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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."

Then there is the famous National Aquarium, which houses sharks, rays, and tropical fish among the 11,000 aquatic creatures in naturalistic exhibits, including a walk-through rain forest. Don't miss the live-action dolphin show or the new Australia exhibit.

Take an elevator to the 27th floor observation level of Baltimore's World Trade Center and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the city. The architectural marvel, 405 feet over the top of the harbor, is the world's tallest, even-sided, pentagon-shaped building.

Baltimore boasts many renowned museums and art galleries. For example, the Waiters Art Museum is acclaimed as one of the best art museums in the United States. It houses 55 centuries of art, including Egyptian mummies, medieval armory, and 19th-century masterpieces.

Maryland's largest art museum--The Baltimore Museum of Art--showcases a dazzling collection, ranging from ancient mosaics to contemporary art, plus ever-changing exhibitions, and sculpture gardens. Admission here is free.

Baltimore harbors many esteemed historical museums, including the Baltimore Maritime Museum, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum, and the Civil War Museum, housed in an 1849 train station.

Those with more scientific minds might enjoy the Maryland Science Center, one of the oldest scientific institutions in the United States, featuring an IMAX theater and planetarium.

If you're more spiritually inclined, plan a pilgrimage to Baltimore's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the best examples of neoclassical architecture in the world and the first Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States.

October might be a good time to visit the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in the city's Westside area. The restored historic church features one of Baltimore's oldest cemeteries, which is home to the Edgar Allan Poe gravesite and monument. It's believed that Poe wrote his famous poem "The Raven" while living in Baltimore in the 1830s.

On the subject of ravens, sports enthusiasts might be lucky enough to snag tickets to Baltimore's NFL football team, the Baltimore Ravens, who play in the M&T Bank Stadium. The Baltimore Orioles--affectionately known as the "Birds" or the "Os" to the city's serious fans--are Baltimore's beloved Major League Baseball team. The Orioles play in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. True baseball fans will want to visit the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame exhibit and the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum located nearby.

For more information on Baltimore, visit www.baltimore.org.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Association of Records Managers & Administrators (ARMA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Special Section
Publication:Information Management Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2007
Words:873
Previous Article:Are you up to the challenge?
Next Article:ARMA '07 Expo: Sunday, October 7--Tuesday, October 9 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland: showcasing cutting-edge technology & products.
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