Want to visit one of the best destinations on the planet in 2024? Look no further than Baltimore. At least, that’s what The New York Times thinks.

The Gray Lady just dropped its list of the top 52 places to go this year and Charm City makes the grade along with destinations such as Paris, Maui, New Zealand (by train), Singapore and Geneva, Switzerland — just to name a few. (Check out the entire list here.)

In the entry by scribe Daniel Scheffler, Baltimore is lauded for everything from its arts scene that features “Native artists” to its network of waterways called the Baltimore Blueway. The piece also makes mention of director John Waters, who will return to his hometown to shoot a film based on his first novel, “Liarmouth.”

It’s debatable whether the Times piece, which is numbered, should be interpreted as a ranking or list of desirable destinations, but Visit Baltimore is leaning toward the former.

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“The entire Visit Baltimore team is thrilled about Baltimore ranking No. 14 on the New York Times ‘52 Places to Go in 2024′ list,” said Al Hutchinson, president and CEO of the tourism organization. “It’s no secret that Baltimore is having a major moment — our arts, culture, medical and tech industries are huge assets in our city’s appeal as a cultural destination. Visitors repeatedly comment on our ease of access, walkability, beautiful waterfront, diversity in people, arts and culture and our amazing up-and-coming dining scene. As Governor Moore so often says, it’s Maryland’s decade, but it’s Baltimore’s time.”

Scheffler — who considers the piece a list, by the way — said he found Baltimore by accident.

“I came to interview John Waters for SPIN magazine and fell in love with the city,” said Scheffler, who travels the world as a freelance writer. “The charm certainly rubbed right off. I walked every block from neighborhood to neighborhood and felt that the city was just so unique. Instead of actively homogenizing itself, it took all its quirks, magic and specialness and enhanced it and celebrated it.”

Scheffler, who is based in New York, said he’s come to Baltimore for multiple trips: “My best friend is from Baltimore, so it’s always on my mind.”

Despite his travel to 130 countries and “thousands” of cities, Scheffler said that “Baltimore has a very special ingredient that nowhere else has, and the city and all its people know this inherently. So as a writer it was easy — as the absolute outsider — to find a story to write.”

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With mention of the new Justice Thurgood Marshall Amenity Center and renewed interest in the Baltimore Peninsula area, Scheffler’s Baltimore blurb looks to the future of the city as well.

“After all the years of work the city has done with so many cheerleaders, from John Waters, to the mayor and the governor, to people like the Empanada Lady and poet Unique Mical, it’s in good hands to get all the international and national attention it deserves,” the writer told The Banner. “To me, Baltimore is one of the most interesting and wonderful places I have been on the planet. And thus, I return as often as possible.”

Correction: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Unique Mical's name.

John-John Williams IV is a diversity, equity and inclusion reporter at The Baltimore Banner. A native of Syracuse, N.Y. and a graduate of Howard University, he has lived in Baltimore for the past 17 years. 

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