Baltimore is a great place to live with its charming historic districts, great restaurants, museums and entertainment venues, popular professional sports teams, quirky local events and much more.
Located about 40 miles northeast of Washington, DC, Baltimore sits at the head of the Patapsco River, about 15 miles above the Chesapeake Bay. As one of the first and most important seaports in the country, the city is steeped in history. During the War of 1812, Fort McHenry was the inspiration for the “Star Spangled Banner”, the American national anthem.
The US Navy’s first ship, the Constellation, was launched in Baltimore in 1797 and the country’s first railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio, was built in 1829. Today, these historic sites and much more others offer visitors a glimpse of our country’s history.
Sadly, in recent years, crime and riots have given Baltimore a tarnished reputation and highlighted some of the city’s cultural and economic challenges. All cities have neighborhoods that are best avoided and most crime is linked to gangs and between people who know each other. Many areas of Baltimore are generally safe. So finding the right place to live is the key to feeling safe and comfortable. Here are 10 things you need to know and consider when living in Baltimore.
1. Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods
Baltimore has over 250 distinct and quirky neighborhoods, including some of the nation’s first National Register Historic Districts. Each neighborhood reflects its unique personality through its architecture, restaurants, attractions, shops and annual events.
The areas surrounding the Inner Harbor are the most popular and expensive. If you can’t find accommodation near downtown, you’d better live in the suburbs of Baltimore, Howard, or Anne Arundel County.
2. The cost of living is close to the American average
The cost of living in Baltimore hovers near the national average and is lower than that of its regional neighbors. You can find a one-bedroom apartment in Baltimore for around $ 1,665 – a decrease of almost 5% from last year.
Living in the city remains generally affordable as gasoline prices remain slightly above the national average. The good news is that the state of Maryland sales tax is relatively low at 6%, and you can shop in multiple places depending on your budget. A beer at a bar will cost between $ 6-7, and a meal in a sit-down restaurant will cost you an average of $ 25-50.
3. Inner Harbor is the tourist hub of Baltimore
Baltimore’s tourist destinations surround the historic harbor. Visitors shop and dine at Harborplace, tour museums, including the National Aquarium or the National Science Center, and board some of the historic ships like the Constellation.
The Inner Harbor is a fun place to people watch. You will surely be taking your out of town guests to the port, but it can sometimes feel like a tourist trap.
4. The region is a delight for gourmets
Baltimore is known for its blue crabs, a regional delicacy, and some of the best crab houses can be found in the heart of the city. But the city is also a paradise for authentic ethnic cuisine because there is so much cultural diversity.
Venture away from the Inner Harbor area and you will find local gems tucked away in some of the historic neighborhoods such as Little Italy, Fells Point, Canton and Mount Vernon.
5. There is a large arts and entertainment scene
Baltimore has a vibrant flair for shows and cultural events. Spectators attend performances at Center Stage, Racecourse, Everyman Theater and Fells Point Corner Theater. Concerts are held at the Royal Farms Arena, at small Rams Head Live nightclubs and other venues around town.
In the summer, Artscape is a favorite large-scale festival. The Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Gallery, and the American Visionary Art Museum display a wide variety of creative collections.
6. Baltimore loves its sports teams
Baltimore has a long and rich sporting history and is passionate about its teams. The Baltimore Orioles are three-time World Series champions in Major League Baseball and the Baltimore Ravens are two-time Super Bowl champions in the National Football League.
Baltimore is also known for horse racing. The Preakness Stakes are held on the third Saturday in May of each year at the Pimlico Race Course. The Preakness is the second stop in the Triple Crown Series of American Thoroughbred Racing.
7. You will benefit from first-rate health care
Out of more than 4,500 hospitals assessed, the Johns Hopkins Hospital ranked # 1 in Maryland and # 3 in the country. The Baltimore area is home to some of the best doctors in the country, so it’s a good place to access quality care. The University of Maryland Schools of Medicine and Dentistry are also located right in the heart of the city.
8. The city is located in the center of the east coast
Baltimore is located on the east coast in a compact region, just 35 miles north of Washington DC and 105 miles south of Philadelphia. The city’s location makes it easy for day trips or weekends and there is so much to do. Within a short drive you can visit big cities, small towns, the Chesapeake Bay or the Atlantic coast or the mountains of western Maryland or Virginia.
9. Traffic and traffic jams increase
As the region has grown in population, traffic and travel are becoming more of a nuisance. The Baltimore streetcar system provides limited service to some of the more popular suburbs. The MARC train provides transportation to downtown Washington, DC Amtrak operates on the Northeast Corridor route with regular service to New York and Boston. You can take a water taxi from Inner Harbor to Fells Point.
10. You will enjoy four full seasons
Marylanders love to complain about the weather. But it is actually an ideal region to enjoy four full seasons. The weather is mild compared to many parts of the United States. Fortunately, the worst weather in the Baltimore area is generally pretty short.
In winter, the area receives an occasional snowstorm and temperatures are variable. During the summer months, Baltimore can get hot and humid. Spring and fall are beautiful with plenty of comfortable days to enjoy the outdoors.
Living in Baltimore
Baltimore is a fun city to live in and easy to get to know. Whether you are single or moving with your family, you will find a neighborhood that fits your budget and lifestyle. The city is welcoming enough to newcomers and you’ll feel right at home in Baltimore before you know it.