Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore has a rich history as a blue-collar port city, known for its diverse neighborhoods and distinct ethnic communities. The city is home to 72 designated historic districts, each traditionally inhabited by different ethnic groups. Notable areas include the Inner Harbor, a popular tourist destination with hotels, shops, and museums; Fells Point, once a hub for sailors’ entertainment and now revitalized; and Little Italy, the heart of Baltimore’s Italian-American community and the childhood home of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Inland, Mount Vernon serves as the cultural and artistic center of the city, boasting a unique Washington Monument that predates its counterpart in Washington, D.C. Baltimore also has a significant German American population and was once a major immigration port for various nationalities between 1820 and 1989. However, World War I halted this influx of immigrants by 1913 when Baltimore was receiving around forty thousand newcomers annually.

Baltimore has a rich history of beer production that thrived from the 1800s to the 1950s, boasting over 100 old breweries. The remnants of this history can be seen in landmarks such as the American Brewery Building on North Gay Street and the National Brewing Company building in Brewer’s Hill. In the 1940s, National Brewing Company made waves by introducing the nation’s first six-pack and producing iconic brands like National Bohemian Beer, affectionately known as Natty Boh, and Colt 45. Interestingly, Colt 45 was not named after the .45 caliber handgun ammunition round but after Baltimore Colts running back Jerry Hill, who wore jersey number 45 in 1963. These brands continue to be produced today, although no longer within Maryland, and are widely available at bars and during Orioles and Ravens games throughout Baltimore. The Natty Boh logo remains a prominent feature on all packaging and merchandise, which can still be easily found in various shops across Maryland, including several in Fells Point.

Every year, the city of Baltimore hosts the Artscape festival in the Bolton Hill neighborhood near the Maryland Institute College of Art. Marketed as the largest free arts festival in America, it draws a large crowd. In May, the Maryland Film Festival utilizes all five screens at the historic Charles Theatre as its main venue. Baltimore has been a popular location for filming, with shows like Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire set and shot there. Additionally, House of Cards and Veep are set in Washington, D.C., but filmed in Baltimore. The city is home to several cultural museums, including the internationally acclaimed Baltimore Museum of Art and Walters Art Museum, which boast impressive collections. Notably, the former holds the world’s largest collection of Henri Matisse’s works. Congress has designated the American Visionary Art Museum as America’s national museum for visionary art. Furthermore, Baltimore is home to the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, which features over 150 life-size wax figures and is recognized as the first African American wax museum in the United States.

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