Baltimore celebrated its bicentennial in 1997. This event came in the wake of a restoration and revitalization program of the once-dormant waterfront area. It transformed this sector of the city into a bustling tourist attraction, with shopping centers, restaurants and the acclaimed National Aquarium.
At the same time, the city became a model for urban redevelopment across the country. Beyond the Inner Harbor, historic neighborhoods such as Federal Hill, Mount Vernon and Fells Point boast splendid architecture, ranging from Colonial row houses to massive brownstones. Many attractions are a short walk or ride from the Inner Harbor.
The city is steeped in history. Some of it is reflected in the star-shaped Fort McHenry, famous for its role in the national anthem. It was here, on September 14, 1814 that Francis Scott Key saw the Star-Spangled Banner 'by the dawn's early light'. Babe Ruth, Edgar Allen Poe and H. L. Mencken are as synonymous with Baltimore as the Orioles and Ravens, both of which feature their own impressive stadiums.
Visitors will find no lack of attractions. Alone the number of museums is mindbogling. As the birthplace of American railroading, the B&O Railroad Museum houses America's most complete collection of locomotives and railroad artifacts.
Outside of the city, day trips allow for visiting the nation's capital or historic Annapolis with its collection of 18th- and 19th-century buildings and more than 50 pre-Revolutionary structures.