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Introducing Baltimore

Once one of the most important port towns in America, Baltimore – or 'Bawlmer' to locals – is a city of contradictions. On one hand she retains something of the ugly duckling – a defiant, working-class, somewhat gritty city still tied to her nautical past. But in recent years Baltimore has grown into a swan, filled with world-class museums, trendy shops, ethnic restaurants, boutique hotels, culture and sports. She does this all with a twinkle in the eye and a wisecrack on the lips. After all, this is a quirky city that spawned Billie Holiday and John Waters. Yet she remains intrinsically tied to the water, from the Disney-fied Inner Harbor and cobblestoned streets of portside Fells Point to the shores of Fort McHenry, birthplace of America's national anthem, 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' Baltimore lives up to her nickname, 'Charm City.'