider to come along and hop on.

One of Baltimore’s major attractions is Fort McHenry. It’s a taxi ride from the Inner Harbor, by land or water taxi. The Water Taxi is a seasonal service so it may not be in operation if you are visiting in the off-season.  For travel to and from Maritime Park, Tide Point, Canton Waterfront Park, and Harbor east, there is also a shuttle service provided by the Charm City Circulator and a water taxi service called Harbor Connector with different routes available. Check to be sure these services have routes near your intended destination.

Near our hotel, the Katyń Memorial is a must-see stop. Designed to honor the victims of a massacre in Poland that cost the lives of over 22,000 people, this memorial provides some descriptive plaques that tell the story. You can read more about my visit to the monument here.

One of the Maritime Museum stops includes a ticket to the Knoll Lighthouse which was moved to the Inner Harbor for display when it was replaced by an electronic navigational aid.

During the summer, the Inner Harbor comes alive with music. As a reggae band played in the venue across the channel, these folks were enjoying the music under the soft golden glow of a street light.

As always, if your browser supports it, you can click on any of the images above for a more detailed look.

Stay safe in these troubled times.

John Steiner




  1. As always, great pics. As mentioned previously by me and others, most of Baltimore is not remotely as nice as the Inner Harbor. I should know as I was born and raised there.

    Stay safe and be well.

  2. I have been to Inner Harbor numerous times, and it’s probably been a couple of decades since my last trip there…probably when I still lived on the east coast. Beautiful photos, John.

  3. I’ve been there, but not in a few years. I found the Inner Harbor to be a great place to visit. Will get to Fort McHenry sometime.

  4. You also have taken some nice pics of the area that I remember. Did not go aboard the Torsk, cause it’s too small for my 6’5″ frame. Would bang my head to much!

  5. Baltimore has changed a lot since 1978 – when I visited once per month with a big container ship, ACL! I had loads of fun there. A fantastic post … and excellent images. Thanks for taking me back – and good luck with next week’s challenge.

  6. I plan to go to the east coast this summer. Maybe after seeing these pictures, a stop in Baltimore Harbor could be in my future. Thanks

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