Over the past few years the development in Harbor East has been nothing short of impressive. Every time you head downtown, there’s a new restaurant, office, or residential structure going up while shops and cuisine have been constantly keeping up with the growth.
When you think of Harbor East your mind probably goes right to the shopping, the Four Seasons, and the countless waterfront restaurants to choose from. It might not be your first location to spend a day in when you’re thinking of heading downtown, but if you take a closer look there are quite a few hidden gems in the area worth spending a day and checking out, at some equally surprising price points.
From larger companies to smaller businesses, one of the hardest things to miss in Harbor East is the amount of shops to check out. On the smaller side are Bonobos, a unique menswear brand with a more modern spin on fit and style, Curiosity, an eclectic home goods boutique, perfect for unique gifts and furnishings, and Baltimore’s own Warby Parker — where you can buy affordable designer eyewear at a decent price. But if you’re looking for one of Baltimore’s best known shops, there’s of course the Under Armor Brand House featuring the very best UA innovations and Baltimore-exclusive products.
Taco Fiesta is a locally owned taco joint that’s a bit more casual than the majority of Harbor East’s food offerings, making it a prime location to stop in after shopping to grab a margarita and a snack. After renovations a few years ago, Taco Fiesta now offers outdoor seating that isn’t on the water, but still allows for guests to see Harbor East from a different vantage point.
But if you’re looking for a bit of a higher end cocktail experience and a way to capitalize on the neighborhood’s beauty in the warmer weather, the recently opened Ouzo Beach transports you into a tropical paradise so well curated you’ll forget you’re in the North East entirely. Across the street from the main restaurant Ouzo Bay, Ouzo Beach’s menu consists of drinks and small Greek-inspired bites to hold you over, or you can pop across the street for a more full-blown meal at Ouzo Bay.
If a snack isn’t quite all you’re looking for on the water, on the more casual side is The Gordon Biersch Brewing Restaurant, which has outdoor seating right on the water, with a classic American menu containing pizzas, burgers, and sandwiches, along with a selection of their own beers on tap. For a more higher end experience there are almost too many options, from the Bygone and Azumi, to Bond Street Social, and Loch Bar.
When it comes to planning the perfect day in Harbor East, it’s easy to choose from plenty of shops and restaurants to stop in, but what might not immediately cross your mind is hopping on a catamaran with the Four Seasons. Instead of shopping and wandering from restaurant to restaurant, you can either hop on a 40 foot catamaran either with just you and your companions, or you can cruise on a public tour. For an alternate boating experience, you can also rent an electric boat from The Baltimore Electric Boat Rental, where you can Captain the ship yourself for a way to see the Inner Harbor from a completely new perspective.
With so much to see in Harbor East, the ability to stay overnight is a nice one to have in your back pocket. For a more affordable stay the Hilton Garden Inn with access to the Maryland Athletic Club for all guests. But if you’re looking for a resort-like experience the Four Seasons offers everything from pool-side pedicures to an extensive spa program. Guests at the Four Seasons also receive access to the hotel’s heated outdoor pool that overlooks the Inner Harbor with a full service bar and grill.
No matter who you plan on taking a day trip with, there’s an opportunity to hit something to surprise everyone when you visit. If you plan a day trip at the right time, you could also check out various events happening in the neighborhood, from the Summer Sidewalk Sale on July 28th, featuring Harbor East shops, food, drinks, and live music; or later in the year check out Harbor East’s annual Vino in Vogue — for an afternoon of wine tasting & shopping.