Baltimore is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Maryland. Baltimore was designated an independent city by the Constitution of Maryland in 1851, and today is the largest independent city in the United States. Baltimore is located about 40 miles (64 km) north-east of Washington, D.C., making it a principal city in the Washington–Baltimore combined statistical area, the third-largest in the nation.
Prior to European colonisation, the Baltimore region was used as hunting grounds by the Susquehannock Native Americans, who were primarily settled further north than where the city was later built. Colonists from the Province of Maryland established the Port of Baltimore in 1706 to support the tobacco trade with Europe, and established the Town of Baltimore in 1729.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the oldest railroad in the United States, was built in 1830 and cemented Baltimore's status as a major transportation hub, giving producers in the Midwest and Appalachia access to the city's port. Baltimore's Inner Harbour was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States. In addition, Baltimore was a major manufacturing centre. Baltimore has shifted to a service-oriented economy. Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins University are the city's top two employers. Baltimore and its surrounding region are home to the headquarters of a number of major organisations and government agencies, including the NAACP, ABET, the National Federation of the Blind, Catholic Relief Services, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Social Security Administration.
Many of Baltimore's neighbourhoods have rich histories. The city is home to some of the earliest National Register Historic Districts in the nation, including Fell's Point, Federal Hill, and Mount Vernon. These were added to the National Register between 1969 and 1971, soon after historic preservation legislation was passed. Baltimore has more public statues and monuments per capita than any other city in the country. Nearly one third of the city's buildings (over 65,000) are designated as historic in the National Register, which is more than any other U.S. city.
The city now relies on a low-wage service economy, which accounts for 31% of jobs in the city. The Census Bureau reported that 207,000 workers commute into Baltimore city each day. Downtown Baltimore is the primary economic asset within Baltimore City and the region with 29.1 million square feet of office space. The tech sector is rapidly growing as the Baltimore metro ranks 8th in the CBRE Tech Talent Report among 50 U.S. metro areas for high growth rate and number of tech professionals. Forbes ranked Baltimore fourth among America's "new tech hot spots".
The city is home to the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Other large companies in Baltimore include Under Armour, BRT Laboratories, Cordish Company, Legg Mason, McCormick & Company, T. Rowe Price, and Royal Farms. A sugar refinery owned by American Sugar Refining is one of Baltimore's cultural icons. Non-profits based in Baltimore include Lutheran Services in America and Catholic Relief Services. Almost a quarter of the jobs in the Baltimore region are in science, technology, engineering and math, in part attributed to the city's extensive undergraduate and graduate schools; maintenance and repair experts were included in this count.
Port The centre of international commerce for the region is the World Trade Center Baltimore. It houses the Maryland Port Administration and U.S. headquarters for major shipping lines. Baltimore is ranked 9th for total dollar value of cargo and 13th for cargo tonnage for all U.S. ports. The Port of Baltimore generates $3 billion in annual wages and salary, as well as supporting 14,630 direct jobs and 108,000 jobs connected to port work. It serves over 50 ocean carriers making nearly 1,800 annual visits. Among all U.S. ports, Baltimore is first in handling automobiles, light trucks, farm and construction machinery; and imported forest products, aluminium, and sugar. The port is second in coal exports. The Port of Baltimore's cruise industry, which offers year-round trips on several lines supports over 500 jobs and brings in over $90 million to Maryland's economy annually. Growth at the port continues with the Maryland Port Administration plans to turn the southern tip of the former steel mill into a marine terminal, primarily for car and truck shipments, but also for anticipated new business coming to Baltimore after the completion of the Panama Canal expansion project.
Tourism Baltimore's history and attractions have allowed the city to become a popular tourist destination on the East Coast. In 2014, the city hosted 24.5 million visitors, who spent $5.2 billion. The Baltimore Visitor Center, which is operated by Visit Baltimore, is located on Light Street in the Inner Harbor. Much of the city's tourism centres around the Inner Harbor, with the National Aquarium being Maryland's top tourist destination. Baltimore Harbor's restoration has made it "a city of boats", with several historic ships and other attractions on display and open for the public to visit. The USS Constellation, the last Civil War-era vessel afloat, is docked at the head of the Inner Harbor; the USS Torsk, a submarine that holds the Navy's record for dives (more than 10,000); and the Coast Guard cutter Taney, the last surviving U.S. warship that was in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, and which engaged Japanese Zero aircraft during the battle.
Also docked is the lightship Chesapeake, which for decades marked the entrance to Chesapeake Bay; and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, the oldest surviving screw-pile lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay, which once marked the mouth of the Patapsco River and the entrance to Baltimore. All of these attractions are owned and maintained by the Historic Ships in Baltimore organization. The Inner Harbor is also the home port of Pride of Baltimore II, the state of Maryland's "goodwill ambassador" ship, a reconstruction of a famous Baltimore Clipper ship.
Other tourist destinations include sporting venues such as Oriole Park at Camden Yards, M&T Bank Stadium, and Pimlico Race Course, Fort McHenry, the Mount Vernon, Federal Hill, and Fells Point neighborhoods, Lexington Market, Horseshoe Casino, and museums such as the Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Industry, the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, the Maryland Science Center, and the B&O Railroad Museum. The Baltimore Convention Center is home to BronyCon, the world's largest convention for fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Baltimore is rated Gamma + by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Gamma level cities are cities that link smaller economic regions into the world economy.
Baltimore is ranked #31 by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. Baltimore was ranked #654 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Baltimore has a population of over 621,849 people. Baltimore also forms part of the wider Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metropolitan area which has a population of over 2,710,489 people. Baltimore is the #68 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 5.0631 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.