Baltimore: Wikis


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City of Baltimore
—  Independent City  —
Baltimore skyline from the Inner Harbor


Nickname(s): Charm City,[1] Mob Town,[2] B'more, Bodymore,[3] The City of Firsts,[4] Monument City,[5][6] Ravenstown[7]
Motto: "The Greatest City in America",[1]

"Get in on it."[1]

"The city that reads."[8]
Location of Baltimore in Maryland
City of Baltimore is located in the USA
City of Baltimore
Location of Baltimore in the United States
Coordinates: 39°17′N 76°37′W / 39.283°N 76.617°W / 39.283; -76.617Coordinates: 39°17′N 76°37′W / 39.283°N 76.617°W / 39.283; -76.617
Country  United States
State  Maryland
Founded 1729
Incorporation 1797
Named for Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore
 - Type Independent City
 - Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake (D)
 - Baltimore City Council
 - Houses of Delegates
 - State Senate
 - U.S. House
 - Independent City 92.07 sq mi (238.5 km2)
 - Land 80.8 sq mi (209.3 km2)
 - Water 11.27 sq mi (29.2 km2)  12.2%
 - Urban 3,104.46 sq mi (8,040.5 km2)
Elevation [9] 33 ft (10 m)
Population (2007)[10][11]
 - Independent City 637,455(20th)
 Density 7,889.3/sq mi (3,045.7/km2)
 Metro 2,668,056(20th)
 - Demonym Baltimorean
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Code 21201–21231, 21233–21237, 21239–21241, 21244, 21250–21252, 21263–21265, 21268, 21270, 21273–21275, 21278–21290, 21297–21298
FIPS code 24-04000
GNIS feature ID 0597040

Baltimore (pronounced /ˈbɒltɨmɔr/, or often locally /ˈbɒlmɔr/), is an independent city and the largest city and cultural center of the U.S. state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River,[12] an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore City in order to distinguish it from surrounding Baltimore County. Founded in 1729, Baltimore is a major U.S.A seaport and is situated closer to major Midwestern markets than any other major seaport on the East Coast. Baltimore's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and a major manufacturing center. The harbor is now home to Harborplace, a shopping, entertainment, and tourist center, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore. After a decline in manufacturing, Baltimore shifted to a service-oriented economy. Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital are now the city's largest employers.

As of 2008, the population of Baltimore was 636,919.[11] The Baltimore Metropolitan Area has approximately 2.7 million residents; the 20th largest in the country. Baltimore is also the largest city in the surrounding Baltimore Metropolitan Area of 2,668,056 and in the associated combined statistical area of approximately 8.3 million residents.[13]

The city is named after Lord Baltimore in the Irish House of Lords, the founding proprietor of the Maryland Colony. Baltimore himself took his title from a place in Bornacoola parish, County Leitrim and County Longford, Ireland.[14] Baltimore is an anglicized form of the Irish Baile an Tí Mhóir, meaning "Town of the Big House",[15] not to be confused with Baltimore, County Cork, the Irish name of which is Dún na Séad.[16]



The Maryland colonial General Assembly created the Port of Baltimore at Locust Point in 1706 for the tobacco trade. The Town of Baltimore was founded on July 30, 1729, and is named after Lord Baltimore (Cecilius Calvert), who was the first Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland. Cecilius Calvert was a son of George Calvert, who became the First Lord Baltimore of County Cork, Ireland in 1625.[17] Baltimore grew swiftly in the 18th century as a granary for sugar-producing colonies in the Caribbean. The profit from sugar encouraged the cultivation of cane and the importation of food.

Baltimore played a key part in events leading to and including the American Revolution. City leaders such as Jonathan Plowman Jr. moved the city to join the resistance to British taxes and merchants signed agreements to not trade with Britain.[citation needed] Congress met in the Henry Fite House from December 1776 to February 1777, effectively making the city the capital of the United States during this period. After the war, the Town of Baltimore, nearby Jonestown, and an area known as Fells Point were incorporated as the City of Baltimore in 1797. The city remained a part of Baltimore County until 1851 when it was made an independent city.[18]

The city was the site of the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. After burning Washington, D.C., the British attacked Baltimore on the night of September 13, 1814. United States forces from Fort McHenry successfully defended the city's harbor from the British. Francis Scott Key, a Maryland lawyer, was aboard a British ship where he had been negotiating for the release of an American prisoner, Dr. William Beanes. Key witnessed the bombardment from this ship and later wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner", a poem recounting the attack. Key's poem was set to a 1780 tune by British composer John Stafford Smith, and the Star-Spangled Banner became the official National Anthem of the United States in 1931.

Sixth Regiment fighting railroad strikers, July 20, 1877[19]

Following the Battle of Baltimore, the city's population grew rapidly. The construction of the Federally-funded National Road (presently U.S. Route 40) and the private Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) made Baltimore a major shipping and manufacturing center by linking the city with major markets in the Midwest. A distinctive local culture started to take shape, and unique skyline developed peppered with churches and monuments. Baltimore acquired its moniker, "The Monumental City" after an 1827 visit to Baltimore by President John Quincy Adams. At an evening function Adams gave the following toast: "Baltimore: the Monumental City- May the days of her safety be as prosperous and happy, as the days of her dangers have been trying and triumphant.".[6] Baltimore suffered one of the worst riots of the antebellum south in 1835, when bad investments led to Baltimore Anti-bank riot.[20]

Maryland did not secede from the Union during the American Civil War, however, when Union soldiers marched through the city at the start of the war, Confederate sympathizers attacked the troops, which led to the Baltimore riot of 1861. Four soldiers and 12 civilians were killed during the riot, which caused Union troops to occupy Baltimore. Maryland came under direct federal administration—in part, to prevent the state from seceding—until the end of the war in April 1865.

Following an economic depression known as the Panic of 1873, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad company attempted to lower its workers wages, leading to the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. On July 20, Maryland Governor John Lee Carroll called up the 5th and 6th Regiments of the National Guard to end the strikes, which had disrupted train service at Cumberland in western Maryland. Citizens sympathetic to the railroad workers attacked the national guard troops as they marched from their armories in Baltimore to Camden Station. Soldiers from the 6th Regiment fired on the crowd, killing 10 and wounding 25. Rioters then damaged B&O trains and burned portions of the rail station. Order was restored in the city on July 21–22 when federal troops arrived to protect railroad property and end the strike.[21]

Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, looking West from Pratt and Gay Streets.

On February 7, 1904, the Great Baltimore Fire destroyed over 1,500 buildings in 30 hours and forced most of the city to rebuild. Two years later, on September 10, 1906, the Baltimore American newspaper reported that the city had risen from the ashes and "one of the great disasters of modern time had been converted into a blessing."[citation needed] The city grew in area by annexing new suburbs from the surrounding counties, the last being in 1918. A state constitutional amendment approved in 1948, requires a special vote of the citizens in any proposed annexation area, which effectively prevents any future expansion of the city's boundaries.[22]

The Baltimore riot of 1968 occurred following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. Coinciding with riots in other cities, public order was not restored until April 12, 1968. The Baltimore riot cost the city of Baltimore an estimated $10 million (US$ 63 million in 2010) . Maryland National Guard troops and 1,900 federal troops were ordered into the city. Lasting effects of the riot can be seen on the streets of North Avenue, Howard Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue where long stretches of the streets remain barren.[23]

During the 1970s, Baltimore's downtown area known as the Inner Harbor, had been neglected and was only occupied by a collection of abandoned warehouses. Efforts to redevelop the downtown area started with the construction of the Baltimore Convention Center, which opened 1979. Harborplace, an urban retail and restaurant complex opened on the waterfront in 1980, followed by the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland's largest tourist destination, and the Baltimore Museum of Industry in 1981. In 1992, the Baltimore Orioles baseball team moved from Memorial Stadium to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, located downtown near the harbor. Six years later the Baltimore Ravens football team moved into M&T Bank Stadium next to Camden Yards.[24]

On January 17, 2007, Sheila Dixon became the first female Mayor of Baltimore.[25] On December 1, 2009 she was convicted of fraud and subsequently resigned. She continues to stand to collect her $80,000 a year pension, despite her crimes.

The city has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.[26]


Eastward view along Baltimore harbor
City plan of Baltimore (1852) by Fielding Lucas, Jr. of Baltimore.

Baltimore is in north-central Maryland on the Patapsco River close to where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The city is also located on the fall line between the Piedmont Plateau and the Atlantic Coastal Plain, which divides Baltimore into "lower city" and "upper city". The city's elevation ranges from sea level at the harbor to 480 feet (150 m) in the northwest corner near Pimlico.[27]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 92.1 square miles (239 km2), of which, 80.8 square miles (209 km2) of it is land and 11.3 square miles (29 km2) of it is water. The total area is 12.24 percent water.


Baltimore lies within the humid subtropical climate zone (Cfa), according to the Köppen classification.

July is typically the hottest month of the year, with an average high temperature of 91 °F (33 °C) and an average low of 73 °F (23 °C).[28] Summer is also a season of very high humidity in the Baltimore area. The record high for Baltimore is 108 °F (42 °C), set in 1985.[28] January is the coldest month, with an average high of 44 °F (7 °C) and an average low of 30 °F (−1 °C).[28] However, winter warm fronts can bring periods of springlike weather, and Arctic fronts can drop nighttime low temperatures into the teens. The record low temperature for Baltimore is −7 °F (−21.7 °C), set in 1934.[28] Due to an urban heat island effect in the city proper and a moderating effect of the Chesapeake Bay, the outlying and inland parts of the Baltimore metro area are usually cooler than the city proper and the coastal towns.

As is typical in most East Coast cities, precipitation is generous and very evenly spread throughout the year. Every month typically brings 3–4 inches of precipitation, averaging around 43 inches (1,100 mm) annually. Spring, summer and fall bring frequent showers and thunderstorms, with an average of 105 sunny days a year. Winter often brings lighter rain showers of longer duration, and generally less sunshine and more clouds. Snowfall occurs occasionally in the winter, with an average annual snowfall of 20.8 inches (53 cm)[29]. In the northern and western suburbs, annual temperatures are cooler, and winter snowfall is more significant, and some areas average more than 30 inches (76 cm) of snow.[30] Freezing rain and sleet occurs a few times each winter in Baltimore, as warm air over rides cold air at the upper levels of the atmosphere. The cold air gets trapped against the mountains to the west and the result is freezing rain or sleet. The 2009-2010 winter season has had the most snowfall of any on record, breaking the record for February with 49.2 inches (125 cm) in the first 10 days and a seasonal total of 79.7 inches (202 cm) as of February 11, 2010. [31]

The average date of first freeze in Baltimore is November 13, and the average last freeze is April 2.[32]

Climate data for Baltimore
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 79
Average high °F (°C) 44
Average low °F (°C) 30
Record low °F (°C) -4
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.48
Avg. rainy days 9 8 11 11 11 10 12 10 10 9 10 10 121
Source: The Weather Channel[33] September 2009


Baltimore's Inner Harbor, seen from Federal Hill.
A night time panorama of Baltimore's Inner Harbor.


Baltimore is the home of the National Aquarium, one of the world's largest
Washington Monument, in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore

Baltimore exhibits examples from each period of architecture over more than two centuries, and work from many famous architects such as Benjamin Latrobe, John Russell Pope, Mies Van Der Rohe and I. M. Pei.

The city has architecturally important buildings in a variety of styles. The Baltimore Basilica (1806–1821) is a neoclassical design by Benjamin Latrobe, and also the oldest Catholic Cathedral in the United States. In 1813 Robert Cary Long, Sr. built for Rembrandt Peale the first substantial structure in the United States designed expressly as a museum. Restored, it is now the Municipal Museum of Baltimore, or popularly the “Peale Museum”. The McKim Free School founded and endowed by John McKim, although the building was erected by his son Isaac in 1822 after a design by William Howard and William Small. It reflects the popular interest in Greece when the nation was securing its independence, as well as a scholarly interest in recently published drawings of Athenian antiquities.

The Phoenix Shot Tower (1828), at 234.25 feet (71.40 m) tall, was the tallest building in the United States until the time of the Civil war. It was constructed without the use of exterior scaffolding. The Sun Iron Building designed by R.C. Hatfield in 1851, was city’s first iron-front building and it was a model for a whole generation of downtown buildings. Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, built in 1870 in memory of financier George Brown, has stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany and has been called "one of the most significant buildings in this city, a treasure of art and architecture" by Baltimore Magazine.[34][35] The 1845 Greek Revival style Lloyd Street Synagogue is one of the Oldest synagogues in the United States. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, designed by Lt. Col. John S. Billings in 1876 was a considerable achievement for its day in functional arrangement and fire proofing.

I.M.Pei's World Trade Center (1977) is the tallest equilateral pentagonal building in the world at 405 feet (123.4 m) tall.

Future contributions to Baltimore's skyline include plans for a 717 foot (218.5 m) tall structure known as "10 Inner Harbor". The building was recently approved by Baltimore's design panel, but as of January 10, 2010, ARC Wheeler had yet to break ground on the project. It will include luxury condominiums, a hotel, restaurants, and shopping centers. The Naing Corporation has approved a tower of 50–60 floors for the lot at 300 Pratt street, with the design currently being finalized. The Inner Harbor East area will see the addition of two new towers which have started construction: a 24-floor tower that will be the new world headquarters of Legg Mason, and a 21 floor Four Seasons Hotel complex.

The streets of Baltimore are organized in a grid pattern. The streets are lined with tens of thousands of brick and Formstone faced rowhouses. Many consider the rowhouse the architectural form most closely associated to the city. Some rowhouses are dated as far back as the 1790s.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is considered by many to be the most beautiful baseball park in Major League Baseball, and has inspired many other cities to build their own versions of this Retro-Style Ballpark.

Camden Yards along with the National Aquarium have helped revive the Inner Harbor from what once was an industrial district full of dilapidated warehouses, into a bustling commercial district full of bars, restaurants and retail establishments.

Tallest buildings

The Legg Mason Building, Baltimore's tallest
Rank Building Height Floors Built
1 Legg Mason Building 529 feet (161 m) 40 1973 [36]
2 Bank of America Building 509 feet (155 m) 37 1924 [37]
3 William Donald Schaefer Building 493 feet (150 m) 37 1992 [38]
4 Commerce Place 454 feet (138 m) 31 1992 [39]
5 100 East Pratt Street 418 feet (127 m) 28 1992 [40]
6 Baltimore World Trade Center 405 feet (123 m) 32 1977 [41]
7 Tremont Plaza Hotel 395 feet (120 m) 37 1967 [42]
8 Charles Towers South Apartments 385 feet (117 m) 30 1969 [43]
9 Blaustein Building 360 feet (110 m) 30 1962 [44]
10 250 West Pratt Street 360 feet (110 m) 24 1986 [45]


Baltimore is officially divided into nine geographical regions: Northern, Northwestern, Northeastern, Western, Central, Eastern, Southern, Southwestern, and Southeastern, with each patrolled by a respective Baltimore Police Department district. However, it is common for locals to divide the city simply by East or West Baltimore, using Charles Street as a dividing line, and/or into North and South using Baltimore Street as a dividing line.

The Central region of the city includes the Downtown area which is the location of Baltimore's main commercial area. Home to Harborplace, The Camden Yards Sports Complex (Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium), the Convention Center, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the area also includes many nightclubs, bars and restaurants, shopping centers and various other attractions. It is also serves as the home to many of Baltimore's key business such as Legg Mason and Constellation Energy. In addition, the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus is housed in this area, with the long-associated University of Maryland Medical System adjacent to the school. The downtown core has mainly served as a commercial district with limited residential opportunities. However, since 2002 the population in the downtown has doubled to 10,000 residents with a projection of 7,400 additional housing units coming available by 2012.[46] The Central region also includes the areas north of the downtown core stretching up to the edge of Druid Hill Park. Included in the more northern part of the Central region are the neighborhoods of Mount Vernon, Charles North, Reservoir Hill, Bolton Hill, Druid Heights, as well as several other neighborhoods. These neighborhoods include many residential options and are home to many of the city's cultural opportunities. Maryland Institute College of Art, the Peabody Institute of music, the Lyric Opera House, The Walters Art Museum, The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, as well as several galleries are all located in this region. Crime in the Inner Harbor and Mount Vernon neighborhoods of the Central District became of greater concern in 2009, as an increasing number of random assaults on tourists were reported.[47][48]

The Northern region of the city lies directly north of the Central region and is bounded on the East by The Alameda and on the West by Pimlico Road. It is a suburban residential area, home to many of the city's upper class residents in neighborhoods including Roland Park, Homeland, Guilford, and Cedarcroft. The Northern region is home to many of Baltimore's notable universities such as Loyola University Maryland, The Johns Hopkins University and College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

The Southern region of the city, a mixed industrial and residential area, consists of the area of the city below the Inner Harbor east of the B&O railroad tracks. It is a mixed socio-economic region consisting of working class ethnically mixed neighborhoods such as Locust Point; the recently gentrified Federal Hill area, home to many working professionals, pubs and restaurants; and low-income residential areas such as Cherry Hill.

The Eastern part of the city consists of the Northeastern, Eastern, and Southeastern regions of the city. Northeastern Baltimore is primarily a residential neighborhood home to Morgan State University bounded by the city line on its Northern and Eastern boundaries, Sinclair Lane, Erdman Avenue, and Pulaski Highway on its southern boundaries and The Alameda on its western boundaries. It has undergone demographic shifts over many years and remains a diverse but predominantly African American region of the city.[49][50][51]

The Eastern region is the heart of what is considered "East Baltimore" and is home to Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Located below Erdman Avenue and Sinclair Lane above Orleans Street, it is almost an exclusively African American area home to low-income residential neighborhoods, several of which constitute many of Baltimore's high crime areas.

The Southeastern region of the city is located below Orleans Street bordering the Inner Harbor on its western boundary, the city line on its eastern boundaries and the Baltimore harbor on its southern boundaries is a mixed industrial and residential area. Home to many young professionals and working class people, it is an ethnically rich section of Baltimore home to many Polish Americans, Greek Americans, African Americans, and Italian Americans. Upper Fells Point is the center of the city's steadily growing Latino population.

The Western part of the city consists of the Northwestern, Western, and Southwestern regions of Baltimore. The Northwestern region of the city bounded by the county line on its northern and western boundaries, Gwynns Falls Parkway on the south and Pimlico Road on the East is a predominantly residential area home to Pimlico Race Course, Sinai Hospital and several of Baltimore's Synagogues. Once the center of Baltimore's Jewish community, it has undergone white flight since the 1960s and has become an almost exclusively African American area. It is home to many suburban residential areas primarily located above Northern Parkway and several lower-income areas below Northern parkway.

The Western region of the city located west of downtown is the heart of "West Baltimore" bounded by Gwynns Falls Parkway, Fremont Avenue, and Baltimore Street. Home to Coppin State University and Pennsylvania Avenue, it has been the center of Baltimore's African American culture for years and home to many of the city's historical African American neighborhoods and landmarks. Once home to many middle to upper class African Americans, over the years, the more affluent African American residents have since left migrating to other sections of the city in addition to areas such as Randallstown and Owings Mills in Baltimore County and Columbia in Howard County. The area now constitutes a deprived socio-economic group of African American residents and like "East Baltimore", it is known for its high crime rates. Television series, such as The Wire, that concern themselves with Baltimore's crime problems have been based on events that took place in West Baltimore.

The Southwestern region of the city is bounded by Baltimore County to the west, Baltimore Street to the north, and downtown and the B&O railroad to the east. A mixed industrial and residential area, it has gradually shifted from having a predominantly White to a predominantly African American majority.

Adjacent communities

The City of Baltimore is bordered by the following communities, all unincorporated census-designated places. All are in adjacent Baltimore County, except Brooklyn Park and Glen Burnie, which are in adjacent Anne Arundel County. In addition, the southern part of the city is bordered by another unincorporated part of northeastern Anne Arundel County.


The Washington Monument

Historically a working-class port town, Baltimore has sometimes been dubbed a "city of neighborhoods," with over 300 identified districts[52] traditionally occupied by distinct ethnic groups. Most notable today are three downtown areas along the port: the Inner Harbor, frequented by tourists due to its hotels, shops, and museums; Fells Point, once a favorite entertainment spot for sailors but now refurbished and gentrified (and featured in the movie Sleepless in Seattle); and Little Italy, located between the other two, where Baltimore's Italian-American community is based – and where current U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi grew up. Further inland, Mt. Vernon is the traditional center of cultural and artistic life of the city; it is home to a distinctive Washington Monument, set atop a hill in a 19th century urban square, that predates the more well-known monument in Washington, D.C. by several decades.

Emerson Bromo-Seltzer Tower, erected in 1911

The traditional local accent has long been noted and celebrated as "Baltimorese" or "Bawlmorese." One thing outsiders quickly notice is that the locals refer to their city as "Bawlamer," dropping with the "t" for the most part. The dialect is similar to that of many Marylanders and Pennsylvanians; it may reflect the region's roots in Cornwall and the English West Country, as many of the original settlers of the Chesapeake Bay area came from this area in colonial times (Traditionally, many Marylanders call their state "Merlin"--and likewise, many Pennsylvanians call their state "Pennsavania," dropping the "l"). However, Baltimore's local accent also reflects the rich mix of ethnic groups from Ireland, Germany, and southern and eastern Europe who immigrated to the city during the industrial era. More recently, references like "B-More" have become common. Baltimore has typically been pronounced "Baldimore" by its residents, changing only the hard "T" sound to a softer, "D" sound. "Bawlamer" pronunciations are used by a subgroup of individuals, most of them now living outside of Baltimore, in surrounding areas like Dundalk and Essex. Newer residents of Baltimore have found ways to profit from the quaintness of the "Bawlamerese" business, and it has become a widespread misunderstanding.[citation needed]

As Baltimore's demographics have changed since World War Two, its cultural flavor and accents have evolved as well. Today, after decades of out-migration to suburbs beyond its corporate limits and significant in-migration of black Americans from Georgia and the Carolinas, Baltimore has become a majority black city with a significantly changed, but still regionally distinctive, dialect and culture. Recently, neighborhoods such as Federal Hill and Canton have undergone extensive gentrification and have proven to be popular places for young professionals and college students to reside. In addition, Latinos are making their mark, notably in Upper Fells Point.

Much of Baltimore's black American culture has roots that long predate the 20th century "Great Migration" from the Deep South. Like Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C., Baltimore has been home to a successful black middle class and professional community for centuries[citation needed]. Before the Civil War, Baltimore had one of the largest concentrations of free black Americans among American cities[citation needed]. In the twentieth century, Baltimore-born Thurgood Marshall became the first black American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Baltimore's culture has been famously celebrated in the films of Barry Levinson, who grew up in the city's Jewish neighborhoods. His movies Diner, Tin Men, Avalon, and Liberty Heights are inspired to varying degrees by his life in the city.

Baltimore native John Waters parodies the city extensively in his films, including the 1972 cult classic Pink Flamingos. His film Hairspray and its Broadway musical remake are also set in Baltimore.

Each year the Artscape (festival) takes place in the city in the Bolton Hill neighborhood, due to its proximity to Maryland Institute College of Art. It is known as the 'largest free arts festival in America'.

See List of films shot in Baltimore

Performing arts

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is an internationally-renowned orchestra, founded in 1916 as a publicly-funded municipal organization. The current Music Director is Marin Alsop, a protégé of Leonard Bernstein. Center Stage is the premier theater company in the city and a regionally well-respected group. The Baltimore Opera was an important regional opera company, though it filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and is not currently performing.[53] The Baltimore Consort has been a leading early music ensemble for over twenty-five years. The France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, home of the restored Thomas W. Lamb-designed Hippodrome Theatre, has afforded Baltimore the opportunity to become a major regional player in the area of touring Broadway and other performing arts presentations.

Baltimore also boasts a wide array of professional (non-touring) and community theater groups. Aside from Center Stage, resident troupes in the city include Everyman Theatre and Baltimore Theatre Festival. Community theaters in the city include Fells Point Community Theatre and the Arena Players, which is the nation's oldest continuously operating African American community theater.[54]

Baltimore is home to the Pride of Baltimore Chorus, a 3-time International silver medalist women's chorus, affiliated with Sweet Adelines International.

Notable persons

See List of people from Baltimore


Once a major industrial town, with an economic base focused on steel processing, shipping, auto manufacturing, and transportation, the city suffered a deindustrialization which cost residents tens of thousands of low-skill, high-wage jobs. While it retains some industry, Baltimore now has a modern service economy providing a growing financial, business, and health service base for the southern Mid-Atlantic region.

Greater Baltimore is home to six Fortune 1000 companies: Constellation Energy, Grace Chemicals (in Columbia), Black & Decker (in Towson), Legg Mason, T. Rowe Price, and McCormick & Company (in Hunt Valley). Other companies that call Baltimore home include, AAI Corporation (in Hunt Valley), Brown Advisory, Alex. Brown & Sons, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank (of Baltimore origin, and at the time of its acquisition, the oldest continuously-running investment bank in the United States),[citation needed] FTI Consulting, Vertis, Thomson Prometric, Performax, Sylvan Learning/Laureate Education, Under Armour, DAP, 180°, DeBaufre Bakeries, Wm. T. Burnett & Co, Old Mutual Financial Network, and

The city is also home to the Johns Hopkins Hospital, which will serve as the center of a new biotechnology park, one of two such projects currently under construction in the city.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 13,503
1800 26,514 96.4%
1810 46,555 75.6%
1820 62,738 34.8%
1830 80,620 28.5%
1840 102,313 26.9%
1850 169,054 65.2%
1860 212,418 25.7%
1870 267,354 25.9%
1880 332,313 24.3%
1890 434,439 30.7%
1900 508,957 17.2%
1910 558,485 9.7%
1920 733,826 31.4%
1930 804,874 9.7%
1940 859,100 6.7%
1950 949,708 10.5%
1960 939,024 −1.1%
1970 905,759 −3.5%
1980 786,775 −13.1%
1990 736,014 −6.5%
2000 651,154 −11.5%
Est. 2008 636,919 −2.2%

After New York City, Baltimore was the second city in the United States to reach a population of 100,000, (followed by New Orleans, Philadelphia, Boston).[55] In the 1830, 1840, and 1850 censuses of the United States of America, Baltimore was the second-largest city in population, surpassed by Philadelphia in 1860. It was among the top 10 cities in population in the United States in every census up to the 1980 census, and after World War II had a population of nearly a million. The city and metropolitan area currently rank in the top 20 in terms of population. In the 1990s, the US Census reported that Baltimore ranked as one of the largest population losers alongside Detroit and Washington D.C., losing over 84,000 residents between 1990 and 2000.[56]

As of 2006, the population was 637,455. According to the 2005–2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 31.4% of Baltimore's population; of which 30.4% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 63.8% of Baltimore's population; of which 63.6% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.3% of the city's population; of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 1.9% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 1.3% of the city's population; of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 1.3% of the city's population. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 2.4% of Baltimore's population.[57][58]

The Baltimore–Towson metropolitan area, as of 2004, was estimated to have a population of 2.6 million.[59] The population density was 8,058.4 people per square mile (3,111.5/km²). There were 300,477 housing units at an average density of 3,718.6/sq mi (1,435.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 64.85% African American, 31.28% white, 0.32% native American, 1.53% Asian, 0.03% Pacific islander, 0.67% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. 1.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. This census, however, does not accurately represent the city's Latino population, which, over the past few years, has been steadily increasing. This growth is mainly seen in the southeastern neighborhoods around Upper Fells Point, Patterson Park, and Highlandtown, and in the city's Northwestern neighborhoods such as Fallstaff, as well as various neighborhoods of Northeastern Baltimore.[60] 6.2% of the population were of German ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 257,996 households, out of which 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.7% were married couples living together, 25.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.0% were non-families. 34.9% of all households are made up of individuals, and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42, and the average family size was 3.16.

In the city, the population age spreads were 24.8% for persons under the age of 18, 10.9% for ages 18 to 24, 29.9% for ages 25 to 44, 21.2% for ages 45 to 64, and 13.2% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 87.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,078, and the median income for a family was $35,438. Males had a median income of $31,767 versus $26,832 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,978. About 18.8% of families and 22.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.6% of those under age 18 and 18.0% of those age 65 or over.


2009 saw 239 homicides in the city[citation needed], slightly higher than the 2008 total of 234[61]. Police are proud to report a significant drop in non-fatal shootings.[citation needed] They attribute the drop to more intense policing towards city gun offenders. They arrested over 1,100 people on gun charges.[citation needed]

According to crime statistics there were 234 homicides in Baltimore in 2008, the third-highest homicide rate per capita of all U.S. cities of 250,000 or more population.[62] Though this is significantly lower than the record-high 379 homicides in 1993, the homicide rate in Baltimore is nearly seven times the national rate, six times the rate of New York City, and three times the rate of Los Angeles.

Although other categories of crime in Baltimore have been declining, overall crime rates in Baltimore are still high compared to the national average. The rate of forcible rapes has fallen below the national average in recent years; however, Baltimore still has much higher-than-average rates of aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, and theft.[63]

City officials have come under scrutiny from Maryland legislators regarding the veracity of crime statistics reported by the Baltimore Police Department.[64] In 2003, the FBI identified irregularities in the number of rapes reported, which was confirmed by then-Mayor Martin O'Malley. The number of homicides in 2005 appeared to exhibit discrepancies as well.[65] The former police commissioner stated upon interview that the administration suppressed corrections to its crime reports;[66] however, many of the charges made by the police commission now appear to be politically motivated.[67] Under the administration of Mayor Sheila Dixon and a new police commissioner, crime rates have been reduced, including a 17% reduction in the number of homicides from 2007 to 2008. For 2008 Baltimore had 234 homicides, down from 282 in 2007.[68]


Baltimore is an independent city, and not part of any county. For most governmental purposes under Maryland law, Baltimore City is treated as a county-level entity. The United States Census Bureau uses counties as the basic unit for presentation of statistical information in the United States, and treats Baltimore as a county equivalent for those purposes.

Baltimore has been a Democratic stronghold for over 150 years, with Democrats dominating every level of government.


Baltimore City Hall
For a full list of mayors who served the city, see List of Baltimore Mayors.

On February 4, 2010, City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake assumed the position as Mayor of Baltimore.

On November 6, 2007, incumbent Democratic Mayor Sheila Dixon was elected Mayor. Dixon, as former City Council President, had assumed the office of Mayor on January 17, 2007 when former Mayor Martin O'Malley took office as the Governor of Maryland.

On December 1, 2009 Mayor Dixon was found guilty on one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary (embezzlement), a misdemeanor conviction[69]. Depending on sentencing and appeals, provisions in the Maryland State Constitution (Article XV, Section 2)[70] may come into play which may suspend the Mayor from office and could lead to the dismissal of the Mayor from her post [71][72].

On January 6, 2010 Mayor Dixon submitted her resignation, to be effective February 4, 2010. Former City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake assumed the position as Mayor of Baltimore.[73]

Baltimore City Council

Grassroots pressure for reform, voiced as Question P, restructured the city council in November 2002, against the will of the mayor, the council president, and the majority of the council. A coalition of union and community groups, organized by ACORN, backed the effort.

The Baltimore City Council is now made up of 14 single member districts and one elected at-large council president. Bernard C. "Jack" Young is the council president and Robert W. Curran the Vice President. Stephanie Rawlings Blake serves as Mayor of Baltimore City as former Mayor Sheila Dixon resigned in early 2010.

State government

See also: Baltimore City Delegation

Prior to 1969, some considered Baltimore and its suburbs to be particularly underrepresented in the Maryland General Assembly, while rural areas were heavily overrepresented. Since Baker v. Carr in 1962, Baltimore and its suburbs account for a substantial majority of seats in the state legislature; this has caused some to argue that rural areas are now underrepresented. Baltimore's steady loss of population, however, has resulted in a loss of seats in the Maryland General Assembly. Since 1980, Baltimore has lost four senators from the 47-member Maryland State Senate and twelve delegates from the 141-member Maryland House of Delegates.

State agencies

Several state agencies are headquartered in Baltimore. Executive departments include the Department of Aging,[74] the Department of Business and Economic Development,[75] the Department of Disabilities,[76] the State Department of Education,[77] the Department of the Environment,[78] the Department of General Services,[79] the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene,[80] the Department of Human Resources,[81] the Department of Juvenile Services,[82] the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation,[83] and the Department of Planning.[84]

In addition the Department of Budget and Management,[85] the Department of Housing and Community Development,[86] the Department of Information Technology,[87] the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services,[88][89] and the Department of Veterans Affairs have offices in Baltimore.[90]

Independent agencies headquartered in Baltimore include the Maryland Commission on Human Relations,[91] the Maryland Health Care Commission,[92] the Maryland Lottery,[93] and the Maryland Tax Court.[94]

Federal government

Three of the state's eight congressional districts include portions of Baltimore: the 2nd, represented by Dutch Ruppersberger; the 3rd, represented by John Sarbanes; and the 7th, represented by Elijah Cummings. All three are Democrats; a Republican has not represented a significant portion of Baltimore in Congress since John Boynton Philip Clayton Hill represented the 3rd District in 1927, and has not represented any of Baltimore since former governor Robert Ehrlich represented the 2nd District from 1995 to 2003.[95][96]

Both of Maryland's Senators, Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, are from Baltimore, and both represented the 3rd District before being elected to the Senate. Mikulski represented the 3rd from 1977 to 1987, and was succeeded by Cardin, who held the seat until his election and inauguration to the Senate in 2007.[97]

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Baltimore. The Baltimore Main Post Office is located at 900 East Fayette Street in the Jonestown area.[98]

Law enforcement

  • The Baltimore City Police Department is the primary law enforcement agency servicing the citizens of Baltimore: see main article here.
  • The Baltimore City Sheriff's Office (BSO) is the enforcement arm of the Baltimore court system. Deputy Sheriffs are sworn law enforcement officials with full arrest authority as granted by the constitution of Maryland, the MPCTC and the Sheriff of the City of Baltimore.[99]
    • Organization-The current Sheriff is John W. Anderson. The BCSO is divided into several sections as follows:
      • Field Enforcement Section
      • District Court Section
      • Child Support (Civil) Section
      • Child Support (Warrant) Section
      • Transportation Unit
      • Warrant Unit
      • Special Response Team
      • K-9 Team
      • Witness Protection Team
    • Duties-The Sheriff is responsible for the following: security of city courthouses and property, service of court-ordered writs, protective and peace orders, warrants, tax levies, as well as prisoner transportation and traffic enforcement.


The interstate highways serving Baltimore are I-70, I-83 (the Jones Falls Expressway), I-95 (the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway), I-395, I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway), I-795 (the Northwest Expressway), I-895 (the Harbor Tunnel Thruway), and I-97. Several of the city's interstate highways, e.g. I-95, I-83, and I-70 are not directly connected to each other, and in the case of I-70 end at a park and ride lot just inside the city limits, because of freeway revolts in the City of Baltimore. These revolts were led primarily by Barbara Mikulski, now a United States Senator, which resulted in the abandonment of the original plan. U.S. highways and state routes that run to and through downtown Baltimore include US 1, US 40 National Road, and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. There are two tunnels traversing the Baltimore harbor within the city limits: the four-bore Fort McHenry Tunnel (served by I-95) and the two-bore Harbor Tunnel (served by I-895). The Baltimore Beltway crosses south of Baltimore harbor over the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Baltimore is a top destination for Amtrak along the Northeast Corridor. Baltimore's Penn Station is one of the busiest in the country. In FY 2008, it ranked 8th in the United States with a total ridership of 1,020,304.[100] Just outside the city, Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport Rail Station is another popular stop. Amtrak's Acela Express, Palmetto, Carolinian, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Vermonter, Crescent, and Northeast Regional trains are the scheduled passenger train services that stop in the city. Additionally, MARC commuter rail service connects the city's two main intercity rail stations, Camden Station and Penn Station, with Washington, D.C.'s Union Station as well as stops in between.

Interior of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Baltimore's major commercial airport

Public transit in Baltimore is provided by the Maryland Transit Administration. The city has a comprehensive bus network, a small light rail network connecting Hunt Valley in the north to BWI airport and Cromwell in the south, and a subway line between Owings Mills and Johns Hopkins Hospital.[101] A proposed bus rapid transit or rail line, known as the Red Line, which would link the Social Security Administration to Fells Point and perhaps the Canton and Dundalk communities, is under study as of 2007; a proposal to extend Baltimore's existing subway line to Morgan State University, known as the Green Line, is in the planning stage.[102]

Baltimore is served by Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, generally known as "BWI," which lies about 10 miles (16 km) to the south in neighboring Anne Arundel County, and by Martin State Airport, a general aviation facility, to the north in Baltimore County. BWI and Martin State airports are operated by the Maryland Aviation Administration, which is part of the Maryland Department of Transportation.[103] In terms of passenger traffic, BWI is the 24th busiest airport in the United States.[104] Downtown Baltimore is connected to BWI by two major highways (I-95 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway via Interstate 195), the Baltimore Light Rail, and Amtrak and MARC commuter rail service between Baltimore's Penn Station and BWI Rail Station. Martin State Airport is linked to downtown Baltimore by two major highways, I-95 and U.S. Route 40, and MARC commuter rail service between Baltimore's Penn Station and its nearby Martin State Airport MARC Train stop.

Port of Baltimore

Baltimore harbor in 1849 with the prominent Washington monument in the background North of the city

The port was founded in 1706, preceding the founding of Baltimore. The Maryland colonial legislature made the area near Locust Point as the port of entry for the tobacco trade with England. Fells Point, the deepest point in the natural harbor, soon became the colony's main ship building center, later on becoming leader in the construction of clipper ships.[105] After the founding of Baltimore, mills were built behind the wharves. The California Gold Rush led to many orders for fast vessels; many overland pioneers also relied upon canned goods from Baltimore. After the civil war, a coffee ship was designed here for trade with Brazil. At the end of the nineteenth century, European ship lines had terminals for immigrants. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad made the port a major transshipment point.[citation needed]

Currently the port has major roll-on roll-off facilities, as well as bulk facilities, especially steel handling.[106] Water taxis also operate in the Inner Harbor. Governor Ehrlich participated in naming the port after Helen Delich Bentley during the 300th anniversary of the port.[107]

In 2007, Duke Realty Corporation began a new development near the Port of Baltimore, named the Chesapeake Commerce Center. This new industrial park is located on the site of a former General Motors plant. The total project comprises 184 acres (0.74 km2) in eastern Baltimore City and the site will yield 2,800,000 square feet (260,000 m2) of warehouse/distribution and office space. Chesapeake Commerce Center has direct access to two major Interstate Highways (I-95 and I-895) and is located adjacent to two of the major Port of Baltimore Terminals. The Port of Baltimore is the furthest inland port in the U.S. with a 50-foot (15 m) dredge to accommodate the largest shipping vessels.[citation needed]


Colleges and universities

Baltimore is the home of numerous places of higher learning, both public and private. Among them are:


Keyser Quadrangle in Spring at the Johns Hopkins University


Primary and secondary schools

The city's public schools are operated by the Baltimore City Public School System and include the historic Frederick Douglass High School, which is the second oldest African American high school in the United States,[108] Baltimore City College, the third oldest public high school in the country,[109] and Western High School, the oldest public all girls school in the nation.[110] Baltimore City College (also known as "City") and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (also known as "Poly") share the nation's second-oldest high school football rivalry.[111]

Private schools

These private schools are within the city:

Parochial schools


Baltimore's main newspaper is The Baltimore Sun. It was sold by its Baltimore owners in 1986 to the Times Mirror Company,[112] which was bought by the Tribune Company in 2000.[113] Baltimore is the 26th-largest television market and 21st-largest radio market in the country.[citation needed]

Like many cities well into the 20th Century, Baltimore was a two-newspaper town until the Baltimore News-American ceased publication in 1986.[114]

In 2006, The Baltimore Examiner was launched to compete with The Sun. It was part of a national chain that includes The San Francisco Examiner and The Washington Examiner. In contrast to the paid subscription Sun, The Examiner was a free newspaper funded solely by advertisements. Unable to turn a profit and facing a deep recession, The Baltimore Examiner ceased publication on February 15, 2009.

Sports teams

Baltimore has a long and storied sporting history encompassing many teams from many different eras. The Baltimore Orioles have represented Major League Baseball locally since 1954 when the St. Louis Browns moved to the city of Baltimore. The Orioles won three World Series Championships (1966, 1970, and 1983), advanced to the World Series in 1969, 1971, and 1979, and made the playoffs all but one year from 1969 through 1974. In 1995, local player (and later Hall of Famer) Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's "unbreakable" streak of 2,130 consecutive games played (for which he was named the Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine). Six former Orioles players have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. From 1953 to 1984, the Baltimore Colts played for the city, winning the 1958 and 1959 NFL Championships and Super Bowl V.

The "Baltimore CFLers", or Baltimore CFL Colts were an expansion professional football team that joined the CFL in 1994. The CFLers remained in Baltimore for two seasons before relocating to Montreal after the 1995 season to become the Montreal Alouettes. The CFLers posted the best two season starts of any CFL expansion team and are the only U.S. based team in the CFL to have won the Grey Cup, the league's playoff championship, by upsetting the heavily favored Winnipeg Blue Bombers in their final season in Baltimore.

Professional football returned to Baltimore a year after the CFLers left. The Baltimore Ravens have represented the National Football League since relocating from Cleveland in 1996. The team has had great success, including a Super Bowl Championship in 2000, two division championships (2003 and 2006), and two AFC Championship appearances in 2001 and 2009.

Other current teams include: Baltimore Blast, National Indoor Soccer League since 1998; Crystal Palace Baltimore, USL Second Division since 2006; Baltimore Mariners, American Indoor Football Association since 2008; Baltimore Burn, National Women's Football Association since 2004; Baltimore Nighthawks, Independent Women's Football League since 2001; and the Charm City Roller Girls Women's Flat Track Derby Association since 2006. Area fans, with examples such as Wild Bill Hagy, are known for their passion and reverence for historical sports figures who played in the city or were born there.

Sister cities

Baltimore has eleven sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International: [115]

See also


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  115. ^ "Baltimore City Mayor's Office of International and Immigrant Affairs—Sister Cities Program". Retrieved 2009-07-18. 

External links

Preceded by
Capital of the United States of America
Succeeded by

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Baltimore (disambiguation).
Downtown Baltimore on a beautiful October day.
Downtown Baltimore on a beautiful October day.

Baltimore is a popular tourist destination in Maryland, in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America, near Washington, D.C.. It is perhaps most famously known as the city where Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics for the Star Spangled Banner, and today has become a major center for tourism and travel.

It lies on the juncture of the Chesapeake Bay. With continuous nightlife, temperate climate, and plenty of hospitality, any time of the year is a great time to visit.


Baltimore has an absolutely staggering number of officially designated neighborhoods, some just several blocks large, and each with its own character [1]. They are administratively separated into nine larger regions. The following list is further simplified for the traveler and contains some of the neighborhoods you are most likely to visit.

Inner Harbor
If you are a tourist, you come here. Most of Baltimore's excellent museums are here, as are most of its major hotels and the magnificent National Aquarium. The harbor views are nice too. But watch out for the tourist trap bars and restaurants!
Fells Point (Little Italy, Corned Beef Row)
Fells Point could not be more complementary to the Inner Harbor—historic, with great pubs, nightlife, and restaurants, especially in tiny but very authentic Little Italy.
Downtown (UMB, Lexington Market)
An incongruous mix of Baltimore's central business district, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, the awe inspiring Lexington Market, the infamously seedy "Block," and a host of jewelry shops specializing in grillz.
Midtown (Mount Vernon, Station North Arts, Charles St, Bolton Hill)
One of the nicest sections of the city, home to the performing arts district, Penn Station, and a host of other attractions (Walters Art Museum, the original Washington Monument, dining and wining on Charles St, etc.) that most visitors foolishly pass over.
South Baltimore (Federal Hill, Locust Point, Pigtown, Fort McHenry)
Industrial blue-collar South Baltimore is dying, and is quickly being replaced with upscale gentrified neighborhoods like Federal Hill. That's not so bad from a traveler's perspective—some of the city's best restaurants and bars have sprung forth in the booming areas.
North Baltimore (Charles North, Hampden, Johns Hopkins, Mount Washington)
Most visitors to the area know only Johns Hopkins University and the always interesting commercial strip along Charles St nearby. But it is unfortunate that they overlook the quirkiest of quirky neighborhoods, Hampden.
Southeast Baltimore (Canton, Patterson Park, Highlandtown, Greektown)
A heavily industrialized section of the city, home to several very enjoyable Polish, Irish, and Greek ethnic enclaves, and other surprises. Cantonites will place their neighborhood up against Federal Hill in the gentrification derby.
West Baltimore (Druid Hill Park, Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park, Pimlico)
Infamous West Baltimore. If you have watched the Wire, this was where the crime was taking place! But don't be fooled. There are some major tourist draws here, like the Maryland Zoo in Druid Hill Park, Pimlico Racecourse, and Edgar Allen Poe's House. And the endless old Baltimore rowhouses, no matter how rundown, remain beautiful throughout.
East Baltimore (Johns Hopkins Hospital, Clifton Park Golf Course, Herring Run Park)
Baltimore's great rivalry between east and west is certainly an example of the narcissism of small differences. Attractions in the east are very few and far between, but things are changing fast as booming Johns Hopkins Medical Campus expands and demolishes in its wake.
The symbol of working-class Baltimore, the Domino Sugars Factory at night across the harbor
The symbol of working-class Baltimore, the Domino Sugars Factory at night across the harbor


Baltimore has a very long and rich history. It is perhaps most well-known for being the site of the historic Battle of Baltimore. During this battle, the British invaders bombed Fort McHenry with rockets as Francis Scott Key wrote what would become the American national anthem. Baltimore was also the site of the first casualty of the American Civil War.

It also has a large African-American population that has played an important role in its history. African Americans have had a major presence in Baltimore since the Revolutionary War. During that time they were brought to Baltimore as slaves from Africa. Baltimore was also one of the hotbeds during the American Civil Rights movement and famous African-Americans such as Thurgood Marshall and Kweisi Mfume have made Baltimore their hometown. R&B artists such as Tupac, Dru Hill and Mario have also emerged from Baltimore. Currently, African-Americans form a majority (within the city limits) at 64%.


Baltimore lies in an arm of the Chesapeake Bay, the third largest estuary in the world. The eastern two-thirds of the metropolitan area lie on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, between 15 and 50 feet above sea level, and contain many peninsulas jutting out into the bay. The western third of the city slowly rises into rolling hills, and leads to the piedmont region. It is located about 40 miles from Washington, D.C., and approximately 100 miles from Philadelphia. The Atlantic Ocean lies about 2 hours to the southeast.

8 inch guns at Fort McHenry
8 inch guns at Fort McHenry


Baltimore lies within the humid subtropical climate zone, and weather is primarily affected by three factors: its proximity to a warm marine estuary, its low elevation, and the wall of mountains to the west and northwest. These factor's make the area's climate milder and less extreme than other U.S. cities at this latitude. Summers are humid and hot, but not extremely so, with highs reaching the high 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit and lows in the 60s to low 70s. Winters are cool to mild and moist, with highs in the upper 40s to low 50s, and lows in the 30s and 40s. It is almost never below 10°F in the city proper. Light snow can sometimes fall in winter, although some years there is no significant accumulation and once every 4 or 5 years a coastal storm can dump over 8 inches on the city. Spring and fall bring pleasant temperatures in the 50s-70s(°F), and southern breezes.

While weather in the region can vary, Baltimore does not experience the extremes of weather change that occur further north and inland. Visitors will be able to venture outdoors without a jacket from approximately mid-March to late November. The hot humid summers invite the wearing of shorts on many days. The Baltimore area experiences pleasant fall foliage, usually beginning in mid November and ending in early December. The long warm weather season means that swimming pools are very popular for much of the year as well.


Baltimore boasts a surprisingly influential, albeit small-scale, film industry. Self-dubbed the "grandfather of filth" native John Waters is the Baltimore equivalent of New York's Woody Allen—he has directed movie after movie, set and filmed on location in Baltimore, drawing heavily for inspiration from Baltimore's most bizarre subcultures and its strangest neighborhoods. He became famous for his "gore" flicks in the 1970s, which combine the single-minded purpose of grossing-out (or perhaps scarring-for-life) the viewers along with intensely bad acting, outrageous Baltimore accents, subversive humor, general trashy perversion and violence, and one enormous Baltimore drag queen named Divine. Of this era, Pink Flamingos achieved a certain cult-classic status, although it is absolutely not for the faint of heart (or the pure of spirit).

Pink Flamingo over Cafe Hon in Hampden
Pink Flamingo over Cafe Hon in Hampden

Waters' films post-1970s mellowed out dramatically, albeit still maintaining his signature interest in subversive campiness, culminating in his most famous work, Hairspray, a 1962-fabulous story of a plus-size girl with plus-size hair who wanted to bring a black boy to the locally-televised dance show against the forces of racial segregation and bigotry. He has gained considerable success within the Manhattan art world for his more recent work across all sorts of mediums—but he rails against that same art world in Pecker, a movie soaked in the local colors of Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood. His dogged loyalty to his city has earned him a lot of goodwill here. A recent mayor proposed creating a local John Waters holiday, and the Hampden neighborhood erected a giant pink flamingo statue up on the main street. But don't let all this lull you into a sense of complacency—unless it's Hairspray or perhaps Crybaby and maybe Serial Mom, don't show his films to your kids!

Barry Levinson, is perhaps the most well-known film maker to come out of and make films about Baltimore. His directing career began with Diner, a movie set in the Baltimore of his youth, and a movie that would begin the famous four-movie series of "Baltimore films" along with Tin Men, Avalon, and Liberty Heights.

Another big name in Baltimore film-making is undoubtedly David Simon, famous for his Baltimore-centric crime dramas Homicide: Life on the Street (which he co-produced with Barry Levinson), and, of course, The Wire, which has been called by nearly every major journalistic publication in the English language "the best show on television"—although several have contended this doesn't go far enough, calling it the best TV series of all time. The Wire is set principally in the most blighted neighborhoods of West Baltimore, dealing with startlingly realistic, cliché-less portrayals of the life of the city's (and America's) underclass and the drug crime that pervades the neighborhoods and housing projects that underclass lives in. A veteran reporter for the Baltimore Sun and a novelist in his own right, Simon also turns his camera on the city government, the police department, and the public schools, and never in too favorable of a light. For an even starker portrayal of life and drugs in Baltimore's most blighted neighborhoods, check out his documentary-style miniseries, The Corner.

Don't let these crime dramas get you down, though, most city visitors are unlikely to have any encounters with the drug trade or really much anything to do with Baltimore culture for that matter. All the more reason why The Wire is practically required reading for a serious visitor—the show is filmed on location throughout the whole city, and nowhere else will you be so quickly and delightfully introduced to Baltimore in all its local character and sense of place: Baltimore club music, beautiful and dilapidated old row houses with marble stoops, the legendary horse-cart fruit vendor, coddies and pit beef, bottles of rye by the docks, the East-West rivalry, all sorts of local hip hop, a few good corrupt Polish cops, some angry young boys in the projects, and above all that sense of restlessness that keeps this city alive.

Get in

By bus

Buses are an affordable way to to get in to Baltimore if you are already in the Eastern Seaboard, especially if you are coming from New York or Philadelphia.

  • Greyhound [2] serves most major cities in North America, with two stops in Baltimore. One is a few blocks south of the stadium district, near Inner Harbor; another is at the Baltimore Travel Plaza in Southeast Baltimore.
  • Apex Bus [3] runs a service from New York. They offer pretty competitive rates for those traveling on a shoestring budget.
  • MVP Bus [4] runs a service between DC and New York. They offer competitive rates, sometimes starting at $1, and stop in the heart of the arts and entertainment district, Station North.
  • BoltBus [5] runs a service from New York's 33rd and 7th to Baltimore's Marc Penn Station. From there, the light rail can get you Downtown, the Inner Harbor or elsewhere in town.
  • Megabus [6] now offers a very cheap service to New York for around $8 return (but can be as cheap as $1 each way if you book early)

If you are dropped off at the Baltimore Travel Plaza, you can take the #20 bus into Downtown.

By car

Car parking is expensive in the inner city, roughly $5/hr around the harbor area. The 395 turn-off from the I95 will take you right into the harbor area, but traffic can be slow in the center of the city at rush hour and especially on game days.

The Male Female Statue in front of Penn Station
The Male Female Statue in front of Penn Station

Amtrak offers frequent services into Baltimore. The Penn Station is on Charles Street in Midtown—a considerable distance from the harbor area. However, a spur of the light rail system connects to the train station, and you can ride it to the convention center, three blocks from the harbor. Some Amtrak trains also stop at the BWI (airport) station which is a few miles south of the main Penn Station.

The MARC [7] train system provides inexpensive service between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. (and from Washington to Frederick, Maryland and Martinsburg, West Virginia). It is, however, meant to be a commuter system, and runs only during work days/hours (Monday - Friday). Check to be sure it is available when you need it. MARC trains operate through the Penn Station (designated the "Penn line" on MARC schedules) and through a station at Camden Yards (the "Camden line"), near the Inner Harbor.

By plane

The Baltimore-Washington International Airport is located a few miles outside of the city and is accessible by car or light rail. Shuttles connect BWI to an Amtrak train station just off the airport grounds.

There are non-stop flights to BWI from just about every major airport in the country, though some cities may be seasonal or only offer service certain days of the week. A full list can be found here: [8].

BWI has a somewhat unique car rental system. Car rental facilities are located in a centralized facility located away from the airport. Airport shuttle buses must take travelers to and from the facility and it is advisable to plan an extra 10 to 15 minutes to get out of the airport. Also, if heading to Washington D.C., the signage from the airport's car rental facility is very poor and confusing, especially to Route 495. However, all roads ultimately lead to highway access in either direction (North or South).

The light rail by Camden Station
The light rail by Camden Station

Public transportation in Baltimore is nothing spectacular. Fares to ride light rail, buses and subway are $1.60 each way, and $3.50 buys you a day pass that gets you unlimited rides on all three. You can buy the pass from any bus operator or vending machine at subway/light rail stations.

As a general rule, the light rail [9] system is far more useful for getting into the city than getting around it. You may wish to park outside the city (for free!) and take the light rail in. The one useful section runs from Camden Yards up past Lexington Market to the Station North Arts District.

There is also a single line subway [10] which runs from Johns Hopkins hospital, through downtown, and out to the northwest suburbs of Pikesville and Owings Mills. The subway does not pass many tourist destinations and is mostly used by commuters.

To get around Baltimore on the cheap by public transport, especially outside of the harbor area, you will sacrifice convenience, but the MTA buses are the way to go. MTA puts out very handy interactive maps of the downtown and regional bus routes, [11] so you can plan ahead. Buses, like all of Baltimore's public transit, are well patrolled and safe.

By car

Pay parking garages and lots are easy to find near all major sights in the city center, usually charging parking rates commensurate with proximity to the Inner Harbor. For exploring Baltimore beyond the central neighborhoods a car becomes essential, and on-street parking is widely available beyond Downtown and the Inner Harbor. If you don't have a car, taxi cabs are an excellent way to get from point to point, albeit a rather expensive one. Don't expect to be able to hail a cab outside any except the most central neighborhoods.

By water taxi

One of the most popular (and unique!) modes of transportation in Baltimore is the water taxi system [12] +1 410 563-3901. Rarely a useful mode of transport for everyday life, it is an especially nice way of touring the city's main sights for a day (and admiring the skyline from the water). From May-September, it stops throughout the Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Fort McHenry, and even Canton, at intervals of about 15-20 minutes. Day passes, adults: $9.00, kids under 10: $4.00.

Lion at the Maryland Zoo
Lion at the Maryland Zoo

The Baltimore Harbor is the busy center to the city, a major tourist attraction, a must-see, often featuring live music by jazz groups and crooners and plenty of eating and shopping. While locals scorn the Inner Harbor as a pre-fabricated tourist mecca devoid of true Baltimore culture, visitors should see the harbor, and especially should visit some of its excellent museums and other attractions. Highlights range from the Historic Ships in Baltimore (including the USS Constellation), the kid-mesmerizing Maryland Science Center, to the crowded and enormous National Aquarium, to the radically eccentric American Visionary Arts Museum.

The tourist district of the Inner Harbor is a great destination, where you will have a great time. But it is oddly ahistoric in one of America's most historic cities. The most prominent historical attraction is Fort McHenry across the harbor at the tip of Locust Point. It gained an iconic status in American revolutionary history by successfully defending the Baltimore harbor from the British naval bombardment in the War of 1812, at which time Sir Francis Scott Key was inspired by the tattered but still waving American flag on the fort to write the national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.

The other very rewarding historical destination in Baltimore is just east of the Inner Harbor in Fells Point, once a separate town founded in 1730, which became wealthy throughout the 18th and 19th centuries on shipbuilding and the maritime trade (and anti-British privateering). Architecturally, little has changed for more than a century, and the cobblestone streets, old pubs, and quaint harbor area are more than enough to lure visitors.

While you won't run out of attractions to visit in the Inner Harbor, there are a bunch of big attractions throughout the city that you should not miss. Look especially for Westminster Hall and Burying Ground Downtown, the Maryland Zoo in Druid Hill Park, the original Washington Monument and the Walters Art Museum in Mount Vernon, and the Baltimore Museum of Art up by Johns Hopkins University.

Pimlico Racetrack, home of the Preakness
Pimlico Racetrack, home of the Preakness
  • Nevermore 2009, [13]. Baltimore's year-long celebration of the 200th birthday of Edgar Allen Poe. Events are going on all around the city and throughout the entire year. Check the website for more details as events are subject to change.  edit
  • Baltimore Pride, [14]. A two-day weekend festival in June of each year celebrating Baltimore's LGBT community. There is a parade through the city, a festival in Druid Park, and a block party in Mt. Vernon, as well as other events.  edit
  • American Career Institute, [15]. A career training school located in Baltimore.
  • Baltimore Career Training, [16]. A career training school located in Baltimore.
Strange food on offer in Lexington Market
Strange food on offer in Lexington Market

A wide variety of dining options can be found in Baltimore, but no visit to Maryland is complete without a sampling of the local favorite: steamed crabs! Though by and large the crabs no longer come from the Chesapeake Bay (they are shipped from North Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas due to overfishing of the Bay), it remains a popular summertime activity to spend the afternoon with family and friends at a crab feast. Often crabs are accompanied by steamed shrimp, corn on the cob, and beer.

If steamed crabs are too adventurous, you should at least sample a crab cake, crab bisque, or vegetable crab soup.

Then again, if crabs aren't adventurous enough, there is an impressive range of strange local foods that most visitors never hear about. The preeminent among which is the Baltimore pit beef sandwich. An odd tradition born of the meeting of the American barbecue world with the culinary tastes of Baltimore's Polish immigrants, the pit beef is slowly barbecued all day and night in a deep pit, then put on a kaiser roll, plus onions and horseradish to your liking (don't wuss out on the horseradish—it's an integral part of the experience). It's best served very rare. Unfortunately, pit beef can be hard to come by within the city limits. The favorite pit beefery is probably Chaps, located next to an industrial area on the extreme east of the city.

Vying for local fast food preeminence is Baltimore Lake Trout. It's not trout (rather, whitefish), and it doesn't come from a lake. But it is impressively fresh, lightly breaded, surprisingly not so greasy, and just all around finger-licking good. It is sort-of served in a sandwich, but you get such a huge quantity of fish in there (for chicken-feed), it's not possible to eat it like a sandwich. Lake Trout takes you far from East Baltimore's pit beef into the west side, but where to get the best fish is a matter of contention. The most accessible, and visitor friendly, is a regular contender for the crown—The Roost.

Coddies represent the final major player in local fast food lore. Nothing fancy here—it's a thick, satisfying codcake served in a sandwich of two saltine crackers, and the coddie should be topped with simple yellow mustard. They can be hard to find, but you'll get great ones at Faidley's for absurdly low prices.

The market place, near the harbor, is full of fresh seafood and food bars. But for a more local experience, head to the neighborhoods surrounding it: Little Italy, Fells Point, Federal Hill, Canton, Mount Washington, etc. all feature both local and international cuisine.

Lexington Market is an especially popular lunchtime destination, with countless vendors selling all kinds of food imaginable. There are standing tables in an open area on the ground floor, as well as a large seating area on the upper level above that. If you are looking for a deep Baltimore culinary experience, head to standing room only Faidley's, where you can get your coddies, some of the world's most acclaimed jumbo lump crab cakes, and even local artifacts like terrapin, raccoon, and muskrat! (Those artifacts are available only seasonally, and only to take home to cook.)

Canton Square offers a diverse selection of good restaurants, but one of the standouts is Nacho Mama's (2907 O'Donnell St). Fun atmosphere, good Mexican food, and many "priceless artifacts" representing everything Baltimore. There also the must-see Greektown, which hosts a wealth of authentic Greek restaurants and coffeehouses.

Vaccaro's in Baltimore's Little Italy is a place to die for when it comes to desserts. This intimate Italian bakery is a little on the high side but features a wide variety of traditional Italian pastries. Located two blocks from the inner harbor area at the corner of Albemarle and Stiles street. They also have a location in Canton Square.

Here's a local meal! A jumbo lump, two coddies, and washed down with a Natty Boh.
Here's a local meal! A jumbo lump, two coddies, and washed down with a Natty Boh.

Don't miss the Helmand Restaurant in Mt. Vernon. The cuisine here is from Afghanistan and delicious! The prices are inexpensive (around $15.00 for an entree), and they boast 4 star quality service. Try the pumpkin appetizer.

In Hampden, there are several (quirky) dining options, including Suzie's Soba (Asian fusion), Cafe Hon (featuring kitschy retro decor and a blue plate special menu), Holy Frijoles (a dark, hip margarita-and-burritos place), Rocket To Venus (eclectic rock-n-roll bar/restaurant) and Golden West (featuring eclectic Southwestern cuisine in equally eclectic surroundings, known for excellent food, a laid-back bar scene, and family-friendly seating. Be warned: it's nicknamed "Golden Wait" by locals for the lackadaisical service.)

Baltimore recently passed a smoke-free ordinance, so be aware that all restaurants and bars are completely non-smoking.


The two neighborhoods with the largest concentrations of drinking establishments and clubs are Fells Point and Powerplant Live!. Other fine wining (or boozing) and dining neighborhoods include Canton Square, Mt. Vernon, Federal Hill, Hampden, and the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Baltimore is also the home of the oldest Irish pub in the United States, Patrick's of Pratt Street, established in 1847.

Fells Point is the city's most popular district for both eating and drinking, it is located about a 15 min walk from downtown, or a short cab ride. Many bars in this area feature live music and most have excellent selections of Maryland and imported craft beers. The Full Moon Saloon on Aliceanna Street brings outstanding blues artists to the stage, while the Cat's Eye pub on Thames has jazz and blues. Also be sure to visit Bertha's on Broadway, John Steven Ltd. on Thames, and Max's Taphouse for the widest beer and shooter selection plus Quiz-a-ma-jig trivia every Thursday night.

The DuClaw Brewing Company has an excellent selection of locally made craft beers, with rotating styles depending on the season. Max's on Broadway is Baltimore's veritable beer museum, with a long list of hard-to-find beers from around the world.

Powerplant Live! is an area just off of the Inner Harbor that has two blocks of nothing but bars, clubs and restaurants. It has an outdoor area that has music and other events during good weather. Drinks and food are low quality and overpriced (since there is an unending stream of tourists unfamiliar with the city strolling in), but even the most hip Baltimore hipsters will find themselves here every now and then for the free live performances.

Brewer's Art on Charles St specializes in Belgian ales. Cross Street Market in bar-saturated Federal Hill has a fine sushi and raw bar, and an excellent happy hour on Friday.

National Bohemian (affectionately known as 'Natty Boh') is the popular local cheap beer. They are generally no more than $2-3 anywhere in Baltimore, and most places serve them in cans.

Please note that all bars in Baltimore (and the state of Maryland) are completely non-smoking.

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under $100
Mid-range $100-$200
Splurge $200 and up

The vast majority of visitors stay in the Inner Harbor, right by the main attractions. Few cities have such a well-defined tourist district, and it is therefore no surprise that nearly all the major hotels in the city are located there.

Business travelers can certainly stay in the Inner Harbor and remain close to the central business district, and this way get better views from their rooms. But the most convenient business hotels, chain hotels all, are located Downtown. Bear in mind that Downtown is not a very good location if you are looking for nightlife—you would always wind up going somewhere else, and the empty streets in the business district can be creepy after dark.

Now if you prefer to stay in a quieter area, with more local character, and better dining and nightlife options, you should look to Fells Point as the natural option, but even further off the beaten path you can find lovely bed and breakfasts and other small hotels in Federal Hill, Midtown, or Canton. The Midtown hotels particularly benefit from good public transportation (a rarity in the city) to Downtown and the Inner Harbor.

Sharks—not the only safety hazard in Baltimore
Sharks—not the only safety hazard in Baltimore

Baltimore has quite the reputation for crime. Its nickname the "Charm City" has been updated by local cynics as the "Harm City," and you can probably find an I *heart* Baltimore t-shirt for sale in which the heart is made of guns and knives. An even less inviting nickname of recent years is the grisly "Bodymore." This reputation is in no small part due to its very high murder rate and its prominent, nationally-acclaimed crime dramas. The reputation is warranted, but the average traveler should not get overly concerned. The high murder rate needs to be informed by the awful context that nearly all the homicides in the city are of young black men—most of them just in their teens—located in parts of the city that few travelers have ever laid eyes upon. Most crime occurs between individuals that know each other. Few if any travelers will have any experience with the isolated culture, drug and gang-related, where the murders are occurring. Muggings are the violent crime to be concerned with for tourists.

Those areas of Baltimore that attract tourists are safe. You shouldn't worry when going to the opera, museums, aquarium, etc. The popular Inner Harbor area in particular is saturated with police day and night, as the city government relies heavily on this area to generate much needed tax revenues. Some areas just north of the waterfront (downtown above the Inner Harbor around Lexington Market, and around the big public housing projects just northeast of Little Italy) can get a little dodgy after dark, and even during the day sometimes. If you're parking your car on street in the Charles Street entertainment district or even in Fells Point, don't leave anything (even trash) visible in your car, in order to deter smash-and-grab robberies. Generally, the worst annoyance for tourists and residents around downtown are the homeless and/or drug addicts, who ask for money and sometimes become aggressive by yelling or starting to follow people; the best advice is to ignore them, and keep walking, as they almost always give up after a few seconds; avoid confrontations or yelling back.

Above all, though, just exercise the usual precautions for urban America: know where you are going and how you are getting there, at night walk in groups and do not carry large amounts of money, avoid poorly lit streets, and call a cab if the trip back at night seems beyond your comfort zone.

  • Baltimore Sun, [17], Baltimore's daily newspaper
  • CityPaper, [18], Baltimore's weekly alternative newspaper. Lists a full schedule of weekly events every issue, so it's the preferred guide for out-of-towners looking for fun things to do.
  • Urbanite, the free monthly magazine, [19]
  • Baltimore Afro American, [20], serving Baltimore's black community since 1892
  • GLCCB,[21] Gay and Lesbian Community Center Baltimore
  • FrontRunners, [22]
  • Pflag [23]
  • Lesbihons, [24] Guide for Baltimore Lesbians
  • Lambda Rising Bookstore, [25].
  • OutLoud, [26]
  • Out in Baltimore,[27]
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:





Named after Cæcilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore. The first Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland.

Proper noun




  1. A city in central Maryland, USA


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