Baltimore - Culture

Culture

Main article: Culture of Baltimore See also: Music of Baltimore and List of museums in Baltimore

Historically a working-class port town, Baltimore has sometimes been dubbed a "city of neighborhoods," with 72 designated historic districts traditionally occupied by distinct ethnic groups. Most notable today are three downtown areas along the port: the Inner Harbor, frequented by tourists due to its hotels, shops, and museums; Fells Point, once a favorite entertainment spot for sailors but now refurbished and gentrified (and featured in the movie Sleepless in Seattle); and Little Italy, located between the other two, where Baltimore's Italian-American community is based – and where former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi grew up. Further inland, Mt. Vernon is the traditional center of cultural and artistic life of the city; it is home to a distinctive Washington Monument, set atop a hill in a 19th century urban square, that predates the more well-known monument in Washington, D.C. by several decades.

Each year the Artscape takes place in the city in the Bolton Hill neighborhood, due to its proximity to Maryland Institute College of Art. Artscape styles itself as the 'largest free arts festival in America'. Each May, the Maryland Film Festival takes place in Baltimore, using all 5 screens of the historic Charles Theatre as its anchor venue.

The nickname "Charm City" comes from a 1975 meeting of advertisers seeking to improve the city's reputation.

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 Dec. 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 screwpile lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay, which once marked the mouth of the Patapsco River and the entrance to Baltimore. All these attractions are owned and maintained by the Historic Ships in Baltimore organization. The Inner Harbor also is the home port of Pride of Baltimore II, the state of Maryland's "goodwill ambassador" ship, a reconstruction of the famous Baltimore Clipper.

Baltimore Harbor also has a very active fleet of recreational sailboats which have to dodge commercial ships and tugs when racing in the Patapsco River. The major sailing race each year is a charity event held to raise funds for the maintenance of the USS Constellation, called the Constellation Cup.

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