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Baltimore has always been a hardworking town, home to fiercely loyal Orioles fans, with close-knit neighborhoods and families. Below are some neighborhoods you may wish to visit, along with a few of the characteristics that make them unique.

Baltimore's Inner Harbor is the obvious starting point for visitors, the focal point of the town's turnaround in the late 1970s. Visitors can get a feel for the city's seafaring days through attractions on the Inner Harbor, harbor cruises, and even water taxis.

The National Aquarium is filled with fish, sharks, and dolphins, and topped with a rainforest. The Maryland Science Center offers an IMAX theater and planetarium. Harborplace Mall and the Gallery are shopping and dining extravaganzas that draw thousands every weekend.

Baltimore has become a destination for pleasure boaters, tall ships, and even high-tech racing sailboats. The Volvo Ocean Race sailors stopped here in 2002 and 2006.

Just past the Inner Harbor are some of Baltimore's oldest neighborhoods.

Little Italy has been home to Italian immigrants and their descendants since the mid-1800s, when they first opened the restaurants that continue to anchor the neighborhood. Some of the city's oldest buildings line the charming, narrow streets -- these survived the 1905 fire that destroyed downtown. Before or after dinner, take a walk to see the rowhouses and their famous marble steps, which dominate the Baltimore streetscape -- and notice the shrines with flowers and statues that grace windows here and there.

Harbor East, formerly an industrial area, now boasts the city's newest hotels and condos, and some fine restaurants and shops. Young adults moving to Baltimore want to live in this area, which is quite convenient to the other harborside neighborhoods.

Fell's Point was Baltimore's original seaport and home to the first shipyards. Baltimore clippers, swift and elegant topsail schooners, were made here. For years, immigrants to the U.S. arrived in Fell's Point and settled this area, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods of Highlandtown and Canton.

Fell's Point has long been known as a rowdy part of town. Restaurants and entertainment venues keep this neighborhood hopping all night. But don't miss the history. Walking tours bring the past (and a few ghosts) to life as you pass elegant brick rowhouses.

The Recreation Pier will be familiar to TV viewers as the site of police headquarters in the series Homicide.

Canton was once home to families whose breadwinners worked at nearby factories, canneries, and breweries. Today, technology firms rent office space here, while families are moving in to rehab the old brick and Formstone rowhouses. O'Donnell Square is surrounded by bars and eateries, and the Can Company has transformed an abandoned can-making operation into a mixed-use space, with offices, a few shops, and restaurants with outdoor patios.

All of the above neighborhoods are connected by a waterfront promenade as well as water taxis.

Mount Vernon, surrounding the Washington Monument (which, as Baltimoreans will remind you, predates the one in D.C.), offers a collection of beautiful buildings from the city's heyday. This tony area is home to the Walters Art Museum and a half-mile walk up Charles Street.

Northern Baltimore City is mostly residential, though Hampden and Mount Washington Village offer interesting shopping and some good restaurants. If you happen to be in town in December, visit Hampden's 34th Street to see how the neighbors dress up their rowhouses for the holidays; people come from all over the city to view the thousands of lights, model trains, and Santas. Mount Washington Village is a short Light Rail trip from downtown, a good side trip if the glitz of the Inner Harbor is too much for you. It's small but offers a handful of fun eateries, as well as some unique shops, plenty of hair salons, and a pottery studio.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.