Baltimore's fortuitous location on the northern Chesapeake Bay has been at the heart of its social and economic development. Farther inland than other eastern seaport, the city is convenient to landlocked areas. Water-related industry quickly developed around Baltimore harbor, and when tracks for the nation's first railroad were laid there in 1829, the thriving port city increased both its accessibility to other cities and its attractiveness to immigrants and investors.
Through careful city planning and cooperation between public and private investors, Baltimore has entered the ranks of America's "comeback cities" in recent years. Its downtown business district has been transformed into a mecca of sparkling new hotels, retail centers, and office buildings. But Baltimore has not wholly exchanged its traditional working-class image for high-technology polish. Many of its urban renewal programs focus on the preservation or renovation of historical buildings and neighborhoods amidst new construction. For example, its wildly popular Oriole Park at Camden Yards offers state-of-the-art amenities in a turn-of-the-century style baseball stadium. Nicknamed the "charmed city," Baltimore has become a top tourist destination.