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Welcome To Baltimore, Hon! Charm City Is Becoming More Popular

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Ileto Christie 370x278 (2) Christie Ileto
Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore City saw a surge in holiday visitors thanks to a number of weekend events downtown.

Christie Ileto has more on the boost for Charm City.

It’s not your typical Memorial Day weekend destination but new numbers show Baltimore is becoming a popular one!

“I love it so far. It’s great,” said Austin Recor, visitor.

Recor made the trek from Syracuse. He’s one of thousands of people here to watch the NCAA lacrosse finals and coupled with O’s games and downtown conventions, city officials estimate more than 130,000 people flocked to Baltimore this holiday weekend.

“Normally our numbers are very low,” said Mike Evitts, Downtown Partnership. “This year’s numbers are very, very high in terms of visitors.”

More visitors mean a big boost for businesses. Hotel Monaco says they were full the entire holiday weekend, an 18 percent increase from this time last year.

“The increase not only in the number of rooms sold, but the number of people in them, I think is the telltale story as to how it impacts restaurants and shopping,” said Joe Pagone.

Baltimore just ranked one of the top 10 most popular and least expensive summer spots.

Visitors are looking at an average round trip airfare around $272 and low-cost activities like the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum.

“We really like the Inner Harbor. It’s really nice to go down there and walk around, shop and eat,” said Alex Contento, of Syracuse.

Visiting Baltimore is an affordable holiday alternative to the gridlock heading to the beach.

Local businesses hope this trend continues throughout the summer.

The city will likely see its biggest surge in visitors for September’s Star-Spangled Spectacular festival. Tourism officials estimate it could bring more than 1.5 million people to Baltimore.

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