- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 29, 2005

Travel writers have named Baltimore one of the top “up and coming” summer destinations, according to Frommer’s, a travel guide publisher.

“The experts at Frommer’s have verified what the citizens of Baltimore have long known to be true,” said Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley. “Baltimore is a diverse and vibrant city, rich in our nation’s history, historic architecture and buildings, and cultural and artistic attractions.”

Charm City joins nine must-see destinations, including Barcelona, Belize, South Africa, the Catskills of New York and the Cook Islands of the South Pacific. The results are posted on www.frommers.com.

Baltimore is “undergoing a cultural renaissance that goes beyond baseball and steamed crabs,” the writers say. More than 150 writers participated in the Frommer’s survey.

They highlight such attractions as the Walters Art Museum, the American Visionary Art Museum, the National Aquarium and Howard Street’s Antique Row, as well as neighborhoods such as Fells Point, Mount Vernon and Little Italy.

“We’ve often thought that Baltimore was America’s hidden treasure,” said Leslie Doggett, president and chief executive officer of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. “It’s the best-kept secret.”

Ms. Doggett, who joined the association in August 2003, said this recognition is long overdue.

“Baltimore has this authentic feel and cultural richness and is undervalued,” she said. “An endorsement like this you can’t buy.”

Baltimore receives more than 11 million visitors annually, about 3.8 million of them from the Washington area. Tourists contribute nearly $3 billion each year to the city’s economy.

The city continues to expand its list of attractions.

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture is scheduled to open June 25. The National Aquarium is building a wing that will have an Australian theme.

Harborplace, located at the city’s famed Inner Harbor, will get four new restaurants this year: a white-tablecloth Irish pub named Tir na nog, a Spanish tapas restaurant named La Tasca, Northern Virginia hamburger chain Five Guys and Japanese restaurant Edo Sushi.

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