by Michael C. Lowe | September 01, 2010

Local Update:The Charm City Circulator is a fleet of 21 new hybrid buses providing free transportation to major spots around town. The shuttles run approximately every 10 minutes and ply three different routes that variously access sites such as the Inner Harbor, Penn Station, the University of Maryland and the Johns Hopkins Metro Station.

The Four Seasons Hotel and Residences is coming to the city's waterfront with 226 guest rooms plus residential units, all in a striking 44-story building. The $250 million hotel and condo project is expected to be completed in late 2011 or early 2012.

The 68-room Holiday Inn Express Downtown opened last September in the historic Old Town National Bank, which dates from the 1920s. The property offers 750 square feet of meeting space and a free shuttle to the Baltimore Convention Center.

Visit Baltimore, the Fort Worth
 (Texas) Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau have all joined forces to create a three-city sales partnership that will encourage groups to sign multiyear contracts with properties in multiple destinations by offering various incentives.

The Maryland Women's Heritage Center, a museum spotlighting the experiences and contributions of women past and present, including those inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame, opened in June in downtown.

Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 757-room Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel, 754-room Marriott Baltimore Waterfront, 706-room Sheraton Baltimore City Center, 622-room Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, 524-room Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, 488-room Hyatt Regency Baltimore, 439-room Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore, 375-room Holiday Inn Inner Harbor Hotel, 337-room Desirée Rogers Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, 303-room Baltimore Tremont Plaza, 260-room Westin Baltimore Washington Airport-BWI, 250-room Days Inn Inner Harbor, 202-room Hotel Monaco Baltimore and 195-room InterContinental Harbor Court Baltimore.

Convention Center: Bal­timore Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 300,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 50; (410) 649-7000;

Airport Transfer: Baltimore/Washington Inter­national Thurgood Mar­shall Airport, about 14 miles south of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $30

Taxes: Room tax, 9.5%; sales tax, 6%; total hotel room tax, 15.5%

Food Tours at Koopers TavernGroup Venues: Early this year, Charm City Food Tours introduced its first of four excursions at Fells Point. Up to 250 participants can explore the 280-year-old historic district on a guided  walking tour, with the option to enjoy samples from some of Baltimore's unique family-owned restaurants. The Fells Point Food Tour highlights smoked crab cakes, locally brewed beers and sausages from a 90-year-old family-run factory. Charm City is looking to introduce additional tours by the end of the year. (410) 929-5730;

Now docked in Baltimore Inner Harbor, the USS Constellation first set sail back in 1855 with the mission to protect American interests in the Mediterranean. After serving in the Civil War and as a training facility at the Naval Academy, the 197-foot vessel was permanently moored here in 1999. The storied venue lets up to 250 visitors explore four levels with areas including the original captain's cabin, gun deck, officer's quarters and galley. In conjunction with the pier, the venue can accommodate up to 600 visitors. (410) 539-1797, ext. 432;

The American Visionary Art Museum is home to more than 4,000 works of art created by self-taught individuals. Receptions for up to 450 people can be accommodated in the Jim Rouse Visionary Center, while the soaring brick Sculpture Barn can host up to 125 for sit-down dinners. The venue sits on the city's Inner Harbor and is just a 15-minute walk from the Baltimore Convention Center. (410) 244-1900,

CVB Services:
Visit Baltimore, (410) 659-7300;