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Economically, geographically and culturally, Baltimore is an amalgam. One of early America's busiest seaports, it was also home to the country's first important railroad terminal and was a leading manufacturing center, renowned for shipbuilding as well as airplane production.
Baltimore's air of acceptance inspired waves of Polish, German, Irish, Italian, Greek and other immigrants. The various enclaves these newcomers established made Baltimore a collection of diverse neighborhoods.
Any tour of Baltimore should start with the Inner Harbor. For years the area was at the heart of Baltimore's port facilities. As the city's shipping business declined in the post-war years, the Inner Harbor did too. By the mid-1970s, it was a long stretch of dilapidated docks and abandoned warehouses, but the end of the 1970s saw the start of a concerted effort to revitalize Baltimore. A key part of the plan was the creation of
In 1729, about 60 years after the first colonists settled in the area, Charles and Baltimore streets were built. Today, the intersection of these two roads is at the heart of Baltimore's business district, where you'll find the city's financial and banking institutions, international trade organizations, medical research companies, as well as law, engineering and architectural firms. A grid of roughly 25 blocks, the business district is easy to navigate and is within walking distance of most of the downtown hotels.
To the North
Walk up Charles Street about 10 blocks and you'll find Mount Vernon, one of the city's loveliest neighborhoods. Its chief feature is a park of shrub-lined lawns and flowerbeds, laid out in the form of a cross. The 178-foot tall
Just above Mount Vernon is Bolton Hill. Known as the "Gin Belt" during the 1920s, this area was home to the city's Jazz Age bohemian community. F. Scott Fitzgerald made his home here for a while, and Tender is the Night was published during his stay. Today, the area is home to the Maryland Institute College of Art, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and the University of Baltimore.
Still farther up Charles Street lies well-groomed Charles Village, home of Johns Hopkins University. Just next door is Hampden, a funky blue-collar/WIDlternative district made famous by independent film director John Waters. Continue north, and you'll find Guilford, which features Mount Washington, a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood with lots of great restaurants, like
To the South
Just south of downtown is Federal Hill. One of the most popular residential areas in the city, its streets are lined with stately 19th century row homes, and peppered with great restaurants like
To the East
Immediately east of downtown is Little Italy, one of the city's most cherished neighborhoods. Settled in the 1840s by Italian immigrants seeking work on the city's railroads, the area is now known for its many restaurants. At last count, the 12 square blocks of Little Italy had 20 restaurants, from old favorites like
Just past Little Italy is Fells Point. This was once the chief Colonial shipbuilding center, where frigates known as Baltimore Clippers were launched. Today Fells Point is known for its craft and antique shops, restaurants, bars and coffeehouses. During the weekend the neighborhood is jammed with college-age revelers who flock to the many party-oriented dance clubs. Young urban professionals enjoy dining at restaurants
Just above Fells Point is Butcher's Hill, an area once home to dozens of butchers who sold their wares at Fells Point's
Just to the east lies Canton. Originally an industrial area populated by Welsh, German, Polish and Irish immigrants, Canton today is a lively residential area known for its friendly eateries like
To the West
A quick trip west from the Inner Harbor will take you into Pigtown, originally an area of stockyards manned by German and Irish immigrants. It's now a residential neighborhood, filled with classic Baltimore-style rowhomes with marble steps and formstone facades. Pigtown is now home to the
The most blue collar of American cities started as the most blue blooded. Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore, hoped to reproduce England as perfectly as possible. But by the end of the 19th century, the city built as a seat for landed gentry had become a collection of fiercely solid working class neighborhoods.
Cecil appointed his brother Leo as the first governor, and, on November 22, 1632, the Ark and the Dove set sail from England with about 140 settlers, a mix of Protestants and Catholics. By March 25, 1633, the Feast of the Annunciation, they had established their first Maryland landing on the island of St. Clement's.
Maryland's early years were a rich time for landed gentry, with rolling estates, rich hunting and fishing, and a good port. Black slaves and indentured whites were doing the work and it was very much like Lord Baltimore's vision of an idyllic England, except that Catholics and Protestants were trying to live in harmony. This religious mix was highly unusual at the time--within a few years the religious tensions back in England would lead to civil war. During this period, in 1689, Anne Arundell Town was named Maryland's capital, but was renamed Annapolis in 1695.
In the colony's early years, 80 percent of the land was controlled by about 10 percent of the population. The town of Baltimore was chartered on August 8, 1729 as a place to put the colony's new customs house; eventually it became the chief port, and today it is the fifth busiest port in the United States.
By the 1750s, the main export crops were cereal grains and flour, ground in the new mills of Baltimore. Indentured servitude came to an end, and these new freemen opened a series of small farms across the state. Trade with the other colonies and with Europe was the principle industry of this seaport town, and the forces that propelled America into the Revolutionary War were keenly felt here. Baltimoreans raided British merchant frigates under officially sanctioned "privateering" laws.
Despite frequent skirmishes, progress continued. In 1808, Mother Elizabeth Seton opened a school for girls on Paca Street and in 1812 the University of Maryland was founded. Mother Seton was later canonized as the first American saint, in 1975.
During the Napoleonic Wars, Baltimore ships proved adept at skirting British blockades to supply France. Eager to take another crack at the ex-colonies, Britain declared war. During the War of 1812, the British burned Washington D.C. and General Andrew Jackson made a name for himself defeating the British in the Battle of New Orleans. Then, in 1814, British troops advanced on Baltimore, planning to burn the town and destroy the core of the American merchant fleet in the harbor. On Sunday, September 11, 1814, they attacked the harbor defenses at Ft. McHenry.
The battle raged for 12 hours. Eight miles away, aboard a British vessel, an American watched the bombardment. Francis Scott Key was a lawyer negotiating the release of a client when a British officer detained him for the duration of the battle. As evening fell, Key could plainly see the American flag, 80 feet long and 40 feet high, above the fort. The sight inspired Key to write "The Star Spangled Banner," which was later declared the official national anthem of the United States. Though the lyrics are Key's, the tune comes from an old British drinking song.
By the end of the Civil War, Baltimore started to resemble the city it is today. The landed gentry of Lord Baltimore's time were long gone. The rising cities of New York and Boston and Philadelphia had become the new centers of culture, and many of the rich had moved on.
The end of the 19th century marks the beginning of baseball. The Baltimore Orioles was among the first teams. Babe Ruth was born here in 1895 and his father ran a pub on a spot in what is now Camden Yards. The Orioles' Cal Ripken, Jr., is a legend here, and everywhere that baseball is followed.
Modern Baltimore began at the end of World War II. As the new suburbs developed, downtown fell on hard times. By the 1960s, Baltimore faced the same sort of abandonment and blight as most American cities. This changed in the 1980s with the development of the Inner Harbor and Camden Yards, the new home of the Orioles.
Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) +1 410 859 7111 http://www.bwiairport.com
The BWI is located 10 miles south of Baltimore and houses the following airlines:
Aer Lingus (+1 800 474 7424/ http://www.aerlingus.com) Air Canada (+1 888 247 2262/ http://www.aircanada.com) American Airlines (+ 1 800 433 7300/ http://www.aa.com) British Airways (+1 800 247 9297/ http://www.britishairways.com) Delta (+1 800 221 1212/ http://www.delta.com ) Icelandair (+1 800 223 5500/ http://www.icelandair.com) Southwest (+1 800 434 9792/http://www.southwest.com) United (+1 800 241 6522/ http://www.ual.com ) US Airways (+1 800 428 4322/ http://www.usairways.com )
Airport Map & Information: http://www.airguideonline.com/WIDirports/WIDirport_bwi.htm
Airport Services: http://www.airguideonline.com/WIDirports/WIDirport_bwi2.htm
Airport Transportation: http://www.airguideonline.com/WIDirports/WIDirport_bwi3.htm
From the Airport
Shuttle: Super Shuttle (1 800 258 3826/ http://www.bwiairport.com/ground_transportation/supershuttle)
Car Rental: Alamo (+1 800 327 9633/ http://www.alamo.com) Avis (+1 800 831 2847/ http://www.avis.com ) Budget (+1 800 527 0700/ http://www.budget.com ) Hertz (+1 800 654 3131/ http://www.hertz.com )
Light Rail: For convenient transportation between the Baltimore and BWI, there is a light rail system. For information on schedules visit http://www.mtamaryland.com or call +1 410 539 5000.
Taxi: BWI taxis (+1 410 859 1100/ http://www.BWIAirportTaxi.com)
Bus: MTA Bus 17 provides low price transportation to locations throughout the city.
Amtrak (+1 800 872 7245/ http://www.amtrak.com) offers frequent services from Baltimore to destinations throughout the Northeast and beyond.
Baltimore is serviced by Greyhound (+1 800 231 2222/ http://www.greyhound.com) bus lines that provide transportation to destinations throughout America as well as a number of local providers.
Baltimore is easily accessible from I-95, I-83 and I-70.
Baltimore is serviced by a wide variety of public transportation services. Some of the many methods of local transportation include bus, Metro, Light Rail, MARC trains, and Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH). You can enjoy free shuttles with
For up-to-date traffic information, go to: http://www.traffic.com/Baltimore-Traffic/Baltimore-Traffic-Reports.html?ct=ma_map
If traveling overseas, take the safety precaution of registering your trip at https://travelregistration.state.gov and for helpful, practical advice about traveling technicalities and safety standards check out http://travel.state.gov/
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., is not responsible or liable for any errors or inaccuracies with respect to the information contained on this page.
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