Baltimore, the largest city in Maryland, is the center of a metropolitan area of 1.5 million people. Baltimore is a vital city long known for its ethnic neighborhoods and, more recently, for its innovations in the preservation and restoration of urban homes. The city is located on the Chesapeake Bay, and its picturesque Inner Harbor is the center of restaurant, shopping and business districts. The Inner Harbor is also the focus of one of the nation's most successful urban development programs. Baltimore is a city of contrasts; steel and glass skyscrapers that dominate the commercial district are only a short walk from residential neighborhoods that have maintained a small town charm. Many Baltimore residents live in the classic red brick row houses with which the city is traditionally associated.
The state of Maryland has an unusual topography, as it extends from the Atlantic Ocean shore to the Allegheny and Appalachian mountains, and thus offers a wide variety of recreational facilities. The population of Baltimore, a port city on the renowned Chesapeake Bay, and its surrounding area is approximately 2 million. The city supports many educational and cultural institutions, including the National Aquarium, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Baltimore Symphony, the Baltimore Opera, the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Center Stage and Morris Mechanic theaters, to name only a few. The Homewood Campus of the Johns Hopkins University is adjacent to one of the finest residential areas of the city, where a significant fraction of the student, staff and faculty population resides.