City by the Sea: Baltimore

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Boasting almost 300 years of history, Baltimore is the birthplace of ice cream, cyberspace, and the "Star Spangled Banner."

But today, it's so much more than just the United States' fifth-largest port. Baltimore sits at the crossroads of history and innovation, and it harbors a distinct international flair. A bustling city built on tradition and civic pride, Baltimore is an American success story. Since the redevelopment of the Inner Harbor area in the late 1970s, Baltimore has set the standard for urban renewal and is now a major travel destination for more than 11 million business and leisure visitors each year.

Baltimore is the site of ARMA International's 52nd Annual Conference and Expo, October 7-10, 2007.

Baltimore's Best

The city's crown jewel is Inner Harbor, a scenic, popular waterfront area featuring retail stores, restaurants, and attractions. The fun and festive atmosphere here is enhanced by street entertainers, open-air concerts, fireworks, parades, paddle and cruise boats, and an outdoor ice-skating rink.

Surrounding the Inner Harbor, and within walking distance, are Baltimore's charming historic neighborhoods, each offering its own character, history, and cuisine. Little Italy is a pasta lover's paradise. Fells Point is the oldest section of Baltimore and still has the feel of an old English neighborhood with cobblestone streets, unique shops, and plentiful pubs. And, there's Harbor East, a bustling waterfront stop.

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The best view of the city is from the top of Federal Hill on the south side of the Inner Harbor. Mount Vernon, the cultural center of the city, was home to the city's rich and famous during the 18th and 19th centuries. This area boasts some of Baltimore's bests, including the first architectural monument to George Washington, the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the world-renowned Waiters Art Museum, and the breathtaking Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Just a block away from the Inner Harbor, you'll find Power Plant Live!, a premier dining and entertainment district that features restaurants and nightclubs.

No visit to Baltimore is complete without a taste of its world-renowned Chesapeake Bay cuisine, which has earned the city its title of "the gastronomic capitol of the universe." While you're here, sample the famous crab cakes, blue crab delicacies, and other native seafood.

Other can't-miss attractions include Fort McHenry, designed by a Frenchman and named after James McHenry, who served as Secretary of War from 1796 to 1800. During the War of 1812, the brick fort defended the Baltimore harbor and stopped a British advance into the city. Surrounded by water on three sides and far enough from Baltimore to provide protection without endangering the city, it was the valiant defense of the fort by 1,000 Americans that inspired Francis Scott Key to compose the "Star Spangled Banner," originally titled, "Defense of Fort McHenry. …