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Baltimore harbor You can spend an entire day and then some around the Inner Harbor. Start with Harborplace & the Gallery, a waterfront complex connected by a public plaza that hosts street performers and concerts on weekends. In addition to shopping (more than 100 stores) and eating (dozens of restaurants and food stands), visitors can test their sea legs, and maritime knowledge, aboard a trio of warships now at peace.

Alongside Harborplace, the National Aquarium is a splashy institute with dolphin shows, a large ray exhibit, a multi-story shark tank and a spooky jellyfish exhibit. Also nearby: Port Discovery, a hands-on children's museum for ages 2 to 10 that was designed in part by Walt Disney Imagineering, and Power Plant Live!, a vibrant entertainment and dining compound that recently received an $11 million facelift. The renovation amped up the good times, adding to the already packed roster the Baltimore Comedy Factory; PBR Baltimore, a country-western bar; and Luckie's Liquors, a club with live music and the city's largest canned beer selection.

Flanking Harborplace's other side is the Maryland Science Center, which causes mouths to drop with full-size dinos, an IMAX theater and a planetarium. Farther along the harbor, the American Visionary Art Museum celebrates the extraordinary creations of self-trained artists who follow their own wacky muses. Innovation also seeps into the museum's restaurant, Mr. Rain's Fun House, which serves artful cocktails and modern American cuisine.

We love the historical Mount Vernon neighborhood, where many 19th-century mansions have been converted into museums, restaurants and shops. The prime attraction is the Walters Art Museum, with its wide-ranging collection ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to 19th-century European paintings by Monet, Sisley and Delacroix. Also in the area are the stunning George Peabody Library and the Maryland Historical Society, where you can see the original draft of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Art lovers shouldn't miss the Baltimore Museum of Art, which has one of the world's largest collections of works by Henri Matisse, as well as a strong sampling of modern and contemporary pieces. You can relax in the landscaped sculpture gardens.

oriole park at camden yards baseball baltimore When it's time to play ball, take in a game at the new-but-looks-old Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which recently replaced the old seats, installed viewing platforms on the club level and improved sightlines. Between innings, swing by the new concessions to sample such home-town treats as Berger cookies (vanilla wafers coated in chocolate ganache) and bratwurst cooked in Natty Boh, the local brew. For a triple play of sports attractions, stop by the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum and the Sports Legend Museum, whose equal opportunity exhibits cover baseball, football, college teams and soccer. While you're in the neighborhood, hop on pop culture at Geppi's Entertainment Museum, where toys and comic book characters, such as Batman and Spiderman, illustrate the history.

The waterfront neighborhood of Fell's Point, Baltimore's original downtown, oozes ambience with streets paved in Belgian blocks, colorfully named pubs (i.e., One-Eyed Mike's, Ale Mary's), indie boutiques, and restored 18th- and 19th-century rowhouses.

The once-blue-collar neighborhood of Canton, which abuts Fell's Point, showcases rowhouses, marble stoops and a waterfront park with a Korean War memorial. Much of the action centers on O'Donnell Square and the repurposed Can Company, a repository of restaurants and shops.

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Editor's Note: IndependentTraveler.com is published by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, Inc., which also owns Viator.


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