Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore City in order to distinguish it from surrounding Baltimore County. Founded in 1729, Baltimore is the largest U.S. seaport in the Mid-Atlantic and is situated closer to major Midwestern markets than any other major seaport on the East Coast.
Baltimore's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and a major manufacturing center. After a decline in manufacturing, like most other major American coastal cities, Baltimore shifted to a service-oriented economy. The city is home to the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, Harborplace, the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Ravens.