Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Baltimore's Inner Harbor is a great place to spend a few hours or a few days - USS Constellation, National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center and Harborplace, all within blocks of Camden Yards. With light rail access from BWI Airport and the Water Shuttle to Fells Point, getting around is easy!

Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Foxboro Marmot on October 21, 2000

The National Aquarium is without doubt the best aquarium I've ever been to. Start by watching the manta rays (my favorites), then walk up through five levels of tanks and exhibits to the rain forest exhibit where birds and even a pair of sloths roam freely. After that, stroll down alongside the main tank and over to the dolphin show. Take a minute to look inside the Barnes and Noble bookstore in the old powerhouse next door - the architecture and reuse of the old building is great! The Science Center is pretty typical, similar to the ones in Cleveland or Boston, but if you haven't got one near where you live and your kids are open about science, it's worth seeing. There's also an IMAX theatre. Again, it's the same as IMAX theatres elsewhere but if you haven't seen an IMAX film before, go - especially if it's the Everest film. For Navy buffs, the USS Constellation, a 1812 era sailing ship, the USS Torsk, a World War II submarine, and the Chesapeake, a floating lightship would be of interest. They're all docked in the harbor and available to visit. Shoppers like the Harborplace shops and kiosks as well as the Gallery mall just across Pratt Street from the harbor. People like to graze instead of sitting down at one place to eat will have plenty to pick from at Light Street Pavillion. ${QuickSuggestions} Top of the World is what they call the 27th floor of the World Trade Center building in Inner Harbor. Don't bother with this. There's a small exhibit on the city and views of the city - but it's not worth the bother. Camden Yard and Eutaw Street, which is closed off durng games and becomes part of the park, is worth seeing for any baseball fan. There are tours that take you around the park, onto the field and into the dugouts. Naturally, it's better to plan ahead and see a game but this is the park that showed how to build a baseball park instead of a multi-purpose stadium. It singlehandedly revitalized baseball construction after the disaster that is the new Comiskey Park in Chicago. Even better for a baseball fan - get to the Babe Ruth birthplace and museum a couple of blocks west of Camden Yard. Half of the building is devoted to the Babe while the other half is dedicated to Baltimore Oriole history.${BestWay} Light rail is a pretty good way to get from BWI airport to downtown. Its fast, inexpensive ($1.35) and drops you right at Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles only four blocks west of inner harbor. Unfortunately, like much public transit, it can get uncomfortable for women or families with younger children because of loud and obscene urban youths. Once at the waterfront, water taxis are a great way to get around. They scoot around the harbor and an all day ticket is only $5. If you have the time, take the water taxi over to Fells Point for a different view of the city. Depending on what's going on the Fells Point area will be packed or almost dormant. Judging from the number or bars it must be hopping most nights, though you can't prove it by me!

Wyndham Inner Harbor

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Foxboro Marmot on October 21, 2000

This place was called the Omni - Inner Harbor until recently. It's a bit of misinformation, however. There are three or four hotels right at the Inner Harbor, while this place is 5 blocks away. Nice enough hotel, but it should be for the price they charge. I got in for $145 a night, but that was supposedly a special group rate.

Know one thing I didn't like? They come in during the early evening to turn down the bed sheets. Normally I don't like having people come into my room while I'm out, but this time they didn't even close the door when they left. Here I come to my room late at night and the door is open a crack, so I start wondering... Is there a thief in there? Is the thief bigger than me? Meaner? Did the thief take care of business and forget to close the door on the way out? Anyhow, it's a credit to the clientele at the hotel as nothing was touched.

And why do hotels feel compelled to provide this service? ... Do they think I can't figure out that I sleep under the covers, not on top? Do I look too fragile to pull the bed sheets aside by myself? Are they checking to see that I haven't walked off with the TV set or clock radio?
Sheraton Baltimore City Center
Baltimore, Maryland, 21201

Phillips Harborplace

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Foxboro Marmot on October 21, 2000

People say 'Don't go to Phillips. It's too touristy.' Well... turns out I'm a tourist, so that shouldn't be a problem. Phillips Harborplace is in the Light Pavillion at the Inner Harbor and many of the tables have a view of the National Aquarium across the water of the Inner Harbor. Phillips is noted for crab dishes and my Crab Imperial was pretty good, as was the service. Just as I left, a piano player started up, which would make the whole experience even more pleasant.

Before I forget, let me be sure to slam the Phillips Flagship Restaurant in Washington DC. Just in case I don't do an entry for that trip, I need to tell you and anyone else who will listen that the Phillips in Washington DC has the worst service I have ever ... no, wait...let me start over... THE WORST SERVICE I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED AT A RESTAURANT IN THE WESTERN WORLD. Hope that's clear enough....
Phillips Harborplace
301 Light St
Baltimore, Maryland, 21202
(410) 685-6600

Legal Seafood

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Foxboro Marmot on October 21, 2000

Legal Seafood is part of a chain which originated in Boston years ago. Very simply, Legal Seafood is good at what it does - seafood. I don't consider this place to have any local color. It's a generic chrome and somewhat spartan feeling space which could be anywhere but the food is good.
Legal Seafood
100 E Pratt St
Baltimore, Maryland, 21202
(410) 332-7360

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