Once the primary seaport of Baltimore. As the size and draft of cargo ships increased, however, shipping moved to the deeper water down the Patapsco River and away from downtown Baltimore. The Inner Harbor was left a derelict and seedy district of boarded warehouses and factories.
In 1963, Mayor Theodore R. McKeldin, Jr. said in his inaugural address that redevelopment of the Inner Harbor was his top priority. In 1964, the voters approved a $52 million bond issue for redevelopment. Since then, the Inner Harbor has become the tourist mecca of Baltimore. The obligatory Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood are located here, as well as a major pleasure marina, the U.S.F. Constellation, the U.S.S. Torsk, the Maryland Science Center, the American Visionary Art Museum, the National Aquarium, the city's fanciest hotels...you get the idea.
In the estimate of some (and I am one of these), the Inner Harbor has been too successful. It is clean, heavily policed, safe, expensive, and glitzy. It is also surrounded by the rest of Baltimore, which is none of these things. Former Mayor Kurt Schmoke was once criticized for (paraphrase) "creating a beautiful city of 2 square miles surrounded by 80 square miles of Baltimore."