Baltimore is a great place to live with its charming historic neighborhoods, excellent restaurants, museums and entertainment venues, popular professional sports teams, quirky local events and much more.
Located about 40 miles northeast of Washington, D.C., Baltimore lies at the head of the Patapsco River, about 15 miles above the Chesapeake Bay. As one of the nation's earliest and most important seaports, the city is steeped in history. During the War of 1812, Fort McHenry was the inspiration for the “The Star-Spangled Banner," the U.S. national anthem.
The U.S. Navy's first ship, the Constellation, launched in Baltimore in 1797 and the nation's first railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio was built in 1829. Today, these historic sites and many others offer visitors a glimpse of our nation's history.
Unfortunately, in recent years, crime and riots have given Baltimore a tarnished reputation and put a spotlight on some of the city's cultural and economic difficulties. All cities have some neighborhoods that are best avoided and most of the crime has been gang-related and between individuals who know one another. Many areas of Baltimore are generally safe. So, finding the right place to live is the key to feeling secure and comfortable. Here are 10 things you should know and consider about living in Baltimore.
Baltimore has more than 250 distinct and quirky neighborhoods including some of the earliest National Register Historic Districts in the nation. 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 the most expensive. If you can't find a place to live near downtown, you're better off living in the suburbs in Baltimore, Howard or Anne Arundel County.
The cost of living in Baltimore hovers close to the national average and is lower than its regional neighbors. You can find a one-bedroom apartment in Baltimore for about $1,665 — a nearly 5 percent decrease from last year.
Living in the city remains mostly affordable as gas prices remain slightly above the national average. The good news is the Maryland state sales tax is relatively low at 6 percent and you can get groceries from several places to fit your budget. A beer at a bar will cost between $6-7, and a meal at a sit-down restaurant will set you back $25-50, on average.
Baltimore's tourist destinations surround the historic seaport. Visitors shop and dine at Harborplace, check out museums, including the National Aquarium or the National Science Center and hop aboard some of the historic ships like the Constellation.
The Inner Harbor is a fun place to people watch. You'll surely take your out-of-town guests to the harbor, but it can sometimes feel like a tourist trap.
Baltimore is known for its blue crabs, a regional delicacy and some of the best crab houses are found in the heart of the city. But the city is also a haven for authentic ethnic food as there is so much cultural diversity.
Venture away from the Inner Harbor area and you'll find local gems tucked away in some of the historic neighborhoods such as Little Italy, Fells Point, Canton and Mount Vernon.
Baltimore has a vibrant flair for live entertainment and cultural events. Theatergoers enjoy performances at Center Stage, the Hippodrome, the Everyman Theatre and Fells Point Corner Theatre. Concerts are held at the Royal Farms Arena, Rams Head Live small nightclubs and other venues around town.
In summer, Artscape is a favorite large-scale festival. The Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Gallery and the American Visionary Art Museum exhibit a wide variety of creative collections.
Baltimore has a long and storied 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 is held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course. The Preakness is the second leg in American thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown series.
Out of more than 4,500 hospitals assessed, The Johns Hopkins Hospital ranked No. 1 in Maryland and No. 3 in the nation. The Baltimore area is home to some of the best doctors in the country, so it's a good place to access great care. The University of Maryland Medical and Dental schools are also located right in the heart of the city.
Baltimore is centrally located on the east coast in a compact region, just 35 miles north of Washington D.C. and 105 miles south of Philadelphia. The city's location makes it easy to enjoy day trips or weekend travel and there's so many opportunities of things to do. Within a short drive, you can enjoy visiting major cities, small towns, the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic coast or the mountains in western Maryland or Virginia.
As the region has grown in population, traffic and getting around is becoming more of a nuisance. Baltimore's light rail system provides limited service to some of the most popular suburbs. The MARC train provides transportation to downtown Washington, D.C. Amtrak runs on the Northeast Corridor route with regular service to N.Y.C. and Boston. You can take a water taxi from the Inner Harbor to Fells Point.
Marylanders love to complain about the weather. But, it's actually a great region to enjoy a full four seasons. The weather is mild compared to many parts of the United States. Fortunately, the nastiest weather in the Baltimore area is usually fairly short in duration.
In the winter, the area gets an occasional snowstorm and temperatures are variable. During the summer months, Baltimore can get hot and humid. The spring and fall are beautiful with lots of comfortable days to enjoy the outdoors.
Baltimore is a fun city to live in and easy to get to know. Whether you're single or moving with your family, you'll find a neighborhood that fits your budget and lifestyle. The city is pretty welcoming to newcomers and you'll feel at home in Baltimore before you know it.