BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the heart of summer travel season and Baltimore is coming into its own. Visit Baltimore reports a record number of visitors.

Pat Warren reports more are expected to come.

It’s Baltimore’s star-spangled summer. The city’s dressing up in red, white and blue.

“I’m encouraging everyone to get into the spirit with red, white and blue Mondays,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

There’s also Orange Wednesdays.

“Especially how well the O’s are doing; you know we’re going to have a lot of people coming to visit,” said Rawlings-Blake.

It’s the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner and a banner year for the O’s. Combine other events like the opening of the Horseshoe Casino and Baltimore is a draw.

“We are a true destination of choice and I think the numbers are proving it,” Rawlings-Blake said.

2013 was a record-breaker for the Baltimore tourism industry. Nearly 24 million people visited the city in the calendar year. They spent $5 billion and created 80,400 jobs to accomodate the demand and the city’s on track for another successful year.

“A very packed summer and that’s the way I like it,” she said.

Cy and Katie Childs are ready.

“I think it’s wonderful! We want to share that,” they said.

And it may be time we locals gained new appreciation.

“I think our locals…sometimes we have a collective chip on our shoulder like, `Oh, we’re not good enough,’ `we’re not this’ `we’re not that’ but I think we are that,” said Tom Noonan. “A great city with a great product to offer.”

There’s still a lot of summer left and plenty to do.

Tuesday, Visit Baltimore awarded its William Donald Schaefer Visionary Award to the Baltimore Orioles as one of the single largest drivers of hotel occupancy in the city.

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