Join us in fabulous Baltimore, Maryland for the 38th National Media Market, October 23 - 27, 2016!
Baltimore - the colorful, diverse city that is Maryland's largest city and economic hub, is known for its beautiful harbor; quirky, distinct neighborhoods; unique museums and the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital to the east and the University of Maryland Medical Center to the west. With the rich history the city boasts however, it's amazing that Baltimore hasn't been deemed one of America's greatest historical destinations.
Named for Lord Baltimore (Cecilius Calvert) in the Irish House of Lords, Baltimore settled in the early 17th century. The waterfront, surrounded with shops, restaurants and attractions that lure tourists and residents today, made Baltimore a hub for tobacco trade with England in its earliest days. By the 18th century, Baltimore had also become a granary for sugar-producing colonies in the Caribbean.
As a major seafaring and trading community, Baltimore played a key role in events that shaped the nation's history, including the American Revolution. Suffering from taxes and commerce regulations that the British attempted to impose, outraged merchants signed agreements not to trade with Britain. Leaders moved to the city to join the resistance, causing sizeable losses for British merchants, which fueled growth in Baltimore. The population doubled between 1776 and 1790, and again by 1800. Baltimore was once the second leading port of entry for European immigrants. The Revolutionary War also expanded the number of black residents as the British offered freedom to escaped slaves who remained in the city after the war. Although slavery was legal in Baltimore, the city had more free persons of color than any other southern city.
Baltimore found enormous profit in overseas trade. When the British tried to cripple America's efforts to become ruler of the seas, America responded by declaring war in 1812. The British attacked the city in the summer of 1814. During the Battle of Baltimore, Maryland lawyer Francis Scott Key was aboard a British ship negotiating for the release of a prisoner. Key recounted the bombardment by writing "The Star-Spangled Banner," the poem that would ultimately be set to music and become the country's national anthem. Historic Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, where troops successfully defended Baltimore's beloved harbor, remains a popular attraction.
The city experienced phenomenal growth after the war. Vigorous foreign trade resumed, especially in flour. By 1825, there were dozens of flour mills. The National Road (currently U.S. Route 40) now linked Baltimore to major markets in the Midwest by land. When New York completed the Erie Canal, threatening the city's hold on trans-Allegheny traffic, Baltimore businessmen responded with verve. They established the first common carrier railroad in the nation, the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad, making Baltimore a major shipping and manufacturing center, and the second largest municipality in the country.
Growing rapidly, Baltimore's skyline began to take shape, peppered with churches and monuments. President John Quincy Adams called Baltimore "Monument City" after a visit in 1827. The collapse of the south's economy at the end of the Civil War began to reverse the tide, causing suffering. The city gradually recovered however, helped by tremendous amounts of grain transported by the B&O trains and the canning industry - which became important when, for the first time, jewels of the Chesapeake Bay were preserved and shipped to other parts of the country. All the while, people fleeing the Deep South continued to fuel growth. Harriet Tubman passed through many times on her journeys to free slaves on the Underground Railroad.
Catastrophe struck Baltimore in 1904 when fire consumed most of downtown, destroying over 1,500 buildings in 30 hours. This enabled the emergence of a better planned city. Two years later, the Baltimore American newspaper reported that "one of the greatest disasters of modern time had been converted into a blessing."
Baltimore served as an important shipbuilding and supply-shipping center during World Wars I and II. "Suburban flight" led to rapid decay in the 1960s and 70s however. The city lost so much in population and business it became as financially depressed as it had been during the Depression.
Resilient Baltimore came back strong, beginning in 1979, with urban renewal efforts that rank among the most ambitious in the United States. Downtown and many other neighborhoods have been revitalized, with special attention given to the city's greatest asset - the harbor. Hotels, office buildings and entertainment facilities like Harborplace, the Maryland Science Center and National Aquarium (Maryland's largest tourist attraction) replaced dilapidated wharves and warehouses. State-of-the-art stadiums have been constructed nearby for the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens. A few miles away, billion dollar biotechnology parks attract the world's leading scientists. The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, American Visionary Art Museum, B&O Railroad Museum and Frederick Douglass - Isaac Myers Maritime Park (among others) entertain and educate. (Frederick Douglass worked the docks in Fell's Point, Baltimore as a young man.)
Historically a working-class port town, focused on steel processing, shipping, auto manufacturing and transportation, Baltimore now has a modern service economy, led by high-tech, biotech, medicine and tourism. Distinctive restaurants, bars, businesses and shops can be found throughout. The new "Inner Harbor" - so important in the city's first days - has become the model for cities around the world. Several Fortune 1,000 companies like Constellation Energy, Legg Mason, T. Rowe Price, and Black and Decker call Baltimore home.
With hundreds of identified districts, Baltimore has sometimes been dubbed "a city of neighborhoods," but is more commonly known as "Charm City." The talents of writers Edgar Allan Poe and H.L. Mencken, musician James Hubert "Eubie" Blake, and singer Billie Holiday influenced it; each called Baltimore "home." Baltimoreans take pride in their city, boasting one of the most remarkable transformations in history. Yet, they continue to welcome and amaze visitors with "down to earth, small town" spirit and hospitality.
What to see and do in Baltimore...
The Local Color
Inner Harbor - Considered the heart of Baltimore, the Inner Harbor is home to the shops and boutiques of Harbor Place, Fells Point and Harbor East, amazing restaurants, and renowned attractions like the National Aquarium, The American Visionary Art Museum, The Maryland Science Center, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and The Baltimore Museum of Industry. Explore the area by water taxi or walk the 7-mile brick Waterfront Promenade that connects all the action.
African American History Attractions - The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture, just steps from Baltimore Harbor, is more than just a museum: it is a celebration of Maryland’s African American experience and a home for cultural exploration and expression. The National Great Blacks in Wax museum, another top place to explore, combines amazing artistry with compelling history.
Fell's Point - Named for the Englishmen who founded a ship-building company here in 1726 that would go on to produce the famous "Baltimore Schooners," Fell's Point is a spirited waterfront community in perpetual celebration of Baltimore's British nautical roots. The neighborhood's visage has remained largely unchanged since its founding and attracts many visitors. Explore the 18th- and 19th-century homes and storefronts – most were once one of the "three B's": boarding houses, brothels and bars. Chesapeake Bay cuisine is at its best here too, whether you crave oysters on the half shell at a local pub, or fresh seafood at an upscale restaurant.
Hampden - Made famous for being the location of several John Water's films, Hampden is one of the top 15 Hipster Neighborhoods in America according to Forbes magazine, funky Hampden is home to unique boutiques, daring restaurants and pubs, and a vibrant arts and music scene. Hampden’s Honfest, Hampden Fest and the holiday Miracle on 34th Street are how Hampden does its part to keep Baltimore weird.
The National Aquarium - With its revolutionary architecture and dedication to conservation, the giant National Aquarium is one of the most influential aquariums in the world. With stunningly beautiful exhibits like the Animal Planet Australia, Blacktip Reef, Shark Alley, the Amazon River Forest, plus the immersive 4-D theater, the National Aquarium makes exploring our ocean planet fun.
Fort McHenry - A National Monument & Historic Shrine, during the War of 1812, Fort McHenry repelled the British, saving the city and inspiring Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem. A picnic on the fort’s sprawling, waterfront lawns is a great way to get in touch with history and to see the skyline of Baltimore.
B&O Railroad Museum - Stand under the soaring cupola of the B&O roundhouse then board one of the museum's historic trains for a ride down the rails. With working trains, model gardens and rides for the kids, the next stop is fun at the B&O Railroad Museum and, as a bonus, you get to cross off a spot on your Monopoly board bucket list.
Baltimore Water Taxis - Baltimore is steeped in a proud and rich nautical tradition. For more than 35 years the Baltimore Water Taxi’s blue and white fleet has proven itself to be an integral part of the city’s history and culture. In fact, we’re as much a part of the city’s history as the revitalized Inner Harbor. The Water Taxi is more than a jaunt across the harbor; it’s a Baltimore institution and a way of life. Every day, thousands of residents and visitors not only rely on us to take them safely to their destinations, they appreciate our knowledge of the area and our courteous service. And every day, hundreds of local businesses rely on us to deliver customers to their locations.
Geppi's Entertainment Museum - is a journey through 250 years of American pop culture, located in historic Camden Station at Camden Yards in Baltimore Maryland, just a few blocks from the city's famed Inner Harbor. Where else can you revisit your childhood and get back in touch with old friends that entertained you in the past through comic strips and books, radio and television shows, films, cartoons, and so much more? The museum exhibits nearly 6,000 pop culture artifacts including comics, toys, dolls, games and memorabilia of every conceivable category.
Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum - Poe’s home is in an excellent state of preservation with much of the exterior and interior original fabric from the 1833-1835 period when Edgar lived there with his aunt, grandmother and two cousins. While the house is not furnished, visitors walk on the same floors, stairs and wander within the original plaster walls and woodwork that Edgar lived with. Exhibits tell the story of Edgar Allan Poe’s life and death in Baltimore and significant artifacts such as Edgar’s portable writing desk and chair, and a telescope, china and glassware used by Edgar when living with the Allan family in Richmond, Virginia.
There are so many wonderful places to visit in Baltimore we can't list them all. Please visit the Visit Baltimore site to sign up for their free newsletter and visitor's guide.