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The Inner Harbor is a historic seaport, tourist attraction, and iconic landmark of the City of Baltimoremarker, Marylandmarker, United Statesmarker. The harbor itself is actually the end of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco Rivermarker and includes any water west of a line drawn between the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Rusty Scupper restaurant. The term "Inner Harbor" is used not just for the water but for the surrounding area of the city, with approximate street boundaries of President Street to the east, Lombard Street to the north, Greene Street to the west, and both Camden Street and Conway Street to the south. The harbor is within walking distance of Oriole Park at Camden Yardsmarker and M&T Bank Stadiummarker and has a water taxi that connects the Inner Harbor to Fells Pointmarker, Cantonmarker, and Fort McHenrymarker.


While Baltimore has been a major U.S. seaport since the 1700s, the historically shallow water of the Inner Harbor (prior to manipulation through dredging) was not conducive to large ships or heavy industry, most of which was concentrated in Locust Point, Fell's Pointmarker, and Cantonmarker.

During the 1940s, John H. Threadgill, the head of the Steamship Trade Association, spearheaded a study on the idea of a cross-harbor bridge. A bridge across the Inner Harbor of Baltimore was one idea that was discussed frequently. In his capacity as head of the association, Threadgill ultimately recommended that the idea for a cross-harbor bridge be abandoned, due to the fact that Baltimore relied heavily on a shipping trade and fears that the bridge would negatively impede the flow of shipping traffic at the Port of Baltimore. Threadgill was named head of Baltimore’s Port Commission during the 1950s.

The Inner Harbor was chiefly a light freight commercial port and passenger port until the 1950s, when economic shifts ended both the freight and passenger use of the Inner Harbor, such as the Old Bay Line's steamers. Rotting warehouses and piers were eventually torn down and replaced by open, grass-covered parkland that was used for recreational purposes and occasional large events, such as city fairs and the significant 1976 United States Bicentennial visit of tall ships. This initial renewal of the harbor area and its continued transformation into a major cultural and economic area of the city was spearheaded by Baltimore Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro, Jr. (1947–1959). Harborplacemarker, the waterfront festival marketplace, officially opened on July 1, 1980. Since being reincarnated as a cultural hub, the Inner Harbor has become the home to many tourist attractions. The two anchor attractions, in addition to Harborplacemarker, are the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Maryland Science Centermarker.

In recent years, the area along the waterfront to the east of the Inner Harbor (in the direction of Fells Point and Little Italymarker) has been developed with condominiums, retail space, restaurants, and hotels; this ongoing project is known as Harbor East.

While little development-appropriate land remains around the Inner Harbor, what land is available has attracted much interest and many plans, many of which have never been realized. In recent years, there has been a decided push by developers to construct projects on the remaining parcels. The ongoing, proposed, and recently completed projects include many mixed-use developments incorporating office space, street-level retail, and condominiums as well as some hotel projects.

Recent or proposed projects include Lockwood Place, a mixed-use project on Pratt Street between Market Place and Gay Street featuring Best Buy, Filene's Basement, Panera Bread, Famous Footwear, and P.F. Chang's; the Ritz Carlton Residences, a condominium project on Key Highway at the southeast corner of the Inner Harbor; and 10 Inner Harbormarker, a proposed mixed-use project at southwest corner of Light and Conway Streets that includes a 59-story tower, which would be the tallest building in Baltimore (a title currently held by the Legg Mason Building).

In September 2003, the Inner Harbor area was flooded by Hurricane Isabel. The Baltimore World Trade Centermarker remained closed for a month.

On March 6, 2004, a water taxi on the Seaport Taxi service operated by the Living Classrooms Foundation capsized during a storm on the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco Rivermarker near Fort McHenry. A total of 5 passengers died in the accident, which the National Transportation Safety Board determined was caused by insufficient stability when the small pontoon-style vessel encountered strong winds and waves. While occurring over a mile downstream of the Inner Harbor, it nonetheless was associated with the Inner Harbor by news reports and casual observers. The company no longer operates water taxi vessels in the harbor.




View from the Inner Harbor

  • Vessels on active/reserve status:
    • - US Navy hospital ship
    • - US Navy Aviation Logistics Support (roll-on/roll-off) container ship

Entertainment venues


Concert halls and arenas

Notable architecture

Other attractions


External links

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