The Baltimore Convention Center and world-class Inner Harbor are located in the historic seaport district of downtown Baltimore, the tenth largest downtown in the country and statistically one of the safest and most walkable areas of the city. Surrounding transit-connected neighborhoods, such as Harbor East, Mount Vernon, Fell’s Point, Canton and Federal Hill, are brimming with cultural, culinary, entertaining and historical attractions and activities to experience. Dubbed one of the ‘6 U.S. Cities to Watch 2017’ by Condé Nast Traveler, Baltimore has experienced one of the largest millennial booms in the nation and the resurgence is vibrantly visible, marked by new maker spaces, food halls, breweries, and boutiques popping up around every corner.
More than half of a billion dollars in development projects were delivered in 2016, including key benchmarks builds in the 235-acre Port Covington and Harbor Point plans, a figure larger than 2014 and 2015, combined. By the end of the decade, Downtown Partnership predicts an additional 5,200 housing units, 700 hotel rooms, 550,000 square feet of retail space, 2.1 million square feet of office space, and 282,000 square feet of combined institutional and public space will hit the market, representing more than $1.8 billion in new investment. It’s no wonder why Travel and Leisure recently took notice, explaining “How Baltimore Quietly Became the Coolest City on the East Coast”.
“Baltimore is truly undergoing a renaissance that is altering untapped industrial spaces into waterfront destinations where Baltimoreans and visitors alike can live, work and play,” says President and CEO of Visit Baltimore, Al Hutchinson. “The changes are adding to our dynamic tourism portfolio, creating investor confidence and building an elevated brand for Baltimore’s entire region.”
Baltimore is not just a Mid-Atlantic meeting place, but an immersive destination that can be experienced through an array of vibrant lenses. The city welcomed a record 25.9 million visitors in CY 2016, marking a 2.8 percent visitor gain over the previous year with 10.6 million overnight trips and 15.3 million day trips. As the birthplace of the national anthem and the commercial railroad system, the city is home to prominent historical sites. Its historical roots play into the more than 150 local attractions, while tours and cruises ferry visitors around the eclectic surrounding neighborhoods and famed Inner Harbor. And the city continues to make history with visionary concepts, such as Light City, the nation’s first large-scale festival of light, music and innovation.
The downtown area is the core of major conventions and events, home to major league sporting arenas and games, and proudly welcomes visitors to a comfortable, safe environment. Neighborhood retail and restaurant businesses have experienced tremendous growth, elevating Baltimore to the 10th largest downtown retail area in the country. Offering an engaging street-level experience home to national retailers and independent small businesses, visitors and locals alike enjoy an array of dining, shopping and attractions. The downtown area is home to more than 9,000 hotel rooms, 55 percent of which are within three blocks of the convention center.
Notably, Baltimore’s culinary scene has transformed into a must-visit food lovers destination, nationally recognized by definitive culinary travel outlets. While the city will always be known for its fresh crabs and Chesapeake specialties, a melting pot of cultural flavors has emerged alongside a growing craft beer and cocktail scene. Dining spots range from casual pubs to lavish waterfront restaurants offering five-course meals – and everything in between.
Baltimore is in the midst of an urban renaissance with the city’s bustling downtown neighborhoods at the movement’s epicenter. Home to more than 42,000 residents, Baltimore has experienced a significant increase of young college graduate populations— with its millennial population increasing by 12.5 percent in 2015. It is a top place for educated young adults, supported by 13 universities and colleges in the city alone. Preferences for a more mobile lifestyle are driving millennial homeowners and renters downtown given its walkable, transit-connected neighborhoods with booming retail, culinary and business scenes. In 2017 alone, more than 1,690 rentals and for-sale housing hit the marketplace, proving the high demand for living downtown.
Working and Doing Business
Baltimore is home to a growing and diverse downtown workforce. Employment figures rose from 2015 to 2016, adding more than 3,500 jobs with more than 40 percent of employees identifying as African-American or other ethnic groups. More than 45 percent of Baltimore’s downtown residents work in Baltimore City with 35 percent of all Baltimore jobs held by its residents. And while downtown Baltimore represents just 4 percent of Baltimore’s total area, it hosts more than one third of its jobs.
The downtown work hub supports a variety of industry sectors, including biotechnology, medicine, education, and various professional services. With corporate headquarters like Exelon, Medifast Transamerica, T. Rowe Price and an expanding innovative Under Armour campus, downtown Baltimore ranks 14th for employment density out of the top 25 largest U.S. metro areas, with 122,223 employees.