Visiting Baltimore without seeing the Inner Harbor is like touring New York City and skipping Manhattan. The harbor and surrounding area are home to a good number of the city's most popular sites: the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Camden Yards, M&T Bank Stadium, the American Visionary Arts Museum, and The Maryland Science Center.
The neighborhoods themselves are fun to explore. Historic Federal Hill, just south of the Inner Harbor, is home to some of the oldest houses in the city. Fells Point and Canton, farther east, are lively waterfront communities. Mount Vernon and Charles Village have wide avenues lined with grand old row houses that were once home to Baltimore's wealthiest residents. Farther north are Roland Park (Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. contributed to its planning), Guilford, Homeland, and Mt. Washington, all leafy, residential neighborhoods with cottages, large Victorian houses, and redbrick Colonials. It's easy to tour the Inner Harbor and neighborhoods such as Mount Vernon, Federal Hill, Charles Village, and Fells Point on foot. To travel between areas or farther out, however, the light rail or a car is more efficient. Most of the Inner Harbor's parking is in nearby garages, though meters can be found along Key Highway. In other neighborhoods, you can generally find meters and two-hour free parking on the street.