Baltimore's vibrant Inner Harbor is one of the hottest spots in the city, as well as a major tourist attraction. Filled with restaurants, bars, shopping, and a number of event venues, Inner Harbor is also home to landmarks like the National Aquarium, one of the largest in the world; the Maryland Science Center, which features a planetarium and IMAX theater; and the USS Constellation, the only Civil War-era ship still afloat. The Baltimore Convention Center, Light Rail, and Camden Yards are all within walking distance of this entertainment nexus.
Baltimore's Inner Harbor is about a 15-minute drive from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), which offers about 350 nonstop flights. Airlines serving BWI include Spirit Airlines, which is headquartered there, Southwest Airlines, AirTran, American, Delta Airlines, US Airways, and United. Daily nonstop international service is offered to many destinations, such as London, Toronto, Bermuda, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Amtrak Baltimore Penn Station, not far from the Inner Harbor area, is served by multiple train routes and is a major stop on Amtrak's high-speed Acela service.
Chief among convention venues in Inner Harbor's environs, the Baltimore Convention Center is connected to the district by a series of overhead walkways. The facility offers 300,000 square feet of exhibition space, 50 meeting rooms, and a 36,672-square-foot ballroom. Baltimore's largest hotel, the 757-room Hilton Baltimore, is connected to the convention center and provides 62,000 square feet of meeting space. Nearby, the 202-room Kimpton Hotel Group's Hotel Monaco Baltimore, located in the city's former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Headquarters, can host a meeting of up to 170 people.
All in all, there are more than 50 hotel venues in Inner Harbor and nearby. These include the 730-room Marriott Waterfront Hotel, with close to 49,000 square feet of meeting space; the 620-room Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace, with 31,000 square feet; the 488-room Hyatt Regency, with 44,000 square feet; the 337-room Sheraton Inner Harbor, with 10,000 square feet; and the 256-room Four Seasons, with 20,595 square feet.
Many of Baltimore's prime special event venues are located within the Inner Harbor. For an experience on the water, ships of various sizes and styles offer private charters. A distinctive historic evening is available at the USS Constellation, which can accommodate a reception of up to 250 people on the ship and 600 in conjunction with the pier. The National Aquarium, Baltimore, located on six waterfront acres, allows groups to rent the entire aquarium or hold an event among the exhibits, in the underwater viewing area, and in a tent on the harbor. In addition, it is possible to rent Pier 6 Concert Pavilion, an open-air venue on the water with 3,000 seats and space for another 1,000 people on the lawn; groups of up to 2,500 have a number of options at Power Plant Live!, including a 30,000-square-foot covered area in the plaza; and the award-winning architecture of the American Visionary Art Museum is the backdrop for a reception or seated dinner at that facility.
As the dining and entertainment mecca of Baltimore, the Inner Harbor serves up everything from tapas to sushi rolls in an eclectic mix of eateries. The freshest catch from the sea is the focus at M&S Grill and Phillips Seafood, while authentic Irish music and food are central to the fun at James Joyce Pub. Tapas lovers will want to try La Tasca, which features more than 35 tapas dishes and paellas, and Chinese cuisine afficionados will enjoy the choice of 18 appetizers at Uncle Lee's.