Behind the Scenes Tour of Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is its most popular and obvious tourist destination. But there’s more to the story than the restaurants and museums that cater to visitors.

The Inner Harbor started life as a working industrial port, and not someplace you’d necessarily want to bring your family for a stroll. A new tour program wants to introduce visitors (and locals) to the Harbor’s lesser-known history, and even some of the present-day features we never see that keep it running. 

Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift describes itself as an “alternative walking tour of spectacular public space.” Founder Graham Coreil-Allen says it focuses on the Harbor’s transition from an industrial waterfront into a mixed use public space for all. He also highlights the current Healthy Harbor efforts to help restore the harbor to swimmable quality. Among the interesting sights, Coreil-Allen shows tour guests secret loading docks, coded brick patterns, environmental engineering, and forgotten monuments.

Coreil-Allen was inspired to start his New Public Sites “alternative walking tours” because of his work as a public artists.

He says, “I wanted to use sculpture to reveal aspects of the city unseen by passersby, but I couldn’t always tell how people responded to the works.”

He now gives tours of “invisible” public spaces in cities from Denver to Washington, D.C.

The Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift Tour participated in this month’s Free Fall Baltimore, a schedule of free arts and cultural events taking place throughout Baltimore in October and November. Click here to see the early-November events and admission offers.

Coreil-Allen hopes to lead more Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift tours for the public next spring, and is also booking private tours now. Click here to schedule one.

-Meg Walburn Viviano